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818: take hundreds of pictures and post the best pics on a stock photo site for money.

 
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Paul wrote

818: take hundreds of pictures and post the best pics on a stock photo site for money. Then post low res versions all over the internet, complete with a link to your stock photo stuff.



Sounds fun.

Anyone know where I start so I can learn how to do this?  I take decent, print-ready photos.




Thread summary:
experiencing confusion
experiencing difficulties
understanding rejection
self-improvement
leads to fewer rejections
leads to acceptance
leads to success
causes photo addiction
leads to a new camera
opens floodgate


Staff note (r ranson):

This is my referral link for shutterstock - if anyone is interested in signing up, you can use this link and I might get money.

Staff note (r ranson):

I now have photos on shutterstock and Alamy.

Feel free to share your own links to any photos you have for sale.

 
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I am using twenty20, because they'll take the small 1-2MB amateur photos I take with my smartphone. Also, this is my photo feed with them.

If you have an actual digital camera that can capture more detail, you can use other websites, which have higher quality standards.

For an actual digital camera, this is a pretty good list of sites.

If all you have is a smartphone, This is a better list to check out.
 
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Dave Burton wrote:

For an actual digital camera, this is a pretty good list of sites.a.



A great list, thanks.

I found this:

Shutterstock allows you to keep your copyrights protected, so it’s up to you to set the rights on the photos. Shutterstock also gives credit to the image’s owners, which is a major plus to protect your ownership and market your brand.



I want to be able to use my photos for my own work later (I won't be selling the best ones), so it seems a good idea to keep my rights to my photos and just sell the use of them.
 
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I have dozens of thousands of pics but I have never tried to sell any. With billions of photos on the Internet it was always quite questionable to me that my photo will be found, chosen, and purchased. Unless you are extremaly lucky and your photo will be chosen by a huge corporation, I'm quite skeptic that it is worth time spent. On the other hand, I will never know until I try it.... I would gladly learn from someone who actually has done that, how many photos were uploaded, and what passive income they generate per year.
 
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Richard Gorny wrote:Unless you are extremaly lucky and your photo will be chosen by a huge corporation, I'm quite skeptic that it is worth time spent.



If we are looking for one great big pay-out, then no, it's not worth the work.

However, I'm looking for a retirement plan.  The more content we create, the more people discover our work, the more they buy (people like to buy from sources they are familiar with).  

I was thinking I could post a picture a day for a year and maybe make five dollars.  But the next year I post another 365 pictures and more people will discover my work and I make a hundred dollars.  By then I'm in the habit of posting a picture a day.  If I keep this up, by the time I'm of retirement age, I'll be making a decent income.

I also love how we can sell the same item many times.  
 
Richard Gorny
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Well, that's exactly what I'm looking for - not one pay-out but rather a steady trickling small income. But I kinda doubt it. My friend who is talented photographer with a record of some award winning pictures is not making any substantial money from stock photos, so how an averege Joe the Amateur Photographer can make it? I might be entirely wrong here I don't know ...
 
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Richard Gorny wrote:Well, that's exactly what I'm looking for - not one pay-out but rather a steady trickling small income. But I kinda doubt it. My friend who is talented photographer with a record of some award winning pictures is not making any substantial money from stock photos, so how an averege Joe the Amateur Photographer can make it? I might be entirely wrong here I don't know ...



What I need to find out is
1. how long does it take to upload one photo and add all the search-love to help people find it?
2. how much editing do I need to do to the photo before uploading it?
3. do I retain rights to the photo?

If I can make ten dollars more a month, that's an extra cup of coffee and a danish for doing something I do anyway.  

I also like the idea that this forces me to sort my photos better.

It looks like it might be something for me.  
 
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Good luck and please let us know how it goes!

If I could make 10$ a day it would be enough to make a living here, Gert style ;)

I have my pics sorted, filed, divided by places, topics and years they have been taken. Underwater photos separately, garden separately, etc. The only thing unsorted is related to camera evolution - the older the picture the smaller size obviously. I doubt a bulk upload makes sense, as your chance to sell any is as good as keywords you add to each picture. And that might be time consuming.

On the other hand, while posting here I could upload a pic or two, and then, who knows ....

 
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Richard Gorny wrote:Good luck and please let us know how it goes!

If I could make 10$ a day it would be enough to make a living here, Gert style ;)

I have my pics sorted, filed, divided by places, topics and years they have been taken. Underwater photos separately, garden separately, etc. The only thing unsorted is related to camera evolution - the older the picture the smaller size obviously. I doubt a bulk upload makes sense, as your chance to sell any is as good as keywords you add to each picture. And that might be time consuming.

On the other hand, while posting here I could upload a pic or two, and then, who knows ....


Yours sounds like a good plan. And I envy you your sorted pics. That is really something that you have to do constantly if you don't want to have an overwhelming backlog of huge amounts of pics.
And I also think keywords are very important.
I researched the situation for Germany about two years ago, and made a note to myself that it is not really generating much income compared to the effort it takes, and if you want to stand out you have to have good (=costly) equipment and really get into taking good pictures (I am more the type of half-ambitious but sloppy hobby photographer).

Regarding copyright, if I remember correctly you don't lose your rights if you upload to flickr. Does anybody have the latest water-proof info on this? Otherwise I will not upload good pics to flickr anymore to be on the safe side.
 
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What about editing the photo once it's in the computer.  I'm not very good at this part.  Cropping I do well, but editing, not so much.

When I've taken photos for magazines before, they wanted it unedited so it was easier to do their thing.  But when I look at these sites, the pictures appear to be highly edited.  
 
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Some sites do not accept excessively edited pictures, so it all depends where you post them.

 
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I've been looking off and on at these sites and reading forums about how to sell photos successfully.  

One of the things they talk about is using keywords that work.  For example, the title "bridge over water" won't necessarily sell any photos, but something more specific like "The now extinct Blue Bridge in Victoria, BC, Canada inner harbour designed by the world-famous engineer Joseph Strauss" is going to be easier for people to find when they need a specific picture.

Another thing they mention is the saturation of some subjects.  Trying to sell a picture of a sunflower is difficult when there are millions of sunflower pictures for sale.  Whereas finding a subject that isn't saturated might be the way to go.  I did a search for some of the things I like to take photos of like "chickpea flowers" and got very few results.  


For me, the next step is deciding which site to try.  I want to make certain I own the rights to the photos so I can use them in my future writing.  
 
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I have been using stock photos recently for some promotion stuff.

There are some niches that are really not well covered. For example I wanted a professional image that would work for a Second Hand Uniform Sale for my kids primary school. Your either get meticulously folded new uniforms, or kids in uniform etc... but nothing the captures the idea of this an an event.
 
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Can anyone help translate this?

Types of licence (together called "Licences")
"Rights Managed licence"
referred to on the website as "Rights Managed" , or "RM"
means any Licence granted by Alamy during the period of this contract in respect of any Image defined by the Contributor as Rights Managed
and combining rights defined by: territory, period, media, industry, print run and other relevant criteria including, but not limited to, those in the
Licence calculator referred to in clause 8.2.
"Royalty Free licence"
referred to on the website as "Royalty Free", or "RF"
means any Royalty Free licence granted by Alamy during the period of this contract in respect of any Image defined by the Contributor as
Royalty Free with the price determined by file size, usage, or other criteria as deemed appropriate by Alamy.
"Novel use licence"
means any novel use licence granted by Alamy during the period of this contract. If you grant novel use rights you grant Alamy permission to
sell your Images at any price and by any method we feel appropriate.



from this pdf
 
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r ranson wrote:Can anyone help translate this?

Types of licence (together called "Licences")
"Rights Managed licence"
referred to on the website as "Rights Managed" , or "RM"
means any Licence granted by Alamy during the period of this contract in respect of any Image defined by the Contributor as Rights Managed
and combining rights defined by: territory, period, media, industry, print run and other relevant criteria including, but not limited to, those in the
Licence calculator referred to in clause 8.2.
"Royalty Free licence"
referred to on the website as "Royalty Free", or "RF"
means any Royalty Free licence granted by Alamy during the period of this contract in respect of any Image defined by the Contributor as
Royalty Free with the price determined by file size, usage, or other criteria as deemed appropriate by Alamy.
"Novel use licence"
means any novel use licence granted by Alamy during the period of this contract. If you grant novel use rights you grant Alamy permission to
sell your Images at any price and by any method we feel appropriate.



from this pdf



IANAL, but... This is just the definitions section. So they are creating some little "boxes" to put things in. Which box they put it in will affect how the image is licenced to end customers, how much those end customers will therefore be willing to pay for the image, and what your cut and Alamy's cut is.

The traditional model for stock photos was always a "Rights Managed Licence." The end customer had to tell the stock company everything: who they are (deep pockets pay more), where they're using the image and in what countries and for how long, how big or prominent the image will be, etc. All these things affected the price. Getting international rights to use a photo was a joke, it was hilariously expensive. If you needed to reprint a book or catalog, for instance, you needed to pay another fee too, the licence was for a single one-time use. Customers didn't like it, but this was/is good for you, the photographer, and really good for Alamy, because you & they got multiple huge commissions of the use of a single photograph. Also, you the photogrpaher could afford to invest serious money (sets, lights, actors...) in setting up a seriously amazing photograph because the end user was going to pay big bucks for it. So this category was and is associated with really high-quality photographs

The age of the internet really broke that down. Stock photo customers, mostly designers, demanded something simpler and cheaper. The internet, after all, is international. So they developed separate tariffs for use on websites and the "Royalty Free" category took off. Basically this just meant simplified licencing. You choose the range of sizes you're going to use and maybe one or two more details, and you get a flat rate, usually considerable less than the RM price. So you might make a lot less on this per image and sell 100x more images because people can afford it.

This "novel use" thing reads to me like signing away your rights altogether. They do whatever they want with your image (including give it away, which means you get nothing for it, see section 9.1), and you lose all control. But maybe maybe they will make it part of the new corporate image of some big company and they will have to give you a mega-bucks commission because they sold high. Oops, but maybe the company is Monsanto. Anyway... I would not sign up for this option to save my life. OK, maybe. They would have to make a really good case for me to be willing to consider that. And I would look at the commission structure and re-read all the relevant bits of the contract really, really carefully to find hidden... surprises.

Is that the kind of info you were looking for?
 
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This is a big help.  Thank you for the translation.

The thing I'm most worried about is losing the right to use my own pictures.  Since I'm writing for the occasional blog or magazine, not to mention future books, I don't want to have to pay a fee for using my own photos.  I want them to be mine to use as I wish.  I never really know in advance what photos I plan to use five or ten years from now, so I want to be careful with this.

Of course, I'll keep the very best photos for future books hidden.  But some of the less specific ones make good photos for blogs and such.  I would feel comfortable selling the use of these, so long as they stay 'mine'.

A bit like guest writing for a site vs copywriting for a website.  I like to recycle and rearrange sentences in future work.

 
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Of those three, I am guessing that Rights Managed licence and Royalty Free licence are what I want?  
 
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I guess the next decision is if I am going to use my name or a pseudonym.  

10. Credits, copyright notices and promotion
10.1. Customers of Alamy using Images will be instructed to credit your Pseudonym /Alamy or, where applicable, the Agency
Contributor name/Alamy.
10.2. Alamy cannot guarantee a photo credit in any instance, and will not be held liable if a photo credit is not made. Nor can Alamy
guarantee if a photo credit is made that it will show your Pseudonym or where applicable your Agency Contributor name.
10.3. Alamy shall have the right, including in advertising and publicity in any media, to use your name to advertise and promote the
System and/or the Alamy brand.
10.4. Provided you acknowledge Alamy’s rights you may use Alamy’s trade marks in any lawful promotion or publicity without Alamy’s
prior written consent. Pornographic, defamatory or other unlawful use including use in unsolicited electronic communications is not
permitted. Alamy shall be entitled to revoke this permission if it becomes aware of any use of its trade marks which it deems
inappropriate.

 
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Ah HA!

I should have looked in the FAQinstead of spending the morning reading the fine print.  Oh well.  

Q. Who owns the copyright to my stock images on Alamy?
A. You do! We don’t own any of the images on our site or hold any copyright, it always belongs to you as the photographer. We just license the images for you.

 
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r ranson wrote:Of those three, I am guessing that Rights Managed licence and Royalty Free licence are what I want?  



Yes. Until and unless I heard gobs of really convincing stories of great treasure troves of money to be made in the "Novel" option, I might avoid it like the plague, just in case.

As far as deciding between the other two, I would casually browse a few stock photo websites' rights-managed images. Search for keywords of photos you might think of uploading and see the quality of the photos that comes up. Then do the same for only royalty-free images. This will give you a good idea of the quality premium required for RM images, i.e., you're not going to make any money setting up a photo as RM unless it is of X quality or above. In RM, you are looking for very occasional sales that net you a good profit. And people will pay because it's a great photograph that shows just what the buyer/designer wants to show, with the mood and in the way that they want to show it. And it so clearly just kicks ass in every way.

For royalty-free, you're looking for popular-but-worth-paying-for images to be licenced mostly by web designers and print designers working on limited budgets... Imagine the kind of jobs and people this means. Normal people doing normal stuff. Here, you're hoping for volume, i.e. maybe a lot of small designers around the world think your image is just the ticket, just what they wanted to show, and plus it's cheap and cheerful, they can afford it. Instead of just the 1, 2 or 3 bigwigs in big design agencies with fat budgets you're shooting for with RM.

And if something isn't making any money either of the other two ways for a long time and you're totally emotionally unattached, what the hell. Maybe go and give it a spin as Novel Use. Keeping in mind that they have the right to even give away the usage rights for free. (Note: this does NOT equal giving away your copyright!) (Another note, they want to make money too, so they probably won't do this a lot. But they have the totally unlimited right to if they want.) Who knows, they might find some creative way to bring in some cash for the image, but I would keep my expectations very close to zero for that.

Regarding copyright, i.e., your rights as the creator of the image to continue using it, selling it or whatever. Again, IANAL, but as far as I understand these days, laws are heavily tilted in favor of content creators by default. If you created it, you own it forever. UNLESS you explicitly sell someone those rights, which you should demand a lot of money for, or "assign" those rights to someone based on some user agreement you didn't read or whatever. Like people used to get upset at Facebook over in the old days. So if this is gonna contribute to you earning a living, I would search every contract for the word "copyright" and maybe also for the word "rights" and even "right", and peruse every sentence where the words are used, just to make sure that they're not sneaking in any dodgy language about assigning copyright to them. A reputable place would not do that, but you know, it's a wild world out there and not everyone has permaculture ethics, so we gotta be careful about these things.
 
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r ranson wrote:Ah HA!

I should have looked in the FAQinstead of spending the morning reading the fine print.  Oh well.  

Q. Who owns the copyright to my stock images on Alamy?
A. You do! We don’t own any of the images on our site or hold any copyright, it always belongs to you as the photographer. We just license the images for you.



No, you did the right thing. The FAQ is probably not legally binding in a lot of jurisdictions. The contract is. So they could glibly say misleading things that are later "clarified" (to their advantage) in the contract.

The FAQ would set my mind 50% at ease, but not 100%.
 
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Well, Almy is out.
They don't think my camera is good enough.
I wish there was a way of finding this out before giving them my details.  They had a list of numbers and stuff, but that doesn't really make sense to someone who isn't deep in the digital SLR world.

Pitty.  

It's interesting they say this.  A couple of times last year I was sent out to take photos for magazines when their regular photographers (who had digital SLR) couldn't make good enough images for the printer.  Something to do with resolutions?  

If I ever make a thousand dollars selling my pictures, I'll invest in a fancy camera and a class on how to use it.  That would be a lot of fun.

Who shall I try next?


 
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The Terms of Service of Shutterstock are much easier to understand:

Ownership of Content
The copyrights in all Content remain with the copyright owner, and nothing in the TOS shall be construed as a transfer of copyright to Shutterstock, subject to the licenses granted to Shutterstock and Shutterstock’s sublicensees. However, by submitting Content to Shutterstock, you expressly waive any artists' authorship rights or any droit moral that you would otherwise have under the laws of the State of New York, United States Copyright Act or similar laws of any jurisdiction, so that customers may use your Content in accordance with the Licenses issued by Shutterstock.

 
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I submitted a few images to shutter stock.  They are pending.  

If they accept, then I'll start adding more once or twice a week.
 
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r ranson wrote:Well, Almy is out.
They don't think my camera is good enough.
I wish there was a way of finding this out before giving them my details.  They had a list of numbers and stuff, but that doesn't really make sense to someone who isn't deep in the digital SLR world.

Pitty.  

It's interesting they say this.  A couple of times last year I was sent out to take photos for magazines when their regular photographers (who had digital SLR) couldn't make good enough images for the printer.  Something to do with resolutions?  

If I ever make a thousand dollars selling my pictures, I'll invest in a fancy camera and a class on how to use it.  That would be a lot of fun.

Who shall I try next?




Where did you find that info? Or is it later in the application, I also have a ton of photos (all organised and everything!) I do have an SLR which I bought second hand.

EDIT ignore this post.. I found it. I think I might give this a go, have to trawl through back images to see what I have.
 
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Almy has a page with lots of numbers and stuff about cameras.  It was confusing.  I thought since print media likes my images - I spent a lot of time last year talking with many printers in town about the suitability of my camera to take print-ready photos - it might be good enough.

But when I upload my first three images to Almy, their system said that the camera was not acceptable.  
That's fine.  They know more about cameras than I do.  

 
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This is my referral link for shutterstock - if anyone is interested in signing up, you can use this link and I might get money.
 
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Images regected:  Image contains excessive noise, film grain, compression artifacts, and/or posterization.

I don't really know what that means.  Maybe I goofed in the editing?  

Is there some way I can fix whatever noise, grain, or whatever is?

The moss also says: The main subject of this image is not in focus.

(keep in mind the thumbnails showing in this thread aren't the actual picture - click on the image to see what it looks like full size)


That's a bummer.  This photo lark is harder than I expected.
I might try one more site, but I suspect this might not be the thing for me.  Not until I can earn some cash to take a class in digital photography.
a-black-hen-in-snow.JPG
[Thumbnail for a-black-hen-in-snow.JPG]
a-moss.JPG
[Thumbnail for a-moss.JPG]
a-smoke.JPG
[Thumbnail for a-smoke.JPG]
 
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do not take these personaly! Top photo, love the composition but the hen is fuzzy looks like the iso was too high and/or you've cropped the photo too much. Also if you look at the hens breast you can see a blue line between it and the snow, that is a camera artifact and should be avoided.

the moss, (I like this one!) well the focus looks like you intended it to me, but the very forground is slightly blurry, and the focus is fading off the the right. the main subject needed to be smaller/flatter for you to get the whole thing in focus with that F stop setting (as an extra, the horizon is crooked sure it may well have been but it looks odd!)

The smoke is again noisy look at the pine tree and the bottom left iso too high or lightlevel too low for the lens.


It looks like you have a sensor size/lens size issue.
 
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You know... I was wondering about a more indirect approach to making money from pictures you take...

These days Instagram and Pinterest are very popular. I wonder about posting pictures to one or both of those sites each day--perhaps sometimes adding an appropriate quote as a text overlay on the pic since that seems to be popular these days. On Pinterest the pics can link back to a website and on Instagram your profile can have a link that people can follow. Each day post a pic or 2 and see if people start clicking the link. The link could go to a website that is setup to generate residual income and potentially also sell products. So potentially people would see your pic on Instagram or Pinterest and then visit your site. Then you might generate some sales and/or residual income from the increase in traffic to your site.

I wonder if despite being an indirect method if this approach could actually bring in more money than the stock photo sites... at least for the average person using their phone to take pictures.

Keeping your photos all related to a common theme say your animals and fiber work might be best... Especially if the site you were linking back to was then related to that theme.

Anyways just a thought!
 
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Good feedback.

Most of these are with auto or part-auto settings.  So I think learning how to shoot manual will solve some of these issues.  Followed by a better camera.  This one is nearly eight years old and heavily abused. I'll be needing a new one in a year or so.  But it won't do me any good if I don't know how to use it.

How about general composition?  Do I have the right idea or is my time better invested elsewhere?
 
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Can I use Instagram on my PC?  

I haven't got a mobile device.
 
Daron Williams
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r ranson wrote:Can I use Instagram on my PC?  

I haven't got a mobile device.



Yup! I'm still fairly new to Instagram but from the podcasts I have listened to it sounds like Instagram stories are doing really good these days and basically that can be as simple as a picture with a text overlay that is uploaded as a story. Apparently though stories are not permanent but you can archive them... though I have not tried to do that yet... It is on my list to try out for my business as a potential traffic source.
 
Daron Williams
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Forgot to add... hashtags work well to help people find your pictures. I just looked up #homesteading on Instagram and there are 724,208 posts using that hashtag.
 
r ranson
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I tried to upload photos from my camera to Instagram before, but it didn't work.  That was about two years ago.
 
Daron Williams
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Here is an example of a homesteader on Instagram that is getting a lot of engagement. https://www.instagram.com/the_seasonal_table/

You can see the style of images and the hashtags that the person is using.
 
Daron Williams
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r ranson wrote:I tried to upload photos from my camera to Instagram before, but it didn't work.  That was about two years ago.



I know the site has changed a lot over the past couple years... perhaps it would work now?
 
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Composition, I like the hen I think it's normal to have the white space in the direction the subject is facing, not sure if it would make it better in this case?

The moss looks very like something I would take, I would try to take it with either no sky or 1/3 sky and get the background further out of focus, but that would make the moss in the for-ground harder to focus. I don't think there is quite enough definition between the subject and the background.

I can't really comment on the smoke but it has a nice balance to it.

My old camera was a Panasonic lumix dmc lx which was a kind of half way house between a compact and a dslr it had fully manual modes, could save in RAW format and took decent photos, but they suffered from the problems you have as well. Eventually it was it's limited variation of F stops and shutter speed that made me switch, however it did just about fit in a pocket which the current camera could never claim to do!
 
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