Posted by: gurumel | December 1, 2010

Christmas Cards

Its snowing! In fact it’s knee deep round here and the city has pretty much ground to a halt 🙂 Fun for me as my work has been closed since Tuesday, so I’ve had a chance to go taking snowy photos down in the woods.

So, it seems like a good time to start putting together all my Christmas card designs – enjoy! 🙂

If you are looking for something a bit unusual for your cards this year I highly recommend taking a look over at Redbubble. They have loads of top quality cards, and you will be supporting a starving artist! 😉

Posted by: gurumel | September 24, 2010

Top Cats!

This has been a good year for cats so far! Myself and plenty of my friends have got new cats and kittens, so I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get some cute cat photos.

They’ve been very popular on Redbubble, and I’ve had a couple of sales at Dreamstime 😀

Now I have so many I’m hoping to get a few more and put together a cats calendar in time for Christmas – will be posting that once its done – fingers crossed 😉

For now, I’m going to showcase my most popular cats from Redbubble. These are probably a bit skewed due to length of time they’ve been available, but I will sort them by number of all time views.

Although I do have 12 (so this will be a top 12, rather than top 10 ;)) I don’t want any duplicate cats for my calendar, so am still hassling friends for chances to photograph their cats!

First, at 12, the old lady of the bunch ;), this is Holly. She’s already been featured in the Pets Are Us group. It’s a recent pic, only uploaded this week, so I hope she will continue to impress! 😉

In at 11, as yet unnamed Bengal kitten. It’s a recent pic, so he doesn’t have many views yet, but this time next year I think he could be number 1! 😉

Number 10, first shot of my own kitten Phoenix, and my favourite of her – surprised it is this low on the list tbh! Also featured in Pets Are Us.

Next up, at 9, Phoenix again, playing in the garden. I think this is too ‘candid’ (don’t know if that word applies to animals) for the calendar, but is a nice shot of her.

At 8, the cat thats been on my profile the longest, and maybe named Charlie, but I’m not sure! I really should check 😉 He’s definately one for the calendar.

Number 7, my friends kitten Fraggle, last year back when he was tiny.

Number 6, another one that won’t make the calendar, and really I consider just a snap, Phoenix and her first encounter with snow.

Top 5 now!

Number 5, Daisy, my friends new Maine Coon. She’s a beautiful cat and loves the camera! 🙂

Number 4, Phoenix again, hogging the limelight 😉 This was back when she was tiny. Featured in Paws ‘n’ Claws group.

Top 3!

In at 3, Phoenix again! No surprise really, she is going to be a very photographed cat I expect 😉  Also featured in Paws ‘n’ Claws.

Okay! Number 2, it’s Fraggle again! My best selling stock image of a cat (though to be honest cats haven’t proved too popular on Dreamstime). Featured in Cats & Dogs and Paws ‘n’ Claws.

drum roll…..number 1 – my most popular cat image on Redbubble is Obi! He’s my friends bengal, taken when he was 8 months old. He is a gorgeous cat, and the most popular by a clear 80 views! Featured in the Cats & Dogs and Eye Contact groups, and winner of the Midas Touch challenge in the Cats & Dogs group – go Obi!

Hope you enjoyed this cats showcase! Hah – by the time I finished this post the ranking had already changed 😛 Holly and the Bengal Kitten won’t be bottom of the list for long!

Now I just need to get on small cat safari to get my last few images for the calendar 🙂

Posted by: gurumel | September 8, 2010

First sales on Zazzle!

Yay! I just got my first sale through my new Zazzle shop!

Someone bought 10 of my B.A. badge 😀

I’m hoping it was in 10 different colours, one to go with every outfit 😉

Huge thanks to the buyer – hope you like em!

Posted by: gurumel | September 8, 2010

IStock Royalty Changes

Late last night I got an email from IStockPhoto, explaining the new changes to their royalty system. I scanned it and carried on with what I was doing. Soon after I got a PM from a friend to go and check out the thread on IStock forum about the changes.

It was already at 30-odd pages, and people are not happy! Today it’s up to over a hundred pages, and most people still do not sound very happy.

IStock are restructuring their contributor payments, to reflect not the overall sales history of an image, but it’s credit value over the previous year.

“Beginning in 2011 each contributor’s royalty rate will be based on the total number of credits used to download files from the previous year, as opposed to a lifetime download total.”

I only have a few images at IStock, and don’t make many sales, so as a very low level user, or a newcomer, my base percentage commision will go down from 20% to 15%. These percentages now put IStock at the very low end for contributer commission, with other sites offering 30-70%. Back when I first started all this Istock were one of the lowest paying sites even at 20%, and still they were out in front, so is this really going to make a difference?

I won’t be affected very much, but for example, my friend has recently started selling stock vectors. He has had some success, making almost £300 in his first 6 months. He has won an IStock competetion, and had an Image of the Week. He’s also had a great time getting back to what he enjoys about drawing, keeping his skills up to date and actualy earning money in the field he should be. He signed up for Dreamstime and IStock, and was planning to go exclusive at IStock in a year or two. His earnings were growing as quickly as he could provide new images, and it looks like he really could make money out of stock illustrations.

He signed up with a 20% commission on his images that wil now be reduced to 15%. As a non exclusive contributer he would need to redeem 400,000 credits each year to return to his 20% level. His best selling image costs 25 credits, so that would only need to sell 16000 times next year for him to be right back where he started :S. If 16,000 people would like to go buy it I’m sure he would be very happy 😉

This means shifted goalposts all round, with royalty targets now changed, and a drop in payments for many contributers, exclusive and non-exclusive alike. However, they are also introducing a new premium collection, expanding Vetta and sharing images with the main Getty site.

A lot of contributers are clearly very angry, many who are making significant income from IStock may lose a large percentage of that.

Where are Getty going with this? It’s all speculative, but Getty were not supporters of microstock as a business model at first, until their acquisition of IStock in 2006. I would expect to hear soon about either a price increase for buyers (although their last one was very unpopular) or the launch / ownership of a smaller dedicated micro-stock site. In other words I’m expecting a clumsy attempt to rebrand themselves as a premium microstock supplier, while allowing ‘lower’ contributers to continue in the same vein. I think this is what I posted about ages ago when I first looked into microstock. At some point a distinction will be made between talented full-time photographers and artists who are hoping to make a career and a name out of stock imaging, and those who do it as a hobby, or as bonus income. Even though this goes against the original idea and process of microstock, this is the sort of hierarchy we see everywhere.

What will happen? Will Dreamstime suddenly be flooded with new users and artwork? MicrostockInsider currently ranks Dreamstime at number 1, and IStock is down to 4th!

Anyone planning on jumping ship feel free to use my referral link for Dreamstime! 😉

Royalty Free Images

Right now though, IStock are starting a process which does seem to be reducing the payments for their contributers, and is very unpopular. Regardless of where they are going with this they seem to have lost the faith of a significant portion of their loyal contributers – never a wise move.

I expected to find much more discussion going on when I got up today, but there are a few active threads and blog posts on the subject so far. Highlights…

Blog post with all the details

Just the basics

All the details plus lots of opinion 😉

Forum chat

Official IStock forum post

Anyway, this is a long and image-free post, so I’ll go back to reading forums and see how this pans out!

Posted by: gurumel | August 26, 2010

New Phone and Hooch Season!

So, this post isn’t strictly about my photo or design work, but hey, it’s close enough 😉

I got a new phone earlier this year, as my contract was up. I decided I needed a compact camera, as I get sick of carrying my camera bag around with me everywhere, but thought, why not just get a really good camera phone?

I read some reviews, checked what was available and had my plan all laid out. Spoke to the upgrade people and found out I couldn’t have the one I wanted 😦 booo. However, they convinced me on a Sony w995 walkman phone, as it has a 8.1 MP camera. That’s way better than the vga cam on my old phone, and also better than any compact digital camera I’ve had, so I thought that’d be fine.

I read some reviews afterwards and found out it’s not the highest quality camera out there in that range, and does have some issues, including no lens cover.  I was a bit apprehensive, but tbh it’s so much better than my previous phone cam, and it’s changed everything! Now I can take adequate pictures of stuff without having to plan ahead, or miss the moment getting my camera out of the bag. Plus, I can make cheesy videos of our days out, listen to music and watch old A Team on my phone 😉 All in all, it’s awesome and I love my new phone! 😀

It hasn’t done exactly what I wanted though, if anything it’s just made me want a shiny new compact :). Made me even more aware of how much technology has come on, and how useful a compact camera is. Oh well, that can be next years plan 😉

So far it’s been great for cute photos of our new kitten and holiday snaps 🙂

Wow…take a look atthe full size images, it does amaze me that you can get pics like that off a phone! There are definate quality issues, but still – my first digicam was about 2mp I think 😉

Last year we had some success with fruit picking and brewing, and it’s come round so quick this time!

I currently have a freezer full of blackberries, about 4kg waiting to be turned into wine in a month or so, a barrel of beer on the go, and we’ve just had a weekend of plum picking, to start the plum brandy for Christmas. We made a batch of this last year and it was lovely, so we’ve been wanting to get plenty more and do at least double the amount this year.

At first it looked as though there were no plums to be had, all the tree’s were covered in unripe green ones, and no nice carpet of squished plums on the floor, but then further along we found one tree covered in massive ripe red plums! Last year they were all yellow, so these must have had some good sun, or more ripening time or something.

Last year we were thinking they were Mirabelle plums, as they looked exactly like that, but now they are so red and tasy, they might be regular victoria plums, or something else – who knows 😉

Either way, they are plentiful and really tasty! I ate that big one at the bottom just after I took this pic 😉

We’ve already had a big plum crumble, and given some away, but still had plenty for hooch making 😉

Looks like there’s a few recipes around the internet, but there were not many last year, so I cobbled together a system, which worked well, so I thought I’d share it 🙂

Ingredients –

Lots of plums, lots of sugar, eventually some booze. We used cheap whiskey last year, but might go for some other stuff this time. My friend is planning on using rum – sounds nice!

Halve the plums and remove the stones. Fill just over half a sterilised milk bottle with plums. Fill the rest with sugar.

Stick a balloon on top, then next day pierce it with a needle. This is a clever way to make a pressure seal that I read about on some website.

Leave for as long as you can! At least till all the sugar is gone, and hopefully til your bottle is full of lovely juice.

Strain into a sterilised demijon, add your alcohol, cap and leave for as long as you can! We are aiming for Christmas, but the longer you can leave it the better!

So, I plan to use my funky new phone to document our booze making 🙂 Here’s the first week of plum brandy! It’ll probably get quite boring after a week or two, but I will get a few more photo’s of the process 😉

Day 1 – just done

Day 2 – already some liquid in the bottom

Day 3 – woo! big changes already 😀

Day 4 – looking good! 🙂 Blue balloon is the one I’ve claimed as my own. You can just see the beer keg in the background there too 😀

Not that I’ve been completely occupied doing this, I have just finished a portrait shoot for the Hutchings family, and am really happy with the pics of their gorgeous girls.

Which means I’m now free to spend all my time finishing my latest wedding shoot – pics to come! 😉

I’ve also been keeping up with my vector practice…sort of 😉 And have a new shirt up for sale on Redbubble and Zazzle,

Wow, a lengthy post – this makes me seem really busy 😉 If anyone makes plum brandy let me know how it goes! 🙂

Posted by: gurumel | August 18, 2010

Zazzle Shoes

I am hooked!

It’s so rewarding to see your designs on the shoes in their final form. Will be much more rewarding to ever think that someone is walking around wearing them, but we’ll see 😉

I’ve done a few designs for adult shoes but right now it’s the kids ones I’m addicted to. They are great practice for Illustrator, and the simple, colourful designs I’m doing lend themselves really well to kids gear.

I’ve not got a huge store there yet, but it’s growing, slowly. Here’s a quick run down of my shoe designs!

First, for the little uns –

I need to get making more, it’s so much fun 😀  It’s what forst got me onto zazzle, I had a genius plan for some A-Team shoes, but they were refused due to copyright concerns 😦

Onto the adult shoes!

These are still quite basic, I’m only really beginning to see the possibilities for these! 😀 Can’t wait to get some more interesting ones done. I’m hoping that within a year or two I will be strutting round in my A Team shoes, hopefully paid for with my Zazzle and Redbubble earnings 😉

With encouragement from morethanshoes I have gone ahead with my plan and re-uploaded my ATeam shoes successfully! yay!

So, in conclusion, Zazzle is great fun for designing shoes and I could do it all day 😀 Come on over to my account, have a look around, gimme some ratings 😉 and hey, why not buy some stuff while you’re there! 😉

Posted by: gurumel | July 19, 2010


I thought about joining Zazzle a long time ago, but decided just to stick with Redbubble. Not sure why now…possibly too much work involved. I’ll have to have a look through old posts and see 😉

Thanks to the impressive work of Becpuss on there, I’ve now been convinced! Zazzle has a great range of products, and can compliment my Redbubble account, rather than compete with it. I think I was a bit put off by the more complicated upload system at first. It’s like a cross between Redbubble and a microstock site, with more emphasis on categories and keywords. It is a very big site though, with billions of users, so that does make sense, and is the only way to be noticed.

I’ve been keeping up my vector training 😉 and have put some shirts up on Redbubble I’m quite proud of – still fairly basic, but I’m getting there. Soon I will master the pen tool! 😉

The introduction of stickers on Redbubble has changed my thinking a bit, and I’m now getting into doing vector pieces intended as stickers – it’s good fun, and I may one day be able to afford to buy all of them 😉

Zazzle has a massive range of products, but it’s the custom Keds trainers that sold me 🙂 I’m hoping to complete some A-Team Keds soon, mostly because I really want to buy them. The shoes don’t come cheap tbh, but they do look great…can’t wait to see them finished so I can show them off on here 🙂

For now I’ve been uploading some of my shirt designs in other formats; badges, mugs, and some clothes, as well as getting some of my photo’s uploaded as mouse mats, greetings cards and folders.

Tonight I’ve put some time into customising my Zazzle store, mostly to see what is available. I think with some time and effort (and maybe a little help from awesome artist JackBQuik ;)) I could get a really nice looking shop front.

For now, I’m going to keep uploading stuff, and see how I like it. I don’t plan to change my Bubblesite anytime soon, definately plan to stay involved with Redbubble, but Zazzle does seem a better site for selling products, rather than a community for sharing artwork.

So here we are, a quick showcase of some of my new products, and a link to my shiny new Zazzle shop!

Posted by: gurumel | March 16, 2010

All New!

New year, new house, new cat – so I thought I would go the whole hog – new website!

I was never happy with the look of my Fotopic website, and after a terrible experience of their customer service buying some wedding prints last year I have been working on getting a new site.

Over the last year I’ve really enjoyed getting more involved with the Redbubble community. I’ve been learning Adobe Illustrator, so it’s great for practising through making T-Shirt designs, which have surprised me by actually selling! I love the idea that people are walking around wearing the shirts I designed 🙂

One of my plans for this year is to get better and Illustrator and upload plenty more designs for clothing.

I’ve also had some image sales through Redbubble, and really like the community and the way the site is run, so I’ve decided to change my website to a nice new Redbubble sales gallery – take a look!

It’s quite basic at the moment, but Redbubble are introducting all sorts of new features this year, including more options for customising sites. Also looking forward to the introduction of back printing on shirts, hoodies (yay!), postcards and new pricing for bulk purchases.

Here’s a quick preview of some of my work on Redbubble – hope you like!

Buy my art

Posted by: gurumel | March 16, 2010

March Already….?

2010 is going too fast!

I can’t believe this is my first post of the year – and the last one was in August!

I’ve been plenty busy, as usual, but at the moment am officially a part time photographer, as I’m looking into training and regular employment! Disturbing news indeed! 😉

Not that I’ve been sat around doing nothing – I’ve done some great shoots over the last few months.

Lets start with the big project – an epic series of portraits I shot over a few months
Faisal has been a great sport and a really good model – I still have plenty of images to edit, but I’m looking forward to working with him again 🙂

I’ve also done a shoot with Nuneaton Academy of Wing Chun Kung Fu, which was great. I went there for a seminar with Sifu Paul Smith, had a great time and got some shots for their website.

I had a great time down there and hope to do more work with the club this year.

I’ve done some more weddings with Colin Harper and have some more lined up for this year, plus a couple on my own – all great fun! In fact, I was able to attend a friends wedding in December as just a guest! I haven’t had a full on wedding as a guest for ages. It was great fun, lovely wedding and congrats to Pete and Sarah! I got loads of good shots, but haven’t edited any of them yet! I guess thats what happens when I’m too busy having fun 😉

2010 has been full of good stuff so far – new house, kittens everywhere, new babies – but I’ll have to put together a whole new post for that!

Posted by: gurumel | August 5, 2009

Update – Weddings, Stock, Redbubble!

I say this every time I post…but it’s been a really long time since I posted anything!

This isn’t just cause I’m bad at blogging 😉 It’s also cause I’ve been putting a lot of time into other things – it takes so much time getting stock images uplaoded all over the place, and all the other things that this always ends up bottom of the pile 😉

Recently I’ve been working with a wedding photographer I know, Colin Harper. He is a really talented and professional wedding photgrapher working in the North West, and I have been working as second camera for him. Go take a look through his gallery, and here’s a few of my recent wedding shots, done with Colin.



Also, he told me about some training he did with the brilliant wedding photographer Brett Harkness, and showed me some great new ways of using off-camera flash – some great shots to be had that way! 🙂

I’ve also spent some time organising my stock images, and getting my first batch of image released faces uploaded to Dreamstime. All the images are of my friends two children, who are both great in front of the camera. I got 10 images of them approved – and they each had one sale within the first week! 🙂 Very grateful to the both of them and their parents! 😉 Take a look through my new and improved portfolio there, and please join up if you need stock images! 😉

Here are the first two sales –

Cute toddler in winter coat

Little Doctor

So, if you see them around let me know! 😀

I also uploaded some of the same images to IStock, but have decided to leave these with just Dreamstime for now, and maybe make them exclusive if any sell well.

Royalty Free Images

I’ve also been updating my profile on Redbubble, adding a lot of images from back before I was selling stock. Most of them are either too small, or have too much noise to be considered for stock ,but I think some would make for great prints or greetings cards.

Next time you are thinking of buying a card, print, T-Shirt or anything definately take a look at Redbubble – there’s some real talent on there – some of which I will have get links to in my next post!

That’s about it for my updates for now – hopefully will be more to post soon! 🙂

Get creative on

Older Posts »