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Robert Shantz

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Posts posted by Robert Shantz

  1. A slow month by number of sales but just a little below average for revenue.  Revenue, year to date, is a little below last year at this time.


    2 sales for $208 / 104  (gross / net).  The two were for $89 / 44.50 and $119 / 59.50.  


    Views continued to be high by historical standards, but zooms have continued to be low.  5761 views, 19 zooms, 0.33 CTR


    Robert Shantz

    • Upvote 1
  2. A below average month before the refund, and poor afterwards.


    There were 5 new sales for $184.69 / $92.37  (all numbers gross / net ) which would have been below average but not that far out of range.  Then I had a refund of a March sale of $187.50 / 93.75 which was then relicensed for $45 / 22.50 for a loss of $ 142.50 / 72.25.  That left me with an overall gain of only $42.19 / 21.12 for the month.  I suppose I should be grateful to have at least stayed positive.


    The high new sale was $69.99 / 35.00 and the lows two personal use at $19.99 / 10.00.  There were no distributor sales.


    Views and zooms were down a little but still not bad.  4825 views, 28 zooms, for a CTR of 0.58




    • Upvote 1
  3. May was a slightly below average month.  4 sales for a total of $202 / 94  (all numbers gross / net).  Highest 75 / 37.50, lowest a personal use for 19.99 / 10.00   (And while it's possible it was a PU, like many others I'm having a hard time believing that many of my PU sales really are PU.)  Only one distributor sale.


    Views were about normal at 5585, zoom back up to 30 for a CTR of 0.54


    Still, I'm a little ahead of last year at this time.  So I'm happy if not thrilled.



    • Upvote 2
  4. Some photos of heavy haulers.


    The first is an autoclave for mining.  The cylindrical vessel was reported to be 83 feet long, 14.5 feet wide, and weighing 168 short tons.  There were two tractors pushing, but I couldn't get everything in even at 17 mm.  On rural two lane highway in Arizona, USA










    Hauling part of a mining shovel.  One tractor pulling, one pushing.  Parked alongside highway in Arizona, USA










    Hauling part of a wind turbine tower on a rural highway in New Mexico, USA



  5. Anna,


    What you consider to be the background may not be what Alamy or a buyer considers it to be.  If any part of what could be considered the subject is not good and sharp at 100%, then don't upload it no matter how much you like the photo.  Unless you know more about what sells than I do, taking a chance on QC failure just isn't worth being locked out on all the images.  Note that blurred backgrounds are perfectly acceptable, just not soft subjects.  QC gets to decide what the subject is, not us.


    Also, and many beginners make this mistake, don't assume that deleting the failed image gets the job done.   QC only checks a sample of the submission, so others in the set may also be soft but not noted.  When you delete only the one(s) that QC noted, and resubmit the other ones, there is a good chance that QC will find another soft one and fail you again.   Always recheck the entire set that was rejected at 100%, and delete anything that is the least bit doubtful.


    Most of us have had failures before we learned what would reliably pass, so don't take the first few failures personally.  Just accept that fact that when you are making a normal submission to Alamy, it has to meet their technical QC standards.  Period.  Alamy QC doesn't give you any credit for composition or possible salability. 


    Also, go over the sky or any other uniform area several time to look for sensor dust  ( also called dust bunnies ).  They are easy to miss, and QC has real talent when it comes to finding them and failing the image.



    • Upvote 5
  6. ​Anna,


    I should also have mentioned that you might want to consider an entirely different system  ---  if you search the forums you'll find that a number of photographers are now using smaller cameras such as the Sony RX100 series rather than their DSLRs.  I'm now using the RX100 III for many of my shots mostly because it saves a great deal of time on cloning out the sensor dust that is a real issue with my Canon 5D Mark II.  To again emphasize  the business end, let me note that the Canon produces better quality photos at 100%, but at any likely size for final use the images are very comparable.  So the time, and hassle, savings is important.


    Here's a link to one thread on the RX100 III.  If you look through the forums you'll find many others.




    Again, don't be in a hurry to buy new equipment until you can answer the question of what saleable images you are passing up because your present equipment won't let you capture them.




    Thank you everyone but well i guess it's almost summer there's a lot of festival going on first i can go playland and PNE,nght market,aquarium, festivals my kid is my model i will shoot everything on sunny days,i have 8 years Nikon D90 which i would like to Upgrade i can't decide which camera im going to buy,what do u think is the best upgrade

  7. Thank you everyone but well i guess it's almost summer there's a lot of festival going on first i can go playland and PNE,nght market,aquarium, festivals my kid is my model i will shoot everything on sunny days,i have 8 years Nikon D90 which i would like to Upgrade i can't decide which camera im going to buy,what do u think is the best upgrade




    If I read your original post correctly, you're looking at stock as a way to make money you need.  As such, equipment purchases must be a business decision and not based on what you would like.


    So the basic question must be what would a new, better, camera do that your present one doesn't do?   You will get larger files which to some buyers may be important, but not to most editorial buyers which is Alamy's core business.  You'll get better high ISO image quality, but unless you're often shooting in low light that won't be much help. 


    In many, if not most, cases you'll find that a better lens is a more useful upgrade than a better camera body.  But even here, be careful.  I'd wait to see what photos you aren't able to get because your current lenses aren't up to the job before spending money on a lens that might be useful.  Expensive lenses tend to pay for themselves at the extreme ends of their range.  If you need to shoot at f2.8, the better lenses will be markedly better than the basic kit lens.  If you're shooting in good sunlight at f5.6 to f8.0, there won't be enough difference between the lenses to worry about -- at least for normal editorial sales.


    If you find that your photos of children sell, you might discover that a better flash is your most pressing need.


    I ran my own metallurgical testing and assaying business for 20 years, and there were more than a few items I purchased early on because I thought they'd useful.  And when I retired I sold them for perhaps 5 cents on the dollar of my purchase cost without ever using them.


    From a business standpoint, I think you should wait until you clearly see the need for a new piece of equipment.  Then fill that need.   


    I certainly hope this venture works out for you.



    • Upvote 3
  8. 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.



    • Upvote 1
  9. Chris,


    In looking at your portfolio, it looks to be ( like mine ) heavy on photos you enjoy taking rather than including everything that might sell  (or more correctly license).  As a truck driver, you probably have access to photos that many others don't, and they do sometimes sell.  For example, my BFGB05 of a Linkbelt Crane and ACF25N of a semi with an oversize load both sold late last year for $49 each gross.  I once sold a photo  of a Love's Truck Stop  ( but only for $3.17 net ).  I've sold a number of photos of the main street of small towns.  Nothing special, just looking down the street in the main business district.  Granted, pulling a big truck over isn't as easy as a pickup, but then you might get more cooperation from other truckers for photos of loading / unloading, chaining up, etc.


    Same goes for the OP -- look at what is available where you are normally.  The chances of stock on Alamy paying you a living wage after travel expenses isn't, in my opinion, very good.  You have a lot of competition out there.  If you're mainly interested in something to do that you enjoy, like Ed and I do, then go for it.  If you really need the money, then I'd recommend looking elsewhere.


    Good luck.



  10. A little above average for number and amount of sales  ( all numbers gross / net ).  6 sales, $440 / $220 .  High $175 / $87.50.  Low $10.80 / $5.40.  All were direct sales.  This puts me, year to date, somewhat above last year at this time, so on the whole I'm happy.


    I had 6527 views with 21 zooms for a CTR of 0.32.  My highest views for a month ever, but only about average for zooms to give the below average CTR.


    I've been seeing a number of fairly general searches with a high number of views but low number of zooms.  Perhaps my competitors have likewise seen their CTR drop. 


    Some examples.


    Arizona USA colorful [DT] :  Personal 229 views, 1 zoom.  Total 4300 views 14 zooms   (my CTR was 0.44 against 0.33 for the total)


    Winter [WOP] [uSA] Personal 71 views, no zooms.  Total 6200 views 1 zoom.  Total CTR 0.02



    • Upvote 1


    Alamys's price for such a usage is £ 150. The images have been sold for $ 21. I get $ 6. I understand the deal but I find it very strange that the third party agency is allowed to set its own prices and give away my images to such a low price compared to Alamy’s prices. To get $ 6 for two images in a magazine that can be sold for 5 years feels like being cheated. This is the answer I got from Alamy:


    "This sale was made through one of our Distributors and they’ll charge what they think to be a competitive price in their market. It’s in everyone’s interest to get the highest price for each sale as the money is split three ways, but sometimes these prices look small when compared with similar licenses in the UK & US. Remember these are customers we wouldn’t normally reach as it’s a sale through our Distribution scheme and an “Additional Revenue Option”."


    When you quoted Alamy's price, I assume you were using the calculator.  Alamy had negotiated prices with many buyers, including newspapers, that give much lower prices than what the calculator shows.  So don't put this just on the distributors -- you probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere near that amount from a direct sale either.  I know that few of my sales are for over $100 regardless of usage.



    • Upvote 2
  12. Kristi,


    File sizes can be a little involved, but as others have said the easy way is to look at the file size as shown in Photoshop or other photo editor that shows file sizes.  One point -- the 17 megabyte ( MB )  requirement on Alamy is for 8 bit files.  If you do your editing at 16 bit as I and probably many others do, you'll need at least 34 MB showing while you're in 16 bit mode as you'll loose half the file size when you change the mode to 8 bit.  Alamy only accepts 8 bit jpeg's.


    Each pixel in 8 bit mode uses 3 bytes of data -- one each for the red, green and blue channels.  So you need, at a minimum, 17 / 3 or 5.6667 megapixels.  Any combination of length and width that gives this will give you the required size.  For example 2833 x 2000 pixels or 2500 x 2267 pixels.  Most, if not all, editors will show you the image dimensions in pixels, as will Windows Explorer if you use Windows.  You probably don't want to cut it too close, so the 6 megapixel recommendation that others have made is probably a good target.  Also, larger is better unless you go over the maximum size.  But you will only get over the maximum if you're using something like a digital back, so don't worry about that.


    I hope you do well with Alamy.



  13. Alamy now allows RF without model / property releases provided that the editorial use only box is checked.  This is on the optional tab in image manager.  I also make it a point to mark the number of people and / or the presence of private property and indicate that I don't have releases.  Doing so isn't required -- you can just check the editorial only box -- but to me it's an added layer of protection.  The editorial use only restriction will show when a potential buyer accesses the image and will indicate that Alamy must be contacted about any potential commercial use.


    Alamy's definition of people is still quite restrictive -- any person, or part of a person, visible at 100%, is considered to require a model release.  It is not a case of the person being recognizable.  You have quite a few photos where this restriction needs to be added.



    • Upvote 1
  14. I am excited to report I have had my most recent submission accepted. Thank-you for your support and help. 


    Jill: I usually shoot in JPEG, but have started to experiment with RAW. I try hard not to edit my photos too much, but when I want to make minor corrections I use Google's old software Picasa. It is so simple and does not over correct things. It also has some really fun setting for creating my other passion, abstract art photos. 



    Finally, one other question ... I have now tagged my three photos, added all my details, and it shows the photos are for sale. How do I see how much Alamy has listed the photos for? I tried to do a search after I finished tagging them, but I couldn't find them. Is there a delay as to when you can actually see your photos for sale?


    Thanks ... Smiles,



    It can take 24 hours  (more on weekends and holidays) for the photos to actually be searchable.


    Alamy gives you a price calculator, but sales are almost never at that price.  So just ignore it.  Alamy negotiates prices with most of their customers, so the actual sales amount will vary widely according to the use and who is buying.  And remember that your cut is 50% on direct Alamy sales but only 30% for sales through a distributor.



  15. This may or may not apply to your photos, but in the past some contributors have been failed for soft or lacking definition because what they took to be the main subject and what Alamy QC took to be the main subject weren't the same.  It's perfectly acceptable to have most of the photo soft as a consequence of depth of field, so long as the main subject is sharp.  But, for example, the photographer may have been concerned with the hands and Alamy sees the eyes soft and fails the photo.  If this doesn't apply to the photos you have submitted, just tuck the advice away for the future.


    Good luck.



  16. I'm in the United States, so my comments are really only applicable to laws here, and not necessarily anywhere else in the world.


    To second Bill's remarks, in general a signed release is of little value if the person signing is not reasonably knowledgeable.   I worked in the mining industry for many years, and we always got visitors to sign a release for any injuries they might incur.  But we did so knowing that most of the time the release wasn't worth the paper it was printed on as the person signing simply wasn't aware of all the possible hazards.   If I visited another property, my release would probably have stood up on the presumption that I was knowledgeable.  But not a storekeeper from town.


    My biggest concern has always gone back to the advice my father, a lawyer, gave me many years ago:  all you need to file a law suit is the $25 filing fee.   Having a case is extra.   Since in the US it is uncommon for the defendant in a suit to recover his legal costs, the mere filing of the suit imposes considerable financial costs.  It is not unheard of for a lawyer working on a contingency fee to send a threating letter knowing full well that they would lose in court, but just hoping that you will agree to a small settlement rather than pay the considerable costs of defending the suit. 


    The photographer thus gets to decide whether the potential financial return to him is worth his risk.  Historically, it has been unless he does something clearly improper like stating that he has a model release when he doesn't.  Or manipulating the photo to drastically change the impression that it gives.


    One example I remember reading about some years ago involved a stock photo of two young women walking down the street in short skirts.   A newpaper used the photo to illustrate an article on how women who used drugs had to turn to prostitution to support their habit.  When the young ladies saw the paper, they were not amused.  The newpaper tried to get out of it by claiming that they never explicity stated that the photograph was of prostitutes, but the judge didn't buy that argument  (properly, I'd say).  If I remember correctly, the photographer was not named in the suit.


    The approch I've taken is to clearly mark the boxes for no model / property release which on RM now gets an automatic editorial only, or mark RF editorial only and then mark the no model / property release boxes.  This won't guarantee that I can't get sued, but it will at least provide some protection.  Since I have no direct contact with the buyers  (or am even told who they are), I would think that I would have a good case that if the court felt that the buyers were not properly educated as to their responsibility, it would be Alamy's problem.


    The harsh reality is that if we made every decision based on the possibility of being sued, then nothing would get done.



    • Upvote 3
  17. I think the answer to your question depends mostly on two things that only you can answer, and that really aren't any of our business.  The first you've touched on -- that you only want a little additional income.  The catch is what you mean by "a little bit".  In my opinion, $2000 per year should be possible, $10,000 hard to do, and much over that would require real work and business ability  (And note that the ability to take good photos is not the same thing as taking saleable photos  -- it is necessary, but not enough.)  And with stock prices going down, you may find that you have to work harder each year just to stay even.  But then you might get lucky and find a niche that does very well for you.   You won't know if you don't try.


    The second problem is the amount of work required to create a portfolio that has a realistic chance of generating income.  Even if one of your first uploads were to be selected for purchase on the day it was uploaded, it could be several months before the sale was reported and several additional months before you were paid.  I see stock as a business where you will have to put in a serious amount of work for a year or so before you even begin to know if you have made a good decision.  I'm sure many people who might have succeeded get discouraged and quit long before there was any chance to generate meaningful sales.   My average net income for the last four years was $1400 per year on an average of about 12,000 photos.   But please note that my photos are almost all of subjects I like to photograph, not ones that I think are most likely to sell.   Others on this forum routinely note much higher sales per image than I do.


    As Jill pointed out, Alamy is UK based although they do have US offices.  Being in Arizona hasn't helped my sales, but I do still make them often enough to buy an occasional toy.  But don't let that discourage you -- there are plenty of subjects that have somewhat universal appeal. And I have had distributor sales of Arizona subjects to several different foreign countries. 


    If you look at many of the portfolios on Alamy you will see a large number of travel photos, or photos of subjects ( celebrities, politicians, historic buildings, etc. ) that you may well not have access to.  Don't let that put you off.  Several successful contributors have noted in their posts that almost all of their images were taken within 50 miles or so of their home.  And a significant number within walking distance.


    The range of possible images for you is limited only by your imagination.  I've had an image of a dead skunk in the road sell, as well as a steel fence post supporting  a barb wire fence.  I have no idea what they were used for.  I see many images of food on Alamy, but since I'm not into it I can't tell you whether or not they sell.  Maybe you have a friend with a restaurant.  Likewise, cut-outs  (objects on a white background) are fairly common photos.  If there is a thrift store near you, you might be able to work out a deal to borrow interesting items for photos.  Your neighbors might be willing to trade model releases for a little babysitting.  Alamy accepts archival photographs -- many are just copies of illustrations in old books and / or magazines.  I've stayed away from them so far because I don't see the return as being worth the risk of copyright problems, but others obviously feel different.  Your local library might turn out to be a good source of saleable photos.  The possibilities are endless.  Just don't forget that even simple subjects will take time and effort to process, upload and keyword. 


    Most posters here seem to feel that around 5000 images are required for a meaningful return, and I agree with them.  Some who have a feel for, and access to, more saleable photos generate a meaningful return with a much smaller number of images.  Once again, the only way to find our what your results will be is to invest the time and effort necessary.


    You won't get rich with any of these ideas, but you might reach your goal.  It will be a lot of work, but work that may be more in line with what you can do that any other options for paying work.


    Good luck.



    • Upvote 4
  18. Alamy historically has included a Diversity Algorithm in the display order, and I would think that they still do.  What I have never seen is how much weighting it has compared to other factors in the rank.  Too high a weighting and the search results become basically random.


    Likewise, I've never seen anything from Alamy about how CTR enters into the display order.  That is, is a CTR of 0.49 almost the same as a 0.51, or is there a step at 0.50 that causes a much higher ranking for the 0.51?  If there aren't steps, then how much difference is required before the higher CTR gives a noticeably higher position in the searches.


    We also don't know how often any of the factors change  ( not a re-ranking ), but a change in the Diversity Algorithm that tends to shuffle the deck for pseudonyms of similar rank.  Or a change in the order or influence of date added  -- this is probably tied to the Diversity Algorithm or else your earlier images would never be seen.


    Without all the information, I've come to the conclusion that trying to understand search results may be intellectually challenging, but probably rather futile.



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