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thanks Joe for the advice and ahhhh this mice here are so smart u cannot just catch them lol

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Anna -- it is still possible to make money from photography. As example, have a look at this:

 

http://www.nagelphotography.com/blog/2017/3/microstock-earnings-through-february

 

I don't know if this is legit of course, but I looked at his portfolio and it is very high quality.  Thing to note is that these amounts are from micro-stock which pays significantly less (but sells comparatively more) than Alamy.  I also believe he sells through his own website as well.

 

Bottom line is:  You have to find a way to stand above the crowd, which is not easy in this age of "smartphone photographers".  It is best done through quality, not quantity as many would suggest.  It is also hard and time consuming work.  Good thing is that once portfolio (and skills!) are developed,  it becomes passive income.

 

In your place I'd suggest keeping day job and treating photography as hobby initially, trying through different agencies (not only Alamy where you are not likely to sell anything first 6-12 months) and then make your own decisions.  At each case, good luck!

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Anna -- it is still possible to make money from photography. As example, have a look at this:

 

http://www.nagelphotography.com/blog/2017/3/microstock-earnings-through-february

 

I don't know if this is legit of course, but I looked at his portfolio and it is very high quality.  Thing to note is that these amounts are from micro-stock which pays significantly less (but sells comparatively more) than Alamy.  I also believe he sells through his own website as well.

 

Bottom line is:  You have to find a way to stand above the crowd, which is not easy in this age of "smartphone photographers".  It is best done through quality, not quantity as many would suggest.  It is also hard and time consuming work.  Good thing is that once portfolio (and skills!) are developed,  it becomes passive income.

 

In your place I'd suggest keeping day job and treating photography as hobby initially, trying through different agencies (not only Alamy where you are not likely to sell anything first 6-12 months) and then make your own decisions.  At each case, good luck!

 

And this is the quality that earns him these $1000 a month. (I assume it is net, but before taxes. He may have a day job or a working spouse.)

From >>5,500 photos with Shutterstock and 2,500 photos with iStock<<

He started around 2010 with stock.

 

Anna,

 

What to do if you do not have that quality (yet)?

Practice practice practice. Those infamous 10.000 hours is no myth.

 

In the mean time: have a look at All of Alamy where all the searches by all the clients are being logged.

You can go back a whole year. (You have to be logged in.) There's a help section on the right hand side.

 

Now I assume you're based in or close to Vancouver.

Set AoA as far back as possible. This month that's May 1st 2016. As a search term choose %vancouver%. (Include the %% - it's a database thing.)

You can click on sales and zooms, but however interesting those are, for the moment you will be looking for views. More precisely the search terms with the least views (just click on it - maybe twice). Everything up to 99 views is a good subject to shoot. 100 views will only tell you the client did only look at the first page of the results.

If you click on the search term, you get to see what there's already there.

Now only go out and shoot if you can do better or at least as good. No strike that: do go out and shoot it, but only upload when your images as good or better.

- Learn how to judge that.

 

Also shoot what you have access to. Your child is an obvious subject. Trawl All of Alamy for what to shoot in the same way as with %vancouver%.

Sign releases.

Access can be things; buildings but also knowledge.

Being a local shooting locally means you can wait for the best opportunity. Like the best weather; the best season; the best light.

 

Maybe also apply with some of those microstock agencies. They do judge your images for quality and saleability. Alamy only judges the technical quality.

Do you use Instagram? If not start now.

Look for photo critique sites online.

 

Don't expect any income the first year. Coffee money would be nice.

However there's always that lottery aspect as well.

For that it's important that your images can be used commercially. So they should be model and or property released.

Canada is a special case when people photography is concerned. This is a overview of property and (commercial or editorial) photography.

 

Oh and your yellow tulip is a daffodil.

Captions and keywords are maybe at least as important as the images, because this is how your images can be seen in the first place. Not the exact good keyword: no view. No views: no sales. Here the wrong views will lead to a lower ranking. putting your images at the back of those 80.000 images that are daily added.

This is why you at first will be concentrating on subjects with less than 100 views.

 

good luck!

wim

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And this is the quality that earns him these $1000 a month.

 

 

 

yes, quite amazing isn't it!

 

Excellent advice wiskerke for Anna btw.  I'd add, because I know Vancouver well,  there are many spots to shoot stuff that has sales potential.  Granville Island and Market.  Kits beach has beautiful sunsets, Maritime Museum, Burrard Bridge.  Then over to Pacific Spirit; on a misty day that are plentiful in Vancouver you can make terrific rainforest shots.  Stanley Park has tons of spots that are not photographed that much, if you know where to go!  Or head over to Port Moody for some unique perspective of Mt Seymour or over to Buntzen.   Head up Grouse and there are some terrific photo-ops there, bear den, wood carvings etc.  Horseshoe Bay,   Point Atkinson/Lighthouse Park,  etc etc.   Aim for quality and uniqueness. That sells, not quantity/tons of boring shots that show same thing over and over but people keep uploading because "others have 1000s of images, so should I".

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Anna,

 

You may also want to check out Alamy's blog on Keith Morris  :   http://www.alamy.com/blog/selling-stock-photos

 

And take a look at his portfolio and posts here on the forum.

 

I'll second Wim's comment about money received in the first year.  Payment isn't fast even if you're lucky enough get sales early on.  Typically the time from first viewing to actual payment is measured in months.  For certain seasonal photos, the delay can be longer.  Spring photos taken this year probably won't be used until next spring for print publications, which means they'll be looked at perhaps in October, maybe purchased in December, and payment received after it goes to press next April.

 

As to your goal of $500 - $700 per month.  Getting there won't be easy, but not impossible.  You will need to put some real effort into learning the business side  -- not just the photography part.  For some images, other agencies may be a better choice once you've developed the necessary skill.  And some of them may give you feedback on the salability of the images and not just the technical quality.

 

As in any business, keeping your costs under control is important.  You need good equipment, but not necessarily the best.  Most of Alamy's sales are editorial, and the print ( or web display ) doesn't require top quality.  That is, something like the Sony RX100 series will produce perfectly useable photos for most purposes.  Justifying a Canon 5d Mk IV (or the Nikon or other equivalent) is tough.  Since you've had a reasonable number accepted, you probably already have everything you need to get started. 

 

Good luck.

 

Robert

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+1 for getting inspiration from Keith Morris.

 

wim

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In stock photography (and Alamy) terms I'm still very much a newcomer, with only 3 years portfolio building since I joined Alamy in January 2014.  I'm not with any other agency.  So understand that anything I say is based on that limited experience.

 

It's certainly possible to make a small income from Alamy sales.   However, it takes time to build up, and it's certainly dependent on image quantity, quality and appeal to likely buyers.  I think I've been reasonably successful, with 203 image licenses reported to date, but that's not generating a lot of money.  The average net monthly payout for this year - 4 payouts, January to April - is just over $100.  Useful - but hardly enough to call it a living.  It's also been hard work.  Shooting, processing, keywording, and uploading all take time and energy to add the 100 images a month I've averaged.

 

I am, admittedly, shooting mostly in a specialised area.  But it's something I know a lot about so the accurate keywording and captioning that will draw the buyers comes very easily to me.  Of course, once images are seen, they have to be good enough to capture the buyers - but that's the case in any area of stock.  I appear to be doing well enough to have a rolling year average CTR of 1.04, nearly double the Alamy average, and giving me around 2 - 3 sales per 1000 images per month.  Even so, $500 - $700 a month net earnings looks way in the future.  I'm going to need a lot more images of similar or better quality than I have now.  As one of the other contributors has remarked in another thread, "it's a marathon, not a sprint".  Don't expect too much, don't expect it for some time, and don't rely on it.  It's easy to have bad months where you earn virtually nothing.

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I think it was much easier starting 10 years ago. I'm sure it's still possible to make $500+ a month for those starting now but much more difficult.  I disagree with the need for 10,000+ images.  I've seen some portfolios with less than 500 images doing really well.  Alamy is just one site and there's many places to make money from photography.  I also think video is a good way to boost earnings but Alamy isn't the best place for that.  Just using Alamy to make that money would be extremely difficult but I'm sure some new people could do it.

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I'm hesitant to call BS on that's guy's micro stock sales, but I'm close.  At $.25 a shot or however much you make off micro stock, that's like 4,000 sales a month.  He's also taken 25 trips in seven years (I wish I could afford to travel like that).  It's not that theres anything wrong with his work, it's just looks the same as tons of other photographers selling micro stock.  

 

As a BC based photographer, Vancouver is pretty well covered.  It's a pretty small percentage of my sales.  If I had any advice for you, it would be make a list of everything about Vancouver that would be of interest to someone from somewhere else (or even locally, often it's cheaper to buy a photo from Alamy in the UK than to send out a local photographer).  Off the top of my head, I would say real estate, asian immigration, and tourism, for starters.  If you're really daring, the fentanyl crisis is a really under reported story, visually at least.  Everyone who goes to Vancouver gets a picture of Stanley Park, so as a result, the market for that is really saturated, so think outside the box.  My best sales on Alamy are from places nobody else goes.

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I think it was much easier starting 10 years ago. I'm sure it's still possible to make $500+ a month for those starting now but much more difficult.  I disagree with the need for 10,000+ images.  I've seen some portfolios with less than 500 images doing really well.  Alamy is just one site and there's many places to make money from photography.  I also think video is a good way to boost earnings but Alamy isn't the best place for that.  Just using Alamy to make that money would be extremely difficult but I'm sure some new people could do it.

 

Do you mean $500 gross or $500 net? Big difference.

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I'm hesitant to call BS on that's guy's micro stock sales, but I'm close.  At $.25 a shot or however much you make off micro stock, that's like 4,000 sales a month.  He's also taken 25 trips in seven years (I wish I could afford to travel like that).  It's not that theres anything wrong with his work, it's just looks the same as tons of other photographers selling micro stock.  

 

As a BC based photographer, Vancouver is pretty well covered.  It's a pretty small percentage of my sales.  If I had any advice for you, it would be make a list of everything about Vancouver that would be of interest to someone from somewhere else (or even locally, often it's cheaper to buy a photo from Alamy in the UK than to send out a local photographer).  Off the top of my head, I would say real estate, asian immigration, and tourism, for starters.  If you're really daring, the fentanyl crisis is a really under reported story, visually at least.  Everyone who goes to Vancouver gets a picture of Stanley Park, so as a result, the market for that is really saturated, so think outside the box.  My best sales on Alamy are from places nobody else goes.

 

True, Vancouver is very well-covered on Alamy. You have to look for "trending" subjects. That said, my Vancouver sales have been picking up. Today, a downtown skyline shot taken through my doctor's office window licensed. There is still a demand for stereotypical images taken from a unique perspective.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I'm hesitant to call BS on that's guy's micro stock sales, but I'm close.  At $.25 a shot or however much you make off micro stock, that's like 4,000 sales a month.  He's also taken 25 trips in seven years (I wish I could afford to travel like that).  It's not that theres anything wrong with his work, it's just looks the same as tons of other photographers selling micro stock.  

 

As a BC based photographer, Vancouver is pretty well covered.  It's a pretty small percentage of my sales.  If I had any advice for you, it would be make a list of everything about Vancouver that would be of interest to someone from somewhere else (or even locally, often it's cheaper to buy a photo from Alamy in the UK than to send out a local photographer).  Off the top of my head, I would say real estate, asian immigration, and tourism, for starters.  If you're really daring, the fentanyl crisis is a really under reported story, visually at least.  Everyone who goes to Vancouver gets a picture of Stanley Park, so as a result, the market for that is really saturated, so think outside the box.  My best sales on Alamy are from places nobody else goes.

 

I count 115 searches with 0 views. Even if some are misspellings, those could have been included in someone's keywords.

In total there have been 490 searches for the rolling year with less than 100 views. That's just for Vancouver.

If you would do that research for everything you have access to in your house; street; school; supermarket, my bet is that you would come up with thousands of subjects with no or few views, meaning very few images that cover them.

(children - 1321 with 0 views; Canadian - 116 with 0 views; 1750 0 views for school.)

 

We had a discussion once on this forum about negative vs positive images or subjects.

We then found out that searches favored positive things like 95% vs 5% or even 99% vs 1%, depending on the subject.

There's no reason to think sales are very different. Besides most would probably be newspaper sales.

That's just the nature of stock. If someone comes from a traditional pj background that's a really difficult switch to make.

People coming from art school or from camera clubs will face similar difficulties to adapt.

 

wim

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i was asking for monthly income

 

Yes of course. Sorry to have missed that.

We do have a monthly thread for that here. If you click on the blue numbers underneath a poster's image to the left, you can look at someone's entire portfolio.

 

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

April 2017

 

If you use the search function for this forum, you can go back several years.

 

wim

 

edit: most numbers are $$ gross. So half goes to Alamy or, in case of a sale through a sub-distributor, 40% to the distributor and 30% to Alamy, leaving the contributor with 30%.

Edited by wiskerke
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i was asking for monthly income

 

Yes of course. Sorry to have missed that.

We do have a monthly thread for that here. If you click on the blue numbers underneath a poster's image to the left, you can look at someone's entire portfolio.

 

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

April 2017

 

If you use the search function for this forum, you can go back several years.

 

wim

 

 

+1

 

I was just about to write the exact same response but you beat me to it  ;)

<>

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

John Mitchell beat us both by a mile: he has posted a link yesterday. ;-)

 

wim

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I'm hesitant to call BS on that's guy's micro stock sales, but I'm close.  At $.25 a shot or however much you make off micro stock, that's like 4,000 sales a month.

 

He's getting more than .25, as he is in highest tier + he is probably getting on-demand and extended licenses as opposed to subscription based.  But you do have a point, because it is still considerable amount of downloads.

 

 

Different thing sticks out for me.  His work is really high quality.  It is a bit strange if he is giving away some of them for less than $1 / single image in micro-stock.

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Anna,

 

Was composing a long response to you and the thread, but...

 

As someone who has been a working photographer for over

three decades I will say it is about the image.  If you make

great images you will make money.

 

I can also tell you that based on my over 30 years of agency 

experience Alamy is the best place to have images and receive

income from the licensing of those images.

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I've said this before, why would you sell your work for $1.00?  You can't get a cheeseburger at McDonald's for that, so that's the value you're putting on your work.   

 

All I can tell you about Vancouver is my own experience.  I sell the occasional Skyline photo, but even the really good ones don't move that often.  I can't even get my own newspaper to run one of my Vancouver photos, they'd rather buy one for a buck from Shutterstock.  The stuff that has sold, and sold a lot, are things like the  Chinatown night market, the downtown eastside, the arts scene on commercial drive, etc.  I'd like to go down and do some work on the fentanyl crisis, as most of the Vancouver newspapers aren't really covering it.

 

As for monthly income, I sell about 50 photos a year, for an average price of just over $50 US each, and that's with a couple of thousand images already uploaded.  I probably clear about $1,200 to $1,400 per year after all the fees get paid, so that really just makes it barely makes it a decent hobby.  Keep in mind that you only get paid when the cheque from the client clears in London, so you might go a couple of months without a payout, unless you're doing a high volume of sales.

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I'm with Chuck there, we're both a couple of old hands.  Shoot what you you like and what interests you, make it look good, and you'll sell images.

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Things are not as simple though in respect to micro-stock, when you are starting. On Alamy -- 1,2,3 .. how many months?  6 to a year on average?  No sale.  Confidence is lost and you think you'll never sell anything;   but on shutterstock you get sale(s) right away, even if they are just pennies.  So after 4 or 5 months you made 100 bucks on shutterstock and zero on Alamy.  It is only normal to make certain conclusions, even if they might be false on a long run

 

Here is another interesting read:  http://trainerjohnphotography.blogspot.ca/2014/08/my-alamy-experience-part-second.html

 

(There are parts 1, 3, and 4 too in his blog).  I thought this was very interesting;  took him 7 months to make 1st sale, quite modest.  But now he is, according to blog, doing quite well. I believe he is active contributor today.  It is also interesting because he seems to shoot mostly flowers, which according to many, is quite hard to get a sale.   So patience plays a big role.

 

I agree with "shoot what you like and make it look good" & for me this is probably best thing said in this thread.

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