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Paulstw

It's all about the pictures

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I think with only having 880 images on Alamy within a year is not bad going. I certainly fell pray to the ideal that loads of images result in sales, so I went a bit crazy snapping everything I thought would sell. 

 

I am getting a lot of views everyday (hundreds), consistent numbers from relatively the same search terms. So it leads me to a few conclusions. 

 

1. The images that are coming up are not fit for the buyers purpose

2. They are missing my images due to poor ranking

3. The images overall are just not fit for their purpose

 

I have key-worded my images to an acceptable level (I think) and I'm happy with the search terms used for my images to appear. I do tweak a few that missed and the few that were way off. 

 

I've been lucky to work with a few people lately on photography jobs, and their perception of how an image should look in their head normally doesn't translate well in the camera. 

 

For instance, a landscape shot that was given to a client, came back with the comment 

 

"Can you squash this into a portrait pic so that everything fits in?"
ME: I did take a portrait picture of that scene
"Yeah but it's not wide enough. 

ME: ok it's been squashed. 

"Fantastic, that's how I wanted it.

ME: scratches head

 

Do we have a void on Alamy where a customer wants a certain image but it's not really technically possible or doesn't exist yet? Gives weight to the argument of why the strangest of images sell and the ones we're proud of don't. 

 

Maybe a better communication between client and Alamy can be addressed and then cascaded down to folk who can take the image they need? 

 

Lots of other agencies have a "picture needs"  part of the forum where a client can ask the photographers for certain images that are missing from the database. 

 

I've tried to think like the buyer and not the photographer but this hiccup with QC lately is denting my confidence in that theory. 

 

I'm not complaining about lack of sales, as I have a few in the pipeline from what I can gather. It's really to address the need of the buyer. There seems to be potential there for sales, but something is getting in the way. 

 

Anyway just rambling away here. 

 

Paul

 

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Hello Paul,

 

Like i said before i think every image that has good composition and meet technical requirements have chance for sale. I sold an image of a trash can on the street for a environment article. Just look at the object and think for what it could be used. I see many parked cars and i think "this could be used for article about parking problems" and i take a shot. This counts for most of subjects. You never know what a client is looking on a certain day. The best way is to try to cover as many subjects as possible to catch most clients needs. I think Jeff Greenberg is a perfect example. He has almost 100.000 good images from different subjects. His images will appear on many searches. Now you have less subjects but the chance is there that you will get more sales from them on other time. In the meantime you could have other images from other categories that are viewed and eventually sold.

 

I think just keep on going and enjoy your photography. You will get rewarded. I experienced that with other agencies also.

 

Mirco

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Alamy is tweeting some picture needs. There is a "tweeting section" at the bottom of the Forums page. I find it frustrating because as I scroll down to it I end up scrolling the tweets too. Only a couple show at a time. It is all very awkward. I guess I should say this in the section on suggestions for the Forum. Will do.

 

Paulette

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I do see the Picture needs on my twitter feed, but sometimes its news events that they need pics of that are hundreds of miles away from me. 

 

I know there's a social issues needs out of the blog and that's been there for a while. I've certainly had many views and zooms on the recent pics I've taken of homeless people, but with there being no sales, you often wonder what it is the buyer is looking for exactly. 

 

Some are going to say "A good photographer knows what sells" and I agree with that entirely, but for the beginners like me, you end up at a loss as to why your images fit criteria and are never used. 

 

This is what leads to my initial comment that it's all about the pictures. If the picture is not good enough it wont sell. It's probably the hardest blind critique anyone can receive. 

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Paul,

 

On the other hand if you have zooms it looks like people like your images. Otherwise they would just pass it. Many sales you will get after months. Thats makes it so difficult at the beginning. Maybe you have allready a couple of downloads what you will know about in november for example. If you will have zero sales at the end of year then i would start thinking.

 

Mirco

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But it doesnt mean that somebody did not bought a licence. Maye somebody used it for a newspaper or magazine. Then it is possible you will see the sale later.

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Very true too. This is why reporting months down the line is such a frustrating situation. Not to mention trying to keep up with the folk that swipe the image from the site of the person that licensed it. 

I'd love to see real time data when it happens, like many would, or at least till after the refund period has expired. 

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"It's all about the pictures" - Paulstw

 

Not really. I might say, "It's all about the subject," but that too would be a wrong assumption, since in fact stock is about the subject, the interpretation, the images, the keywording, the post procession and the ranking. Have I left anything out? Maybe. Paul, you are spending a lot of thought on Alamy's part in the equation, and at the same time you're turning your back on your most important problem of the moment: why are you failing QC? Whatever the problem is, it will turn out to be your fault; that's the way it always turns out. I find it incredulous that a savvy shooter and hip computer dude like yourself can be failing QC. I know I'm being a nag with you on this, but that's only because I think you're worth saving. Forget about revamping Alamy—revamp Paul Stewart, the photographer, instead. Begin by looking at those failed jpegs at 100%. The answer is there. 

 

To address your other point (one of them), mostly buyers search by subject, not by pictures, and they don't often search deeper than Page 10. That's why rank is so important. And dio mio being on the sales table alongside 40,000,000 other images makes it hard to get noticed. 

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"It's all about the pictures" - Paulstw

 

Not really. I might say, "It's all about the subject," but that too would be a wrong assumption, since in fact stock is about the subject, the interpretation, the images, the keywording, the post procession and the ranking. Have I left anything out? Maybe. Paul, you are spending a lot of thought on Alamy's part in the equation, and at the same time you're turning your back on your most important problem of the moment: why are you failing QC? Whatever the problem is, it will turn out to be your fault; that's the way it always turns out. I find it incredulous that a savvy shooter and hip computer dude like yourself can be failing QC. I know I'm being a nag with you on this, but that's only because I think you're worth saving. Forget about revamping Alamy—revamp Paul Stewart, the photographer, instead. Begin by looking at those failed jpegs at 100%. The answer is there. 

 

To address your other point (one of them), mostly buyers search by subject, not by pictures, and they don't often search deeper than Page 10. That's why rank is so important. And dio mio being on the sales table alongside 40,000,000 other images makes it hard to get noticed. 

 

Thanks Ed for your continued nudge in the right path :) 

 

I won't be failing any other QC's I can assure you of that. However, on looking at my own portfolio it's not hard to see very many similars in there, so I reckon I've answered my own question. Be diverse as much as possible, and shoot the subject like you say :) 

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You're a gentleman, Mr. Stewart. Who says the Scots and the Irish can't get along? 

 

Normally I don't upload a lot of similars, but I may do once in a while, and sometimes I accidentally upload the same image twice. Well, nobody's perfect. :)  But I don't delete anything, and I try not to revisit images except to add, delete, change the order of, or proof keywords. 

 

Also, I find that what we're able to shoot without spending lots'a money is a much more important consideration than what Alamy is looking for. Hong Kong is always at the top of All of Alamy of late, but it would be madness for me to pay my way to Hong Kong to shoot stock. (And hell, I've been to Hong Kong.) 

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I have a strict folder system in place that I use for Alamy. Going on from your uploading of the same image comment. 

 

C:/DPP Imports - camera import folder (Date order)
C:/ Alamy Files

Inside are 4 folders

DPP HQ Exports - inside, Uploaded | Notuploaded - I move files I have uploaded to the uploaded folder, Exported images from DPP go into the Notuploaded folder
Photoshop Exports - My own crazy edits folder
Lightroom Exports - If I've edited any in LR. I import from my DPP Imports folder to LR
Low Res/Watermark - Usually cropped bird pics, or stuff not for Alamy

 

I then have a task in the computer that backs this folder structure up at 03:00 every morning to an external drive using a batch file xcopy routine. 

 

Glasgow has been searched for a lot recently due to the upcoming Commonwealth games so last year I went around photographing all the landmarks I could. In hindsight, I'd love to replace them all with better pics, but you deal with what you have at the time :) 

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Paul, you might have been better simple registering on the Government's tendering system (open to all) and you would have seen the big money available for photographers in Glasgow in 2014. At 100 miles away I'm just too far to think about it, but if you subscribe to the system, you can see who has been awarded the contracts, and who may therefore be needing additional freelances.

 

All the images you have shot round Glasgow could, of course, be useful if you can make the right contact this way. They are still working on much of the pre-games stuff.

 

If my September is anything to go by, anyone trying to understand their sales/lack of right now will be confused, as I believe there is another reason for poor September figures (other than what your images are like, searches etc). Something changed gear for Alamy sales earlier this year, and something further in the sunmer, not sure what but my searches/CTR/sales support the idea that it's not my fault...

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<snip>

 

If my September is anything to go by, anyone trying to understand their sales/lack of right now will be confused, as I believe there is another reason for poor September figures (other than what your images are like, searches etc). Something changed gear for Alamy sales earlier this year, and something further in the sunmer, not sure what but my searches/CTR/sales support the idea that it's not my fault...

 

That, combined with the strange 'top 500' round-robin, does not sound good to my ears...

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Paul - if you've only been on for 1 year and only have 880 pics and have had some sales I'd say you're heading in the right direction. Get the numbers into a few thousand, keeping improving and I think you'll come a time when reported sales are more regular. At 1 year the system hasn't had time to catch up with itself if you see what I mean - some of the sales you get now will originally have been searched months ago.

Regarding QC I think good capture and minimal PP will win the day...

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Thanks Mark. No idea why I didn't try that :/ 

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I'm just curious, Paul, but do you in fact know that the man on the street is both drunk and homeless as you state in the caption? Or do you just assume that's the case? Are you flirting with libel? 

 

I'm always a bit uncomfortable putting a negative assumption on a subject in the street.  Although I think (assume) you're probably right about his state, he might be just having a bout of binge drinking and has a home and family somewhere. He may also be mentally disturbed and not drunk. On the other hand, he does not look like a guy who isin a position to take you to court. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I'm just curious, Paul, but do you in fact know that the man on the street is both drunk and homeless as you state in the caption? Or do you just assume that's the case? Are you flirting with libel? 

 

I'm always a bit uncomfortable putting a negative assumption on a subject in the street.  Although I think (assume) you're probably right about his state, he might be just having a bout of binge drinking and has a home and family somewhere. He may also be mentally disturbed and not drunk. On the other hand, he does not look like a guy who is in a position to take you to court. 

 

Oh no question Ed that he was drunk. He was working in conjunction with another guy across the street. They share a dog you see, swapping over in hourly intervals. One has a sign and a dog, then the other one has the sign and the dog an hour later. I sat and watched them for ages, then went for food and came back and it was all change. 

 

I reckon there was about 6-7 operating in the same street that day. Happens all the time :) 

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A drunk is a drunk is a drunk someone once said. Or was it a rose they were talking about?  :)

 

In the early '60s I lived a block east of the famous Bowery here in NYC . . . I live just two block west of it now. In the '60s, the Bowery was a sea of bums, hobos and almost all of them alcoholics. It was President Reagan who invented "homeless" people in America, by emptying out the mental homes and leaving these damaged people to fend for themselves. I have no idea where the alcoholic hobos went, sobered up or died is my guess. The Bowery has become very chic now, like all of Manhattan.  :rolleyes:

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Good thing you checked Paul. Always be careful of making assumptions when you write captions.

 

I have a Canadian friend who was born in Canada, and whose family immigrated to Canada generations ago. She is therefore not an immigrant, but she is of asian descent.  

 

Canada's national magazine identified her as an immigrant when it used a stock photograph of her snapped in the street, without her permission, to illustrate a story on immigration.

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