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Mirco Vacca

3000 images milestone :)

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Paulette is spot on. We should strive to capture many subjects, not many images of the same subject. Three similers is the target number I aim at.

 

Ed

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Congrats on reaching this impressive milestone, Mirco (mag geloof ik ook in het Nederlands? :D

 

I have been uploading lots of my archival wildlife images these last couple of months and purposely making as many different sort of compositions and crops as possible, so I've been adding a whopping 5000 images these last four months, lots of mammals, birds and rare butterflies & insects as well, trying to cover as many species as possible (now about 250).

 

Luckily my QC-rating is such that some weeks I've been able to add 500+ new images to my portfolio. Reaching the first 1000 took a couple of months

 

Of course rare species will probably only generate few queries as well, so I'm focusing on several key-species that I have tons of high-quality material like foxes, buzzards, storks, godwits etc, but there the competition is of course tougher... impressed by some of the excellent stuff available here on Alamy!

 

Keep up the good work everyone!

 

I'm a bit concerned about this idea that massive numbers of images are going to generate sales. I usually hesitate to criticize the work of other contributors since I am not any kind of expert but I hope I can add something helpful. I'm sure you've heard it before that similars can hurt your ranking. As an example, you have about 40 images of a European Grey Heron. There are only about five of them that I, personally, would have uploaded. I think you know which ones are best because you have taken the time and trouble to crop and work on some. My opinion for what it is worth is that you will do better if you only upload the images you are really proud of. I haven't always done that myself but I am moving more and more in that direction. It doesn't help to just have lots and lots of images. We have to compete with some amazing photographers on Alamy and the site looks best when customers are not having to wade through our less successful images. I hope you don't mind the suggestion.

 

Paulette

 

 

Actually I have over 100 grey heron images on Alamy already (-;

 

Check them here if you care: http://tinyurl.com/mhbrnaa

 

1) I think that all the images are pretty good and mainly quite varied. 

In flight, fishing, extremely close-up, in winter on the ice, landing, with catch, preening, juveniles etc.

But that's not the point, different customers will want different things. I try to cater to all different tastes, I am not categorically asserting that I've made the ultimate grey heron (or fox, red deer, or stork) capture and any customer will want only that one, at their peril. In selling stock-images through several other venues, I've also often noted that customers pick other images than I myself would have chosen. Of course it also boils down to making lots of shots under as varied circumstances as possible. It's hard work, you can only sell what you've been able to capture.

 

2) It's also a numbers game, that's basically the Alamy model. Contributors can upload as many high-quality images as they want, if you only have 4 or 5 images of a European robin, the chances of any of those ending up high in the (over 4000) search results is pretty slim, no matter how good they are. I also imagine people who have been with Alamy much longer and who have sold their robins often before, will end up highest in the result list -  regardless. It's therefore not only a matter of quality, but also of quantity. And I also have to make sure that at least some of mine stand out clearly from the crowd, enough to trigger people clicking through.

 

3) Brings me to the million dollar question: does it hurt to have more choice? Will potential buyers like you less because you -  by broadening the gamut -  also potentially offer them images that they might not particularly care for, amongst those that they really appreciate? Does Alamy itself penalize contributors for giving people choice? Doesn't appear so to me.

Edited by Ger Bosma

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Hello Ger,

 

I think having Grey Heron doing different things is nothing to be worried about. This is totally no issue. This you can not call similar images.

 

What Paulette means are small changes. Like a elephant standing on a stone and the same elephant standing on the same stone with a slightly turn of head. This are similar images.

 

Mirco

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does it hurt to have more choice? Will potential buyers like you less because you -  by broadening the gamut -  also potentially offer them images that they might not particularly care for, amongst those that they really appreciate? Does Alamy itself penalize contributors for giving people choice? Doesn't appear so to me.

 

Swamping the site with similars WILL harm your sales. It's not a penalty, as such, but AlamyRank will push your shots downwards.

 

It's wrong to say that "Alamy is a numbers game". That's only true for a varied folio...

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I suspect we will have to agree to disagree, Ger. I LOVE some of those shots. If D35WBT came up in the first few pages of a search I'm sure I would click on "More by this photographer". The problem is nobody sees all of the variety of their choices from you unless they do that and if the first one of your images that shows up is one of the less interesting shots you may wind up being overlooked. Of course you should do what makes sense to you.

 

Paulette

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Mirco, put the camera down, and start keywording those images my friend lol. You are hurting sales by leaving them sitting. Go keyword with the same enthusiasm as your thirst for a picture. If you get sales, every month, regular as clockwork then repeat, however, if you don't then change. 

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Ger said: 3) Brings me to the million dollar question: does it hurt to have more choice? Will potential buyers like you less because you -  by broadening the gamut -  also potentially offer them images that they might not particularly care for, amongst those that they really appreciate? Does Alamy itself penalize contributors for giving people choice? Doesn't appear so to me.

 

There's a lot going on with the search engine. Two problems with your assumption:

 

1)I'm not saying it's right; but what happens is that the more you have of a subject that's searched, the lower they appear. We all complained about it a while ago but I think it's still with us.

Of course one's individual rank matters a great deal as well and is in the mix BUT - all things being equal - a photographer who has 2 shots of a heron will come higher in the search than one who has 252.

 

2) One of the ways your rank is worked out is how "successful" your pictures are. If they are "viewed" but not "zoomed" it hurts your rank.

If you have 100's of similar pictures you will have difficulty getting a good rank because your "views to zoom" ratio will be terrible. 

 

Unfortunately clients tend to search in quite a general manner.

i.e. They'll search "Heron" and not "heron standing on one leg eating a frog".

 

Hope that helps.

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I don't think Alamy deliberately puts your photos further down if you have 252 photos versus 2. I think that happens naturally with the ranking system if you have diluted your images with the less striking ones. They still heavily promote Steve Bloom for his wildlife images even though he seems to not be adding any new work. Try an advanced search for Steve Bloom African Lion or Elephant. Every image is terrific and there really aren't that many of them. The wildlife photographers on Alamy are amazing. I do it because I love it but I don't think I can compete with Martin Harvey, Frans Lanting, or the National Geographic Collection. I take amazing trips though to get images that I enjoy working on so I am happy overall.

 

Paulette

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Hi Paulette,<< I don't think Alamy deliberately puts your photos further down if you have 252 photos versus 2.>>

 

Were you not around when the discussions on this took place with Alamy?

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Did Alamy actually say that? Interesting. I have always thought that having too many views versus zooms was the problem.

 

Paulette

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Perhaps they will have a word to add to this thread.

 

Paulette

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I would also like to know if they've carried on with it. We weren't too happy about it at the time.

I seem to remember they said they'd tweaked it so it would not affect specialists.

Not sure how the computer recognises a specialist over someone who is simply trigger happy.

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Ger said: 3) Brings me to the million dollar question: does it hurt to have more choice? Will potential buyers like you less because you -  by broadening the gamut -  also potentially offer them images that they might not particularly care for, amongst those that they really appreciate? Does Alamy itself penalize contributors for giving people choice? Doesn't appear so to me.

 

There's a lot going on with the search engine. Two problems with your assumption:

 

1)I'm not saying it's right; but what happens is that the more you have of a subject that's searched, the lower they appear. We all complained about it a while ago but I think it's still with us.

Of course one's individual rank matters a great deal as well and is in the mix BUT - all things being equal - a photographer who has 2 shots of a heron will come higher in the search than one who has 252.

 

2) One of the ways your rank is worked out is how "successful" your pictures are. If they are "viewed" but not "zoomed" it hurts your rank.

If you have 100's of similar pictures you will have difficulty getting a good rank because your "views to zoom" ratio will be terrible. 

 

Unfortunately clients tend to search in quite a general manner.

i.e. They'll search "Heron" and not "heron standing on one leg eating a frog".

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

Thanks for the informative reply, Paul.

 

My click-through rate in all honesty is pretty bad, but that also has to do with some queries being so aspecific they are bound to bring up tons of images. For example this search

 

"opened food  [MR] [Land] [WOP] [PH] [CO]"

 

recently came up with hundreds of my butterflies with "wings opened" and feeding on a flower. (Actually none of the over 2000 total hits led to a zoom, probably the person searching also had 2nd thoughts....). When I notice that tags lead to unwanted search results, I tend to remove them, but you can't possibly anticipate every possible combination.

 

I'm also pretty sure that older images that have sold time and time again from Alamy-contributors of old will have the advantage, ending up high in searches. Hard to compete with those, no matter how good your own material.

 

Question of course being whether as a newbie, knowing there is already a whole slew of images available, it is best to only upload a handful, or upload a lot more (as varied as possible of course), hoping that at least some of those will show up on the first search pages. Basically: what's worse, not being clicked through, or not even getting any views whatsover because your few pics will always be in the lower echelons?

 

I do have the impression that most of those posting here on the forum will of course be long-term contributors, that have seen their Alamy-portfolio deliver the goods (why else would you stick around?), so your own experience might be radically different from a newbie that started out recently, has yet zero CTR and has 40.000.000 images to contend wih (-;

 

One way to cope with this is imho also uploading rarer content, in my case (wildlife) lots of rare butterflies and insects that will only get dozens of search results. Chances of someone actually searching for them here might also be quite low though.

Edited by Ger Bosma

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Hi Ger,

 

I can see you appreciate the problem and therefore the solution. But it's all of us who have the problem: oldies/newbies - it's ongoing and the solution is same for everyone.

 

Just had a look at your pictures for the first time - only looked at first two pages - very nice. You certainly understand that everything has to be taken in good light.

 

However IMHO you don't need the near duplicates - they will hurt sales, so it's counter-productive. If a bird is flying - well it's flying, so 2 or 3 pictures of each species should do. Place the others somewhere else.

 

You are going to have a job whittling down to a number which will get you a decent ranking, as so many are good. You are going to have to be seriously ruthless.

Some of your horizontals are loose enough for a vertical crop so maybe you don't always need the corresponding vertical and vice versa.

 

i.e. Is DE6W7N as good as the others? Does it deserve a place? Anything distracting in the picture - out it goes.

 

Just trying to give you ideas to get numbers down.

 

You say: One way to cope with this is imho also uploading rarer content, in my case (wildlife) lots of rare butterflies and insects that will only get dozens of search results. Chances of someone actually searching for them here might also be quite low though.

 

It's a double edged sword ;-)  Rare is good but the searches are as rare as hens teeth.

 

If it were me starting in nature; I'd go all out for the most common.

 

A peacock butterfly on buddleia will probably outsell all butterfly shots 10 to 1. (Don't take me literally - it's just the idea I'm giving.)

A blue tit on a garden feeder will outsell a field of bar-tailed godwit doing red arrows type formation flying with red smoke in the updraught

A family of mallard crossing the road with all the ducklings in a row will outsell a red necked phalarope every day of the week even if it's flying upside down.

A fox in a garden checking over some rubbish will outsell 20 lynx making snowmen and dancing the Can Can.

 

If you're here you've got to compete with the best - so you might as well have the battle with the most sought after subjects - you never know, there might be enough sales to go round.

 

Good luck,

Paul

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Thanks for your entertaining and elaborate reply Paul. Also very varied and high quality stuff in your portfolio btw

 

Sure I agree that posting countless variations of basically the same image (I generally do try to avoid that pitfall) is probably not very helpful or conducive to a good CTR. Not all of them will be zoomed in on, when you see them side by side in your search results.

 

But  I think for most newbies here, the problem will be of an entirely different scope. For many of us for example that have uploaded the in total 4000+ images tagged "European Robin" it is not so much being overly visible with lots of one's very similar images all snugly huddling together on the first results page. It's much more a case of not being seen at all, one's robin images always residing pitifully on page 30 or 40 or so of the results, never garnering any attention

 

Opinions seem divided on what to do in such a case, but I'd say that the only tactic left is simply uploading more images if you have them, so you are cornering a larger percentage of the total and hopefully for some reason or other (either by clever tagging, superb quality, composition or unusual subject matter) at least some of those will be making it higher in the search results.

 

Basically it's the dilemma whether it's better trying to hit the 'target' of a sale with just one or two very elegant and carefully honed 'magic bullets', or  using a shotgun and spraying them lavishly to all sides, hoping one will make it (-;

 

Anyone else having thoughts on this?

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Thanks for your entertaining and elaborate reply Paul. Also very varied and high quality stuff in your portfolio btw

 

Sure I agree that posting countless variations of basically the same image (I generally do try to avoid that pitfall) is probably not very helpful or conducive to a good CTR. Not all of them will be zoomed in on, when you see them side by side in your search results.

 

But  I think for most newbies here, the problem will be of an entirely different scope. For many of us for example that have uploaded the in total 4000+ images tagged "European Robin" it is not so much being overly visible with lots of one's very similar images all snugly huddling together on the first results page. It's much more a case of not being seen at all, one's robin images always residing pitifully on page 30 or 40 or so of the results, never garnering any attention

 

Opinions seem divided on what to do in such a case, but I'd say that the only tactic left is simply uploading more images if you have them, so you are cornering a larger percentage of the total and hopefully for some reason or other (either by clever tagging, superb quality, composition or unusual subject matter) at least some of those will be making it higher in the search results.

 

Basically it's the dilemma whether it's better trying to hit the 'target' of a sale with just one or two very elegant and carefully honed 'magic bullets', or  using a shotgun and spraying them lavishly to all sides, hoping one will make it (-;

 

Anyone else having thoughts on this?

 

I do see many of your images as very, very slight variations of others. It seems not so much a choice for buyers (some are almost identical to each other after all) as perhaps an inability (reluctance?) on your part to choose one or two or three over the other ten. Nothing wrong with that of course, except it will seriously disadvantage you as far as CTR goes, and ultimately CTR has some effect on your Alamy Rank.

 

Perhaps the most important point for you to reflect on is that you seem to indicate that some images will eventually have a better rank than others . . . unless someone rewrote the rule-book while I wasn't looking, Alamy Rank is per pseudo, not per image.

 

dd

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Rare is good but the searches are as rare as hens teeth.

 

A search for 'hens teeth', 'hen's teeth' and 'hens' teeth' draw a blank. Hmmm...

 

 

Anyone else having thoughts on this?

 

IMO, you're over-thinking and under-editing. Out of a series of shots, decide which is the most saleable, and only upload similars if they offer genuine options for buyers...

Edited by John Morrison

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Anyone else having thoughts on this?

 

Join a respected natural history agency and pay a close attention to what the editor would suggest.

GI

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dustydingo, on 24 Sept 2013 - 19:06, said:

 

I do see many of your images as very, very slight variations of others. It seems not so much a choice for buyers (some are almost identical to each other after all) as perhaps an inability (reluctance?) on your part to choose one or two or three over the other ten. Nothing wrong with that of course, except it will seriously disadvantage you as far as CTR goes, and ultimately CTR has some effect on your Alamy Rank.


Perhaps the most important point for you to reflect on is that you seem to indicate that some images will eventually have a better rank than others . . . unless someone rewrote the rule-book while I wasn't looking, Alamy Rank is per pseudo, not per image.


dd

Thanks for the input. I'm a bit surprised how many here seem to harp on the "over-redundancy" of images. I look at it from a slightly different perspective. First of all, I also redirect potentail buyers of MY photos specificly to the ones I have hosted here on Alamy. The more choice the better, I'd say, as long as the images are good enough, in a sequence of in-flight-shots of godwits or storks for example one photo might simply appeal more than the other; it being the expression, the pose, the crop or the angle etc.

Thinking them sameish is also partly in the eye of to beholder. I'm not only posting my 'very best' (whatever subjective criteria are at the base of that assesment), but a wide variety of quality shots that could appeal to a potential buyer. Secondly, they are certainly not in my way and they can't all be staunchly locked together on the bottom of the last page of each search query LOL

Also spreading your chances over more images WILL increase your odds, particularly if your CTR is not very high, and neither going anywhere fast, like probably for the majority of people here. In my view 100 images out of 4000 with the first ones appearing about halfway (page 17 or so) in the search results is better than having just a mere three of them, on page 12, 28 and 31, no matter how special they are . Adding 'close-up' to the afore-mentioned European robin query will have some of my images appearing on the 1st page.

Some buyers will be put off by seeing that someone has dozens of images that meet those criteria, others will not. Some buyers will come back to a certain contributor when he/she has lots of high quality images of lots of different species, others won't.

So having more images will probably in the long run better your chances. I don't necesarrily believe that fewer is better. But viewed from a perspective of competition, I bet indeed most contributors wouldn't mind their fellow-contributors uploading as little as possible :P


Appreciate the feedback, keep it coming

Edited by Ger Bosma

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So having more images will probably in the long run better your chances. I don't necesarrily believe that fewer is better. But viewed from a perspective of competition, I bet indeed most contributors wouldn't mind their fellow-contributors uploading as little as possible :P

 

 

 

 

 

Au contraire mon ami, if I was to look at it from a purely competitive perspective, I would encourage others to post as many similars as possible.

 

dd

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I'm a bit surprised how many here seem to harp on the "over-redundancy" of images. I look at it from a slightly different perspective.

 

If you think that uploading 30 images of the same wagtail... on the same twig... is the way to go, then I guess you have your strategy figured out... :unsure:

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