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About Mike

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  • Joined Alamy
    30 Jun 2001
  1. I think there are a few photographers on Alamy that more or less specialize in certain topics. But there are very few, on Alamy as well as in general, that shoot law enforcement, prisons, crime scenes etc. I'm sure some would want to - it seems a lot more fun and exciting than it actually is - but the biggest obstacle for people is getting access. It can be hard to get permission from a prison, a police department, a sheriff's office, etc to get permission to visit and/or go on ride-alongs to photograph. I've been fortunate in that I got started early, in 1999 not even a year after I moved to the US, so I already had good, solid connections at a large number of department and agencies before the "security mindedness" went through the roof.
  2. For me, licensing fees are pretty steady. So far I've had 115 licenses in 2014 for a grand total of $12,433 which ends up right at $108 per license/per image. Naturally there has been a few really low fees and a handful of significantly higher but my average seems to be in the $180 to $225 range.
  3. 778 sales so far with $96,223 so far since 2001. Was hoping to pass $100k this year but I don't think that will happen... Never say never though I guess...
  4. Like others have said, it is about having images that can't be found on the micro sites, or offer something else, like expert captions that photo buyers know they can trust - I know I hear from photo buyers all the time that are grateful for my "expert" knowledge in my chosen fields, simply because quite often photo researchers don't really know much about the topic(s) they're sourcing photos for when it comes to textbooks. I've had a number of my images being licensed 30+ times on Alamy since I signed up in 2006. Alamy is working really well for me and I am happy with both volume and pricing.
  5. RenePi: As others have said, there are no hard and fast rules really. I have a good number of sales quite regularly even though I have a small number of pics on Alamy. My photos are very much editorial and have virtually no typical photographic qualities other than the basics such as sharp, exposure correct, etc. The reasons my images sell and keep on selling are two, and pretty basic ones at that. 1. I have images that few others have in a segment of the editorial stock industry that is in demand on a regular basis. My photographs of law enforcement, prisons, forensics, crime scenes etc are typically used by book-publishers putting out books on Criminal Justice, Forensics, Sociology, etc. 2. My keywords are correct and the publishers looking for "my" type of images know my name and know that I can be trusted not to keyword a photo of a police tactical team as being a SWAT team, that white powdery substance with the keyword heroin is actually heroin and not cocaine, or the scene of a fatality traffic accident not to actually be an injury accident, or a CSI on scene "dusting for prints" is doing that rather than lifting prints off a surface, and so on. In other words, they know that they can depend on me to get it right for them. Very often, photo researchers know little to nothing about the topics they are trying to find photos for. So when they find a specialized photographer with expert knowledge of the fields/topics covered, they are so grateful that they almost (actually has happened more than once) are on the verge of tears of gratitude after locating something incredibly specific and hard to find. I've written extensively about editorial stock over the years. I co-wrote the latest (and sadly probably last) edition of Sell and Re-Sell Your Photos by Rohn Engh with Rohn (I wrote it and Rohn edited), and I have studied the editorial stock industry at great length by talking to a huge number of photobuyers, by doing an annual survey of photobuyers for PhotoSource International, and so on. I have come to the conclusion that it is actually quite simple. Either you go for a large number of images or you decide to specialize and go for hard to find images within one (or a few) categories and become the expert on this (or these) category/ies. But very general statements such as "you'll make one sale per year per 100 images" are almost always useless. Simply because so much depends on your specific situation. Very accomplished photographers like Mike Ventura will license his rather outstanding images at one rate, Jeff Greenberg will outsell us all clumped together based on a huge collection of images that are properly keyworded and constantly kept up to date, and I license pics sometimes for the only reason that I'm the only one that have a specific image to offer. For my personal situation, authors of books on Criminal Justice and related topics often have very detailed and specialized photo needs. The other day someone needed a photo of a police tactical unit (specifically not a SWAT team) serving a high-risk drug related search warrant at a single family dwelling at dawn or dusk. Oh, and the officer on the ram (that 50-lbs door knocker that looks like a steel tube with handles) has to be Caucasian, but officers from at least two ethnic minorities have to be in the photo. Out of the 5,000 or so pics I have of high-risk drug related search warrants in my files I found a few images that fit the needs of the publisher and made the (direct) sale. My images sell not because I'm an artist but because I can offer photos of eight or nine different kinds of crystal meth in a variety of accurate colors that are keyworded correctly. Sorry for the babbling, but hopefully this made at least some sense... :-) Mike
  6. 776 so far... Maybe I can get past 800 before the end of the year! 2014 has been good for me so far with between 6 to 25 licenses per month for the last six months, a bit slower before that.
  7. If I've done the math right - not as much of a slam dunk as it should be, but hey it's 0600 in the morning after yet another night with no sleep - my average comes to $123.96 (plus change). 776 licenses granted for a grand total of $96,195. Hopefully I'll be able to start working on adding to my rather small Alamy collection in earnest during 2015, at least that's the plan...
  8. Marc: You need to develop a much larger reservoir of patience or you will likely drive yourself crazy pretty quickly. Sales can take a long time to clear and that's just how the business is sadly. Nothing to do with Alamy either. When I license images directly to publishers most pay within a month but there are a few (big national magazine and book publishers) that drag it out for as long as they possibly can and they'll take anywhere from three to five months to pay. As a small business this sucks. When I order stuff from B&H they expect to get paid in advance. When my phone bill arrives, Windstream expects me to pay fairly quickly and should I "forget" to pay for more than a few weeks past the due date they get rather antsy... I am fortunate in that I'm in a narrow specialty and this actually helps getting my invoices to publishers paid a little bit quicker because the publishers are aware of the fact that my images can be hard to replace. Not because I'm a better photographer than anyone else here but because some of my images are a bit hard to replicate and get. Most publishers understand this and it helps. There has been a time or two that I've pulled image rights when the publishers take too long to pay and if this is the case I typically will not agree to grant usage rights again to that publisher. Very small - and probably petty - way for me to get a tiny bit of satisfaction, because in both cases where this has happened the images were not available anywhere else and the two publishers (one mid-sized and one rather large one) had to figure something else out with a deadline that was long since past. This was about 10 or so years ago and one of the publishers got desperate enough that they offered me three times the original fee but I politely declined. The original licensing fee was less than $200 and it was worth it to me at the time. Naturally I lost a customer but since that customer was one that didn't pay until I threatened (and went through with) revoking the image rights I figured it wasn't a big loss to me anyway. The industry as such is small though and I'm sure this client spoke less than glowing about me to others but what the heck, it felt nice and was worth it to me. Just to give you an idea of how long this can take, the payment that Alamy will make to me on October 1st is for - among many others - five images licensed early June of this year. Editorial stock photography sometimes move at glacial speeds, but there's almost always movement. Not always forward but hey, at least we're going places...;-)
  9. Hejsan Rolf! For me, licensing fees stay pretty much the same over the last few years. Seems like median for textbook usage for me is right around $180/image/use.
  10. I honestly don't understand why photographers worry about releases at all. As long as you're honest and indicate that you don't have a release it is the responsibility of the publisher to make sure the image is suitable for the specific usage. Besides if someone were to file suit, would they rather focus on a publisher or an individual stock photographer? Where are they more likely to collect? I never get releases. My images are marked as having no releases, and yet some of them are sometimes used in commercially. I don't worry about it at all and I photograph people getting arrested, crime scenes, traffic accidents, search warrants being served, etc in the most lawsuit-happy country on earth... Now, would I get releases if it was feasible? Sure, to make my images more marketable. But I know there's a big market out there for unreleased images in my fields too and the same holds true for most areas of stock photography. Releases are good when you can get them but if you can't, mark your images as not having releases and let the publishers worry about it - they typically have huge legal departments filled to the brim with attorneys and the like that handles these kind of issues...
  11. Due to my very narrow specialty - or rather due to the fact that few others shoot what I shoot - I quite often find myself in this situation and it's a good place to be!
  12. I too have been with Alamy since 2004. For the first five or so years I didn't have more than about 1,000 images uploaded so my sales stats should be read with that in memory. Worked full time as a writer and photographer from 2000 to 2010. From the start I specialized in law enforcement, prisons, crime scenes, forensics and similar topics. In 2010 my wife retired from her full time job and for us to have health insurance I had to get a job. Given my specialty I hired on with our State Department of Corrections. Since 2010 I haven't been able to add much in the way of new images at all as building a new career in a rather demanding field have taken lots of time and plenty of effort. I am now a sergeant at our state penitentiary, a maximum security all male institution with roughly 1,400 felons. My images are all editorial in nature and less than five have releases of any kind. Might as well get the details out there if they're of interest to anyone: - Current number of images online: 3352 with another few hundred uploaded but not yet keyworded. Once my day job slows down to wher maybe I'll only work two double shifts a week I'll be able to get around to keywording them... - Since 2004 my images have been licensed 768 times for a grand total of $95,497. Or $124.35 per license on average. - So far, 105 licenses in 2014 for a grand total of $11,707 Anyone want any further information, ask. If I can stay awake between shifts I'll answer as soon as I can... Mike
  13. When I license directly to publishers my minimum is $180 but the average, for the same parameters you list is somewhere between $225 and $300 per image for one-time usage rights. I'm in the US licensing to US publishers, mainly national textbook publishers, if that makes any difference for you.
  14. It is indeed very sad that Rohn passed. It was very fast from when he got ill and that, in a way, is a blessing. I worked with Rohn and PhotoSource for 10 plus years and co-wrote the last (5th) edition of Sell And Re-Sell Your Photos. Over the years we developed a wide variety of guides and reports for editorial stock photographers such as a starter kit for beginners, a survey of photo buyers, a beginner's guide to digital for those venturing into that for the first time, and lots more. Rohn will be missed, and I'll miss working on various projects with him.
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