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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

  Again there is a reason for my pricing - and it is kind of difficult to assess the going rate when you are in a unique situation because there is not one.   What  I do and what I charge is known to several pros in the area - and they do not have a problem with it, and in fact, it was one of them who encouraged me to do what I am doing.  To the best I can tell for the level of skill I offer combined with the risks of employing me my pricing is right.  I will be clear I do not get vast volumes of work - I take a contracted gig maybe once every couple of months.

I am not quite sure what exactly the issue is - if my work is crap I am no threat.  Nobody here is telling me my work is so wonderful I should charge more what I am getting told is my work is less than wonderful but I should be ashamed for not charging more?   I mean when I go to the new hairdresser - who has only recently qualified, who is not as fast as the experienced ones, who may make more errors I expect to pay less.  Contractors whose service is limited because of any factor including disability/health tend to charge less than full steam ones.  

People also might want to consider that if you spend over a decade with no earning ability at all,  effectively being told by the government your value is around £100 a week £25 an hour is a hell of a lot of money.  Being able to earn 50% more than you are told you are worth for a whole week in just 4 hours is kind of hard to get your head around - having people shouting at you that you are being disrespectful for charging so little really does not compute.

So from my point of view, the idea is to take pictures and put them up for sale after I have taken them.   My own website is priced in line with other club photographers in my area.

If I am asked for a specific gig I quote a price based on my abilities and limitations - and the pros in the area who know me do not have a problem with it as either too high or too low.

If people think I am not charging enough do they think my work better than I do?  If people think my work is worse than I do why should they be concerned with what I am charging because I won't sell anything?  Or is the reality that people are worried that customers are actually happy with lower quality at lower prices?  In which case the whole problem is nothing to do with my prices but that I exist (in the market place) at all.    

 

 

If you are basing that on my comments, you have clearly and completely misinterpreted what I was saying. I certainly was not shouting and I was not saying you are charging too little, not least because I had no idea what you were photographing. I was simply making the point that, based on your portfolio here (recalling once again that you asked for a critique), I think it is dubious that you should be offering professional services at all as you apparently have so much to learn about the basic craft of taking a properly exposed picture and processing it to a satisfactory standard. In fact £25 an hour is £200 for an 8 hour day, £1000 for a 5 day week, £52,000 a year and certainly not to be scoffed at. If people are willing to pay you at all for what you admit yourself is an inferior product, then that is up to them. Sounds like you are on to a good thing there at £25 an hour.  

 

So to be clear, my advice to anyone is to learn first and then charge for a professional quality service. The threat in offering anything less than a professional quality service is in bringing the profession into disrepute. 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Sally said:

I think my point was clear, and I was not shouting at you. 

 

As my mother uses to say, one should not ask questions without wanting to get answers…

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36 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

 

If you are basing that on my comments, you have clearly and completely misinterpreted what I was saying. I certainly was not shouting and I was not saying you are charging too little, not least because I had no idea what you were photographing. I was simply making the point that, based on your portfolio here (recalling once again that you asked for a critique), I think it is dubious that you should be offering professional services at all as you apparently have so much to learn about the basic craft of taking a properly exposed picture and processing it to a satisfactory standard. In fact £25 an hour is £200 for an 8 hour day, £1000 for a 5 day week, £52,000 a year and certainly not to be scoffed at. If people are willing to pay you at all for what you admit yourself is an inferior product, then that is up to them. Sounds like you are on to a good thing there at £25 an hour.  

 

So to be clear, my advice to anyone is to learn first and then charge for a professional quality service. The threat in offering anything less than a professional quality service is in bringing the profession into disrepute. 

 

 

 

This would entirely depend if the £25 an hour is the charge for attendance at the gig alone. Processing the images can take as long as the shoot or even longer, bringing the rate down to £12.50 per hour. Anyone who has ever run a business knows that an hourly rate is not all profit. What about transport costs, equipment depreciation, tax etc etc. 

How many pro or semi pro can guarantee a 40 hour week 52 weeks of the year? I think your £52,000 at £25 an hour is a little optimistic to say the least.

If the clients weren't happy with what they pay for the product they get, they could always find a more expensive alternative.

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Posted (edited)

 

12 minutes ago, BobD said:

 

This would entirely depend if the £25 an hour is the charge for attendance at the gig alone. Processing the images can take as long as the shoot or even longer, bringing the rate down to £12.50 per hour. Anyone who has ever run a business knows that an hourly rate is not all profit. What about transport costs, equipment depreciation, tax etc etc. 

How many pro or semi pro can guarantee a 40 hour week 52 weeks of the year? I think your £52,000 at £25 an hour is a little optimistic to say the least.

If the clients weren't happy with what they pay for the product they get, they could always find a more expensive alternative.

 

I know all that. I was just quoting what was said about hourly rate and was not really intending what I said to be taken literally. In other words, £25 an hour is defintiely decent money if worked out over the whole job, including business costs.

 

The basic point I am making remains the same. Offering a professional service without adequate knowledge of the craft just because one owns tools that are adequate for the job is basically wrong in my book whether it is photography, plumbing, carpentry, brain surgery and so on. 

 

Anyway gotta go - got a load of image processing to do.

Edited by MDM

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Back on topic. I've just queried a Live News image which has been billed at a near UKNS value to be told that is now the fee for that publication. It was a violent and highly risky situation of which we may see more over the next few weeks with the political situation as it is, so any images from that won't be going to Alamy.

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2 hours ago, Sally said:

I think my point was clear, and I was not shouting at you. 

Sorry I did not mean I felt you were shouting at me I just feel shouted at in general.

Again I do not feel I offer or claim a professional service - I do what I do with the football and people ask me to do it for them.   The £25 an hour is based on shooting and processing at what I consider to be a reasonable working rate - which I certainly do not maintain.  It is a how long it would take a fit healthy me to do the work - I probably average about double that time.  As for 40 hours a week - if I had people knocking my door down offering 10x that rate I could not achieve 40 hours a week.  I aim for 40 hours a month - large amounts of it in 10 to 15-minute bursts.  Oh and on a gig I do not charge extra for travel.  If I am asked out of my area to shoot a match the way I usually do I charge 25p a mile and a cup of tea to make sure I am not out of pocket.

As for how bad and unprofessional my work is - well the critique was somewhat different from what has been said here.  The overwhelming message is I underexpose.  I believed I was underexposing less than I did on my first images - I still believe that looking at my port.  Obviously, I am still underexposing somewhat - which I am working on.  I need a new monitor, I find it challenging to accept the different between what the histogram says and what I see (and regards snow photos when I have followed advice given the histogram is all crammed at the right -something I was not aware was supposed to happen because I am learning and snow happens for a couple of days every 3 to 4 years so I do not get a lot of practice) At the end of the day my only real measure has to be whether what I do sells - and I have had sales.

At the end of the day the only real measure I can have is if my stuff sells - and it does.  I will try to improve - to do and be the best I can - but I had to learn a long time ago to stop comparing myself to others.  I am just grateful that I live at a time where there is a market I can offer stuff at.

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Posted (edited)

Since we have gotten off topic here, I'll try to offer Estelle some advice regarding the underexposed images. Set your monitor brightness at the midpoint. I don't know what equipment you have and it has been over a decade since I've used a PC, but on a MAC there is that little light icon and you should slide it so that it is right in the middle. That will give you a good idea of how your photos will look in terms of exposure.

 

I would also say that you need to learn to trust the histogram - and if you have a well-exposed photo that has a nice spread from light to dark, tweak your monitor's brightness settings until the photo looks correct. 

 

Read as much as you can online or in photography books about the basics and see if there are any classes in your area that you can attend. Here in the US we have community colleges (two-year institutions). Although I have a graduate degree, adults are able to sign up for classes there and that is how I learned Photoshop, studio lighting, and other helpful things taking classes over the years, especially when I started out. I was lucky enough to have worked in Manhattan for years as an attorney and needing a creative outlet took classes at ICP, the International Center for Photography in the 1980's, many years ago.  I didn't start shooting professionally until I was in my 40's, which is when .I took classes locally, One of my professors at the local community college also taught there, but there are often good photographers who teach classes no matter where you live. High schools here also often have continuing education classes again that any adult can take. Perhaps you have something similar where you live? (the UK I'm guessing). I still take classes time to time, mostly to get my creative juices flowing.

 

If your health limits you so that you don't think you can guarantee you'll be able to show up every week for a class and health or finances limit your ability to take an intensive week-long or full weekend class, the other options that are usually offered, perhaps one of the pros in your area can help. Maybe you can work with them as an assistant, make some money helping them out and learn as you go - or perhaps if you say you can't show up reliably enough, you can do some assistant work in exchange for them teaching you proper exposure and processing. Or perhaps one will look at your portfolio with you and show you how to fix the issues with your photos.

 

I worked as a photographer's assistant 3 days a week back in the mid-2000's in the suburbs while I was shooting assignments (after taking some of the classes mentioned), for $28/hour. I'd see assistant jobs in Manhattan, where salaries tend to be significantly higher, for only $12/hour, which seemed ludicrously low to me, so like others here, I'd advise you to make sure you are paid what you are worth, and beware of who is telling you what the "going rate" is. If you are being paid to shoot by the club and then being paid additionally by individuals purchasing the photos, your actual hourly wage may be higher, but it still seems very low. I started out charging $90/hour-$750/day many years ago to shoot and $25/hour additional for processing (since I was just learning Photoshop) and charge around $250/hour now, which includes only the shoot itself and subsequent minor adjustments to images, with additional fees for major edits &  of course additional fees for prints or web images or albums (I don't do weddings, just the occasional party, and shoots for local small businesses). For flat fee work, I figure my hourly rate x how many prints they want, and estimate how long it will take, then add a daily shoot rate, with a cushion, to arrive at a fee. I also do some low-paying work shooting for local magazines @ $50-$100 per photo, which is really more for advertising since it can help me get work and may give me images for stock. All of these fees are quite low, IMHO, but fees for photography have remained stagnant for some years now in my area, and health issues including the fear of not being able to show up due to chronic illnesses that can flare up, have kept me from doing more than the occasional job, so I can relate to your concerns. If I was shooting weddings or shooting more often, I'd be charging at least twice as much. I turn down people seeking cheaper options; some small businesses have come back to me, realizing you get what you pay for. Other people who really can't afford my rates, often say they wish they could afford me. I paid a young talented photographer significantly more than my usual rate for my daughter's wedding out in the midwest last year, and there were many who charged less than half her rate, but I don't see the point in paying for mediocre work, although I know many people who put price ahead of product. 

 

So, work on improving your craft and then don't be afraid to charge what you're worth. 

 

Since we have gotten so off topic here, I thought of starting another thread on what to charge for assignment work, but this seems to have gone in that direction.

 

Back to the OP's original question. Personally, I think a willingness (or perhaps resignation) to accept lower per license prices for stock images in exchange for an overall higher RPI, is a different thing than an unwillingness to work for less than you are worth. As a young lawyer in Manhattan, my firm charged $250/hr for my work in the 1980's - and here I am charging that decades later for my photography, but society values the two skills differently, and I made the decision to do what I love, but that doesn't mean I'll just give my work away. I look at a shoot that I do for stock (mostly travel) and see how long it takes me to earn back the costs and start making a profit on it, and try to figure out the best way to make the highest RPI. If it is a shoot in a destination that I know will sell a lot, putting those photos on a site with a lower return per license but a higher return per image probably is the way to go, if I want to make a profit from that trip. If it is a still life shoot I've done at home with a concept that will sell, again, getting the highest return per image makes the most sense. If, however, I've gotten shots that I foresee selling as fine art, then my decision is different. If it is a travel shot, it might go on here as RM and it might not be uploaded as stock at all. Prosaic images aren't commodities, but I have learned that treating them as something precious really will hurt my bottom line. This is a business after all. I do not intend to be a starving artist.  

 

There are also some benefits to the micro model. I have one image that I took in 2009 that, honestly, I oversaturated, trying to give it a "stock" look and I kind of hate it now, but when I search for a particular high end destination, that photo is on the web on everything from travel sites, B&B's, nursing homes, realtor's, and even in some magazines and newspapers. It has earned me a significant sum, while others from that same destination, normally processed, have made high end travel books and sold as fine art, but it took several of those unquestionably better photos to earn as much as the "stock-y" one. I am much prouder of the better images, but that one hyper-saturated photo paid for the 4-day trip, including a stay at a lovely B&B. Its ubiquity also means that many of my photos from that destination tend to come up in a google search, and it still sells often even a decade later. 

 

Ultimately, we all need to do what works for us and what we feel comfortable with. There are people on here who said they won't sell equipment they don't use for a fraction of what it cost them on principal. I sold most of my Nikon equipment early last year, some for close to what it cost me and some for a fraction of what I paid, and bought a new Sony A7rii and some lenses. If the Nikon mirrorless cameras came out sooner, I might have kept all of it, but honestly I'm not sorry for my decision. I wish I'd upgraded to a better camera sooner, but it took me time to get to the point where I could let go of the concept of sunk costs. The photos on my hard drive are there, I shot them and have processed many (maybe not the same as sunk costs, but similar since the trips cost me money and there is the value of my time). So, if the best market for some of those images is not here licensing for $250 a pop as it might have been 5-10 years ago, then I need to put them somewhere where they will earn me less or perhaps, less per "sale" but much more overall, or they can sit on my hard drive taking up space and earring me nothing because I refuse to license them for less per "sale" than I believe they are worth. 

 

Uploading to Alamy does not insure, after all, that they won't be licensed for a few dollars. Four of my last five sales were for $6.99-$15, netting me $3.49-$7.50, and the fifth earned me $30, thanks to the new commission, about what I'd earn for a normal "extended" license on a micro site, and there is not enough volume for those small prices to add up. Looking at the images sold thread this month has been very discouraging, and convinced me that spreading my backlog of images across both this site and others is the way to go. 

Edited by Marianne
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I am not going to say or write anything new, but I am annoyed more and more as I am coming to realization that Alamy is probably not that special. What I mean by that is that most people say Alamy has higher fees/prices, and when you look at your sales it really does look like this. Just yesterday sold a bog standard editorial image for $20. Nice, not much but still several times more than microstock. And this is exactly where I think the misleading perception of Alamy's superiority comes from (especially for UK users). The fees shown on Dashboard are gross which makes us feel we got more than we actually did. My $20 becomes $8 (non exclusive) and this becomes £5-6 depending on conversion rate. I get these sale prices on microstock regularly. Annoyed. Why not report what we get, rather than gross?

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Posted (edited)

I came here today to make a topic about this issue, but then I found this one already with 7 pages of comments. I just had a sale of a Rights Managed image for USD 3,00... and that is gross! If Alamy is going to sell my images for that price, I don't have any interest whatsoever. I prefer to NOT make the sale! This is micro stock prices.If it continues this way I will delete all my portfolio. I refuse to sell my images for nothing. :(

Edited by Octavio Campos Salles
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4 hours ago, Octavio Campos Salles said:

I came here today to make a topic about this issue, but then I found this one already with 7 pages of comments. I just had a sale of a Rights Managed image for USD 3,00... and that is gross! If Alamy is going to sell my images for that price, I don't have any interest whatsoever. I prefer to NOT make the sale! This is micro stock prices.If it continues this way I will delete all my portfolio. I refuse to sell my images for nothing. :(

 

Was it a direct Alamy sale or via a distributor? I've had three pathetically low sales this month, but they were all through distributors. That said, my highest sale so far this month was also a distributor.

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19 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Was it a direct Alamy sale or via a distributor? I've had three pathetically low sales this month, but they were all through distributors. That said, my highest sale so far this month was also a distributor.

 

I just watched a YouTube video by the people at Pond5, where I've submitted a few clips and plan to submit many more. It's here: (https://www.youtube.com/)watch?v=WGiIUOwnBsg&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=artists_town_hall (Take out the parentheses if you want to watch it; if I leave them a huge cover photo comes up.)

 

Anyway, they're dropping the commission for non-exclusive to 40% but raising the commission for exclusive to 60%. They also give what I think are good reasons to believe that it is non-exclusivity that is a major cause of falling rates.

 

Like John, my recent distributor sales have been very low and I have to wonder how Alamy can keep prices up when their "partners" license the same photos at "bulk rate" prices. I plan to drop out of distribution next month, but would be happy to stay with it if they were bound to sell at Alamy book rate or higher.

 

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40 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Was it a direct Alamy sale or via a distributor? I've had three pathetically low sales this month, but they were all through distributors. That said, my highest sale so far this month was also a distributor.

 

No, not distributor, just bulk discount.

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5 minutes ago, DDoug said:

 

I just watched a YouTube video by the people at Pond5, where I've submitted a few clips and plan to submit many more. It's here: (https://www.youtube.com/)watch?v=WGiIUOwnBsg&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=artists_town_hall (Take out the parentheses if you want to watch it; if I leave them a huge cover photo comes up.)

 

Anyway, they're dropping the commission for non-exclusive to 40% but raising the commission for exclusive to 60%. They also give what I think are good reasons to believe that it is non-exclusivity that is a major cause of falling rates.

 

Like John, my recent distributor sales have been very low and I have to wonder how Alamy can keep prices up when their "partners" license the same photos at "bulk rate" prices. I plan to drop out of distribution next month, but would be happy to stay with it if they were bound to sell at Alamy book rate or higher.

 

 

Thanks for the video link. I have some clips with P5 as well, so I'll check it out.  I tend to agree, people dumping the same images everywhere and anywhere has had a lot to do with creating the pricing mess that we're now in, so Alamy is hopefully on the right track with its move to encourage more exclusivity. The proliferation of microstock and low-balling distributors haven't helped matters either. It's a tangled Web we've woven.

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4 minutes ago, Octavio Campos Salles said:

 

No, not distributor, just bulk discount.

 

Mine were distributor AND bulk discount, double whammy you might say.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, DDoug said:

 

I just watched a YouTube video by the people at Pond5, where I've submitted a few clips and plan to submit many more. It's here: (https://www.youtube.com/)watch?v=WGiIUOwnBsg&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=artists_town_hall (Take out the parentheses if you want to watch it; if I leave them a huge cover photo comes up.)

 

 

EVERYONE (including Alamy) should watch this video. It's one of the best analyses of the "race to the bottom" that I've heard.

Edited by John Mitchell
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1 hour ago, DDoug said:

 

I just watched a YouTube video by the people at Pond5, where I've submitted a few clips and plan to submit many more. It's here: (https://www.youtube.com/)watch?v=WGiIUOwnBsg&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=artists_town_hall (Take out the parentheses if you want to watch it; if I leave them a huge cover photo comes up.)

 

Anyway, they're dropping the commission for non-exclusive to 40% but raising the commission for exclusive to 60%. They also give what I think are good reasons to believe that it is non-exclusivity that is a major cause of falling rates.

 

Like John, my recent distributor sales have been very low and I have to wonder how Alamy can keep prices up when their "partners" license the same photos at "bulk rate" prices. I plan to drop out of distribution next month, but would be happy to stay with it if they were bound to sell at Alamy book rate or higher.

 

That's great if and when it becomes clear where is the best place to put images exclusively.  At the moment it seems the exclusivity options choose one agency and hope its the right one for your work or do different shoots with different agencies so you have exclusive images at several but they do spend less time shooting for each.  For someone starting out without clear ideas of where their work is best suited this is not useful at all.  I still hear from people who are non-exclusive that where they have the same images with multiple agencies the images that sell well at one agency do not sell as well at others and that individual agencies still seem to have different customer bases so different images sell at different agencies when multiple agencies hold them.  This suggest to me that if I mark images exclusive here that are not right for here they are just not going to sell - they would not sell here as non exclusives either but I would have them somewhere else and would see where they were saying.

I suspect people may be right in that the market may be swinging to agencies wanting exclusivity which will result in agencies starting to diverge in content - but until that happens and until I can see where is the best place for my images to sell I am keeping them spread.  If in a year or 2s time I see the majority of my sales are at one agency I may consider making images exclusive there for higher percentages but until I can ascertain the best place for my images I am choosing to offer them in multiple places

 

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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

That's great if and when it becomes clear where is the best place to put images exclusively.  At the moment it seems the exclusivity options choose one agency and hope its the right one for your work or do different shoots with different agencies so you have exclusive images at several but they do spend less time shooting for each.  For someone starting out without clear ideas of where their work is best suited this is not useful at all.  I still hear from people who are non-exclusive that where they have the same images with multiple agencies the images that sell well at one agency do not sell as well at others and that individual agencies still seem to have different customer bases so different images sell at different agencies when multiple agencies hold them.  This suggest to me that if I mark images exclusive here that are not right for here they are just not going to sell - they would not sell here as non exclusives either but I would have them somewhere else and would see where they were saying.

I suspect people may be right in that the market may be swinging to agencies wanting exclusivity which will result in agencies starting to diverge in content - but until that happens and until I can see where is the best place for my images to sell I am keeping them spread.  If in a year or 2s time I see the majority of my sales are at one agency I may consider making images exclusive there for higher percentages but until I can ascertain the best place for my images I am choosing to offer them in multiple places

 

 

That's a sensible approach. Be careful, though, it can take six months to a year -- maybe even longer -- to get images removed from some agencies and their distributors. I've discovered that the hard way. 😕

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Posted (edited)

1

Edited by isphoto

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I'm still waiting for Alamy to introduce exclusive filter for clients.

 

Any news about this?

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2 hours ago, Marcin Rogozinski said:

I'm still waiting for Alamy to introduce exclusive filter for clients.

 

Any news about this?

 

I left a topic on March 8 on Suggestions and ideas > Alamy

regarding ...highlight "Exclusive collection of stock and live news images"...

 

I'm waiting for some progress too.

 

Andre

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Answer to the topic title question: is Alamy turning into Micro?   No. Sale prices are low, but sales volume is even lower. IME.

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