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Steve Valentia

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Posts posted by Steve Valentia

  1. 4 hours ago, JeffGreenberg said:

    I applaud JameW for creating this 2-way thread.


    Senior management know fair and well that the threatened 'voting with our feet' simply will not happen, that the vast majority of contributors will swallow this and carry on.


    Under belief that rate of new submissions starting yesterday sends a strong message, I am suspending submission of new images, only reprocessing existing images, if any

    submitting is done.



    As a semi-retired person (and professional photographer for 40 years), I currently have more time to devote to stock photography than I have had since I joined Alamy in 2004. My rate of submissions have increased dramatically in the last 2 years, along with my rate of sales and income (although it's not close to a living-wage by any means). For the first 11 months of this year, I worked hard to improve this situation and planned to do even more about it 2019. However, I can say that I have not felt more annoyed, disappointed and let-down by anything in years than I was by James West's @Alamy rambling and unconvincing video posted yesterday, basically informing us of his (in my view, totally misguided) decision to poop all-over his loyal contributors.

    I sold my first photograph (a 10x8 B/W print) to a magazine at the end of the 1970's, for more than I got for an Alamy sale last week. But, I have continued to show my faith in the company, because I considered it to be more reputable and more concerned about contributors than many of its competitors. But, now, it's time for a change, I think.


    When I sold that first image, there were only a few picture agencies around and they were extremely difficult to join. I remember selling a few 6x6cm transparencies to Tony Stone and others, but no one took me on as a regular contributor. So, I sold most of my work by direct contact with the "market" (book publishers, magazines, calendar companies etc). I spent many hours a week sending stiff-back envelopes with slide sheets and 10x8 prints all over the UK and abroad. The rest of the time was spent researching markets using 'Artists & Writers Year Book'; 'Photographer's Markets Annual' and the 'BFP' newsletters.


    Things are much easier now. Buyers are contactable by email. Images can be submitted via the cloud and a simple URL link. So, it occurs to me: Why not go back to "knocking on doors"? Cut out the middle-man and make the initial contact with potential buyers myself? Maybe not all of the time, and maybe not exclusively, but enough for me to stop being upset that my loyalty to Alamy for the last 14 years was totally misplaced. Take back the reins and become an architect of my own stock photo destiny. If enough of us do that, James may re-think his decision. But, if he doesn't (as I expect), we may not care as much. 


    Stephen Power

    Associate Editor, Cameracraft Magazine

    • Upvote 7

  2. I've not had a QC fail for about 6 years (thankfully) and I'm submitting at least once a week. I have a *** QC rating and I usually expect the Good News email within 24 hours. However, for the previous 3 submissions I've noticed that the email lags behind the actual "Congratulations" notice on AIM, sometimes by up to 2 days. Case in point, today, after uploading at the weekend I had no email, but when I looked on AIM my images had passed. Is anyone else experiencing this?

  3. On 11/26/2018 at 13:16, Doc said:

    Thank you all for your excellent entries - the competition is now closed to further entries - a poll will appear as soon as I can produce it!





    When and where was the winner of November announced please? There's little point in bothering to enter if we dont find out who won (and lost) and why.

  4. 2 hours ago, Robert M Estall said:

    newsworthy images are one thing but filling up the Alamy servers with more and more photographs of people down on their luck is another matter. I was shocked to find over 21 thousand images answering for "Homeless" as a search. Enough! The real answer to the original post is: never mind the keywording, why do it all? Please support charities and helpful solutions for the homeless rather than trying to make a small profit from their misery.

    Well said.  Many years ago the editor of the Sun, at that time, said that his photographers were there to record life events and not to take part in them. So that precluded them from helping at natural disasters, or accidents or even giving money to the needy. He was wrong. You are right. 

    • Upvote 1

  5. 30 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

    I totally get the importance of only putting what you see from an ethical and legal point of view.

    The dilemma is that customers are not going to search  " Man, lying down, ground, beach, fully clothed, eyes closed, beer cans " - they are going to search "drunk man on a beach"

    So I  may have the exact photograph they want - but if I cannot or do not caption it and/or keyword it with the terms they are going to use in a search they are not going to find it.  So they may take a less exact photo from Alamy and not be 100% happy, they may go and use a different stock company altogether, and I don't get the sale.  The last one is negative only to me the first 2 are negatives for the whole of Alamy and every contributor here.


    I once put "skin disorder" as a keyword on a portrait of a female Viking re-enacator, who had the worst case of excema I've ever seen. She found the photo (or was told about it, actually), on Alamy and asked me to take it down, as I was putting her in "a bad light". She was happy to have the photo taken in the first place (in the Viking context), but did not want the negative association with the skin disorder. Just sayin'.

  6. 18 hours ago, spiegel said:


    But, it looks like as if he could be drunk and perhaps is homeless. 

    So I would take "drunk" and "homeless" to the keywords, so customer can find it. 



    As per my last post (above), I wouldn't use any of those keywords. I'd use...Man, lying down, ground, beach, fully clothed, eyes closed, beer cans...etc

  7. 19 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

    I have a dilemma on captioning - and it is one I believe I am likely to run into again.   I have a shot of what I am 99% sure are homeless people chatting with a town host - now I can prove the host is a town host but I cannot prove the men were homeless - and although 99% certain I could be wrong.  The logical caption for me is "Town host chatting to homeless men" - but I am not sure if that is either allowed or safe.  I do not have model or property releases.

    I have seen other similar possible shots - and as it is clear that shots with people do well in Alamy even without releases I am going to be doing more street work - but how do I go about captioning when I have neither proof nor evidence that the interpretation I am putting on an image is the correct one.  



    I would suggested you do not use potentially pejorative words like "homeless", "drunk", "drunk-looking" or anything else that you can't be sure is factually accurate when describing people.


    When I studied Analytic Psychotherapy at university, in another life (stay with me, this is relevant), my supervisor bollocked me for using technical or medical terms about patients, like "he's depressed" or "she's demonstrating counter-transferential ideas". "That's not useful as they can mean one thing to one person and something else to another person, and if it's not true you've misdiagnosed them and they might sue", I was told.

    "Just tell me what the patient is doing" was the best advice I ever got.

    On becoming a professional press photographer, it has worked perfectly for captions. Say what you see. Don't decide what it means.

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1

  8. 15 hours ago, JeffGreenberg said:


    for 1" sensor, f4 to f4.5 is best, AFAICT. (e.g., Sony RX10 series)

    (f4 on 1" = ~f10 on FF)
    down to f2.8 still acceptable IMO,

    but above f4.5 diffraction gets worse & worse, many say.


    My image above (ferry) is at f7.1. I've never gone wider than f5 for all my accepted Alamy drone images. I'll try a few at f4 and f4.5 for comparison of diffraction and DoF. 

  9. 44 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:


    Please explain, if possible.

    What I read about "tripod" fuction seems related to video results, not photos?


    Jeff from what I’ve read, you are correct that it was designed for videography rather than stills. I do feel though that the drone has added stability for longer exposures when shooting stills in that mode.


    It may be all in my mind, but for critical sharpness I usually set it, and always in windier conditions. I’ve no idea if it would work well for very long exposures though as I try to keep mine quite short. 


    Ihave been advided, though, that optimum aperture is probably closer to f5.6 or f6.3, than closed right down on the Phantom 4. 

  10. As mentioned above, The Mavic Pro has a 1/2.3” (CMOS) sensor, (Effective pixels:12.35 M). The Phantom 4 Pro (1 & 2) and the Phantom 4 Advanced (less expensive but no rear sensors)  have a  1’’ CMOS sensor (Effective pixels: 20M). 

    This was taken with the Phantom 4 Advanced - not a news image and I've never had a fail via regular QC with that drone. But, it does need the right light and weather conditions, careful use of camera settings and careful post processing. I also recommend the "intelligent flight" mode of "tripod", to keep it extra stable.



  11. 14 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

    You're right, there's one other on this thread but I did qualify my comment. I said I didn't think anyone else had done it.

    But it doesn't make me wrong either. Nor the others here who don't quote low prices.

    I'm sorry you've taken offence. It's difficult to know how to pitch a response to an outspoken comment


    There's outspoken and there's attacking. I've amended my previous reply as I don't think you're the latter. But, you do seem to think that a majority opinion is the right one. Errr...Brexit referendum anyone??? (It's a joke).

    • Upvote 1

  12. 9 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

    So apparently it's just you who thinks it's a good idea.

    That doesn't make me wrong. In fact, if buyers complain that Alamy are charging them too much, all they need to do is put up the "bulk purchase" rates. Also try reading some other posts here...you'll see I'm actually not the ONLY one who quotes low prices.

    • Upvote 3

  13. Two of my favourite photos taken, ever, and uploaded as Reportage last weekend, following the death of the subject. he's Alec Finn, a Brit who became a legend in traditional Irish music. Founder member of de Dannan and one of the people responsible for the use of the bouzouki in Irish folk music. Taken at his home in Oranmore Castle, Co. Galway, for my book "Traditional Notes".




    • Upvote 2

  14. 48 minutes ago, Phil Robinson said:

    Well I hope they pay better than 'Pointless' (nothing to get excited about)


    I once had an image on "Top of the Pops" (in the chart countdown). But, it was a direct sale to the band (Saxon) that included a few other images, and the money wasn't great, even 30 years ago. Granada TV local news (Granada Reports) used to commission me, and they paid well, about as much as the average Alamy fee, even in the mid-1980's.


    Pointless would be good, it's my Key wording background show. But, HIGNFY is a real feather in the cap - well done. I hope it was Victoria Coren Mitchell, who introduced the image!


    This month, one $$$ sale so far, and slower than usual for this year, which has broken all my records for sales and revenue.

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