A chance to hear me speak!

Ever wished for the chance to see me speak about stock photography? No, well move onto the next post!

I’m giving a talk to the Shenandoah Photographic Society in Winchester, Virginia, on Monday 20th August. I know that will be out of reach for almost all my readers, but if you happen to be in the area, feel free to come along and listen! It will be at Bethel Lutheran Church, 2077 North Frederick Pike, Winchester, Virginia at 7pm. Everyone is very welcome!

Cherry blossoms frame the Washington monument in Washington DC during Cherry Blossom Festival as the tidal basin reflects the blooms

If you missed my other post about the blog article I put onto Dreamstime about making a success of Travel Photography, you still have a chance to vote. Here are the details.

Dreamstime Blog Contest – help, please!

I’ve entered the Dreamstime Blog Contest on Locations with an entry that hopefully gives some ideas about how to be a success at travel stock photography. If you are a Dreamstime member (either as a buyer or contributor) you can vote on the entries to determine who wins their prize! You can find my blog post here, and you vote on it by clicking on the “Useful” tag under my name:

Dreamstime Blog contest

You don’t see this box unless you are logged into their site.

You may find the post helpful – if you do, please take the opportunity to vote on it! Thanks!

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

Free Photography Book

Actually, not technically free as the authors are asking for a “pay what you can” donation, but that payment is totally separate from the actual download, so you can read the book and decide if you liked it and then make a choice about donating. The book in question is “How to create Stunning Digital Photography” by Tony Northrup and the free site is available here.

I’ve downloaded it and am currently reading it – so far I would say that is it a nicely put together book and I’ve already learned (or re-remembered perhaps) some interesting tips. I’m definitely going to be one of the people that donate. The book has five stars on Amazon from almost 2300 reviews, and is deservedly popular. So check it out!

Steadify Kickstarter project is now live

Earlier this week I talked about Steadify – a new approach to a tripod for relatively slow exposure times. The project to actually build and sell this is now live on Kickstarter, so if you want to take advantage of the early bird offers, now is the time to do so.

I’m planning to buy one and review it in due course – I’m always looking for something to reduce weight and this might help for some types of shoot.

Here is the link to Kickstarter for Steadify – it isn’t an affiliate link, just customized so that they know where interested parties are coming from.

Steadify – you are the tripod

I’ll start with a confession. Eight years ago, I spent $216 on a carbon fiber monopod and I’ve used it maybe twice in all those years! It just goes to show how we are always seeking something to provide stability in those difficult lighting conditions that travel photographers both seek and struggle with. A tripod is great, and I almost always take one on vacation with me, but that doesn’t mean to say that I always have one with me! Not only do you have the weight to contend with, you have the problem that many locations don’t allow tripods inside the building – which is exactly where you need it. There are alternatives that I’ve used such as boosting the ISO to very high levels and taking 6 shots in quick succession and using the stack mode trick in Photoshop, and I must admit that stabilized cameras are also great, but as I get a (bit) older, I also find my hands are not as stable as they once were!

So I was very interested to see a new Kickstarter project starting up for something called Steadify.


Rather than carrying a monopod or tripod with you, this device is attached to a belt that you wear and it fits under the camera lens or to the tripod connection on the base of the camera and provides a solid support that is basically formed from your legs and arms. It also appears to be very useful for smooth panning for video as you basically rotate around this solid point rather than just move your arms or body to change the viewpoint. The Kickstarter phase starts on July 18, but in the meantime, you can sign up for early bird specials at the Steadify website. And here is the Kickstarter link for when the project goes live later this week.

I obviously haven’t tested this myself, but I’m definitely interested in trying it out. After all, it is cheaper than my monopod (at $89 for super early bird sponsors) and it might get more use!

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

What to do when the weather doesn’t co-operate?

We have all been there – we travel to some location, perhaps on vacation, and then the weather isn’t really that good for photography. Do you still take your photos and then what do you do with them on your return? I recently went to New York City for a couple of days and although it was generally dry and a partially sunny, we took a trip to Staten Island on the (free) ferry past the Statue of Liberty and then back to Manhattan. I’ll get onto what I took shortly, but my ideas for processing developed when I saw that this:

had earned over $400 since I uploaded it – far more than any of the similar images that have the normal pretty glum water in front of the city. Admittedly, most of those sales were from iStock and Getty, but I’m still not complaining! So back to New York. This is what my image looked like out of the camera: Continue Reading

Canva – what sells there?

This has been a tricky question to answer as the website does give a list of all images sold in date order, but it doesn’t show a thumbnail of the sold image. There is a tampermonkey script (search Canva tampermonkey on the Microstock Group forum to find details) that shows those thumbnails against each sale, but even then you are just eyeballing a long list of sales. However, Microstockr Pro has now added the agency to their list of supported agencies and so we can see what is selling on a daily basis and can also use the best seller function to see which images sell most frequently. Here is my best seller snapshot:

What is interesting about this is that my best selling images are almost all isolations. I’ll talk about that in a minute, but any thumbnail on here that has a dark grey background is actually a PNG file with the white background totally removed and transparent pixels there instead. So the designer using the Canva app can simply drag one of these images onto their design and simply add the object with no extra work. Continue Reading

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