Fungus

Wikipedia defines fungus as “A fungus (/ˈfʌŋɡəs/; plural: fungi[3] or funguses[4]) is any member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds (British English: moulds), as well as the more familiar mushrooms.”

Funguses are very useful. They help create the bread and beer we eat and drink.  They also do a great job of breaking down and decaying organisms, such as trees that have fallen etc.,

One of the downsides of living in a humid environment ( such as Ecuador)  is that fungus grows quickly and on many surfaces.

When I lived in Tokyo I noticed that many camera stores sold “refrigerators”  (basically humidity and temperature controlled boxes) for storing your camera equipment in.http://www.amazon.com/electronic-automatic-digital-control-Humidity/dp/B00870N90S  I wish I had such a box, because I  now have mold and fungus in my lenses.

It is expensive to have removed from the inside of the glass, and the glass will never be the same.  I will likely be tossing my less expensive lenses because they would not be worth the expense of cleaning.

 

If you build it they will come… not

I have two Symbiostock sites online people images  and Travel Stock Images… and they have been up for 4 or 5 months.

I am less than happy with the progress they are making in sales ( non existent) and traffic ( very little)  I am beginning to wonder if this is the right platform to build an online photoselling site on.

I still believe that the idea of a network of independent sites is a viable and brilliant idea, but it doesn’t matter too much how good the idea is, if there are not any buyers for our product.

There are problems with my wares… my images are not stocky and are not and will never be really mainstream.  So, in order to sell I think I need a lot of traffic….traffic that is looking for images I am offering.  My problem is, that that traffic has not developed.

What I am contemplating at this time, is the effort I am putting in, worth the long term potential rewards.

Another factor I have to consider is that the cool new features of Symbiostock are now in a paid premium plug in.  I don’t begrudge the creator of the software for wanting to make money off of his work, and the amount he is charging is not out of line.  I would be happy to pay the fee, if I had it, but I can’t afford to invest in something which I am starting to have doubts about it’s viability.

The quandaries of running a business…. 🙁

 

My Journey into Microstock August

What can I say about August, except…WOW

August 2013 was my Best Month Every… by a long way.   August is supposed to be slow, but my sales at Shutter Stock were the best I have ever achieved…( even thought I have not even been at this for a year.)  Basically I made over $1 a day and had Income per image of about 0.05.  These are rates that I did not expect to reach for at least another 6 months.  I am happy about the progress at SS.

As for the other stores?  I am wondering if I should even bother with them.  I have such slow and flakey internet connections, and the return on my time is so limited that I only seem to upload to others when I have nothing else to do..not very often in my life.

Goals for Sept.

Shutter Stock ( SS ) I just barely posted another 100 images to SS in August, ( now at 600) and I would like to keep that up for Sept. but, with the start of a new school year and other projects I am not going to set this as a goal.  I do need to keep feeding the beast ( I suspect that part of their search control “rewards” contributors who continue to provide images)

Istock (IS)  This is my second priority for uploading, but the results have been less then stellar.

My own sites stockimages.glennspecht.com, and People Images require constant care and feeding of images.  If I thought short term, I would be very unhappy with these sites, but I have to think long term.  If the Symbiostock network proves itself then these site could be very useful….

spread sheet:

 

# accept Stock editorial Jan Feb March April may June July August
Shutter Stock 600 306 294 $8.50 $4.50 $14.74 $7.88 $10.01 $17.76 $16.48 $33.38 $33.38
28.96% 0.0800 0.0340 0.0285 0.0406 0.0327 0.0556 18.13%
iStock 154 151 3 $3.14 $6.26 $1.40 $2.52 $26.75 $2.93 $0.84 $2.54 $46.38
7.43% 0.0200 0.0300 0.2450 0.0105 0.0056 0.0165 25.19%
123rf 369 352 17 $0.43 $3.29 $0.44 $0.22 $0.95 $1.93 $0.70 $1.51 $9.47
17.81% 0.0052 0.0019 0.0014 5.14%
Canstock 173 173 0 $0.75 $1.75 $1.00 $1.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $4.50
8.35% 0.0050 0.0058 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 2.44%
Dreamstime 172 172 $0.35 $0.70 $0.00 $0.00 $2.34 $0.00 $0.35 $3.74
8.30% 0.0050 0.0000 0.0000 0.0136 0.0000 0.0020 2.03%
fotolia 34 34 0 $0.25 $0.25 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $2.05 $0.00 $2.55
1.64% 0.0603 0.0000 1.38%
bigstockphoto 111 92 19 $0.50 $1.00 $1.25 $0.00 $2.75
5.36%
2072 1732 340 $13.07 $16.40 $18.28 $11.62 $38.21 $25.96 $22.82 $37.78 $184.14
percentage of total income 7.10% 8.91% 9.93% 6.31% 20.75% 14.10% 12.39% 20.52%

Fiters on lens or how to keep it clean

In the studio I have always thought that filters on lens were not needed.
Outside, I thought that the were ok, but didn’t think too much about it.

I have spent the last 7 days at the beach. A very windy beach. With the wind coming off of the ocean. I am surprised at the amount of sand and salt spray that are in the air.

As I was washing my UV filter in soap and water to remove the film I was glad that I do have a good glass filter on the front of my lens.

My journey into Microstock July

July was a god month in my Journey into Microstock.

I hit 2 milestones at Shutterstock, 504 accepted images and my first payout ( shutterstock can be paid out at $75)  This is good considering that most of the people on the forums say that July is historically a bad month due to holidays in the Northern Hemisphere.

I have some sales with sites that have not sold before, but Shutterstock is still my big seller.

My own on-line Symbiostock stores, peopleimages.grsphoto.ca and stockimages.glennspecht.com/wp/ are seeing increases in traffic, but still no sales.  I hope that I can make a breakthrough here some time soon.

I have no goals for August, there is just too much going on with travel and other commitments to try and make goals that will be impossible to meet.  I would like to continue with having 100 images accepted at Shutterstock, but,if this happens,it will liely be towards the end of the month when things will, hopefully, settle down for me.

 

# accept Stock editorial Jan Feb March April may June July RTI
Shutter Stock 504 257 247 $8.50 $4.50 $14.74 $7.88 $10.01 $17.76 $16.48 $79.87 0.1585
25.51% 0.0800 0.0340 0.0285 0.0406 0.0327 54.57%
iStock 154 151 3 $3.14 $6.26 $1.40 $2.52 $26.75 $2.93 $0.84 $43.84 0.2847
7.79% 0.0200 0.0300 0.2450 0.0105 0.0056 29.95%
123rf 369 352 17 $0.43 $3.29 $0.44 $0.22 $0.95 $1.93 $0.70 $7.96 0.02
18.67% 0.0052 0.0020 5.44%
Canstock 173 173 0 $0.75 $1.75 $1.00 $1.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $4.50 0.03
8.76% 0.0050 0.0058 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 3.07%
Dreamstime 172 172 $0.35 $0.70 $0.00 $0.00 $2.34 $0.00 $3.39 0.02
8.70% 0.0050 0.0000 0.0000 0.0136 0.0000 2.32%
fotolia 34 34 0 $0.25 $0.25 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $2.05 $2.55 0.08
1.72% 0.0603 1.74%
bigstockphoto 111 92 19 $0.50 $1.00 $1.25 $2.75 0.02
5.62%
Deposit Photos 112 105 7 $1.50 $1.50
5.67%
1976 1683 293 $13.07 $16.40 $18.28 $11.62 $38.21 $25.96 $22.82 $146.36 0.07
percentage of total income 8.93% 11.21% 12.49% 7.94% 26.11% 17.74% 15.59%

Value added stock images

I am not sure where I first came across the idea of value added, but it is a concept I have known about for a while. I have never though about using it in the terms of stock images though.

What this means is you take a basic product, do something to it… create value… and then sell that product for a higher value.

One of the advantages of the Symbiostock network is my chance to really look at other artists images and get an insight into what sells. As an example of value added stock images  Ron’s http://semmickphoto.com/image-type/face-flags/ is a series of a couple of images with flags of different countries laid on top.  Great work.

Another example is Steve Heap’s Surf board images http://www.backyardstockphotos.com/?s=surfboard&post_type=image where the images are compositions.

Though these are not “photographs” they are well exicuted stock images.

Now I have to think how I can add value to my images…..

Do buyers use search engines more than agencies to find images?

  Dan Heller wrote a interesting post in 2006 about how people find images to purchase.   I wonder if this is still the case or have agencies got their SEO act together.

http://www.danheller.com/blog/posts/do-buyers-use-search-engines-more-than.html

“The question then becomes, are your chances of getting traffic converting to sales higher on search engines, or if your photos are with a stock agency?”

I have built my Symbiostock sites to find out the answer to this.

iStock implosion

I post my images on several stock sites, beside my own Symbiostock sites.  Istock is one of the sites, and it looks like there could be major problems.

Istock used to be the big site in micro stock, but it is now owned by Getty and it seems ( according to the forum posts) to be losing traction every day.  I don’t know, since I have not been in this long enough to have a valid opinion.

What I do know is, iStock was my number 2 selling site.  Was is the important word here, since I have no idea how I am doing with it now.

I get most of my sales from the PP ( partner program) where my images are sold on sister sites.  For various unexplained reasons, iStock has not been able to process the May or June stats… and it is now approaching the middle of July.

The unexplained reasons, and the way iStock deals with their suppliers is, to me, a sign to be very wary.  In the internet age, and with internet companies communication is key.

This is another reason I am devoting my time and effort into my Symbiostock sites ( Travel Images, People Images)…it is so easy to ask myself what is going on.. though I don’t always have the answer.