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Everything posted by Marianne

  1. I made more in the last two weeks on FAA than I have grossed all year here. I was nervous because November there was slower than usual - I find that about 50% of my sales there are generally made between late October and mid- December. Thankfully, starting with a sale on Thanksgiving, sales ramped up. I've got around 660 images there - less than half of what I have here. I sell some artsy stuff but mostly travel scenics, particularly lighthouses. Speaking of lighthouses, on the positive front here, my CTR is starting to head back to normal. It had tanked about a month ago after being high all year. It is now back from the doldrums (it was at 0 since November ) to 0.96 thanks in part to a search for "lighthouses," could the client be more vague? I have lighthouses from all over the world and they zoomed on one from the midwest's Lake Erie, which I actually wasn't sure about uploading - that search actually didn't help me much CTR wise since I had so many hits, but I had a flurry of activity today. Another zoom was on a New Years 2018 concept image - (it has 2018 covering most of the image) - weird stuff. Why zooms count for so much is really beyond me sometimes. I don't see how much of this can lead to sales but maybe it means my luck is changing for the better. Once I hit 500 files on FAA I went from occasional sales to regular sales. I market my stuff on twitter fairly regularly and a little on FB & pInterest - all organically - I don't pay for ads as when I have in the past I find my organic following drops for months afterwards. I'm at more than double what I made last year there, and last year it beat my highest stock site, as it has again this year. 800 files was the magic number for me here a few years back, but at around 1500 now I feel like I'm just treading water.
  2. Some years ago I was taking photographs in a cemetery at midnight with the full moon for a Halloween feature in a local magazine. Suddenly I saw two police cars with lights flashing on the road and then they sped into the cemetery. The first police officer out of the car asked me what I was doing and took down my editor's name and number to call her the next day given the hour. She told me that the caretaker had seen me and called it in thinking it was kids drinking illegally or possibly causing damage, but when she saw my tripod she realized that wasn't the case. She made me leave but that was all. This was in Westchester County, a suburb of NYC. I did have a New York City cop make me show him my photos and erase some where he was a tiny figure in them. I was in the city on a sunny day taking photos on Park Avenue and he happened to be on one corner. It was totally uncalled for, and he had no right to do it, but it wasn't worth arguing with him, so I complied. I wish I'd gotten his badge number to make a complaint, but was too frightened and angry at the time to think of it, and asking might have prompted him to be even more threatening. I think so much hangs on the discretion of police officers. Thank goodness you were released fairly promptly, but what a scary ordeal.
  3. $$$ at FAA for me this month, higher $$$ than average but under last November. I usually garner at least low $$$ monthly there with 650 files, easily made with a single print sale. Last year I made more there than at any stock photo site, so I guess my efforts there are paying off. I've added far more new files here this year, but have started rethinking where I should be focusing my energy. Third dismal month in a row here, after robust licensing fees through the first of the year all the way through the summer had caught up to 2018 revenue. Seeing RM files go for $ has been very disheartening. Autumn has been a bust. Sad when I make more in a day with micro sales than I do for an RM license here. But things can always change drastically here from month to month. I'm still uploading here, but also at several other sites.
  4. Hi Steve- yes I think that from what I've read here and in my own experience back to 2008, all my $250-450 licenses were American publishers or advertisers, but it certainly seems to me from what I read here that you British (or UK residents, not sure if you are Austrian) sell the most and that your European neighbors are a close second. And I'm looking at what I see here in the forum, the experiences of other American contributors with large portfolios, not just my rather modest sized one.
  5. Ironically, while I can shoot handheld easily at twilight and into the blue hour, often even using a fairly low ISO thanks to lens/camera body stabilization, when I'm out in the woods at dusk, I often take a tripod since we have coyotes here in Westchester County NY - I've even seen one in my driveway - so I figure it doesn't hurt to have something to wave around if I need to scare one away, though they have thankfully ignored me. Took this on a tripod, low ISO at a state park near my house. It's close to where I saw another coyote even before dusk. Handheld ISO 2500 - Louisville Kentucky at night last January - night shots were the most colorful that time of year. Easily passed QC. For shots like this, I need a tripod, and a black sky:
  6. I'm always under the impression that European contributors and particularly those from the UK are doing better here than we Americans. The grass is always greener I guess. Thanks @Matt Ashmore and @Phil Preston for translating my post for @spacecadet 😎
  7. To be fair, even with a few tiny licenses of late, I hit last year's revenue with half the number of licenses. It's just that a few months of micro=priced licenses since then has me cranky. @meanderingemu I think your suggestion about the "what to shoot" list is spot-on I also wish they would do more marketing. Like last month they asked us to tag our autumn photos on twitter. I tagged a bunch of mine via Buffer so they'd be spread out but Alamy only RT'd one of them - several have sold so it wasn't that the pix weren't worth the RT - and i had gone and RT'd a bunch of theirs. I have just over 7,200 followers, not huge but certainly worthwhile as it's 50% of the size of this huge stock agency's following, but instead of making me feel noticed for my effort, I felt like it was a waste of time - they have a marketing idea but no one seems to follow up. Ideas like that on twitter and other social media, getting us involved and then following up and tweeting links to images that, if sold, garner them the lion's share, would be really nice and getting some feedback would go a long way toward making me feel appreciated as a contributor. Sure, my primary goal here is to make some money, but we all like to feel appreciated for our effort. I used to be able to count on Alamy News to give me feedback and to help me get a press pass when I didn't have an assignment, but then they kicked me out of the scheme (which I had been invited to join when it wasn't originally open to all), thanks to having been sick for a couple of years and so far less active. I'm also at a disadvantage being US based as most Alamy news seems to be directed at the British press. I haven't even re-applied, though I believe I have the requisite credentials. Why spend $24 for a train to Manhattan (& another $5 for the subway) to shoot a protest when the photos are being shopped around for $6? They don't seem too be targeting the local press in my area, and the last sale I had to a US newspaper group for about $15 remains unpaid for nearly 5 months now.
  8. 😎 I'd just like to see better prices and I'd also like to see them collect up front for small one-off or new client licenses, I'm still waiting months for some sub $10 licenses to clear. That's just adds insult to injury.
  9. My husband loves having a calendar on our fridge. I have a couple to chose from who've licensed my photos when January rolls around. Thank goodness people still buy calendars. (Just don't tell anyone, I prefer my iPhone for keeping me on track.) But the calendars are so much nicer to look at.
  10. I didn't mean that taking images was a leisurely pursuit; I was really thinking more of how much faster it is to type than to write by hand, and probably should have used a more precise term than "leisurely." I meant it more in terms of "unhurried," because while you can shoot or write to a deadline, which is often the case, the best work often comes when you have the time to pace yourself and feel that "flow" that arises when your natural rhythm and your artistic nature are perfectly in tune. "Lethargically" and "deliberately" are both synonyms for "taking one's time," but I think that they miles apart from each other. "Deliberately" was really the more precise term I should have used. Or "thoughtfully." But then I've done some of my best work while taking a leisurely walk along the water's edge, so perhaps that term wasn't really so imprecise. I've also done some of my best work thinking on my feet or trying to get that split-second shot, or with a deadline looming. But I'd rather think with a pen in my hand and an uninterrupted hour stretching out in front of me.
  11. I think incentives make sense. Most of the other agencies pay you a higher rate once you surpass different milestones. One starts off easy, bumping you up at just $500 in earnings to a higher rate, with another incremental bump or two on the way, but once you hit $10K in earnings, there are no more incentives. A few offer a higher commission and, most important, a better search position for exclusive images, even if you are not an exclusive photographer. Others have incentives by the photo, with the rate going up for each image the more often it is licensed. One is offering a free year of Adobe CC if you get 300 files accepted during the year (no editorial, very strict on similars, so it's not quite as simple as it seems, especially if you don't upload much and they announce the deal when there are only three month left in the year....) From the "prize" it's easy to guess who the latter is, doesn't really cost them much and while it's not a huge prize, it is incentive. The 99 cents they pay out for a subscription download didn't seem worth the trouble, until I started getting single digit sales here for a few months (including one RM print license for $1.18 (roughly 40 cents to me), and decided the $120 I'd save on my CC subscription was worth the effort and that there was really no downside to putting my images there. I also have been uploading them elsewhere as time permits, so it's a win-win. If I'm not taking photos for a client, stock helps me to really think about the purpose of what I'm shooting, although some of my most successful images, those that are licensed again and again, are often images I shot for the pure joy of it. My family always thought it was odd that I would be off taking photos of nature and architecture while on vacation, as well as photographs of interesting strangers, and not just family snapshots, until I was off at college and my dad got a few of those rolls of film developed for me. Then he bought me my first 35mm SLR. You have to love photography, or doing this just wouldn't make any sense. Some of the large micros give sweetheart deals to their biggest producers, which certainly makes sense from a business point of view, although there is plenty of griping by those who don't get such treatment, but personally I've never seen the point in begrudging other's success. John, I'm glad you're having a banner year, it keeps my spirits up to hear of other's success. It means that there is hope. I was really sure that this year was going to be great here but the second half of the year has been my worst ever. I make more in a day on those sites many scoff at than I've made here the past couple of months. I've increased my portfolio by about 15% but can never imagine having tens of thousands of images online, although I have uploaded a couple of hundred in the last couple of months, so I may hit 10,000 before I die. My new images uploaded elsewhere are being licensed right away, so I feel like I'm uploading the kinds of images people need, and I'm uploading similar content here, as well as a fair amount of exclusive content to Alamy, but i'm still waiting for that long tail to wag the dog, which is what I would expect for new content here. My income here rose steadily and sharply, roughly doubling each year to the next from 2009 through 2015. It seesawed up and down after that, but not by more than about 15% in either direction. Right now 2018 to 2019 is pretty much a straight line, and has been one since July which is disappointing. . I got one $250 license earlier this year, so I know that they are still out there, and am feeling like it's time to see at least one more of them before the year ends. @John Mitchell , may I rub your head for luck? 😎
  12. i first got a Kindle Fire thinking it was the cheap woman's iPad - nope but good for reading magazines, newspapers and books at home (and playing those distracting video games). Fast forward to the summer and I realized you can't use it on the beach unless you get the beach umbrella just right and given how windy it is in New England where we go to the beach, it was a no-go as the umbrella often wouldn't stay up (we got a tent-like thing for the baby this year and it is far more solid and has room for two chairs) . After two summers of frustration, my husband's Kindle paper white gave up the ghost right before Mother's Day last year so I got us matching refurbished Kindle paper whites on sale for Memorial Day as Mother's and Father's Day gifts. So light and actually waterproof. Haven't dropped it in the tub yet but good to know it's safe. The Kindle Fire is good for email (reading) but it's a bit hunt and peck for writing,. Now that there is PS for the iPad, I might consider getting one, but I blew my electronics budget this year on my mega laptop. Less than a year old and I need to bring it to Apple at some point to get the keyboard replaced as not just the "e" but about 8 of the letters have worn through. The E wore out in the first month. I just figured I'd wait and hope that they fix the problem before getting a new one that will just wear out again so quickly. $4,000 for blazing fast innards, a beautiful light design, and a dime store keyboard. The inexpensive Japanese fountain pen I bought will outlast it by many years. John, I want a self driving car when I'm 80 so my daughter doesn't have to take my car keys away. Without a garage there's nowhere to power an electric car or I would have looked into a hybrid. I get well over 32MPG with my Subaru Forrester despite its large size (I'm on a private road and we pay for snow removal but the guy can't get there until fairly late in the day - our road is too narrow for the town's trucks - so we need to have one car with 4-wheel drive - it's also good for carting artwork to shows - and with all the huge SUV's on the road, it feel a bit safer- hubs has a tiny sporty Hundai Velocter which gets awesome mileage and is fun to drive).
  13. Flying through these days. Rarely take even 24 hours. Love it.
  14. @John Mitchell I think my iPhone would be the hardest thing to give up. Mostly because of all the photos of my grandson that my daughter messages me... not to mention the adorable photos I take when we FaceTime. Amazing that I can take a photo of a child in Ohio from my home in NY. Of course, the photos are all magically on my computers too, thanks to the magic of MAC. It will never replace my camera, but it's great little tool. I had my last one (a 4S) for 4 years and want to replace my 6S, but the price tag is holding me back. I think they do a price break if you get a slightly older version, but everything MAC, much as I mostly love it, is overpriced, even at a discount. I don't need the latest and greatest....though sometimes I think that as things get outdated so fast, maybe the latest makes sense rather than starting with something that's already outdated. The thing I liked best about tuning in my 13-year-old Ford for a shiny new Subaru was, admittedly, the gas mileage and the heated seats, but the link to my iPhone that lets me listen to audible books from my library and take calls hands free was a close third I've had it for nearly 5 years now and to me it's a new car, If the Ford had gotten decent gas mileage I'd probably still have it. And those heated seats are technology...we don't have a garage, so they really are more of a necessity than a luxury in winter, and they actually warm your lower back so I sometimes use them even in warm weather when my back is achy or before it gets achy on a long ride.
  15. More hijacking - I have views from several ferries on the east coast of the US, including from the Staten Island ferry, but the only actual photos of a ferry I could find were from Sweden, like this one. I was more interested in the little castle, LOL: On the Beatles front, my husband's grandfather worked in a music hall in NYC where the Beatles were practicing before their gig on the Ed Sullivan Show. He came home and mentioned to my brother-in-law (then a teenager) that these musicians caused such a racket, of course my BIL was so disappointed he'd missed a chance to see them live. Hubs wasn't born yet. I was 5 and, like my teenage cousins, was in love with Paul. Seeing him on TV was enough of a thrill.
  16. The Staten Island Ferry in NYC (takes you from Manhattan to Staten Island or vise versa) is still free for everyone, no 65+ passes needed. I remember the first time I had to handle a court case on Staten Island, I was surprised that any kind of city transport was free. That was years ago. Just checked online and it's still free. I remember my parents taking us for a ride on it sometimes as kids (you get a nice view of the city). NYC kids who live far enough away from their schools get a free bus pass to ride the buses and the subway. I lived 4 blocks from my grammar school as a kid growing up on City Island (a tiny island that is part of the Bronx, one of the boroughs in NYC) so I walked to school. But if I was going home with a friend who lived far enough to need a bus pass the driver would waive me on free anyway. City Island was once a major boat building hub. A childhood friend of mine now runs the only boat yard left on the island. There used to be several even when I was in high school. All those boats, but we did not have a ferry, but my grammar school was right on the water and every street pretty much dead-ended in a beach. Easy to understand where my obsession with the beach comes from, even if I'm technically a "city kid." We swam from late April til late September. The water is warmest in autumn, even if you needed to race into a very warm towel when you got out. Never knew the Mersey was in Liverpool until Ed moved there... but I know that song...
  17. Thanks to everyone for answering. It's so interesting to see how we embrace technology and yet we also enjoy sometimes taking the more leisurely way. I think that need for the tactile - at least in some aspects of our lives - is important to those with any kind of artistic bent.
  18. John, like you, I write articles (as well as marketing and corporate communications) and it took me several years before I stopped printing out what I wrote to proof so I could revise it by hand before then typing up the handwritten changes. Now I can't imagine doing that, but then most copy is about 250-600 words these days, so I can pretty much see it all at a glance anyway. I love that feeling of flow, both when I'm shooting, writing or when I've decided to really transform a photograph into something else via Photoshop and other programs. If only I got into that zone while keywording or uploading photos. 😎
  19. I broke my reading glasses last week (my eyes are very different from each other, so I need to get prescription ones, can't use the over the counter kind) and it made me realize how much easier a lit screen is to read. I never thought I'd use my Kindle much but I actually prefer it. I also love making prints. I have a Canon Pixma Pro 10. Love experimenting with different papers.
  20. Allan, that was me... notes all over...and that is the greatest joy of my laptop, the search function. And I've even found a solution for those handwritten notes. The bullet journal is where I now jot down all those little snippets and since my bullet journal has an index in the front, I can actually find them. I have a small travel sized journal I sometimes take to the coffee shop or wherever, and if that's not with me, I use the Notes section of my phone (also wonderfully searchable from the phone, my laptop, and iMac). Here in the US, there is an office supply store called Staples. They had these TV ads with a big red button the size of an old fashioned hotel lobby bell that says "Easy" on it. Push the button and suddenly a messy office is organized, notes are found, etc. Wouldn't it be great?
  21. I was having a great year - making as much by July as I had all of last year. Then, since August my sales have trickled in for amounts such as $1.00 or $7.00 and the meter has barely moved at all. A four month slump is at least 3 months too long. But I've also gotten $$$ sales this year, and hope for a few more ... anything's possible.. it seems as easy to have a bad month as a good one. Fingers crossed that something good pops in before the month's end. 😎 Ironically, I've uploaded more in the past couple of months than usual, so feeding the beast as it were isn't necessarily the answer. Though again, there's a long tail so that I guess any benefit from increased uploads the past couple of months won't show up until December. Still 2019, so the year could improve.
  22. I live in the New York suburbs, not much of note happens editorially. When Hillary Clinton was running for president, and when Bill Clinton was president and first moved to my town, there were some nice editorial moments, but not enough to qualify as regular news. Then again, a dear friend of the forum who we lost very recently shot "photo of the day" images on the coast of Wales that made the national dailies on your side of the pond all the time. There is always plenty to shoot if you use your creativity.
  23. Are you more digital or analog? I'm not talking about whether you shoot film, I know most here shoot primarily or entirely digital ... and have done so for more than a decade. I mean in your approach to life. I love the digital world but my approach to life still has a very strong analog component. For example, I love Lightroom and have used it since v 1.0. I started using it while working as a digital tech for a photographer several years my junior. I love technology. But.... I expected that once I got all 80,000 or so images completely organized, it would make it easier to keep track of where everything was, which photos I uploaded where, which are RM or RF. That occurred around 2012, but while I can find any photo in the blink of an eye, it still doesn't do everything I want. For organizing some projects printing out old fashioned contact sheets make the job easier. Sometimes I just need the ability to jot down notes. I've been using a computer for about half my life now, but those first 30 analog years still mean I sometimes feel better with paper and pencil in front of me - easier to jot notes. I also have been loving the concept of keeping a bullet journal, which I've done for about a year and a half now. I have one for everyday stuff, and a second with sections for stock and fine art photo ideas and processing notes when I do something artsy or learn something new in PS or other software. So, we know that a fair number of us belong to the 60+ crowd. That means in college a computer took up an entire room, but a few years later PC's were on the scene. My husband is years younger than I am, so he used a computer (in a school computer lab) rather than an electric typewriter, though we are probably both equally proficient on the computer by now. He likes to keep a notebook too. How about you? Interested to know how your organize your day, your notes, your work, your ideas? e.g. I have a notebook with blank pages where I draw out photo shoot ideas. I do most of my reading (NYTimes, Washington Post, and various other magazines and newspapers as well as most books on my Kindle) but I love a notebook for writing in, even though I keep scores of notes on my laptop too. Still love the feel of paper and pen. I even bought a fountain pen recently.
  24. My life would be much easier if Lightroom did not alphabetize keywords. I got a huge batch organized and tightened up the keywords in Bridge, but then I used the Adobe Stock uploader to upload to their site and of course it meant that all the keywords were now out of order. I like that Alamy now lets you pick the 10 most important as supertags, so order is not an issue, but Adobe requires that the most important 7 be up on top. Each site has their own quirks, so it becomes time-consuming if you upload to a bunch. I really just concentrate mostly on 3 plus a fine art site, but each of these has different captioning and keywording requirements. Lately, I've shortened up all of my keywording and captions, so that they need less tweaking if I submit to more than one place. I still have a lot of old images here on Alamy with too many keywords or weird single word keywords from the transition over from the old 3-part AIM. I found it a nightmare to fix 800-1,000 images and gave up partway through - don't know how those with 10s of thousands managed. I wouldn't want to have to go back and fix so many photos later but each of us has our own way of working. I'm just glad that all my new ones have fewer tags and that helps it all to go faster. To answer your question, it really varies greatly month to month whether I sell more editorial or commercial - also a lot of my travel photography can be used both editorially and commercially, but if that counts as editorial, then that probably wins out everywhere except dreamstime where I license a fair number of abstract backgrounds from a small portfolio that I haven't added to in years. They license travel too, but backgrounds do especially well there. Adobe, which is commercial only, sells more travel than anything else for me, and until recently half my port there was backgrounds, now it's maybe 1/3rd. Here, editorial wins (counting all travel as editorial) nature isn't really commercial but it's not editorial either - it sells but travel is my bread and butter everywhere (but DT, and strongish there too). As much as editorial is by far Alamy's strength, I've had some nice $$$ licenses with commercial studio concept shots. But the couple of sales I had over $400 here were travel shots.
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