Brasilnut

My experience with Alamy coming from a Microstock background but disappointed with earnings after 2 years

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

 

I'm new here and so far have received a warm welcome - thanks.

 

So my background is as a travel photographer and first ventured into Microstock around 2012. I found Alamy relatively late on (nearly 2 years ago) and been submitting regularly since (2,700 portfolio).

 

I've heeded much of the advice that Alamy is predominately editorial-based so I've avoided uploading much of of usual Microstock stuff on Alamy, focusing instead of editorials (Live News + 50% RF / 50% RM). 

 

So far I've sold 13 images on Alamy with 2/3 pending for just short of $400. I find this quite low. So looking for some advice on how to improve. I'm careful with captions and keywords and doing a general audit now to improve discover ability minus the spamming. So i'm all ears. 

 

In particular it boggles my mind that one such editorial image of a young refugee girl holding up an SOS sign has netted me $1k but has never been licensed at Alamy. For me it's quite obvious because it's much cheaper for buyers to look for similar images on Micros, but the same does not hold true for new stuff which just sits there month after month after month on Alamy. I see zooms but I don't see buyers. I've got to a point where I've hesitantly started moving some of my editorial portfolio, which is a pity since Micros is on a downward spiral when it comes to earnings and at least there's hope with Alamy and some other Midstock agencies. 

 

Alex

 

Edited by Alamy
Admin removed references to competitor site
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13 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

In particular it boggles my mind that one such editorial image of a young refugee girl holding up an SOS sign on Shutterstock has netted me $1k but has never been licensed at Alamy. For me it's quite obvious because it's much cheaper for buyers to look for similar images on Micros

 

There's a clue here, of course. If you're offering pix on both platforms, the outcome is as obvious as you say.

 

2,700 pix... 2 years... Maybe long enough to see trends... or maybe not. But making good sales here is a long-term notion. I appreciate that stock photography is not in its 'golden age' any more, but maybe you need a bit more 'sticking power'...

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Posted (edited)
On 08/08/2017 at 12:21, Brasilnut said:

. I see zooms but I don't see buyers. I've got to a point where I've hesitantly started moving some of my editorial portfolio to Shutter, which is a pity since Micros is on a downward spiral when it comes to earnings and at least there's hope with Alamy and some other Midstock agencies. 

 

Alex

 

 

 

You don't think that the lack of sales and falling prices could have anything to with a hundred million and more images available on micros?

 

How do expect Alamy, and what you call mid stocks, to attract sales for you when you are helping undermine yourself (and everybody else) by making images available at micros? 

 

You actually say that micros are on a downward spiral but continue to supply them and are now moving images away from Alamy back to SS.

 

You support micros but say that they are in a downward spiral so what do you do - continue to support micros :unsure:

 

I'd love to know your thought process on this because I have never understood how photographers make sense of supplying images to micros and then complaining that Alamy isn't getting them sales and is bringing in low prices.

 

 

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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Posted (edited)
On 08/08/2017 at 12:21, Brasilnut said:

 

 

Alex

 

 

 

 

Perhaps this is about promoting your book?

Edited by geogphotos
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Posted (edited)

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. :) 

 

I made a conscious decision about a year ago to stop duplicating editorial contents at Micros. I don't have the numbers for sure but it's about 800 or so editorials which are exclusive to Alamy. 

 

In any case, I cannot since if its RM at Alamy I cannot license it as RF at micros. Even if Alamy has exclusivity on such images it's tough going when i know FOR CERTAIN that they would be downloaded regularly on micros (fair enough most are subs for a few quarters but a few of those a day do add up).

 

Quote

You support micros but say that they are in a downward so what do you do - continue to support micros 

 

Some images do quite well on micros and should keep being licensed for years to come, although I much prefer shooting editorials and travel stuff. I've never been a big fan of fruit isolated on white type images.

 

Quote

Perhaps this is about promoting your book?

 

My book won't appeal to Alamy contributors as it's directed towards Microstock (although there's chapters where I do sound the warning bells that Microstock is perhaps unsustainable and provide viable alternatives) but if I can generate nice discussion on my blog (and it's not against the T&Cs of this forum), I don't see why that would be an issue. 

Edited by Brasilnut
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8 minutes ago, arterra said:

 

+100 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

I'm surprised Alamy hasn't deleted the thread with the direct name referral of micros and the book plug.  Didn't they remove signatures for that reason?

 

Also in your port I see a lot of similars as well as vignetting.  Overall vignetting doesn't do well here.  You have many architecture shots but haven't done any straightening or correction on them.  They seem to lack pop and are flat.  Overall, I find travel images really need to have vibrant colour and look alive. Travel photography is saturated, so you should compare your images to others of the same subject that other photographers have and ask yourself "If I were a photo editor, would I pick my shot over the others"

 

Jill

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

My book won't appeal to Alamy contributors as it's directed towards Microstock (although there's chapters where I do sound the warning bells that Microstock is perhaps unsustainable and provide viable alternatives) but if I can generate nice discussion on my blog (and it's not against the T&Cs of this forum), I don't see why that would be an issue. 

 

You are promoting your book about how to succeed and make money at microstock and then say here that microstock is on a downward decline and you want to make a success of Alamy.

 

Perhaps that is what the buyers of your book need to know if you are really going to be brutally honest about microstock?

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You are promoting your book about how to succeed and make money at microstock and then say here that microstock is on a downward decline and you want to make a success of Alamy.

 

Perhaps that is what the buyers of your book need to know if you are really going to be brutally honest about microstock?

 

Absolutely! It's a long book and there's a lot of content so it's not fair to make any quick (pre)judgement. Post-judgements are fine and PM and i'll send you a copy if you would like. 

 

I find that submitting to Microstock is like going to photography school to learn the ins and outs of the stock photo business - I certainly have learned a lot. If a new contributor ends up making a bit of money to pay for some photography trips and upgrade equipment then great. So it's get in, learn and then get out. I'm sticking around because I know which types of micro images tend to do well but I'm really focusing more on editorials, footage as well as looking into drone stuff.  

 

As I mentioned earlier, Alamy is a nice alternative for editorial work but I'm struggling and I'm aware that it's down to my images.

 

Thanks Jill for your feedback :)

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2 minutes ago, arterra said:

 

You're not referring to MY images are you (asking because you replied to my post?)? :huh:

 

B.t.w. John, I cancelled out your red one ........ and thanks to those who cancelled mine ;)

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

My quote Philippe was for the book reference.  I can't see you ever using vignetting.

 

And you have the most alive looking images I see.  I certainly was referring to the op's images.

 

Jill

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Posted (edited)

Brasilnut,

 

Reading between the lines, you have mitigated your risk supplying to microstock by spreading the images around various vendors.

 

However when it comes to macro you are just looking at one player and a player which is less global in its reach than the micros you comparing it with. The risk of disappointment is inevitably greater.

 

regards,

 

Richard

 

 

Edited by funkyworm
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And that in the meanwhile those ......... (am not allowed to use that word anymore by auntie A) are responsible for collapsing and ruining a whole market is apparently the least of your concerns.

Hey don't shoot the messenger, I come in peace :)

 

From my research in a major microstock agency (I won't give out names anymore), 34% of their contributors with a portfolio of more than 999 images live in Thailand, Russia and the Ukraine - why is that? Of course, living costs are so low there and they can live off $500 earnings but in most parts of the developed world that isn't possible. Are they to blame that people in poor countries want to better their lives as well as their families?

 

Otherwise your anger is directed at the agencies themselves which is fair enough but it's capitalism and most Microstock agencies are dying off left-right and centre, forcing each and everyone of them to lower prices to stay competitive to the detriment of contributors. That's why I applaud Alamy for holding the line (for now).

 

Perhaps Nikon and Canon are to blame for making such powerful and inexpensive entry-level DSLRs! I won't go on here...Microstock is part of something much much bigger happening in all technology sectors, just look at airbnb, uber, tinder, netflix. Welcome to the 4th digital revolution, the world of work is changing dramatically. Luddites beware. 

 

Quote

Now THAT's a good one :D: "...... and then get out" ........ and come here - with your tail dangling between your legs - and expect 50 sales per day for 150$ each. A bit of a disappointment, aint' it :rolleyes: Guess who's to blame!

 

Sure, come here and also try print on demand, sell prints at galleries, shoot footage, but most importantly: work directly with clients.

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When microstock popped up, you could all have put up your middle fingers against their pathetic 20% commission and insulting 20 cents earnings. But you embraced it. What's the saying in English? "One must lie in the bed one has made." Now, don't come here to complain, please! :rolleyes:

 

True. I was too naive and to be honest most of my pics weren't that good so I was happy with anything they gave me.  

 

Nowadays I'm looking for more profitable opportunities, hence why I'm here trying to earn more with Alamy with my editorials. I do appreciate all constructive feedback.  

 

I travelled quite a bit through Ecuador and Israel but none of the editorials from there have sold, perhaps it's more of a waiting game as I do see buyers searching for those keywords and sometimes clicking on zooms. 

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3 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

True. I was too naive and to be honest most of my pics weren't that good so I was happy with anything they gave me.  

 

Nowadays I'm looking for more profitable opportunities, hence why I'm here trying to earn more with Alamy with my editorials. I do appreciate all constructive feedback. 

 

Maybe write a follow-up to your earlier book: How to Upset Alamy Contributors...

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But you RUINED them. You don't seem to get that, do you?

 

You must be from the Flemish part of Belgium, I love that Dutch directness :D

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Alex, i'm italian too... ciao! :D

I live in Florence while you may be from Milan or the nothern side of Italy, judging from your first 3 pages of port which i took some time to analyse.

I noticed our cities saturated the market, Florence Rome Venice and Milan... too much pics.

Leave only the best of each city, it seems a maximum of 20 per city in my opinion.

Also, i've seen you did architecture , with people just walking or staying there... that don't sell.

Try to include people doing something, like eating, tour guiding, working somehow and so on.

Also aircrafts and wheat fields, remove those.. they'll never sell.

Your keywording seems good (i'm also learning) ... i spoke with a woman here who told me the first year she made only 2 sales, then 20 than 40.

So, focus on which image to produce in my opinion and sales will arrive, there are many great advices on this forum.

If you search for "a summer gift" thread i just published here you'll find a great tool i'm gonna suggest you to find out which topics will sell more than others.

've fun :)

 

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6 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

 

I travelled quite a bit through Ecuador and Israel but none of the editorials from there have sold, perhaps it's more of a waiting game as I do see buyers searching for those keywords and sometimes clicking on zooms. 

 

I just tried to use the tool i suggested and found out "Ecuador" has a very low ranking.

Try focussing on something more interesting with a higher ranking.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Brasilnut said:

 

 

 

I find that submitting to Microstock is like going to photography school to learn the ins and outs of the stock photo business - I certainly have learned a lot.

 

 

Have you considered the possibility that you are wrong, that microstock teaches you only about microstock, and that what you have learned isn't necessarily transferable?

 

One thing I have learnt is that stock is a bit like that old Groucho Marx joke: Groucho Marx’s letter of resignation to the Friars’ Club: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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How did you guess? :D

 

Aangenaam. I lived 3 years in Rotterdam. I love the Dutch directness, saves a lot of time!
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Alex, i'm italian too... ciao! 

I just tried to use the tool i suggested and found out "Ecuador" has a very low ranking.

 

Ciao Kodak, piacere! I'm actually from Brazil but have made your lovely country my home. Thanks for looking at my portfolio and giving me this feedback, I will follow your advice! As for the tool, I really want to understand it and use it regularly. 

 

Such a pity about Ecuador, some of the warmest people I've ever met. 

 

Quote

Have you considered the possibility that you are wrong, and that microstock teaches you only about microstock, and that what you have learned isn't necessarily transferable?

 

We aren't talking about mathematics here so I don't think right or wrong applies, it's fine if you don't agree with my opinion.  

 

What I found is most transferable are the technical standards. If anything the technical standards are MUCH HIGHER in microstock than in Alamy (which seems accept pretty much anything), so with that one example I have learned a lot about how much make an image technically suitable for stock. Sure my architecture stuff isn't great as I need to work on straightening stuff but thanks to getting rejected over and over and over again at micros I've had to improve.  

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

 

 

Such a pity about Ecuador, some of the warmest people I've ever met. 

 

 

 

Ecuador people doing what?

Let me check

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6 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

Sure my architecture stuff isn't great as I need to work on straightening stuff but thanks to getting rejected over and over and over again at micros I've had to improve.

 

If you say your pix can be improved, maybe this would be a better use of your free time...

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

 

We aren't talking about mathematics here so I don't think right or wrong applies, it's fine if you don't agree with my opinion.  

 

A statement can be judged to be either right or wrong depending on evidence. 

 

You stated that microstock provided you with a training for stock photography but started this thread on the basis that you are unhappy with your results.

 

You asked for opinions. If all you want is for people to agree with your opinions then there is not much point in asking. 

 

I mean you are calling people here 'luddites' for missing out on the microstock revolution or something :(

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

A statement can be judged to be either right or wrong depending on evidence. 

 

You stated that microstock provided you with a training for stock photography but started this thread on the basis that you are unhappy with your results.

 

You asked for opinions. If all you want is for people to agree with your opinions then there is not much point in asking. 

 

I mean you are kind of calling people here 'luddites' for missing out on the microstock revolution or something :(

 

 

 

Well micro gave many of us a lot of photography tips, not only technically but also on the market side (it's my case also).

At the beginning a lot of "dust sensor" (ops, i forgot many here use a Sony RX100 or DSLR with the kit lens ever mounted :P) , "exposure or noise" , "not suitable for stock" , "soft images" , "lack of sharpness" rejections made us better photographers and better sales men.

Looking at many Alamy ports i see a lot of "full-auto-mode" shots made by compact cameras which have the same quality level of some high-end smartphones.

It's very difficult the judge the photographer skills in such cases.

I also published some low-quality pics which i'm removing to improve my CTR and better-taken-pics sales.

So coming to the OP, he's just asking which could be the issue . He seems to have a full understanding of the micro and macro market

Edited by KODAKovic
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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, KODAKovic said:

 

 

 He seems to have a full understanding of the micro and macro market

 

That's great then.

 

Can't see any point responding just to be told that I'm wrong and that he knows the answer already.

 

Best of luck.

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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1 minute ago, geogphotos said:

 

That's great then.

 

Can't see any point responding just to be told that I'm wrong and that he knows the answer already.

 

Best of luck.

 

 

 

You'll find some possible causes of not selling by looking at posts of Jill, Richard and me.

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I mean you are calling people here 'luddites' for missing out on the microstock revolution or something :(

 

I think there's been a misunderstanding. I'm by no means promoting microstock a sustainable way to earn a living, on the contrary...it's become increasingly difficult, the biggest site that starts with an S has over 140 million images. 

 

If we were in 2004, then we'd all be foolish to not jumping on the Microstock bandwagon. 13 years on, the party is over. Alamy is one of the few "Microstock" agencies left...not technically microstock but not quite midtstock. It's a highly democratic agency, in a good way.  

 

The luddites comment is more about the general state of work that is being replaced by technology. The rise of the gig economy...the rise of automation....big changes are coming, good for some not good for others. Smartphone cameras as powerful as full-frame DSLRs in 10 years' time, very possible + available for $300. Interesting themes to explore visually and should be onto winners by showing these types of images commercially and editorially. 

 

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