Sunday, January 28, 2007


A while ago, I said that a representative of theCalgary Zoo approached me about using a photo for an informational sign for one of their displays. Well here it is.

They left off some interesting information. When in danger, this frog it excretes some acidic slime. If you are holding it, your hand eventually starts to burn after a couple of minutes. This slime also makes them turn a darker shade than normal.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Smart is Sexy

The other day Tracie and I went to the library to shoot some photos for istockphoto and we got a couple of really good ones. Especially Tracie, she got three or four that I really really like. This was from the best series at the library.

House sitting is going well, we're having a good time. Work is going well, we're just about ready for the cap and gown kids.

I feel kind of bad talking about work and istock so much/often but those two things are really taking up a lot of my time.

I hit 700 downloads this month. The last 100 of those came in the last two weeks. I'm uploading a lot more this month because I've been sparked into action so to speak, I can see that I could easily make a pretty decent income.

If I could be doing 15 times that well it would replace a full time job. The thing is, I wouldn't actually need 15 times more photos to do that well, because better more useful files sell more often. Realistally, the best 10% of my photos account for 62% of downloads. With 280 more photos that do as well as my best 20 photos right now, I would be there.

Another point is that some of my 20 most downloaded files might not even be my most profitable photos right now, because the new files could simply be too new, to be in the top 20 most downloaded. A one week old file probably has no chance of getting the same amount of downloads as a file that has been online for a little under a year, in such short a time.

Of course, they always talking about the ebb and flow of downloads. I could just be experiencing a short span of higher than normal downloads. We'll see how it averages out over the next few weeks and months, but I remain confident. I don't really have very many seasonal images. My top sellers aren't really dependant on it being christmas or valentines day for people to want them.

-Gary Milner

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Originally uploaded by garmil.
Working doesn't leave a lot of time for writing. Things have been going very well at work. It has been a little slow somedays, but that's good because it has given us time to do stuff around the studio. Like cleaning the garage for 4 days.

We've spent a lot of time reconfiguring a lot of the equipment, servers and printers and stuff. The idea is to make room for another printer as well as prepare for the graduation portriats.

The boss left me in charge of the studio on Thursday and Friday. It was a little lonely, but I managed. We had a couple of pretty big sales and I had a pretty good time. It showed me that would be possible for me to have a one person studio, but that it would also be a lot of work. I would probably have to learn photoshop a little bit better than what I know now.

I've been uploading a lot more photos to Istockphoto lately. It is going really well for me. On a daily basis I'm making about 3% of what it would take for me only do Istock for a living. If I could make 33X that I wouldn't need a regular job at all.

I have a spreadsheet that is predicting that it will take four and a half years at the rate I'm going now. That may not be the most realistic prediciton for several reasons. I could be working at it a lot harder than I am right now, even in my spare time, I'll probably learn what sells much more as time goes on, and I'll also be improving as a photographer. Also, once in a while they raise the price for photos and this lowers the number of sales that it would take to be a stock photographer full time. Another thing is that as more and more of your photos have been downloaded they give you a higher and higher royalty on each sale. In december I made an extra 5% on each sale. I'm prediciting a raise again next december.

House sitting is going well. The house is nice. The start button on the microwave in the kitchen doesn't work. Luckily there is a spare microwave downstairs. But what a pain. You miss half your tv show when you are making the popcorn. Why can't they just make a microwave/fridge/tv combo device? You'd win the nobel prize for sure.


Friday, January 12, 2007

House Sitting

It is our third night of house sitting and we are loving it. I really like having my own place again. It is so much better. The house is a lot quieter and I like the quiet. Superman's fortress of solitude would just about be perfect.

Work is going well. We are shooting mainly passport photos and working on the studio itself to arrange things more nicely and get ready for the cap and gown graduation season which is starting in two weeks.

The other day an elderly lady came in to find out about a photo she her daughter had ordered back in Octobers. She said it was taken in June. I couldn't find the name in the jun folder, so I looked in May and July and the her folder wasn't in those ones either. I asked her could in be under a different name? "No, I'm the one who paid for it" The lady was a granny type so I asked "Could it have been under the name of a married daughter?"

She lowered herself to tell me the married name of her daughter and sure enough that was the folder, but the edits weren't there. This seemed odd so I asked the photoshop editor about it in the back room. She said yeah, "they wanted a deceased son added and I did that a few months ago and emailed the proofs. This is the folder."

I went back to the front and proudly said "Here it is, it was finished and emailed a couple of months ago." Granny says, "I know that that's not true" I'm thinking, well here's the file, I'll just check the file properties to find out. Sure enough, oct 16th 5:13pm. I tell her the date. "That's not true" I guess she's a big fan of Colbert and is going with her gut on this one. I say to her. "So I went back there and in literally 30 seconds while I was gone, I did all that photoshopping and changed the date on the computers so that I could spoof the file system into thinking that I made the file on Oct 13 at 5:13pm?"

I said, "It's possible that your daughter didn't get the email, maybe her spam filters blocked it or something."

She says, "It's not true that you did that back in October." I say, "Well, whatever, it doesn't matter when it was done, just that she didn't get the email. What is her email address." I don't know what came over me expecting this lady to know her daughter's email address. She said, "I'll have to go home and get it."
"No, just tell me her phone number and I'll call to ask her." I said. "It's long distance." She tells me.

At this point I'm just so frustrated at this woman that I say, "It's what like two cents a minute? It's costing my boss ten times that for me to talk to you and we're in the very same room. We can afford it."

So she figures out the phone number and I call. The granny takes my word for it that we actually will email the proof out this time and leaves. I go back to the photoshopper to make sure the email gets sent and low and behold the old email is still in the sent box so we just resend it. By the way the date on the old email was Oct.13 5:26pm. I guess our photoshopper had a smoke in between the editing and the emailing.

I just thought to myself, I bet this lady feels like people are trying to get the best of her ALL THE TIME. If you think people are constantly trying to pull a fast one on you, guess what, they're not. You're just a pessimistic jerk. They don't care about you. We all just want to go through our lives as smoothly as possible. I don't understand how we could have possibly benefited from dragging our feet on this lady's order. We have to do the work before they'll place and order and we can get paid. It just doesn't make sense.

That being said, my boss is one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. A WWII vet came in a couple of months ago to get some pictures of his Uncle's WWI medals, and we gave him what he wanted for free. My boss shot a wedding a year and a half ago and the groom passed away in some sort of accident shortly after the wedding and so my boss gave the order for free. It must have been close to $1000 at least. Then the mother called two days ago to place another $500 order and he wanted to give her that one for free, but she politely declined his offer. We don't need to gouge people we just want to do a good service for a fair price and treat people nicely. That war vet was very pleased with his photo. The mother is very pleased with the way she has been treated. There are a few crazy people out there that you just can't please no matter what you try.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Istock Update

I guess it has been a while since I wrote about my success on istockphoto.

03/06 : 1
04/06 : 4
05/06 : 7
06/06 : 30
07/06 : 63
08/06 : 90
09/06 : 93
10/06 : 103
11/06 : 82
12/06 : 101

01/07 : 19 (So far)

I'm up to $277.98, I guess I should request a cheque, but I've been saving up. I don't know what for, but I just like to see the numbers go higher and higher. You must have at least $100 to get a payout, but can request any amount in your account higher than that.

This month so far, I'm averaging about $2.33 per day. Which ain't half bad. Pretty soon I'll be able to buy myself lunch instead of going hungry or having some water and a slice of bread. What I really should do is go to a country where they only earn a dollar a day and live like a king!


Writer's Block

Lately, it seems, I feel like I don't have much to write about. Just more of the same daily grind. Going to work, coming home, sleeping. It isn't that exciting is it?

Work is good, but there haven't been many sittings. It is going to get busy at the end of the month when we start doing the cap and gown photos for the high schools.

There have been plenty of people in to get passport photos taken. The other day there was an 18 month old referred to us by London Drugs because they couldn't get it right. It must suck to not have adjustable equipment. Even if your baby has a really little head, we can make it the right size in the photo, no problem.

The best news lately is that we're starting a three month house sitting stint on Monday. Hallelujah! We should have found a place our first day back. I guess we were a overwhelmed by being home and needed to be on vacation for a while.