Monthly Archives: January 2022

Shoot Stock 2021 Review

Swiss Guardsmen on duty at the Vatican

Stock Photography

Over the course of my life I went from pencil drawings to watercolour painting to oils and then to photography. My initial interest in photography was street and candid imagery followed, eventually, to travel and food.

The photography stock market has, for me in the past two years, been disastrous – 2019 was my best year for the number of images sold via Alamy and one of the best years in respect of revenue (both Alamy and direct commissions), the previous best was in 2007 though 2008 was impacted adversely by the financial crisis – my studio as well as stock work suffered to the extent that I closed my studio in 2009.

Last year, ie 2021, was a disastrous year for my stock sales with the last sale in December making just $0.17 with a feeble $0.07 (seven cents!) being my share.

Such revenue levels, especially the revenue distribution values, make me wonder if it is at all worthwhile taking the effort to upload new images. But it is a modest, if irregular, source of income so I shall devote some time and set a target to ensure the effort is justified. A possible issue is the frequency of image uploads – I added quite a few in 2019 but only one since then! So maybe there is an algorithm at work that favours those who upload. I shall add more this year.

My attention during 2021 had been focused solely on painting.

In total I produced over 250 pieces, the majority (75%) were in watercolour but quite a number of subjects were created in pen and ink (15%), some in acrylic (10%), and a couple or so of pencil and charcoal subjects. I expect to do more acrylic painting, and maybe some oils, during 2022.

While many of the paintings were initially made available as prints I eventually took the decision to sell only the original. I have begun to produce smaller (approx 10 x 15 cm) paintings that will be sold on ETSY, and these will continue to have a print option.

If my theory of the algorithm holds true for stock photography, perhaps it does too for my Saatchi and ETSY images. I shall test the idea over the next six months.


December Update

Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala)

I should have become accustomed to the passage of time but every year-end seems to arrive with greater swiftness than I can deal with.

Anyway, 2021 is now behind us. It has been a year marred by the pandemic, social distancing and communication through masks or internet. Let us hope 2022 will be better.

Despite the rapid passing of December I managed to complete 35 paintings. The secret to this improvement in productivity is, in part, knowledge that I had other tasks to deal with in addition to a dwindling stock of paper and watercolour paints.

To deal with these issues I began painting a series of bird heads on paper cut to A6 (15cm x 10.5cm) size. Of the 35 paintings, twenty were in this category – all watercolour.

At the end of November I decided to cut my A2 sheets of paper into a square format that provided me with 30 cm x 29.7 cm sheets, from which I produced, in December, 6 bird head portraits in watercolour. The end-cuts were then used to produce the A6 format papers.

In acrylic medium I produced 9 pieces: 6 birds (5 on 1125 gm/m2 paper cut to varying sizes , and one on 300 gm/m2 watercolour paper); an elephant scene on canvas; a small desert landscape; and a poinsettia on the heavyweight paper.

I also managed to do a small bamboo scene, sumi-e style, on A6 paper.

A selection of the paintings are shown below but my website will be updated shortly.

Elephant mother and calf (South Africa)
Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) – South Africa

All of my paintings are available to buy as originals, the smaller ones may also be available as prints though I have yet to set a new policy. Until last year I had all paintings available as prints in addition to selling the originals but I changed my mind on print sales.

It seems that 2022 will be a difficult year too, at least the early months, but I hope to travel again soon.

Thanks for following. Feel free to comment or ask questions – I have stated that I try to respond within 24 hours but that hasn’t always been possible!