Category Archives: Stock Photo Examples

Best selling images and videos in August

I promised to split the normal earnings post this month and concentrate on some better earners in this second article. As I was thinking about it, I began to think about what makes for a good stock portfolio. As I cover in my video talk, I see stock photos as falling into three categories – People, Places and Things. I don’t tend to do many People shots even though I think those are probably the most popular images on the various agencies. Why not – partly because it is not my comfort zone and partly because to do it properly requires models, potentially involving payments to them, and hence more of a risk of not getting your money back in earnings. So a few shots with myself as the model are OK, but not much more than that.

Example of a stock photo for halloween

Yes, that really is me although perhaps no model release was needed for this one! So back to the plot. I focus much more on Places and Things and when I watch my results, it is clear that the Things category probably Continue Reading

Copyright of items in Stock Photos

Yesterday I wrote about my Memorial Plaque from 1918 and how it was unlikely to be covered by copyright. I was basing this on a table on the Cornell University website that says that works published before 1923 in the USA are in the public domain

However, I made a simple but stupid error here – this medal wasn’t published in the USA. It was first used in the UK and so copyright law in that country applies. Copyright in the UK says that the work is protected for the life of the artist plus 70 years. I found the sculptor of the work and he died in 1965 and so copyright exists until 2035!

Now is there a risk here if it is used commercially – yes, I guess there is for the publisher of the work. It would have been a big mistake for me to create some sort of property release, but as it is, I haven’t claimed to have any sort of release for this item. However, as this is the main element of the image I think I will change the uploads to editorial just to be on the safe side. Just goes to show that stock photography can be more complicated than we think!

Questions asked about stock photography – and answered!

After posting my results for August, I had three good questions posted in the comments section:

“I have 2 questions could you help to share your thought?
– Do you think spreading photos on wide spectrum of agencies is slowing down your sale on Shutter, or it’s just the nature of summertime?
– How about your sales on Deposit photo, is this a right vehicle to park your photos?”

“From your experience, is it ok to sell an image as an editorial on Shutterstock for example, and as commercial on Adobe Stock? So far, Adobe Stock does not accept images as editorial, so i was wondering if the contradiction would be ok. Thanks.”

Rather than answer in the comments, I thought it might make a good blog post so that everyone could see the answers I have.

Antique historic medallion presented to soldiers families that died in the Great War

Lets start with the editorial question. Unlike the discussion about licenses such as Royalty Free and Rights Managed, where there is a common consensus that you shouldn’t sell the same image under two different license terms at different agencies, this editorial category is much less clear.  Continue Reading

Fine Art America Print – again…

Looks like this is going to be a good month – at least on the print on demand sites. After my sale of a print of Hanalei Pier in Kauai last week, I received another notification yesterday for a second sale! This one was for a stitched panorama of the town of Avalon on the little island of Catalina off the coast of California. I always liked the image – with a nice contrast between the lights and the sunset – and the buyer chose a perfect frame to highlight those colors:

 

Recent sale of a print on Fine Art America or FAA of a wide panorama of Avalon on Catalina Island mounted in perfect copper colored frame

This one was printed at 30 x 21 inches and my profit on the sale was $77. The announcement page on Fine Art America is here. Continue Reading

Questions about stock photography – and some answers!

Jason F recently commented on my Master Class in Stock Photography and added in a series of questions that he would have asked if he had been there! By the way, I screwed up on the “Pay what you want” price – I had intended the minimum price to be $0.49. I’ve fixed it now. But back to the questions. I’ve split them up to allow me to put my thoughts against each one.

1. What are some more examples of reworking your existing portfolio? I have seen that some people simply add fake lens flares, other light leaks, and color changes. Have you had success with quick and easy things like that? 
I do make a habit of looking at each sale in Microstockr Pro at the thumbnail level and I try to assess whether the thumbnail is really telling me what the image is about, and I also think about what the buyer might have licensed it for and whether I could do something different to get more sales from that image. I have recently been doing that with artificial oceans in front of city skylines as an example. I saw this image selling reasonably frequently:
I took this back in 2010 and I made a pretty “over the top” HDR conversion of it. It has earned $315 and still sells. I decided it would be easy to use the Flood plugin to enhance the water and give it more drama and so I reprocessed it to tone down the HDR and replaced the water by an artificial sea. I mentioned that in the description by the way. This is the new one:

Continue Reading

New sale on Fine Art America

After a long, long drought, I got an email last night about a new sale on Fine Art America, and what a sale!

But before I go onto that, I rethought my plan on charging for the video I created of my Master Class in Stock Photography. It is now “Pay what you want”. I do recognize there is a conflict between me talking about big earnings on the one hand and asking people with much lower earnings to pay for information – but, at the end of the day, why do I keep this blog going?

Back to the main story. The image is one I took in Kauai a few years back:

A stitched panorama of Hanalei Bay and Pier at dawn. I always like it as the sharp diagonal lines are not how you normally see this scene. The buyer had it framed at 52 x 26 inches and my profit was $105. Occasional sales like this renew my faith in Fine Art America. Here is the sale page.

 

Video of my presentation on Stock Photography

Earlier this week, I gave a talk to the Winchester Photographic Society on Stock Photography. Originally planned for 40 minutes, the depth of interest as shown by the questions asked throughout the session made it overrun to almost 60 minutes! Through the course of 70 slides, I explain what stock photography is all about, what the legal issues are, in particular with regard to releases and the appropriate marking of images as commercial or editorial, what you can earn, what you need to do to be successful and I illustrate it throughout with my better selling images together with details of how much many of them have earned. Rather than simply videoing the presentation (which would have made the slides difficult to read), I decided instead to make an audio recording and then create an HD video of the slides with the audio narration. Far better to see the details rather than my face!

Running for just short of one hour, the presentation will be of interest to beginners as well as more experienced stock photographers looking for inspiration. If you learn more by watching and listening rather than reading, this could be perfect to get you started in this fascinating industry.

I have decided to make a charge for this video – partly because it took a lot of effort to put it together, and partly because I thought that if potential viewers had been able to travel to Winchester, they would have spent a similar amount of money on gas (petrol) to get there! It is set up to pay what you want, however.

Click to get full details of how to view the video about this Master Class.

Earnings from Stock Photography in July 2018

I think this is the 83rd posting on earnings – I hope you still find them interesting! July (and August) tend to be the lowest period of the year for sales and this year was no different. Watching the earnings in Microstockr Pro was pretty painful and the more agencies they add, the less the surprise when I finally put all the results into my spreadsheets. However, I just managed to maintain my steady progress of beating the previous year’s results with a total of $2510 in July. Last year I earned $2267 so I guess it was not a bad result!

Growth in earnings from stock photography and online video in July 2018

I think that now makes 14 consecutive months where I have increased earnings over the same month in the previous year. A friend asked me for my secret – in fact he suggested I write a new book about it, but to be honest it boils down to just one concept – keep working hard at taking the best images (and videos) that you can and uploading them regularly to as many sites as you can support. Sometimes (like these past months) it seems like new images are just not selling at all, but that can change as soon as the major agencies change their algorithms again. A bit like the stock market, you can’t guess the correct time to upload your images so I just keep plodding on adding more every month. Continue Reading

How to take fireworks over a city

This July 4th, I went up to Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania to see and photograph the fireworks display over the city. Although only 70 miles away, we decided to stay for a couple of nights both to get the best idea of where to shoot the fireworks and to get some other images of the city as well. As I started to realize, getting everything right about fireworks, especially if you want to position them with the city itself to give the context, is more complex that it appears! First, I did my research. I found a local professional photographer with a gallery near the hotel so first stop was to visit that and hopefully chat with the photographer. He wasn’t there, but his assistant was very helpful in explaining the lie of the land! He has some great shots of Pittsburgh if ever you are looking for some! He also had some great shots of fireworks over the city on his blog with more details on where he was for the show – so that is the first problem solved – where to go!

Independence day photographs over Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

I chose a location by the Point of View statue on Mount Washington and scouted it out earlier in the day to see where I might plant my tripod. That brings out the next issue – when to arrive? Continue Reading

Earnings from stock photography in June 2018

The months seem to fly by and now I’m writing again about earnings from stock photography (and video) at the end of the second quarter of the year. June really felt like a slow month as I was tracking my earnings on Microstockr Pro. One downside of them adding more agencies (Canva was the most recent) is that there is much less of a surprise when I finally put my spreadsheets together, but I was caught out by how much the “off-App” agencies added up to this month. I was expecting a pretty blah month, but actually ended up with just beating the $3000 threshold (by $1.80!). June 2017 was itself a pretty good month and so I wasn’t expecting to beat that one, but in the end I did:

Earnings from stock photography in June 2018

That means that I have exceeded my earnings in that same month a year ago in 9 out of the past 10 months. Not bad going at all in an industry that most think has seen its best days. Continue Reading

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