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Hellonearth

Am I wasting my time?

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Coming in a bit late here but there is a lot more choice than either Alamy or the Micros. But sometimes you have to give them what they want.

 

Even within Alamy's market... if you only provide images which is most likely to be used for the travel pages... then you are limiting yourself to the travel pages.

 

Having said which... it is not an easy market at the moment. Anyone making money is doing well.

Edited by funkyworm

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I have a small port but have regular sales.  Could I make a living at it right now? No, but that isn't my aim at the moment.  My goal is to cover the costs of my equipment, Adobe CC, and extra costs incurred just to do photography, although I don't do much of that at the moment.

 

At first I was like any newbie, kept reading it was a numbers game so slapped on any image that was technically going to pass QC.  The first 500 or so of my images are dark and muddy as I didn't have a calibrated monitor.  Bought a new monitor, calibrated it, became much more discerning on what images I would upload and did some heavy video watching on using ACR and PS.  My PP skills have improved by leaps and bounds. I love doing PP, so that helps too.

 

My rank has slowly risen to where no matter what search I do for images of mine, 90% of the time I will have an image on page one.  I have yet to crack CN Tower. I still only get page two.  Gotta work on that somehow.  :)

 

I was patient though.  I knew it was a long game, not a short game so patience would be a distinct virtue.  I haven't culled a lot of images, because I've actually sold a few of the dark muddy images, so have just left the old images alone.  I have re-uploaded them fixed up, with a reference to the original, but not deleted the original if it has sold in the past.

 

This month Philippe has motivated me with his monthly challenge to try and get some urban wildlife shots.  Haven't made it to the city yet, but hopefully will before the challenge ends.

 

Jill

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You are not wasting your time if you can make images with more feeling for your subject matter. I checked out your portfolio and I think you would do a lot better if your images had some atmosphere, and you expressed a point of view on the subject matter.

 
Your present portfolio is mostly processed high noon lighting. You are recording the subject, but you do not seem to have an opinion on the subject. Go beyond recording, and make a statement with your photography. If you think Hong Kong is crowded, then use your photographic skills to show just how crowded it is. Lots of Hong Kong night life, then shoot at night.
 
You have some shots of wrinkled old women taken under a diffused flattering light. Why not take those shots in a strong cross lighting that would emphasize the wrinkles?
 
Your shots of historic sites in Rome would be better if they had a sense of history. They look brand new instead. Try warm sepia tones, low sun to give cross lighting, and three dimensionality.
 
Interact more with the subject. Get close. You seem to be standing back with a normal or telephoto. Smile a lot at people, get informal permission, then get real close with a wide angle lens.
 
Click on any one of your images to get the buy page, and then look below at “Similar stock photos” to see your competition.
 
I write this because I think you could be on the cusp of success in either microstock or conventional stock. You should not do more of the same. Go to the same places, but stop recording, and start making a statement.
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You are not wasting your time if you can make images with more feeling for your subject matter. I checked out your portfolio and I think you would do a lot better if your images had some atmosphere, and you expressed a point of view on the subject matter.

 
Your present portfolio is mostly processed high noon lighting. You are recording the subject, but you do not seem to have an opinion on the subject. Go beyond recording, and make a statement with your photography. If you think Hong Kong is crowded, then use your photographic skills to show just how crowded it is. Lots of Hong Kong night life, then shoot at night.
 
You have some shots of wrinkled old women taken under a diffused flattering light. Why not take those shots in a strong cross lighting that would emphasize the wrinkles?
 
Your shots of historic sites in Rome would be better if they had a sense of history. They look brand new instead. Try warm sepia tones, low sun to give cross lighting, and three dimensionality.
 
Interact more with the subject. Get close. You seem to be standing back with a normal or telephoto. Smile a lot at people, get informal permission, then get real close with a wide angle lens.
 
Click on any one of your images to get the buy page, and then look below at “Similar stock photos” to see your competition.
 
I write this because I think you could be on the cusp of success in either microstock or conventional stock. You should not do more of the same. Go to the same places, but stop recording, and start making a statement.

 

Bill, Thank you so much for this advice which does strike a chord with me. I will give this a try especially as I will be in Bangkok in a few days time with the opportunity to go to one of my favourite shooting areas - Chinatown. Perhaps I should take off my zoom lens and use my 50mm to force me to get in close. I do also have a wide angle. With either lens I will get some different shots in any case. I have been a little wary of say using sepia tones as I wondered whether or not Alamy would consider them as over processed. Thank you again for taking the time to really look at my photos. It is very much appreciated and you have given me a lot of encouragement.

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Just wondering, Hellonearth, are you shooting in JPEG or RAW mode?

 

I don't really feel qualified to give technical advice, but many of your pictures look a bit washed-out to me. Some people like that bright "stocky" look, though. Personally, I wouldn't open up the shadows quite as much for starters. It might add some of that missing "atmosphere" that Bill mentioned. 

 

Good luck.

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Just wondering, Hellonearth, are you shooting in JPEG or RAW mode?

 

I don't really feel qualified to give technical advice, but many of your pictures look a bit washed-out to me. Some people like that bright "stocky" look, though. Personally, I wouldn't open up the shadows quite as much for starters. It might add some of that missing "atmosphere" that Bill mentioned. 

 

Good luck.

I am shooting in RAW and then processing with LR and PS when necessary. Yes I do tend to open up the shadows quite a bit. I will give your suggestion a try although I have never before had the comment that my photos look a little bit washed out. Thanks

 

Kevin

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"Am I wasting my time?"

Unless you were on Alamy 10 years ago or have upwards of 10,000 images awaiting upload, then I think the answer is probably yes. Then again, if you treat it as a hobby that gives a little return then you will probably be satisfied. It can take a little time before anything interesting happens though. At least that was my experience. You will experience lots of ups and downs too. Last year was good for me but this year has been terrible so far. So much so I have lost the drive to upload much. :( Good luck. I hope things pick up for you. You have many nice images.

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Just wondering, Hellonearth, are you shooting in JPEG or RAW mode?

 

I don't really feel qualified to give technical advice, but many of your pictures look a bit washed-out to me. Some people like that bright "stocky" look, though. Personally, I wouldn't open up the shadows quite as much for starters. It might add some of that missing "atmosphere" that Bill mentioned. 

 

Good luck.

I am shooting in RAW and then processing with LR and PS when necessary. Yes I do tend to open up the shadows quite a bit. I will give your suggestion a try although I have never before had the comment that my photos look a little bit washed out. Thanks

 

Kevin

 

 

Perhaps "washed-out" was a poor choice of words. It could easily be my monitor, which is calibrated but not the best quality. Anyway, I meant that there isn't a lot of variety in the lighting, as Bill (who knows a lot more than I do) suggested. I like your documentary stye BTW, and I don't see any reason why you won't be successful here. You have good editorial captions as well. When I started submitting to Alamy almost ten years ago, I literally began making sales right away. But things have really changed since then (an understatement). I would think that living in a highly photogenic country like Thailand could be a real plus even though it has been heavily photographed. Trying to fill gaps in the Alamy collection sounds to me like the best way to go.  -John M.

 

P.S. I've found that if you create even a few dozen repeat-sellers, they can bring in regular income on Alamy.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Kevin:

 
You are living in Thailand but the tourist spots have been well covered by talented photographers who are just passing through.
 
If you put Thailand in the Alamy search engine the Alamy search suggestions are all for tourist related shots. Try something different. It may be a smaller market than tourism, but if is not being supplied!!
 
Your strong point is that you live there. Why not do a series of images of subjects that have been overlooked by others? Something that you could do with your neighbours? Culture beyond the tourist spots. How do the rich live? Modern Thailand. Westerners living in Thailand.
 
A search on Thailand and business turns up city skylines at dusk, a few market shots, and a staged shot of a generic businessman that does not look particularly Thai. You can beat that !!! Do you have a day job? how about shots of your workplace and co workers?
 
A Alamy search for Thailand and rich. You get some studio shots of money. No shots that engage the viewer with the subject matter. How about you shooting someone entering a Mercedes? Lurk outside an expensive hotel.
 
Search for Thailand cockfight 123 images only.
 
You also live in Asia so it is easier and cheaper to shoot other Asian countries.
 
You should also bear in mind that most Alamy shooters are not full time stock photographers. Some are freelance professional photographers who do many other photographic things. Some are professional photographers who have a day job. Some are talented amateurs shooting professional level work to pay for their hobby.
 
Never allow yourself to be cyberbullied into apologizing for connections to microstock. Many top professionals supply microstock. Many Microstock contributors live in Eastern Europe or Asia. Your business is your business. You are free to run it any way you want, even if your business drives other photographers out of business.
 
You might want to check out this site, even if you only read the free stuff. Be sure to scroll through the older entries.
 
 
Bill Brooks
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"P.S. I've found that if you create even a few dozen repeat-sellers, they can bring in regular income on Alamy."

 

Quoting myself here. In retrospect, I should have qualified the above statement by saying "regular modest income."

 

Success on Alamy means different things to different people. For me, it means making some extra money every month -- at doing something I really enjoy -- to supplement other income, in my case pensions (I'm over 65) and part-time teaching. So far, I'm managing to do that (touch wood).

 

Moral of the story: keep uploading but don't quit your day job. B)

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Kevin,

 

I think with Wim's comment you have to read between the line(s). Whereas many have a trawling approach to stock photography seeing where the mud sticks, Wim employs a far more deliberate approach, choosing a lure to suit the conditions and casting where the chances are most likely based on research.

 

It may be worth you sitting down and doing a SWAT analysis of your situation with regards the business. Being in Thailand is both a strength and weakness. A strength in that you will have access and knowledge others do not. Take photos of Wat Pho and you are giving yourself a lot of competition. Looking beyond the temples this corner of the globe is advancing in leaps and bounds economically, witness the number of local tourist I am seeing whilst travelling here. But the question is whether you have the correct sales channels to take advantage. One of the reasons you may doing better elsewhere is because one of the micros is based in KL. Alamy does serve many markets but is mainly Anglo in its base. If I send weather images to the news feed taken outside the UK they get removed as not newsworthy, a rainy day on the Hoe in Plymouth gets sold. Not a complaint as much as knowing not to put square pegs in round holes. 

 

Of course, Thailand is just one aspect. Having captured a lot of the area I live there is not much point repeating so a lot of my work is made in Amsterdam but is not of Amsterdam.

Edited by funkyworm
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Fly fishing it is.

 

wim

Totally unhelpful comment

 

 

Right why would that be?

It was my answer to the idea that all you have to do is to trawl the world with your camera and dump large amounts of images here. And that would bring in sales.

A fly fisher studies the water. Studies the fish. Is observing the fish. Casts his/her bait where the fish is going to notice it. Must I go on?

OK one more analogy: he/she lets the fish go that's not big enough.

 

We share quite a bit of places and subjects, so I know what I'm looking at when I leaf through your portfolio.

Basically most of what there is to say about why you're not selling more has been said I think.

Philippe; Bill have made excellent comments.

 

I would add: make better use of All of Alamy where real searches can be seen almost real time. Use it to scout out a place or a subject. See what clients are really looking for and what they are unable to find. What keywords they are using.

Now for the bait: your style is a bit on the bland side. And I don't mean the colors, because there's nothing wrong with those. The same goes for the keywords. A bit more factual would not hurt.

 

Having said all that: 75% of my images on Alamy has never sold; 40% never been zoomed. I'm still hopeful of a couple of those, but for most of them I feel like what was I thinking? I should never even have uploaded them in the first place. Either the competition is far too good, or why would anybody ever want a picture of that? What story does it illustrate? Is that still interesting to people? Has it ever been interesting to people? Do people want to spend money on it? Pretty basic stuff I seemingly failed to take into account at the time of uploading. And let's not forget that the competition has grown really strong here. Images that made the cut in 2010 may well be far below par now.

 

What would the teacher in me say? Study a couple of subjects that you have access to near by. See if there's interest from clients. Then practice on one or two for a while. Take interest. Practice like a piano player or a football player would. Try different styles; different gear; different times of day; different approach. Rinse and repeat and see if anything changes in say a month's time.

If anybody asks for a reason, in Asia tell them: I'm a student; my teacher tells me. Even in most of the rest of the world that would be enough, regardless of your own age. It may just not get you the respect it gets in Asia.

If the subject involves people, why not talk about the images with them over a tea; a coffee or a Bintang; a Lion or a Singha?

 

wim

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Fly fishing it is.

 

wim

Totally unhelpful comment

 

 

Right why would that be?

It was my answer to the idea that all you have to do is to trawl the world with your camera and dump large amounts of images here. And that would bring in sales.

A fly fisher studies the water. Studies the fish. Is observing the fish. Casts his/her bait where the fish is going to notice it. Must I go on?

OK one more analogy: he/she lets the fish go that's not big enough.

 

We share quite a bit of places and subjects, so I know what I'm looking at when I leaf through your portfolio.

Basically most of what there is to say about why you're not selling more has been said I think.

Philippe; Bill have made excellent comments.

 

I would add: make better use of All of Alamy where real searches can be seen almost real time. Use it to scout out a place or a subject. See what clients are really looking for and what they are unable to find. What keywords they are using.

Now for the bait: your style is a bit on the bland side. And I don't mean the colors, because there's nothing wrong with those. The same goes for the keywords. A bit more factual would not hurt.

 

Having said all that: 75% of my images on Alamy has never sold; 40% never been zoomed. I'm still hopeful of a couple of those, but for most of them I feel like what was I thinking? I should never even have uploaded them in the first place. Either the competition is far too good, or why would anybody ever want a picture of that? What story does it illustrate? Is that still interesting to people? Has it ever been interesting to people? Do people want to spend money on it? Pretty basic stuff I seemingly failed to take into account at the time of uploading. And let's not forget that the competition has grown really strong here. Images that made the cut in 2010 may well be far below par now.

 

What would the teacher in me say? Study a couple of subjects that you have access to near by. See if there's interest from clients. Then practice on one or two for a while. Take interest. Practice like a piano player or a football player would. Try different styles; different gear; different times of day; different approach. Rinse and repeat and see if anything changes in say a month's time.

If anybody asks for a reason, in Asia tell them: I'm a student; my teacher tells me. Even in most of the rest of the world that would be enough, regardless of your own age. It may just not get you the respect it gets in Asia.

If the subject involves people, why not talk about the images with them over a tea; a coffee or a Bintang; a Lion or a Singha?

 

wim

 

Thank you Wim. That is real advice and I appreciate it. I have taken onboard the comments of others and will do with yours also. Now to put them into practice. Actually my comment gleaned exactly the type of answer I was looking for. In other words I did my own bit of fly fishing. :)  I hope I can be as successful with my photos. regards Kevin

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Just wondering, Hellonearth, are you shooting in JPEG or RAW mode?

 

I don't really feel qualified to give technical advice, but many of your pictures look a bit washed-out to me. Some people like that bright "stocky" look, though. Personally, I wouldn't open up the shadows quite as much for starters. It might add some of that missing "atmosphere" that Bill mentioned. 

 

Good luck.

I am shooting in RAW and then processing with LR and PS when necessary. Yes I do tend to open up the shadows quite a bit. I will give your suggestion a try although I have never before had the comment that my photos look a little bit washed out. Thanks

 

Kevin

 

 

Perhaps "washed-out" was a poor choice of words. It could easily be my monitor, which is calibrated but not the best quality. Anyway, I meant that there isn't a lot of variety in the lighting, as Bill (who knows a lot more than I do) suggested. I like your documentary stye BTW, and I don't see any reason why you won't be successful here. You have good editorial captions as well. When I started submitting to Alamy almost ten years ago, I literally began making sales right away. But things have really changed since then (an understatement). I would think that living in a highly photogenic country like Thailand could be a real plus even though it has been heavily photographed. Trying to fill gaps in the Alamy collection sounds to me like the best way to go.  -John M.

 

P.S. I've found that if you create even a few dozen repeat-sellers, they can bring in regular income on Alamy.

 

As a second opinion, your shadows are a bit light to me as well. But it's largely a matter of personal preference. It's a perfectly valid style and your colours are fine. Obviously some of us just prefer a little more "meat".

If you're ever in any doubt about your monitor calibration it can be helpful just to ask the forum to have a look at your images. That's how I found out mine was a bit dark.

As you've found out already, advice offered here, even if you didn't ask for it, is always well-meant.

Edited by spacecadet

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Just wondering, Hellonearth, are you shooting in JPEG or RAW mode?

 

I don't really feel qualified to give technical advice, but many of your pictures look a bit washed-out to me. Some people like that bright "stocky" look, though. Personally, I wouldn't open up the shadows quite as much for starters. It might add some of that missing "atmosphere" that Bill mentioned. 

 

Good luck.

I am shooting in RAW and then processing with LR and PS when necessary. Yes I do tend to open up the shadows quite a bit. I will give your suggestion a try although I have never before had the comment that my photos look a little bit washed out. Thanks

 

Kevin

 

 

Perhaps "washed-out" was a poor choice of words. It could easily be my monitor, which is calibrated but not the best quality. Anyway, I meant that there isn't a lot of variety in the lighting, as Bill (who knows a lot more than I do) suggested. I like your documentary stye BTW, and I don't see any reason why you won't be successful here. You have good editorial captions as well. When I started submitting to Alamy almost ten years ago, I literally began making sales right away. But things have really changed since then (an understatement). I would think that living in a highly photogenic country like Thailand could be a real plus even though it has been heavily photographed. Trying to fill gaps in the Alamy collection sounds to me like the best way to go.  -John M.

 

P.S. I've found that if you create even a few dozen repeat-sellers, they can bring in regular income on Alamy.

 

As a second opinion, your shadows are a bit light to me as well. But it's largely a matter of personal preference. It's a perfectly valid style and your colours are fine. Obviously some of us just prefer a little more "meat".

If you're ever in any doubt about your monitor calibration it can be helpful just to ask the forum to have a look at your images. That's how I found out mine was a bit dark.

As you've found out already, advice offered here, even if you didn't ask for it, is always well-meant.

 

 

Yes, I think it's a matter of preference. To me, photos lack depth when the shadows are opened up too much.

 

That said, I've done a lot of photography in tropical regions, and the light can be very harsh, eliminating shadows altogether at certain times of the day.

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I like your portfolio, and I think you will have a great future at Alamy. One of the keys is to get a good ranking, so your photos will show up on the first pages, or at least before the buyers give up :)  As a newbie, you start with a middle of the pack ranking. With zooms and sales (and who knows what else) you will rise. If you have a lot of zooms and even a sale, you are off to a good start.

 

I like your mix of people, details, place specific, and general images. Famous landmarks are still worth photographing, but look at what Alamy already has, and then try to find a different way of photographing it, or the same way, but better. Some buyers search with date filters, so having new fresh images from a place is never a bad a idea.

 

I have a very small portfolio, but with a decent ranking, I have managed to have sales every months (2-5) for the last 18 months. Yes, quantity matters, but so does time. I have never sold an imaged that have been on Alamy less than 4 months.

 

I do agree with John M, that a tiny little boost of contrast in some photos may make them pop a bit.  No need for more contrast in these typed of photos FW6YC8, but this types of photos may befit for a slight increase FB4WEW.

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I like your portfolio, and I think you will have a great future at Alamy. One of the keys is to get a good ranking, so your photos will show up on the first pages, or at least before the buyers give up :)  As a newbie, you start with a middle of the pack ranking. With zooms and sales (and who knows what else) you will rise. If you have a lot of zooms and even a sale, you are off to a good start.

 

I like your mix of people, details, place specific, and general images. Famous landmarks are still worth photographing, but look at what Alamy already has, and then try to find a different way of photographing it, or the same way, but better. Some buyers search with date filters, so having new fresh images from a place is never a bad a idea.

 

I have a very small portfolio, but with a decent ranking, I have managed to have sales every months (2-5) for the last 18 months. Yes, quantity matters, but so does time. I have never sold an imaged that have been on Alamy less than 4 months.

 

I do agree with John M, that a tiny little boost of contrast in some photos may make them pop a bit.  No need for more contrast in these typed of photos FW6YC8, but this types of photos may befit for a slight increase FB4WEW.

ColdCoffee,Thank you for your very useful advice. I completely take your point regarding contrast on the 2 examples you give and will endeavour to consider contrast and lightening of shadows with more care in the future.  Kevin

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One of the things I learnt from this post is that it can take some time for a sale to appear as a credit to me. Another thing I have learnt is that it is very useful to look at the post where people report photos they have found in publications that are credited to Alamy.. I have found that one of my photos, that can be seen below, has been published by the Guardian. I await news of the sale from Alamy with great interest.

topiary-elephants-in-lumphini-park-bangk

 

I would like to again thank everyone who contributed useful advice and to assure them that I am, at least, trying to follow it.  Regards  Kevin

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I think content is more important than quantity. My girlfriend has a few hundred photos place with Newzulu and makes regular sales, she has even had photos brought by Alamy.

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