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Everything posted by riccarbi

  1. As described in the article linked by wiskerke, it all depends on the property rules as well as on national copyright laws which differ substantially from country to country. I can tell you how it works in Italy. 1) If the museum (in its website, in signage, on the ticket) forbids taking photos or allows taking photos for personal use only, you can't take pictures to be sold on Alamy there. 2) If the museum says nothing about the matter, better you ask. Many museums allow taking pictures for editorial use only and have a precompiled form for that. 3) If the museum allows taking photos for any use, you are OK, but only in respect of the property copyright. You are possibly still violating the artist's copyright, which is a different matter and mainly depends on national copyright regulations. 4) In Italy, you are not violating any artist's copyright as long as the artist died more than 70 years ago. You are either not violating the artist's copyright if your picture has artistic value in itself (to judge whether a photo depicting an artwork has also an additional "artistic value" or not is a tricky question, honestly). 5) Certain exhibition events (the Venice Biennale, for example) usually allow taking editorial photos of any artwork on show, as long as you are registered as a press photographer and you'll sell such images for editorial use only (I guess that they have an agreement with the featured artists about that point); yet, at the Biennale, this is true for the two main official exhibitions (at the Arsenale and in the Giardini's Central Pavilion) only, while each national pavilion may have its own, different rules.
  2. I find it a bit surprising, I saw your port and there are many beautiful images there. I have much fewer photos than you here, and I've already had sixteen sales, this year; it sounds to me strange you haven't had a single one, so far. Yet, I have some things to ask you and/or point out: 1) You said you use three other agencies, including a Microstock one, in addition to Alamy. If you have the same photo on sale on both Alamy and a Microstock agency, you'll hardly sell it on Alamy, since the prices are usually higher than Microstock's. 2) You have many interesting and original pictures in your port; yet, you have also many other pictures which are more "generic". In my very personal experience, a photo usually sells better on Alamy if it has a unique and clearly identifiable subject. 3) Your pictures have bit-too-short titles and too few keywords; I'd suppose they could sell much better with longer and more detailed titles and more keywords.
  3. Hi Bryan. My opinion is that depends on the subject. I see you have many travel photos in your portfolio. Possibly, most magazines and newspapers have already completed their travel/ Summer-holiday articles by late-May and, therefore, they don't buy many travel images in June. Usually, June is a good month for me, but my sales are almost exclusively restricted to pictures of special events rather than monuments, architecture, travel destinations and so on.
  4. Almost all my photos are marked "sell for editorial only". I mostly take pictures of artworks and buildings and, also when they do not include people, in many countries you must have a property release to sell pictures of architecture and art. Moreover, it's not always easy to understand what type of release you exactly need in each country and whether the subject is copyrighted or not; in Italy, for example, it depends on how many years have passed since the death of the artist or architect who created the work you are depicting while in the USA you don't need a release in order to take and sell pictures of a building from a public place; therefore, I deem better to always check the "editorial only" box. Furthermore, I am not interested in selling my pictures for commercial use and/or advertising.
  5. 1 for $44 gross. Below average (in May 2018, I had 2 sales for $90 with half the pictures I have now in my port); but at least I had a CTR of 2%...
  6. I agree this could be extremely useful in certain cases, like a football match (you previously know the players of each team, presumably), and even in a museum (of which you already know what's in the collection). By and large, it is always useful when you have previous information about what you are going to picture, or when you frequently take photos at the same subject in different contexts (i.e. football stars, showbiz celebrities, politicians, and so on). Unfortunately, this method would be largely useless in my case. As in many special exhibitions of contemporary art, you already know some details (the venue, the city, the name of the artists featured, for example) but most of the artworks on view are totally new, artworks which have never been displayed before; furthermore, the exhibitors always keep their artwork list as secret as they can (I read all their official press release in advance and they never mention a single artwork's title). That's why I always prepare a lot of keywords in advance that many pictures will arguably share and which I can cut and paste in seconds (such as: Venice, Art, Biennale, 2019, Venice Biennale, Biennial, exhibition, Arsenale, Arsenal, exhibition, British Pavilion, and other 40 or 50 of them....). Yet, I still have to check and write a lot of details I can't prepare beforehand such as work's title, year, owner, technique, main color, media, type of artwork (sculpture, sculptural installation, painting, drawing, video-art, photograph. mixed-media, audio-visual, ...), ownership, and so on; moreover I have to check if there are special copyright conditions and /or attributions I have to comply with or which prevent me to sell my picture (and that's a pain in the neck, every time). To do that in a couple of minutes, would mean to make a mess, believe me. Contemporary art is a very specific niche, I know; with its own odd rules.... Nevertheless, thank you for your suggestion; for other subjects, I'll certainly give Photomechanic a look.
  7. Thank you, Sultanpepa. That's useful advice, I'll contact the contributor support and explain my case. I'll report their answer here. Just to clarify my point. With the new, shorter time limit, Alamy clearly expressed its vision about what a "Live News" picture actually is. And most of my pictures, IMHO, are simply not that kind of photos (namely, they do not depict sports events, celebrations, political events, and so on). I can't properly prepare 100, or even just 10, images within one hour, because in that hour I am still shooting and moving from one venue to another until midnight and beyond. And the following day it's just the same. Therefore, there is currently a gap between pictures which lose much of their value within a day and should be really considered "Live News", and evergreen photos which I will sell maybe five years from now. There are photos you will sell in 2023, perhaps, but that you'll sell much more probably within a week. They are neither "Live News" nor evergreen, but something in between which would much benefit from a quicker revision process during the weekend or, alternatively, with an "Extended News" category with a different submission deadline. PS. "very special press pass" was ironic, anyway I've just deleted it since that was clearly not obvious to all...
  8. Sorry, but this is a bit offending. I have a Press Pass, not a Press Photographer Pass, because I write from 20 to 40 articles about the Venice Biennale (art and architecture) each year. Furthermore, I have access to the first day of press preview which is restricted to major newspapers and magazines which are covering the Biennale for, at least, five years. (If you have ever been there, you know that shooting decent photos on the third press preview day is almost impossible due to the crowd) I shoot a large number of photos there (usually from 500 to 1,000), but only a small part of them is included in my articles, while the others go to Alamy. Live News is useful for...news, not for contemporary art pictures which have a complex and long keywording process (you have to clearly identify the artist, the artwork's title, the year, check for previous copyright restrictions, and so on). You can't do that in minutes, because no one is interested in "a picture of artwork at the Venice Art Biennale 2019", you must add a lot of details to make it commercially interesting. I try to do my best and, in a day or two, I write five to six articles, select and edit about 100 pictures (discarding 200 more pictures which are repetitive or technically not enough good to be published), both those for my articles and those to be sent to Alamy, and put all that stuff online. Therefore, my first pictures are potentially available for other magazines usually on Friday morning, which is when I begin sending them to Alamy for QC (the Biennale opens to the public on Saturday and all the publishers which haven't sent their photographer to it are looking for pictures from Friday evening to Sunday morning. I am aware that contemporary art and architecture are small niche markets, and I understand Alamy can't change its QC process for what is just a small number of additional sales, compared to their 160-million-picture repository. Yet, at least in my case, a QC running six days a week could be very, very useful. Most online agencies work 7 days a week (for example, outsourcing support and evaluation processes overseas), so I am just suggesting to Alamy to consider such a move seriously.
  9. Live News is not feasible for me. It takes no less than two full days to cover the Venice Biennale. Thereafter you have to develop and edit each photo, check image quality, prepare captions, keywords and so on... 48 hours are not enough to post a significant number of images this way. Furthermore, I used to post Live News pictures in the past and I didn't sell a single one of them, perhaps Alamy is not considered a reference in the LN market, who knows... What I tried to say is that, In today's world, Saturday is a working day for many of us, including me. To rent someone to do the QC on Saturdays doesn't look a big effort IMHO, and would make Alamy more competitive in the Stock Photo market at a reasonable cost, arguably. To wait from Friday morning to Monday evening (or even Tuesday) from uploading to having your images available for keywording is too much, in the current World Wide Web ecosystem; or, at least, I believe it is.
  10. I am a photographer mostly focused on contemporary art & architecture. Last week I went to the Venice Art Biennale, three days before the grand opening, with my press pass (it took me five years to get the Wednesday pass, while the exhibition opens to the public on Saturday). I shoot about 500 pictures, developed about 100 of them, and started uploading to Alamy. Thereafter... I started to wait. Processing stage, evacuating stage, database update... Meanwhile, many similar photos were already available (and searchable on Google) on two other stock photo agencies (guess you all know whom I am speaking about...). Alamy, have you ever wondered about renting someone to review contributors' pictures in the weekend, just to compete with your rivals, especially after the recent restrictions in Live News picture requirements? Today I added about 50 new (news?) pictures; yet, I'll arguably have to wait until Monday afternoon to see whether they were approved. or not. A waste of time and money, for both me and you.
  11. I'm not saying you can't make money on Alamy. To be honest, I have been pretty happy with Alamy, so far. I did some math and, currently, an hour spent to edit and keywording an image (not counting the time required for shooting that picture, something I do for other reasons than selling it) could pay me about $35 within ten years. In 2018, I sold 30 photos with a small port of 600 images (now it's a bit larger) with an average CTR of 1,15. I can't complain about that. Yet, apart from a $205 sale, I got a lot of low-value sales in 2018, and my average (gross) revenue per image sold dropped from $47 in 2017 to $33 in 2018. I don't have much information, admittedly, but, based on other contributors' experience, it seems that prices are quickly dropping in this market. Therefore my calculation on how much posting a photo on Alamy actually will pay me can be overestimated. If in the future it will drop under $10 per hour of work, publishing new images on Alamy (or on other online stock agencies) won't worth the effort, unfortunately.
  12. Great work, but...who cares? Am I the only one missing the point of working for days just to create a picture of a digital character which looks "almost exactly" like a real person? We have 7 billion people living on this planet, I don't see the need to create other ones by CGI, those actually existing are far more interesting...
  13. I totally agree. Let's be honest, who cares about 65,437 photos of the Big Ben, 76,740 of the Eiffel Tower, 641,177 of a cat, and 1,211,607 (!) pictures of a dog? That's not providing more choice to the customer, it's only making Alamy a messy place where it's hard (and will be progressively harder) to find what you are looking for...
  14. True, yet such a situation also depends on photographers uploading to Alamy a gazillion pictures - many of which were arguably not their best ones - just to have the largest port possible. That has caused an "oversupply" of pictures on Alamy which, as one could expect, is leading to lower prices, on average. Now Alamy has two possible strategies. On the one hand, they can go on increasing the number of photos as much as possible in order to compensate their dropping median value, with a view to secure their overall income (thus, reducing their difference from a Microstock agency) OR, on the other hand, they can focus more on artistic and technical quality, as well as on providing the clients with photos with original subjects, reducing the number of images available on Alamy, for example by tightening QC and artistic/creative standards. It looks like they are preferring the first scenario, which can be (possibly) acceptable for Alamy, but much less acceptable for us, because we'll reach a point in which the time spent for editing and keywording an image will be paid peanuts and not worth the effort, from an economic point of view.
  15. IMHO, the problem is not exclusivity or non-exclusivity, possibly it is not the commission rate either. The real problem is how badly the price-per-image-sold is constantly dropping, and that for a full-res RF picture I 'm now getting less than $17 net, on average. Usually, exclusivity is mandatory for major agencies (you know which I'm referring to) which represent professional photographers, have a tough and accurate image evaluation process, are hard to be accepted into, and (often) have low commission rates but high license fees. When James West spoke about "1st tier" agencies he cited two completely different agencies, a well-reputed (and often criticized) pro agency, and a micro-stock one; the only thing they have in common is that they sell photos and have an annual turnover higher than Alamy's. So, my question is: does Alamy want to be a pro agency with fewer photographers and higher prices or a "catch-all" microstock agency with half a billion photos one can buy for 5 dollars?
  16. As I've already said, I don't understand this move, from a microeconomics point of view. Nevertheless, I am quite happy with it since almost all my photos are already exclusive to Alamy. Furthermore, it will discourage those contributors who upload the same image to Alamy and to Microstock sites (an utterly irrational move, IMHO) to keep on doing so.
  17. Sorry guys, but this thing makes no sense at all. Think about it. James West said in the video that Alamy needs more money in order to fund some expansion plan involving new localized websites (or local offices, who knows) etc, etc. They need that money NOW, in order to implement such an expansion within a year or so. By reducing contributors' commissions they will be able to increase instantly Alamy's revenues by 20% (here we all discuss our revenue cut, but no one discusses the corresponding revenue increment for Alamy.). Do you really believe that the supposed revenue growth resulting in making some millions of images "exclusive" would compensate a 20% revenue increase for ALL images sold on Alamy? If, as a CEO of a company, I proposed such a swap to my stakeholders, I would be unemployed within a week.
  18. Maybe because my professional profile is similar to his, but I deem MilesbeforeIsleep comment the best one, by far. I also add my point of view, as a non-professional photographer who is running a totally different business (I run an architectural practice, and I also publish a web magazine of art and design). How much selling photos through Alamy is, and will be, a good business? In 2018, I got (to date) about $ 0,66 net per image in my port. Being quite optimistic and hoping the commercial life o a photo on Alamy is about 10 years, that means that, in 2018, I was hoping to get $ 6.6 net per image, overall. Now, how much time is required to develop, check, upload and keyword a single photo? In my case about 20 minutes on average ( I don't take into account the time I spent to shoot that photo since I did it for different reasons than selling it on Alamy). So, I will supposedly get slightly less than $20 per hour of work. Not very exciting, but not that bad, after all. Now, I have to evaluate if, after the commission change, this situation will still be economically convenient for me. A 20% reduction means my revenue per hour will drop to $16, hmmm. Furthermore, my revenue per image dropped from $ 10 in 2017 to $ 6.6 in 2018. Therefore, the average price-per-photo trend is declining and, extrapolating it, in 2019 I will possibly get less than $4.5 per image in my port and less than $13 per hour of work, and possibly much less in the following years. That's no good. What I should do? Arguably, to stop upload new photos, and leaving those already in my port where they currently are. Furthermore, I could investigate monetization strategies different from Alamy, such as selling most of my photos directly through my websites or advertising them straight to the thousands of potential buyers I have in my mailing list.
  19. My average net revenue per image sold went down from $47 in 2017 to $28 in 2018 (so far). This was mostly due to a number of PU sales (due to their subject, I am pretty sure they were NOT really PU). Just wondering how low the PU average net revenue will be when the commission is reduced to 40%, probably less than $4 ....>:(
  20. The problem if not they made a commission cut in itself. The problem is that they made such a cut for pretty naive reasons such as "we want you to fund our own growth, but you'll have no control on it whatsoever", as well as that they broke the 50/50 psychological barrier. When they reduced commissions from 60% to 50% many complained but it still seemed a reasonably fair commission (we split the money in two, half for you and half for us). Now they'are saying that THEIR work is more valuable than OURS. And that's perceived by many as unfair and vaguely insulting.
  21. In my entire life, I have never seen a company financing its future growth by cutting its suppliers' revenues, there are many other more orthodox ways to do that. When I was attending my University's Micro and Micro Economy course they made clear you cut suppliers' and workers' revenues, fees and salaries when you want to maximize your profits or minimize your losses.
  22. Did they push picture number too far trying to reach that "Tier 1" James West seems to care so much about, perhaps? My problem with Alamy is that I still haven't understood, to date, if their plan is to compete with professional agencies or with Shutter...k; they look like they are neither fish nor fowl; I fear many customers have the same opinion. Furthermore, I deem the introduction of that infamous "green label" you activate by putting a gazillion of barely-related or unrelated keywords in AIM a pretty stupid move, especially from a customer's point of view. Fewer pictures of a higher technical and artistic quality, a clearer subject search engine, a much tougher QC; that's what Alamy really needs to get the "Tier 1" level; not more images at lower prices. You can't compete on price with microstock agencies fed by people who are happy to get 20 cents for a picture taken with a $100 smartphone at a family picnic, period.
  23. Why do you folks don't realize that this is a desperate move on Alamy's side? There is something utterly rotten behind that apparently totally stupid thing, I'm pretty sure about it. I guess I see what will happen. 99% of those who are now complaining so much and swearing they'll abandon Alamy in days will change their mind by tomorrow morning. They'll think "Oh well, that's bad, really bad. I am aware they're making fun of me. They are robbing my money, BUT....hey, I already have uploaded all those many pictures on Alamy, it took me so much time to navigate in my old folders to sort out all the images I deemed commercially interesting, to clean that damn high-ISO noise in Lightroom, do some crop in Photoshop in order to center the main subject, to keyword all that stuff properly. If I remove them as I swear I'll do I'll get no money. If I leave them there and get even a penny a month, it's still better than nothing..." You (I) all know that's truly stupid, but (apart from trying to move all of a sudden all our port to some "apparently more honest" different agency possibly giving us a 33% commission (you know what I am talking about...), that's what we'll actually do possibly, probably, arguably. Personally, I'm trying to think about how to escape from this mental trap.
  24. Just watched the infamous video. Why does it look like there is Don Vito Corleone sitting behind that cheap wood wall at the back of James West? "I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse. Cut your contributors' commission by 20% by Christmas or I'll bury you in cement". "I'll make that because we want to go 1st tier! See my graph, last time we've cut contributors' commission to pay our brand new NY office their (aggregate) profits skyrocketed! We are sooo poor, we donate all to charity to the point I'll only eat canned beans for Christmas!" All b...its. Either they are planning something they don't want (or don't have the guts) to confess (such as selling the company to some big name or the like) or they simply want to make more money at our expense...
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