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Everything posted by Marianne

  1. Yes, I've had sales for vague searches with thousands of other photos showing up - so you need to include those terms or your photos may never be found. I can get a couple hundred wasted views for "England" from images tagged "New England" but it's a common enough search from which I've had sales, so have to take the good with the bad. Despite so many views, I think my sales numbers are pretty good by Alamy standards for the size of my portfolio, if anywhere from one in 53 to one in 83 of my photos sell, that's a decent percentage, but I sometimes think perhaps I should just upload many more images from the same locations anyway. It's nice to get a CTR spike when a bunch of images are zoomed. What is discouraging however is when I'll have various images that are the only zooms, and never see a sale from them. Makes you wonder why zooms count so much in rank, but my photos mostly show up well, so I guess it all works out.
  2. Yes, this can really be helpful. I used to study this a lot with the micros since it also meant I had 1000s of sales to look at and could see which keywords worked best. I think that really helped me to refine my keywording. I still have lots of images at Alamy that have more keywords than necessary, especially from the old three-part AIM, but it is not worth the time to revise them.
  3. I think these kinds of pronouncements can be very discouraging and also misleading. At least, in my experience, this metric isn't helpful at all. Here's why: I've had over 14,000 views since January with only 1,100 images. People with over 4,000 images are reporting fewer views than that. Perhaps this is why my views/sale ratio is quite high. I don't know, but I don't think it means my keywording is bad, nor that I am wasting buyer's time. I think it shows that I'm uploading images that buyers can use and keywording them properly. My number of sales dropped to a little over 1 per 1,000 images per month this year, to 13 sales or one sale for every 82 images over the year. For the past two years, my average was one sale for every 52 images, per year. I think that sales per image is a much more valuable metric.But, even that can be misleading, because despite a drop in sales, I earned as much in the first 6 months of this year as I did in all of 2018, when my sales per image was much higher. Allan said the average is one sale a month per 3,000 images, so one sale for every 250 images. If this is the case, then my sales numbers are above the Alamy average. I know that my CTR is above average, particularly in my primary pseudo where it varies from 0.8 to 2.0 this year, so, in comparing my results via these other metrics, my portfolio is performing fine, despite the fact that my views/sales ratio is extremely high (above 1500). I shoot travel and tend to go back and shoot in the same locations, so I may have a large number of views for a particular location, giving buyers a nice selection to choose from. For the most part, I don't have a lot of similars, and have a tightly edited collection. I could easily have 10s of thousands of images online if I didn't edit tightly (and if I did more bulk processing), but I usually pick the best 8-12 out of every 300 images I shoot. That doesn't mean they are all winners by any means, and I'm blown away by people with 2,000-5,000 images who sell many times more images than I do. The point is, metrics can be misinterpreted, so it's easy to make pronouncements that don't really hold up. BTW, what is your views/sales ratio? You didn't say. How about sales per image? I have no doubt it's better than mine, but I'm curious.
  4. I have used Nikon, Olympus and Sony cameras and the white balance varies greatly, and it also varies by lens - Nikon, Zuiko, Sony/Zeiss, Sigma, Rokinon - so I don't worry if my Hoya, B+W, Zeiss, and/or Nikon filters will affect the colors. I always play with them in post - either to find a color that seems most like what I saw - or most pleasing if I'm going for a manipulated look. It also varies if I decide to use Nik filters when I'm processing, or Capture One, or LR/PS/Adobe RAW - and all the different color options now available as presets in LR. Gray cards are very helpful in setting a good WB if I'm shooting portraits, but outdoors for landscape and travel I tend to use either daylight or WB auto and use the eye dropper tool later as a starting place when I'm processing. After an initial batch process, I tend to mostly process one photo at a time. Ironically, some of my best selling travel and landscape images have been ones where I've thrown off the white balance to give them a more super-saturated look, not my favorite look but one that seems to be popular. I much prefer a more natural look, and generally try to tweak my WB to render what I've seen. For me, as I mentioned before, with wind, salt and sand on a beach, I wouldn't think of using a lens without some sort of protection. But my wide assortment of lenses and cameras means I'm not going to get consistency across every shot, but I don't see any reason why I'd need to. I try to tweak the look and WB to the scene - and sometimes I will take a single scene and process the photos differently to produce more than one "look," the great joy of digital photography. I remember traveling across Europe as a senior in college during my 5-week winter break, after my first semester of photography class. I took along all different films and had to think each morning about what I wanted to load into my camera. Ilford B+W, Kodak Ektachrome, Seattle Film Works Color (very washed out and pastel), Kodak color or PanX for daytime B+W or TriX for late afternoon, evening or indoors - now I can emulate most of those films after the fact, giving me such creative freedom.
  5. Really a shame! Hope you get more access. Can Alamy Live News help you out?
  6. I shoot at the beach a lot. I have all kinds of filters - ND, Polarizers - and some UV and some just glass protective. These days, I buy only high quality ones. In fact, I was disappointed that I couldn't seem to get a sharp image with my 200mm Olympus lens from my film days (circa 1979) on my mirrorless camera. Then I thought to take off the UV filter - what a revelation. Night and day. Worth the money to buy high end filters for what I shoot. I'm very careful with my equipment but I've seen some of the older ones get scratched up over time. Sand, wind and salt water are not a lens' friend. Occasionally, I won't use one on some lenses that have deep lens hoods but it always makes me nervous. I remember a job where I had to shoot glass doors with a client's logo on them - very reflective glass doors. The polarizer was a life saver. They can really come in handy indoors sometimes. I had stopped using mine as much for a while figuring I could enhance blue skies in post, and it meant a lot more work in post. I was actually thinking about buying one of those didymium glass filters to enhance fall colors, but our leaves are mostly going from green to brown this year. Anyone use one? Worth it? But I think you are focusing more on the protection issue. For what I do, it just makes sense. But they can get to be pricey when your lens has a large front element. I finally stopped buying one for every lens and now just buy them for the different filter sizes. if I'm out with two lenses that have the same filter size, I'll put the UV on one and the polarizer on the other and just switch them as needed.
  7. Despite the fire's devastation, the scene is so beautiful and it says to me that nature will grow back - amazing color. What a beautiful area. Great to take photos and help them get the message out there. I need to apply to Live News again and get into the city as protests happen. So worn out from the political situation here, but saving our planet is the #1 priority. Even if I din't have a millennial daughter and a one-year-old grandson, all these kids deserve a future where they can breathe and live life to the fullest. Great shots!
  8. My first sale back in 2009 was to Russia. I was really excited to know my work was being used in such a faraway part of the world. Now I've had work on nearly every continent, but it was so exciting to me a a newbie, even if the price ($38) wasn't going to make me rich. Had a few more since then. Hope they straighten it out. Tough especially if you shoot a lot or live in that part of the world, though Russians seem to know a lot about how to get past restraints and generally seem to be quite computer savvy as we in the USA have learned...
  9. This one made it to last week's grid of greatness. @Edo I'll have to take to shooting more of my food.
  10. Take a class on Photoshop at your local community college. I did shortly before I turned 50, with rudimentary computer skills (in my prior life as a lawyer my secretary took care of all the formatting, etc. for me, I could barely use Word.) 12 years later as a fellow senior citizen, I realize I don't learn as quickly as I did at 49, but I remember at the time fearing I'd be too old to learn - In fact, I went on to work as a digital tech for an "old School" photographer several years my junior. The point is, while Photoshop seems daunting and there is always more to learn, it is quite astonishing how quickly those of us who grew up in the analog world can become proficient. Even if you are going to submit work taken with your D810, you will need to learn Photoshop. Your files are not too large. Once they are exported as 8bit jpegs, they will continue to have the same pixel dimensions, but the inherent compression, even at level 12, the highest quality, will leave them at around 5-12MB (depending upon the complexity of the data in the file - e.g. a sunset that is mostly orange or a black and white image will often end up quite a bit smaller than a highly detailed landscape). The 17MB size that Alamy requires is for an uncompressed 8-bit Tiff, which translates to roughly a 6 megapixel image. As I explain below, you are in good shape there, and have some leeway. In any event, the real issue here is the softness. In order to correct for that, while re-"digitizing" by photographing may give better results, if you've done so much scanning already, you may be better off using some small bit of sharpening in Photoshop, and then downsizing a bit as this will also make the file sharper. As noted, you only need the file to be 6MP (megapixels) which is about 2000 x 3000 pixels (you'll want to make it just slightly larger than that to be safe , maybe 3025 on the long side) but in any case, if they are currently 5000 pixels on the long side, you can shrink them a lot. And downsizing to 4000 px on the kong side might easily do the trick. When you understand Photoshop, you'll be able to gauge how small you need the file to be to get it sharp. Also quite important, while you need to upload jpegs to Alamy, only export them as jpegs at the very last stage. You want to dust spot, sharpen, etc, as Tiffs since working on a jpeg degrades the file because you are using lossy compression. Tiffs can be compressed using ZIP or LZW without any loss of quality. Search the forum for "file size" to help you better understand what it means. You also probably want to look through the various pictures sold threads to get a sense of what sells here. Generally, travel snapshots aren't worth uploading, but the types of photos that you have probably sold in the past with your articles are. Edit your collection and only upload the best. This will save you time, and more important, will insure you have a good collection of images without a lot of work that can bring your Alamy rank down. (Search "Alamy rank" on the forum. A friend lent me a Nikon negative scanner and scanning some of my old work has long been on my bucket list. Most of my archive, going back to the 1970's, are negatives, not transparencies, much shot while I was taking black and white darkroom classes, so photographing them isn't an option. They are far less sharp than what I am used to with digital capture, which is why the archival route can be helpful. I don't know that buyers worry about the language that archival photos might have defects. Before Alamy had live news, I used to upload all my freshly shot editorial images, which would have passed QC, via the reportage route in order to get them online right away. Many of them have been licensed years later, not as breaking news, so I don't think the buyers worry about the archival/reportage caveat Good luck and welcome to Alamy!
  11. I tried a google image search here in the US and got lots of hits but unfortunately they were all Alamy in various countries around the world, Tineye.com ( similar to google images) was limited to my area - it only returned Alamy.com Try again in another month or so, some clients actually pay before publication and it may not have been used yet. Also try searching on Amazon and Google books in case it was used in a book - you can search for your name, Good luck! Hope you find it,
  12. I got my two pneumonia vaccines two years in a row (two different ones give a year apart) in my late 50's (65 unless you have health issues that require it sooner). Started getting the flu jab then too and have each year since. I hate needles. All were free (covered 100% by health insurance). Got them at the pharmacy nearby (Walgreens) rather than MD's office since they give away free vaccines to kids in Africa (various vaccines) for every vaccine you get there. I want to get that shingles vaccine - a couple of friends had shingles and it's horrible. So glad we can be protected from all this stuff. It's funny, when my grandson was born our daughter asked us to get our titers for childhood diseases checked. I'm too old to have gotten the MMR, but my hubs is a few years younger than me and had it. He needed a booster but I'm immune to mumps and rubella (which I had), as well as to measles (which I never had). Still, would rather get a jab as a kid and again as an adult than suffer through mumps again. An pneumonia, which I've had a few times, is no picnic either. Good advice Edo.
  13. Live News has helped me get press access in the past. Send them an email and ask them to send you an email that says you are shooting for them. If you have a Press Pass from ASMP or the like as well, you might want to have that on you too. Stay safe. Edit: Just saw the other posts while I was writing. I've only shot house fires, I'd heed Chuck's advice.
  14. I was thinking of changing one of mine ... but changed my mind. Fun challenge. For once I have so many options. It's supposed to rain for the next week so I cancelled a trip to take stock photos on Cape Cod, but perhaps I can do some puddle reflections here instead. 😎
  15. That thread gave me my belly laugh for the day - thanks! I'd have given you two greenies, if I could, but you'll have to settle for the official LOL symbol and these: 👍🏻👍🏻 Glad to see the official Alamy sense of humor too.
  16. I had a bunch of my images transferred to G from 5..p and they re-keyworded them so as to make them nearly unfindable. A couple of a church in Chatham, a popular town on Cape Cod with a mass of fall pumpkins in front has been keyworded "Christianity, church, religion...." no fall, autumn, pumpkins, Halloween, Chatham, Cape Cod...the same image has sold here a couple of times. I work so hard on my keywords and the image had been keyworded properly, and it and others have been used in travel articles about the Cape, fall getaways, and Halloween...but it won't be found for any of those concepts there. The worst thing is they took a cache of my Cape Cod photos and then ruined the keywords. So yes, agencies can make a real mess of things because many now use AI for keywording. I just uploaded a bunch on one such agency and one of my images (from Cape Cod, in fact), to my surprise, had only one keyword. So, the AI suggested a bunch. Some were good but others were totally wrong, such as "Europe," probably generated because of other images I'd uploaded in the batch, although a similar shot that was completely and properly keyworded was uploaded with it, but it pulled place names from dissimilar images in the batch. That's why people matter. If someone is lazy and relies on an agency's AI, that's what will happen.
  17. My New York images have ended up in searches for "York," "New England" for "England," "New London Connecticut" for "London"...and the list goes on - several pages of my views are searches where, despite careful keywording, and not using single words, they show up in random searches where you would think that they should not be popping up on one of the first couple of pages. I shoot a lot in New England and the overlap with British place names is pretty common. And although my name is not in my keywords, random images of mine show up when someone searches for "Marianne ________(pick a last name)" If I wasn't so tired I could probably bore you with hundreds of other examples... At one point, Alamy encouraged us to go through and put quotations around phrases in anticipation of changing the search engine. Many here invested hours re-keywording, and then they never made the change, Worse, I have images from that time that have ended up with over 100 keywords and they were all split into single words making their appearance in irrelevant searches even more likely thanks to that hard work. I'd guess this is especially annoying for people who live in the US, Canada, Australia, or other former colonies with place names that mimic Great Britain, and I guess when someone searches for "New _____(any British place name)" in one of those former colonies, our UK colleagues's images show up as well. We are all in the same boat, but it is frustrating to know that half of the searches my photos show up in are for the wrong term, because Alamy decided to structure their search in such a way that it can't be avoided. And given that they encouraged us to re-keyword for a proposed search change where this type of false hit could be avoided, it was obviously a decision on their part and not a limit to what is possible, even years ago. To then penalize us by relying on CTR when so many false hits are due to the search structure seems unfair, but it probably does even out for most of us, though maybe those who tend to shoot more in countries where the names don't overlap those in other parts of the world have an advantage. Who knows. Just do your best to keyword and know that you are far from alone.
  18. I once saw a mind-blowing exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art about photo editing before Photoshop - negatives may not have lied, but prints certainly could. I'd like to see what else could make that squirrel make such a face, LOL. I'd assume the judges would do some pixel-peeping.
  19. Exactly! That's why I sold mine. I think I may just stick to primes, and look into the Olympus 12-100mm next fall. When I'm traveling by car it's easier to cart the primes, but if I'm out all day in some far-away town I may never return to, it would be great to have a zoom and keep my kit lighter.
  20. Ilford makes a terrific black and white paper - actually two of them - one for a pigment printer and one for a commercial printer - a panchromatic, resin-coated paper using a silver-based emulsion I've used both for my fine art work - the pigment-based when I print myself, and the other when I've had a lab do the work. The silver emulsion is great but I also find that the pigment ink mimics film quite well. I have had gallerists remark that I was shooting film when viewing both. I spend hours tweaking my B&W in Nik Silver Efex - I also use Color Efex and other programs to bring out textures. The real secret is to never convert to grayscale. You lose so much of the gray tones that way. B&W prints should be in the sRGB color space. I started out shooting black and white film and learned in a darkroom, so my expectations of what a good B&W print should look like is influenced by the masters such as W Eugene Smith - just wish I could get my work to even approach anything like that, LOL. I used Ilford paper when I printed black and white in the darkroom too in the 1970's and 80's as a student and then as a lawyer seeking a creative outlet. I had heard a rumor at one point that Ilford was going under and so we wouldn't have the digital paper - I was in a panic. I have also used a Moab paper for black and white portraits for clients that I really like. For those I was printing myself with pigment inks. Using the wrong paper, images often get that purplish tone - so it's important to find the right one. (I have a Canon Pigment photo printer, which I much prefer to the Epson printers I used when working as a photo assistant - though most people I know who print their own work swear by Epson.) I don't think I've uploaded any of my B&W to Alamy, so no idea how it would look. Certainly not like the image Edo posted of Smith's - I could only dream!
  21. Too pricey for my earnings too ($1,200 is the best price I've seen new) but every year around this time I get gear envy and I know once I see everything on offer at PhotoExpo later this week it will only get worse. So I start thinking about whether I can fit a new piece of kit into the budget. Been doing more writing assignments than photo ones, so I'll probably hold off on buying anything else this year, but I like to plan out what I want - it's good incentive. And then there is the weight. I might reconsider the pro zoom 12-100mm (24-200mm equivalent) for the Olympus , since it's a lighter kit and would let me use image stacking, since, while my Om-1 with the updated firmware can do it, I don't have any pro lenses. The ones I have are so light and I'm happy with them, but I could use a good zoom for travel and hiking. I tried out a 12-24mm Pro lens last year, but I could not correct the awful chroma and returned it. That's what helped me decide to switch to the Sony mirrorless, which I love, but for trekking around, the Olympus is so much lighter and I find I use both cameras about the same amount. We're hoping to take a trip to Italy and Spain next fall, so I have a year to save up for one of them. I thought I"d sell off the Olympus kit once I got the Sony, but you can't beat the weight of the Olympus. The Sony quality is amazing, but for stock the Olympus is really more than good enough. I wish that the lenses were all interchangeable. I probably should have kept my 24-70mm Nikon to use with adapters on both cameras, but it really defeated the light weight which was why I opted for them in the first place.
  22. Actually I have had more issues with dust with the Sony 35mm than any other. It's not the G Master one (like my 90mm macro) but I'd expect more from it. I'm always leery when they say there is dust inside too. I have three non-professional lenses for my Olympus, the 17mm, 25mm and 40-150mm zoom and after several years of use including changing lenses out in the desert in Arizona & Nevada on separate trips, not to mention frequent use on the beach over the years, I haven't noticed any dust in any of them. And using my 20mm Nikon lens with an adapter on the Sony, I don't see any dust, but I seem to see some in different spots at times with the 35mm. It comes and goes, though, and is not in the same place, so I don't know that it's inside. Even when I had a bunch of zooms for my Nikons, I also had some primes and have always tended to change lenses frequently, and rarely had much of a concern about dust, but I don't think that the sensor cleaning mechanism on the Sony works as well as it could ....however, it could also just be more noticeable because I'm dealing with 42MP photos, rather than 6-16MP as with past cameras. I like primes because I've been trying to shoot less and think more before I click the shutter and I think it's helping. I'm tired of coming back with thousands of images and spending days on end just trying to cull them, or comparing dozens of similar shots to chose the best. In my travels this past year and a half using mostly the Sony, I've shot fewer images than ever before and I've processed the shots and gotten them online faster. Also, I've shot a lot more fine art.
  23. Update on lenses: & your thoughts ....new vs. used? Found some used Meyer Optik Lydith lenses (the originals) on ebay for under $70, + $10 shipping and another $10-15 for an adapter (vs $750 for the Sony mount when they reissue the classic). I'm waiting to see what the customs, etc are since they all ship from Germany. Used 24-105mm going for $1,000-1,110, I think given the price of the later I'd try used from B&H, Adorama, MPB, or KEH where I'd get a 6-month warranty, since it's too much to spend if it doesn't work out and most sellers are one-week returns, out of luck if something goes wrong after that. I've had really great luck buying used from ebay and elsewhere. My best lens was a 50-500mm Sigma that was a floor model at B&H or Adorama. Sharp to 500mm. I sold it for just $250 less than I paid for it after 9 years, so I think that used may be the way to go. Even if I just save $200, I can use the savings for a used Meyer Optik, and save nearly $1,000 total that way. What do you guys think about buying used equipment? Has it been worthwhile for you? When I've sold used lenses I usually got back between 70-80% of what I paid after 8-10 years of use, whereas, like a new car, the lenses I bought new dropped more....though to be fair, in some cases I'm comparing a private sale to selling a bundle of stuff to MPB of B&H. The biggest eye-opener was the value of the 50mm prime I bought for a song. Ebay is often a good deal. So, do you always buy new, or do you take a chance on used equipment? Steve, thanks again for your advice. I think I"m going to wait until after PhotoExpo so that I can see all the latest and greatest stuff out there and don't decide that maybe I should spend my budget on something else. A zoom would be great right now, but as all my my trips, other than going into NYC , are with the car, toting around a couple of primes isn't a big deal and I'll probably . wander around PhotoExpo with just the lighter 35mm, since I'll be on my feet all day.
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