Friday, July 31, 2009

About photo: Blue vase with sunflowers

You can buy the picture on top on these links:

As I already wrote I plan to publish here my best photographs according to the microstock sites. As a starter this blog is about my best earner ever photo. (This photo was my best earner between July and September in 2009, the it was superseded by a photo about a Hungarian highway.)

History: As you can see it follows my style of isolated on white photographs. I first made another photo about an orange vase that also sells really well. So I decided to have a series of vase photographs about our better looking vases we have home. This is the second in the series of vase photos and it recently became the best earner of my entire portfolio.

Content: I choose this vase as the second because it has sunflowers painted on it. It seems like stock buyers like sunflowers so I thought I give it a try to have my very own sunflower related image. These two sunflowers really pop out in front of the blue background of the vase similarly as real sunflowers would do with the sky as their background. Like the real sunflowers this image also shows their leaves, however the curvature of the rounded vase hides a leaf partially.

Technique: This photo was taken with no extra lighting as the sun. I put it in the shade of an A2 sheet of paper. Also I put another sheet underneath the vase, and that was it. I did the shading of the vase during my camera took the picture from the top of my stand.

My upload strategy

Originally I have only contributed to Fotolia. They were really patient because I have uploaded so many bad images and luckily they did not fed up with me. By the time I have joined dreamsitme and the others I have had several photos that were accepted by them so I used these photos to get accepted or have a look on how other sites perform with the same images. By march this year I was part of shutterstock, fotolia, dreamstime and istockphoto. I also have had some experience on how much time does it take to upload an image. I have read discussions on whether the upload times worth dealing with. However I usually see if someone considers a site worth uploading then they will try to upload to every site all of their images.

When I realized that some sites review images considerably slower than the others I decided that I will not submit there such images that does not have a chance. So I started to upload to only my two favorite sites Fotolia and Shutterstock. It is easy and fun to upload on these sites, and their review process is so fast that I practically don't waste any time by delaying the uploads to the other sites.

So here is how I work: first I upload to both fotolia and shutterstock in parallel. Then I keyword the photos at shutterstock, because they have more strict keywords policy. After they have accepted all my keywords and titles I copy these details to fotolia. At fotlia I rearrange the keywords to have the most important words in front. And then I submit the images at both sites. After the review finishes on either of the sites (e.g. fotolia) I upload the accepted images to dreamstime and stockxpert. If the other site (e.g. shutterstock) accepts some images that were not accepted previously, I also upload these to dreamstime and stockxpert. Finally my protfolio is not so heavy in sales so I have enough sales only on shutterstock to decide on the best pictures. So the most downloaded pictures on shutterstock go to istockphoto. I upload only the best of my pictures because the istockphoto's lenghty upload procedure. Currently I upload a picture when it reached 6 downloads on shutterstock.

I hope it helped someone, if you have an upload strategy to consider feel free to comment.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fotolia's tag cloud and search results

I have started to play a little with fotolia's API. I thought it will be harder to get some useful data out of it, however it turns out it is a great fun to use their API. My only problem so far that they do not allow access to all the details on the contributor page (e.g. it is not possible to collect the credit earnings data on an individual image). I also had a technical problem with the user login that is required to access some more details about an individual contributor. Even though I am not able to access this data right now I am not going to press it harder to have a complete Java API. Instead I have started to focus on the stats I am planning to do. And thankfully these stats have nothing to do with the details you can get when logged in as a contributor.

My first trial on how can I use the API for improving my photography is to do a single search on every word in the tag clouds. The results will let me choose the keywords that are least used thus they are worth using. These keywords are the ones which are well searched but has the lowest competition: Laos, ships, wreck, lorry, nuclear, cables. So I believe the best picture you can make for Fotolia would be a nuclear aeroplane carrier wrecked near to Laos that is rescued by lorries pulling it off the coast with strong cables. OK this was the fun part.

I think the statistics might be useful for others too, so here is the entire table with the results:
Word from the cloudResult number with the given search term
abstract 474639
adult 391461
aeroplane 7687
animal 267064
apple 63639
architecture 231558
art 388796
artistic 103662
asian 91753
attractive 387251
autumn 136617
baby 106735
background 1215977
ball 114731
bank 67915
bar 59474
bath 39187
beach 196972
beautiful 795328
beauty 723581
black 522012
blue 825436
boat 80536
body 191913
box 72334
bright 252399
brown 293568
bubbles 18666
building 219207
business 532649
businessman 103433
cables 4245
camel 4353
car 68069
cat 42961
chair 41408
chinese 48275
chocolate 53370
christmas 204301
church 82433
city 176029
clock 28908
close 170458
close-up 333882
closeup 317549
cloud 143778
clouds 144985
coffee 81804
cold 136037
color 582343
colorful 246727
colour 121638
colourful 52380
communication 148925
computer 189182
concept 297522
conceptual 84237
container 42900
contrast 35591
corporate 120485
couple 102150
dance 43843
design 477125
detail 187274
diet 201798
digital 119039
earth 90043
eat 162627
education 102992
element 113168
emotion 96372
england 25131
euro 38425
europe 137412
exam 12820
expression 170603
eye 132349
eyes 175234
face 430993
fashion 337929
female 698202
field 164149
finance 110678
fish 76783
flower 389416
flowers 130401
food 605394
fresh 418976
fruit 256382
fun 310592
garden 205273
gift 154507
girl 637715
girls 97486
glass 247302
golf 13905
graphic 223569
grass 242782
green 785660
hair 291919
halloween 27933
hand 338792
hands 305858
happy 487771
head 163523
health 379428
healthy 478027
holiday 453015
home 207421
horse 37515
horses 10061
hotel 42942
house 198186
houses 17190
hue 8397
human 259340
illustrated 14203
illustration 599161
india 18695
interior 71289
internet 131033
iron 42292
isolated 1017834
keyboard 43280
lady 272808
landscape 288477
laos 2188
laptop 76442
leaf 238279
leaves 123692
light 345880
line 121801
london 11925
lorry 3804
love 292563
macro 321267
mains 4067
male 283680
man 395532
massage 22978
metal 184531
mobile 45632
model 288051
modern 282430
money 135345
moon 20261
mouse 20337
naked 34700
natural 362542
nature 926853
network 43299
new 140556
night 91234
nuclear 3884
nude 23280
ocean 182247
office 218516
old 288378
orange 262735
outdoor 181237
pain 21897
park 153525
party 180518
pattern 326242
peace 67999
people 607619
person 547142
photo 84595
pictures 7157
piggy 4765
pink 195723
plant 335411
portrait 493059
pose 115890
pound 7815
prayer 15442
pretty 429187
project 15255
rainbow 29635
red 794417
reflection 182065
render 86682
rendered 13095
restaurant 113335
river 98444
rose 80663
rural 82517
sand 130866
saving 11403
sea 321684
season 231173
security 68477
sex 23606
sexy 239721
shadow 100105
shape 220202
ships 3495
shoes 24100
shop 48950
shopping 56435
sign 208787
silver 91483
skin 184817
sky 528451
smile 393893
smiling 282110
snow 130357
space 139370
spring 291685
star 84974
stone 157637
summer 522733
sun 261161
sunflower 15821
sunny 114855
sunset 78561
support 34304
sweet 251855
symbol 331583
teacher 12413
technology 227710
telephone 45844
texture 286721
thailand 18810
time 65216
tint 6448
training 48937
travel 316605
tree 357604
trees 357604
trust 12948
two 102863
up 115776
urban 102896
vacation 250911
vase 12711
view 151774
wall 113257
water 492384
weather 60250
wedding 87243
whiskers 6395
white 1444849
winter 191020
woman 798790
women 271044
wood 215094
work 221185
wreck 3518
yellow 468039
young 736731
youth 216241

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

Hi everybody,

I am new Hungarian member of the microstock community. Previously some people really liked my old pictures, so I decided I give it a try. I have found a fotolia advertisement on a photography webpage, and without any investigation I have started submissions to Fotolia in last October. Back then I have just submitted the photos I made prior I made the move towards microstock. By the time I finished uploading my favorite pictures almost a month passed.

However I have had a high rejection ratio, so I decided to choose a different direction. I have started to read what kind of photos Fotolia would accept. I have gone through several thousand messages in my favorite forums. Since I am doing photography as a hobby I did not want to investigate purely on the microstock photos I will take in the future. Then I had a look on my current equipment: Nikon D90, kit lens (18-105VR), Nikon 50 mm F1.8D. That's it I have to choose a direction with these items.

It seems like if you want to go for microstock you have two basic options take photos of people or not to take photos of people. The first option I don't like because I cannot tell where my photos get published. I don't want those men and women I photographed placed in an environment they would not like. With people out of the picture I have had to consider my equipment for the further directions, and finally I came to the idea that I will take pictures of isolated objects.

Isolated pictures however needs better lighting. And as you have already seen I did not have any lighting equipment so far. So I decided that I will go for hot lighting because I can use that also for shooting film (my other hobby), and of course I also choose it because it was cheap for a starter. I have got 2 pieces 500W incandescent lights with stands.

After some experimentation in January I have started to take photos in late February. By this time I have joined Dreamstime and Shutterstock. I have passed the shutterstock application procedure with the top images on Fotolia.

Finally here are my current galeries in the order I have joined the agencies:
I hope you will like reading my blog, later on I plan to publish my best pictures, the evaluation of my sales progression, and the making of my current photos in progress.