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Sales aren't too bad, but yesterday was weird. 

Two sales appeared in the morning, then when I checked in the afternoon I found six of my biggest sales from last month had been refunded - then reinvoiced at the same price - plus another small sale, but the two from the morning had disappeared. 

They still haven't reappeared and they were clearly different customers. 

Odd. 

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33 minutes ago, Rudix said:

Hmm, this thread makes for depressing reading. I have only just started (not been here 3 weeks yet) but I am starting to think I might be wasting my time, think I will put my uploads on hold and wait a while to see what happens.

I started here in July with the plan of trying to upload 20 to 30 shots every  week (new shots I am taking - I am not going into my historical stuff) and the scale of give it 6 months and take stock - with no expectation of a sale until I had circa 800 odd in the portfolio.
Well, I am definitely short on the uploads - as other bits of life have not quite gone the way expected.  However, I have had a first sale - well inside the time and portfolio size expected.
While this thread is rather depressing to read I would not take it as the whole picture - remember large numbers of contributors do not use the forums at all. 
You have already uploaded loads - maybe reduce your upload rate but I would not stop.  Give yourself 6 months or even 12 - plenty of stuff on here suggests it takes time.  Set a reasonable point and see where you are then.


 

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52 minutes ago, Rudix said:

Hmm, this thread makes for depressing reading. I have only just started (not been here 3 weeks yet) but I am starting to think I might be wasting my time, think I will put my uploads on hold and wait a while to see what happens.

For sure, if you don't upload, they won't sell.

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13 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

I started here in July with the plan of trying to upload 20 to 30 shots every  week (new shots I am taking - I am not going into my historical stuff) and the scale of give it 6 months and take stock - with no expectation of a sale until I had circa 800 odd in the portfolio.
Well, I am definitely short on the uploads - as other bits of life have not quite gone the way expected.  However, I have had a first sale - well inside the time and portfolio size expected.
While this thread is rather depressing to read I would not take it as the whole picture - remember large numbers of contributors do not use the forums at all. 
You have already uploaded loads - maybe reduce your upload rate but I would not stop.  Give yourself 6 months or even 12 - plenty of stuff on here suggests it takes time.  Set a reasonable point and see where you are then.


 

Good points!

 

Yes, I think I will follow your suggestion, did 2000 the first week but have now slowed down to about 1000 a week, when I get to maybe 5000 I will slow down a bit more, summer is in full swing here so the urge to be out there shooting needs to be complied to!

 

Will give it time, a while back I uploaded 300 images to 3 different microstock agencies, one of them is doing well in volumes, on average 1 sale a day out of the 300 but the average price is below $1 so I have never bothered to add more. I did notice that it took a while to get going so hopefully it will be the same here.

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7 hours ago, spacecadet said:

You're not, alas.

+  several

 

Madness!

 

Wim makes a good point, UK business uncertainty may be affecting our results, and worldwide there are other issues, so maybe we are in a bit of a trough, but overall the trend is probably still in the wrong direction. 

Edited by Bryan

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19 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

While this thread is rather depressing to read I would not take it as the whole picture - remember large numbers of contributors do not use the forums at all. 

 

Excluding newbies, the majority of people on here have done much better than the average Alamy contributor over the years. 

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1 hour ago, Rudix said:

Hmm, this thread makes for depressing reading. I have only just started (not been here 3 weeks yet) but I am starting to think I might be wasting my time, think I will put my uploads on hold and wait a while to see what happens.

You need to account for delays in the system before you make any decisions.  Although your images can show up in views straight away, it takes time for any chosen ones to be selected by the (mostly) corporate buyers, then used, then reported, and only then invoiced.  With 3000 images uploaded, you could well have sales in the pipeline - but they won't show up for quite a while.

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1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Increasing time and effort for dwindling returns definitely seems to be the trend. I guess we each have to decide whether or not we want to stay in the game.

 

 Also, loss of motivation going forward could become a major determining factor. Hope this all doesn't sound too depressing. Perhaps I shouldn't have started this thread... :unsure:

This is my experience too.

 

I am struggling to stay motivated. Very little financial incentive. It is only worth doing if you enjoy "the game", otherwise not worth the time and effort. 

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3 minutes ago, andremichel said:

This is my experience too.

 

I am struggling to stay motivated. Very little financial incentive. It is only worth doing if you enjoy "the game", otherwise not worth the time and effort. 

 

At this stage (I'm pushing 70), I can't generate thousands of new images every year, so I've lowered my income expectations in order to maintain a realistic perspective.  Fortunately, I am still enjoying the game. There's always something new to learn in photography. Thankfully, I also have other income streams.

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18 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

At this stage (I'm pushing 70), I can't generate thousands of new images every year, so I've lowered my income expectations in order to maintain a realistic perspective.  Fortunately, I am still enjoying the game. There's always something new to learn in photography. Thankfully, I also have other income streams.

One of the things I love having discovered photography is I am learning every day - if it is not directly photography related it comes as a result of photography.  This year I learned that Blackthorn trees are Sloe trees.  Despite being a country girl I had never picked up on that - I thought they would be similar berries to hawthorns.  Keywording and writing captions means I have to find out what I took pictures of - and so I learn new stuff.

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If it's any consolation Bryan I think I was in that Unit Trust too  :(

Steve

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Patience. A virtue? Blind to the truth? Don't know. Here are the Alamy refs to my sales 21 Sept to 21 Nov 2018:

 

KGANTD 
PNA2F2 
EF3WFF 
G157GR 
HY1315 
G3FRMB 
HPE0MP 
DTE7CN 
HTRF6B 
HY17C2 
K7AMF9 
KJAJKR 
JT3NCY 
EYNMRC 
EG7K93 
P9CWD2 
HTRF69 
EJ5JGW 
MP0GGD 
MP0GFW 
KX5XN1 
PDH9D5 
PJYJJK 
PJYJJK 
J804E8 
MP0GFX 
PGKN8P 
PPT9M1 
D3GXDW 
FCPF5P 
MP0GGD 
KY41NM 
JYW2JK 
 

The Alamy refs of 21 Nov 2017 were KJ88__, so therefore the greater percentage of those sales are from over a year ago. At that point I had around 8000 images in my portfolio, and of course when the D and E refs were uploaded far fewer than that. Should I therefore be prepared to wait a year before my current work and near 15,000 portfolio start to pay off? Does that make sense? I'm shoveling images on and avoiding properly watching any TV in the evenings to manically keyword and rapidly build my port in the hope that it will one day begin to return more frequent sales, and I'm hopeful that it will given my experiences as illustrated above. If nothing else it can't hurt to just keep bashing away.

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I've just had a couple of Cs, one derisory. But I did that work years ago, so it would be jam, if there were a bit more bread and butter.

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Seems like it could take a while to see the results of your work. Ok, will keep slogging away, just managed to get another 500 or so online, only need another 160 to get to my target of 1000 per week.

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3 hours ago, Rudix said:

Seems like it could take a while to see the results of your work. Ok, will keep slogging away, just managed to get another 500 or so online, only need another 160 to get to my target of 1000 per week.

 

It's not just a numbers game though!

 

You need to avoid excessive duplication and good keywording is of paramount importance.

 

If you upload lots of similar shots your click through ratio CTR will suffer as buyers will be seeing multiple copies of virtually identical shots and, if you are lucky, they may only zoom one of them.  A poor CTR  means fewer views and so less chance of a sale.

 

A regular contributor here, Allan, has or had a strapline that said one keyword is worth a 1000 images. Not far short of the truth. 

 

I've taken a quick look at your port and it appears that you are may be guilty on both counts, too many similars and insufficient attention to accurate and concise keywording. I probably spend as much time keywording as I do processing, and then I go back a few days later and check them.  I recently found that I had relocated France into the UK.....

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1 hour ago, Bryan said:

 

 as much time keywording as I do processing

Far more in my case.

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5 hours ago, Rudix said:

Seems like it could take a while to see the results of your work. Ok, will keep slogging away, just managed to get another 500 or so online, only need another 160 to get to my target of 1000 per week.

 

Bryan is absolutely right about it being more than a numbers game. At Alamy the caption carries great weight in searches and you need to put comprehensive, well-researched and - above all -  accurate detail about the specific subject of each image. Same with the keywords. I would lean towards putting the brakes on your uploading and devoting a week or three to optimising what you've already uploaded. 

 

I would also add that if you were UK based I'd probably not offer this advice - I'm very happy when new contributors local to me merrily upload hundreds of image with poor keywords and captions, it means they are unlikely to be serious competitors in the long term, even when their photos are brilliant.

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Thanks for the advice everyone! I really appreciate it as it helps with the learning curve.

 

I am well aware that it is more than a numbers game so my key wording and captions are very much "work in progress", I know they still need a lot of work. As far as the similar (notice I did not say duplicate) images are concerned I must say my experience from agents other than Alamy are different, in many cases I have had requests for a specific photo but also the question if I have it from a slightly different angle, crop, light or time of day. But again Alamy might well be different and I need to take that into account.

 

The fact that I am not UK based might well be a big disadvantage if I look at images sold, that might also explain why I seem to have a far better sale rate (I understand it might take a while here, also a difference) at some other places (One sitting at around 10% of images in port per month, but low values with images often sold very soon after upload and some images with many many repeat sales even in the same month), that is just the way it is and one of the reasons I was thinking it might not be worth the time needed to sell here. But I will try to grow and optimize my port for a while still before I make the final call. Fortunately this is not my bread and butter, just having fun.

 

I am starting to get more views and zooms so time will tell...... Looking at the search terms that did find some of my images is very educational and is causing me to rework many image key words and captions.

 

At the moment just about all the content I am uploading here are Alamy exclusive, not sure how much of an advantage that is but I might change that as I am building this large collection of processed images, might be worthwhile using them somewhere else if this does not work out that well so all the time spent on preparing the images was not wasted. 

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3 minutes ago, Rudix said:

The fact that I am not UK based might well be a big disadvantage....

Conversely, looking at your subjects, you could be ideally placed to target the vacation industry and I'd suggest tagging and captioning with that in mind.

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Just now, Avpics said:

Conversely, looking at your subjects, you could be ideally placed to target the vacation industry and I'd suggest tagging and captioning with that in mind.

Hmm, I think you have a good point, thanks, will make a point of adding the relevant info!

 

Over the past 15 years of serious photography my main target, and source of income from my hobby has been fine art landscape prints, some of them huge and I love that, the whole process from taking the photo, processing and the actual printing so this whole stock game is very different to me. I would never even have considered it if a friend did not suggest that I am sitting on this huge collection of images that are mostly dormant (as they might not belong in the fine art world) and I should try using at least some of them for stock.

 

I now find that I am keeping a camera with me a lot more (even invested in a more compact setup) than before with stock shots in mind and that is fun, I am seeing the world differently and I like it. Even if I sell very little it might still be worth it.

 

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I don't think that being based outside the UK is a big disadvantage unless you're shooting for the UK newspaper market, which doesn't pay well anyway.  You have to make a lot of regular sales to make it worthwhile. Alamy is international. Very few of my licenses are to the UK.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Looking at the size of your large portfolios I am a little discouraged, I only have around 600 images so far, sales are sure not going to happen. Good thing this is only a hobby.

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On 11/10/2018 at 13:30, Steve Valentia said:

Pointless would be good, it's my Key wording background show.

 

- and not that Pointless to watch for a foreign speaker. I find myself watching this once in a while.

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The wind seems to have picked up.

6 this week, 4 this morning. Averages still poor though.

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7 hours ago, RSTPIERRE said:

Looking at the size of your large portfolios I am a little discouraged, I only have around 600 images so far, sales are sure not going to happen. Good thing this is only a hobby.

I have a portfolio of less than 4 hundred and have only been here 4 months and I have a sale.  Sometimes it is worth ignoring the discouragement and carrying on.

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