Tag Archives: stock photography

Website Traffic Boost using Google Maps and Local Guides

We’re all looking for ways to increase our website traffic or bring more eyes to our social pages. Let me tell you about a free, authentic and effective way of doing just that.

I received a really cool e-mail from Google this week, that told me that my photos had helped over 250K people on Google Maps (255,361 to be precise!).

Local Guides 250K Views for Free Website Traffic


If you’re anything like me, you use Google for everything.  I regularly use: Search; Maps; YouTube; Gmail; Drive; G+; and, Translate. I actually just surprised myself at how much I rely on Google services.

Well…about a year ago I signed up as a Google Local Guide.

Google Local Guides are basically people who share their discoveries on Google Maps. This allows people to get more value from Google Maps by benefiting from the experience of others.  This could be a review of a local restaurant or a picture of your local beach.

So that’s good for Google, but what’s in it for you?

Well there are actually 5 different levels of guide (I’m a level 3).  A level 5 becomes a “Google Insider”, and gets to test new products before public release.  This Local Guides benefits page gives you a complete run down.

But personally, I’m not doing it for the Google benefits. I’m doing it because every picture I share carries my watermark and gives me free website traffic.  This image of The Shore in Edinburgh, Scotland has received 21, 445 views alone.

The Shore, Leith - More than 21,000 views providing Free Website Traffic


This image of Carson’s Pioneer Lookout in NSW, Australia has received 9,761 views.

Carsons Lookout Thunderbolts Way - More than 9,000 views providing Free Website Traffic


And this image of Murcia Cathedral in Spain has been viewed a whopping 39,363 times!

Murcia Cathedral - More than 39,000 views providing Free Website Traffic

It’s very important to keep your images relevant to the exact place on Google Maps that they are of (otherwise, I’m sure Google will remove them and you from Local Guides). However, it’s worth bearing in mind that as a landscape, cityscape, seascape photographer I’m much more interested in uploading those kinds of images. However, you’ll find that the local McDonalds is searched for on Google Maps much more than the places I like to photograph.  Food for thought?!

More importantly, the more accurate you are, the more relevant your image is to the person making the search on Google Maps. They are then far more likely to read your watermark (free advert) and visit your website.

Something that I haven’t done (yet), and also strongly advise, is that you also use your watermark to drive traffic to your various social media profiles.

I hope that boosts your website traffic or increases your followers on your social profiles.

Please click my social links, follow my page and say hi. You’ll then be first to know about my next blog.


Fraser 😉

DJI Mavic Pro – WOW!

You’ve probably heard the saying

the best camera is the one you have with you

which I totally agree with, or at least I did, until they invented the DJI Mavic Pro.  And I haven’t even got mine yet!

DJI launched the Mavic at the end of September 2016, and I was blown away.  The Mavic is a portable camera drone, which – at AUD $1699 – offers incredible quality and portability.

When launched, I was choosing between the DJI Phantom 4 or the (also new) Go Pro Karma. Let’s just say I’m glad I was indecisive, because the Mavic made my decision easy.

Personally, I’m a stills guy, and that’s what I’ll be using the Mavic for initially, but I do have ambitions to get involved in motion too (as well as, not instead of).

Now the downside! I don’t think that DJI were quite ready to release the Mavic, but once Go Pro launched the Karma they brought it forward (to make sure Go Pro didn’t capture some of ‘their’ market share).  As a result – and due to the popularity of the drone – deliveries have been delayed. I’m expecting mine pre-Christmas, and hopefully early December.

I actually bought the Fly More Combo, which at AUD $2199 includes a shoulder bag, additional propellers, an extra battery, a charging hub and a car charger. With hindsight, this probably means I’ll have to wait a little longer than those who just bought the Mavic by itself.

What do other people say?

So…I appreciate I sound like a fan-boy, which admittedly I am, so here’s a bit more information if you want to judge for yourself.

Here’s the guys at Flite Test reviewing the Mavic Pro:

I’d also recommend the reviews from Drone Valley, who tell it like they see it.  If you want both the good and the bad, you’ll get it here:

If you’re considering buying or have just bought the DJI Mavic Pro, and want to compare notes, or if you’ve been flying for a while and want to give me advice, please say hello via your preferred social platform.

Happy flying,


Stock Photography – What Sells?

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll already know that I do 2 things with my photography.

The first is Fine Art.  Fine Art (to me) is just something that another person likes and is prepared to hang on their wall.  Other people will have different interpretations, but that is mine.

The Fine Art side of things is where I get most enjoyment, but it is not necessarily the place I make the most return.  So far, I have made more money from stock photography.

Stock photography is where your image has some sort of commercial value.  i.e. it might be of a newsworthy event; it might appear in a newspaper or magazine; it might appear on a website etc.

Here is the photo that (to date) has made me the most money.  Not that special…right?

However, the reason it has made me the most money is that the Ryder Cup was recently hosted at Gleneagles (the PGA Centenary Course).  I took my photo years ago, when my sister’s work hosted a corporate golf day there.  I offered (for free…she’s family!) to take some photos of the day, so that they could use them to help their business.

When I remembered that I had this photo, and that the Ryder Cup was about to be played there, I uploaded it to Dreamstime stock agency.  Lo and behold, I then sold the photo (to multiple buyers) before, during and after the Ryder Cup was on.

I have no idea who they were or what they used the photo for, but that’s ok.  I also still own the rights to the photo and can sell it again.

So, my point is this.  You may take great enjoyment out of taking a photograph of a beautiful sunset on a stunning beach (me too), but you might be able to eat because you took a photo of the entrance to a golf course.

Have a great day,


Combining Stock Photography and Fine Art

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, but I figure it’s better to only blog when I actually have something to say, rather than because I think I should be blogging.

2 bits of news from me.  Firstly, I sold my 2nd photograph on Dreamstime.  Here’s the pic:

Edinburgh Festival Fireworks

This earned me a whopping $2.87…I’ll let you be the judge of its merits or lack of them.

I was however pleased, it showed me that it is possible – even with all the competition that exists – for me to create a market for my photographs.  But…back in the real world, that is 2 sales in 3 months making me a grand total of $7.21.  Based on my simple calculations, I’ll only have to live to 34,674 to become a millionaire.

Now, it’s not all about the money for me, but it’s not irrelevant.  I also thought about how I would feel if someone bought (what I consider to be) one of my best photographs for $2, and the answer was, not great.

So, I have decided that although I will still keep the Dreamstime account, I will only be uploading images that (I) consider to be stock type images, and not the ones that I consider to have some artistic merit.  I still intend to keep the stock photos exclusive to Dreamstime (for now).

Fine Art to me is simply something that someone may want to hang on their wall, and my chosen route for that will be Fine Art America

This will be the topic of my next post…but must get back to the day job for now.

All the best,

How to keyword your photography portfolio

I’ll assume that you’re like me and have recently decided to try your hand at stock photography.  I’ll also assume that you’re like me and you don’t have an endless amount of time to dedicate to it.  You’ve got a ‘real job’, a family, a house to clean etc.

You like photography, you always have, but you’ve never had the time (or, let’s face it, motivation) to dedicate yourself to it properly.  Sounding familiar???

Well, if you’re anything like me these are some of the things you feel or have experienced.

We all say it’s not about the money, but probably we only say that because there is none.  Yes, if you’re independently wealthy you can give all your time to your hobby, but for the rest of us, it’s a pipe dream to do something you love for a living.

The first few questions you’ll ask yourself are probably:

1.  What agency should I go with?
2.  Should I submit to lots of agencies, or go exclusive with 1?
3.  What can I do to make this keywording easier?

Let me explain my choices, and maybe it’ll help you to make yours.

What agency should I go with?
I chose Dreamstime.  Why?  For a few reasons.  It’s one of the bigger agencies (24+ million photos as of today).  Which means there is lots of competition but that it is established.  What you don’t want to do, is put a lot of effort into this, only for your agency to disappear.

I thought it had plenty of content that suited my style of photography.  Hang on Fraser, I hear you say, you’ve only been doing this 5 minutes and already you have a ‘style’.  You’re right, I don’t have a style, but what I do have are subjects I like to photograph more than others.  My thought process was, if there are other people already doing my ‘style’ of photographs and achieving sales, then it shouldn’t be a complete waste of time.  Yes, there is competition (and very good competition at that) but there are also buyers to compete for.

Should I submit to lots of agencies, or go exclusive with 1?
The answer here probably depends on the time you’ve got.  I simply don’t have the time to upload my photos, title, keyword etc. to multiple sites.  So I chose 1.

I’m not here to promote Dreamstime.  There are other good stock sites out there.  I just liked their setup.

The benefit of being exclusive, is that you only have to submit to one site, you get $0.20 per accepted image (on Dreamstime) and you get more prominent placement of your photos (allegedly…I have no proof of this yet) so that buyers can find your photos.  You also get a greater % of any sale you make.

If you have all the time in the world, upload your photos to any site you can find.  If you have 200 photos on 20 websites, logic would say that you are much more likely to get more sales than someone with 200 photos on 1 website.

What can I do to make this keywording easier?
Keywording sucks!  It won’t take you long to figure that one out for yourself, but here’s a tip to make it slightly less painful.

On Dreamstime (again, I reference them because that’s what I use) you are required to put in at least 8 keywords and no more than 80.  A keyword is just something that helps a user find you photos (and then potentially part with their cash).

So let’s take this photo of Eilean Musdile Lighthouse off the west coast of Scotland.  What words could you use to describe it?

Eilean Musdile Lighthouse


Lighthouse, White, Water, Warning, Treacherous, Island, Grey…I’m starting to struggle already, and I’m only at 7!  You get my point.

You could scratch you head for the next half an hour trying to come up with 10/20 more keywords, or you could use this free keywording tool on Yuri Arcurs website.

Yuri’s site explains how to use the tool, so I’ll not attempt to try to do that better.  I’ll just say…

  • you type in a couple of your keywords
  • click search
  • select photos that look like yours
  • select the keywords they have used that also apply to your image
  • click show a list of keywords
  • then copy/paste to your stock site
It won’t make keywording go away…but it will save you hours and hours!  Make sure you deselect words that have no relevance to your photo…that’ll only annoy buyers and your agency.
If you made it this far…have a great day.

Make it Personal

It seems the most obvious of things to say about a blog, and the whole point of the blog in the first place, but I can see how it would be very easy to get caught in the trap of just regurgitating what other people have to say.

If I ever do that…please tell me!

So this is my third post.  By the very nature of it, your first post is to noone.  Then somehow someone picks it up and then you have a ‘follower’…and after that it’s supposed to grow (I assume).

I wrote my first post, and noone read it.  You get basic stats from Blogger about page impressions etc. and the only impressions I had had were from me!  🙂  I then worked out how to turn off me and then I had none.  So that was slightly deflating.

As a few days went on I had a few pages impressions, all from the USA (which I know isn’t me…I live in Australia).

Then I mentioned on a Facebook group “Breakfast Stock Club” that I was going to write a blog.  I was slightly concerned that Bonnie Caton – the lady that runs the group – might have not liked someone ‘advertising’ themselves on her page.  How wrong was I.  Bonnie then wrote me a message to say that she’d feature my blog in her newsletter that Friday!  She was as good as her word.

So what you want to know now is what impact it had…get to the point Fraser!

Well on Thursday I’d had a few views.   As of 5 minutes ago I’d had 167 page views, 5 followers (hi Diane, Larry, Nancy, Ashley and Patrice) 3 Google+ adds and 1858 views on my Google+ page.

Don’t worry, I appreciate that these numbers are still extremely small compared to the following of others, but it just shows what a bit of networking, posting, and sharing ideas can achieve in a short space of time in the social networking age.

Next time I’ll talk about keywording tips that’ll save you time (but not that much as I’ve got to go).

Have a good Monday.


Where to Start a Blog

I’ve never written a blog before.  I suppose it’s just a diary that other people read.  That’s weird.

Well here’s mine.

My name’s Fraser McCulloch.  I live in NSW, Australia and I’m 34.  I’m married and have a 2 year old daughter.  Life is great, but tough.

I’m originally from Edinburgh, Scotland but moved to Australia in 2013.  My wife’s an Aussie and I guess that makes our daughter a Scaussie.

When living in Scotland, I did the things that you’re meant to do.  You know, a normal job with a monthly salary.  I did ok, actually I did better than ok, financially, but my heart was never in it.

When we moved to Australia, it was a great opportunity for me to make a change…to do something different…but I didn’t know what.  I said I was open minded, but I didn’t really know what that meant.  Was I going to be a postman???

A year and a bit on, I’m still not sure.  I have been working 6/7 long days a week for a start-up business.  We are making some money but we’re not yet being paid.  It’s been a long year!  I might talk about it at some point, but not today.

My main reason for writing this is that I wanted to talk about photography, or more specifically, my experience of photography. 

Much like everyone else, I have been taking pictures all of my life.  My first camera looked a bit like this.

…I’m old!

I really love it, but for some reason, the creative industries never seemed like a proper job.  It’s taken me 34 years to work out…I don’t want a proper job.

Anyway, about a month ago I finally pulled my finger out and submitted some of my photos to a stock agency.  Some even got accepted.

‘Accepted’ means they are now displayed on their website, not that anyone has bought one.  That’ll be another matter.  So, on here, I’m going to keep track of how it goes (or doesn’t).  If you want to join me for the journey, you’re very welcome.

Fraser 🙂