Friday, December 4, 2009

About photo: Clay angel praying towards God

You can buy the picture on top by following these links:

The subject of this blog entry is my best earner image that was submitted in November. This is the sixth blog entry in the series I have started to introduce my best photos: best earner photo, overall best earner in November, most downloaded photo.

History: This photo was shot as the closure of my Christmas series. I have been shooting Christmas themed pictures since early August. Most of them I have published by early September. I have decided that I will submit some photos even after the majority of my Christmas shots were already available, because I wanted to make sure my little portfolio gets some exposure in the huge crowd of Christmas photos. The best earner of this series is a composition of Christmas spheres and a plastic pine branch.

In this series I have made shots about the Christmas related objects of our home. We have started with the more obvious ones, that we use for decorating our home for Christmas. Then we have progressed towards those that could have some relation with Christmas. Since the Christmas season seems to be over, it is most likely that the series will not be extended till next August.

Content: This photo presents an angel praying towards the top right corner of the image. The direction suggests it is praying towards God. This is a plastic statue used for decoration. Even though it is plastic it has tremendous amount of detail imitating strokes of the hand during the formation of a clay statue. This can be best observed around the eyes of this little statue. The focus is on the face of the angel, therefore its wings and its kneeling legs are a little bit blurred. Finally the statue has a yellowish or brownish coloration. This however I don't think adds to the overall look of the photo so I recommend you to use it in black and white.

Technique: Finally let's talk about the creation of this photograph. It looks like this photo is easy to isolate. However because of its color is so close to white it is easy to burn parts of the statue. Since I still only have a single light setup isolating this object would be much better on a non white background. I have tried several backgrounds, but for me only the white and the red was working. The white background of this photo becomes gray if you don't want to burn parts of the statue, therefore this image needed a little more fine tuning than the red background ones. (You can see the red background ones here, and here.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

About photo: Single honey biscuit

You can buy the picture on top by following these links:

The subject of this blog entry is my best earner image during November. This is the fifth blog entry in the series I have started to introduce my best photos: best earner photo, most downloaded photo.

History: This image is part of two series. The scattered particles series that was born during the making of my longest series with the honey cookies (so called "Puszedli" in hungarian). In this series my wife thought it would be nice to spread some cookie crumbs in some of the shots. The honey cookie series however did not make a breakthrough, but the photos with the crumbs were the most popular. Thus we decided to take take the idea with the crumbs and since then we made a shot of scattered particles in every series in which it was possible. I have already introduced a prominent member of this series in august: a wheat pike with seeds. Another example is our coco biscuit bite (on ShutterStock) shot. This shot is actually the one that has established the scattered particle series.

Honey cookie is one of my favorite desserts. They are frequently part of my daily diet. I know it is quite unhealthy and too sweet, but still it is the best kind of cookies mankind can make around here :). Therefore it was obvious that I have looked around for shots in the area of honey cookies. I have searched both on Fotolia and Shutterstock as I usually do my research on new photo ideas, and I came to the conclusion that we can make a long series because it seems like there were no shots of honey biscuits in these huge photo galleries. So we have created a series of shots, and this one is the most popular among them.

In November this photo became the best earner with the help of two over dollar downloads on iStockPhoto even though there were more frequently downloaded newcomers in the month. This is one of my steadiest earner photos anyways so it is not surprising that it has achieved the best earner state in November.

Content: This photo shows a single honey biscuit after I took a bite. The crumbs are still scattered around the biscuit. These crumbs are mainly out of focus and only lead our sight towards the cookie. This photo is isolated as this is my favorite technique.

Technique: This shot uses a more complicated but not so successful isolation technique. I pointed my lighting directly towards the biscuit through a huge white bed linen. This linen has surrounded and covered the biscuit and the A4 paper I used as a base for the isolation. The only hole I have left in the linen was for the camera lens. As this technique did not let too much light towards the object, this image required heavy post processing in order to replace the gray background to a white one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Statistics of November

November has had slightly better results than October, but it was still far away from September's bonanza. These results are mostly coming from the almost identical month at Shutterstock and BMEs from Dreamstime and iStockphoto. But I am still under $50 in earnings from all the sites in a single month. I have had 130 downloads with no more than 333 images online. The number of downloads has decreased a little bit. I have got 26 new accepted images. Since I have started this is the least productive months of mine from the shooting point of view. This month I tried to produce more images, so I have almost reached my upload average. My PPD at Fotolia has drastically fallen to the previously unseen level of July, as a result I have sold more photos than I did in October but I have earned less. I wrote about Fotolia's good progress last month, however since then they have slowed down dramatically, maybe because they don't really like my non isolated shots and they were dominant this month. Other interesting observation that more than half of my monthly earnings from Fotolia and Dreamstime occurred at the first 5-6 days of the month (at least in my past four months).

Here you can find the details for my report:
AgencyPortfolio sizeDownloadsEarnings ($)ChangeViews
4 sub, 2 OD
-7%1219 (up)
Dreamstime2476 sub, 4 OD
+22%123 (down)
95 sub, 2 OD
1 sub, 5 OD
+48%1281 (~)
10 sub, 1 OD
1098 (up)

My multi-site view/download figure is 113 views/download in the month (86 views/download all time). This figure has also suffered a major increase mainly because of StockXpert. I am now almost sure that Fotolia (203/downs this month, 175 all time) and iStockPhoto (213/downs, 132 all time) counts the number of views of a photo differently.

As I already reported it on my previous statistics page the only agency that I can count on is ShutterStock. However, in the past months StockXpert seemed like it can become the second stable earner. Of course I came too late to StockXpert, because my majority of my earnings was coming from and Jupiterimages Unlimited subscription sales. Since the removal of my sales figures has almost halved. So I am still really interested whether the StockXpert sales alone would result similar sales. For the record here are the details of November: Sub 5, Jupiterimages Unlimited sub 5 and finally I have got a single StockXpert OD sale. This seems a definite problem after they also remove Jupiterimages sales. Without these sites I would barely have a single download. This is worrying, especially for a site that I have had such high hopes for.

My strategy of uploading to iStockphoto all my work accepted by other agencies finally seems to starts paying. This month was BME and the number of downloads also reached a number where the earnings seem to become more sustainable. My portfolio at iStock have just passed the 100 accepted photos. Previously it seemed like they don't like my work, however the newly submitted photos have a quite high acceptance rate for me.

At the end of this blog entry I put the my total earnings comparison after the end of November. Since I have started at the different agencies at different times I have scaled the earnings down to an average day on each agency. On this figure you can see that agencies except ShutterStock started to get equalized results. If Fotolia does not catch up soon it will be hardly enough to catch up with the now decreasing sales volume of StockXpert. This month I have not seen any movement in the ranking, however iStockphoto starts to reach StockXpert and soon it will be again second in my stats.
So here is my current agency ranking:
  1. ShutterStock (-)
  2. StockXpert (-)
  3. iStockPhoto (-)
  4. Dreamstime (-)
  5. Fotolia (-)