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I signed on with Alamy last September and now have about 850 high-quality, mostly nature-oriented, photos in my portfolio. After a month of no sales, I decided to sign on with an Alamy competitor and send them the very same photos. Almost Immediately, I started making sales, and now have over 100 downloads. (Granted, this competitor offers a "subscription" program where buyers can pay a fee to download a number of photos at low cost, which means that the amount I'm receiving for most sales is paltry, but every day a few more pennies drop into the piggybank--and that's very gratifying.)

 

So, my question to you more experienced contributors is, what do you think might account for the difference in my success with the competitor and my total lack of success with Alamy? I have the top (3-star) quality rating from Alamy, and in addition to the Alamy competitor I also have been selling for years through a more traditional agency that's very fussy about quality, so I'm sure that's not an issue. Also, I have the same number of keywords ascribed to the photos with Alamy as with the others, so that seems to not be a factor (although I've found it impossible to shed the "poor discoverability" onus imposed by Alamy, no matter what I do!).

 

Any insights anyone has to offer would be much appreciated. And if you want to review my portfolio, you can go to https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/177824.html 

 

Thanks for any help!

 

Gerry

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I have absolutely no experience of other stock agencies but a quick look at the content of your portfolio makes me wonder if part of the problem so far on Alamy is the general lack of people in your photos. Doesn’t mean to say that photos without people won’t sell but I think photos with people are easier to sell with an agency that has an editorial bent.

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1. Don't worry about poor discoverability. It's a Red Herring that they need to get rid of.

2. IME also, Alamy is relatively poor for selling wildlife photos (yours tend more towards botanical than mine).

Continue auditioning different sites with your images and see which work for you (and I think you've got an answer, at least to which doesn't work for you). It's not necessarily the same buyers at the different outlets.

That said, I had over 800 pics and eight months before I got my first Alamy sale, and there was a LOT less competition then.

 

 

Edited by Cryptoprocta

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A month is nothing like enough time to start making regular sales with so few images.

And why would buyers come here when they can now get the same images for pennies elsewhere? You are competing with yourself.

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Hi Gerry you have some really excellent shots in your portfolio.

 

To answer your question I also have a good chunk in microstock which is also in Alamy and on the whole Alamy account for around 12% of my revenue.  I also have rights managed exclusive images with Alamy.

 

What I find is Alamy tend to sell certain types of image well such as editorial images and food images where as the microstock outfits

sell more generic stuff.

 

Some people do very well with Alamy but for regular frequent sales then microstock certainly do better however

when you do get a sale with Alamy it usually for lot higher values.

 

It often takes months to see a sale with Alamy in the beginning but once you start getting sales they often become very regular.

Edited by David Pimborough

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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

A month is nothing like enough time to start making regular sales with so few images.

And why would buyers come here when they can now get the same images for pennies elsewhere? You are competing with yourself.

It's not that simple. To get images for 'pennies' they need to commit to a large number of downloads (presumably how Alamy bands their discounts).

On some other sites, it can cost about the same as Alamy to buy a single image.

Buyers who are buying large numbers of images whether via a subscription or a 'special deal' will park their money with the agency with the best selection of the type of images they're most likely to use. So again, horses for courses.

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There are two reasons why you may see sales more quickly on major MS stock sites.

 

1) Their images sell much, much more frequently (albeit at much lower fees).

2) MS customers typically pay at the point of download, whereas many Alamy customers can download first but then declare use (and get invoiced) after a significant delay (often months, but it can be a year or so, in the case of books).

 

Have you had views and zooms? If so they will give you some insight into whether customers are finding your images and whether they like them. It's quite possible some customers have already downloaded and selected some of your images for a future article or publication, but they will only declare use when they go to print (or even later if it's a UK newspaper.) 

On Alamy you need to be patient.

 

Mark

 

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I'm really learning a lot here, so thank you all for being so helpful. Yes, I suspected that photos of bugs and plants and landscapes wouldn't necessarily be hot items on a site like Alamy, but I thought I'd give it a go, and will continue to do so. 

 

It hadn't occurred to me that by offering the same photos to two different sites I'd be "competing with myself," so interesting insight, Spacecadet!

 

Again, I really appreciate all your good comments.

 

Gerry

 

 

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Sadly, Gerry, at this point you will need nearly ten times the amount of images on Alamy to see regular sales.  I do like the quality of your images...just need more here.

 

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Love your portfolio. The curled up fawn is unique and adorable.

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You have nice stuff and I'm sure it will sell over time.  Natural history is a tough area with lots of competition so it will be important to get your images seen - i.e. on the first few pages of searches.  Check this by doing some searches of your own, and check in Alamy Measures, to see if tweaking your keywords helps to improve your ranking.  Forget visibility and don't be tempted to use spurious keywords just to change the colour from orange to green; it won't help.

 

There's always been a trade-off between shooting obscure subjects (not much demand but not much competition either) and "popular" subjects - loads of demand but, equally, loads of competition.  Looking at your images, it seems to me that you shoot what you enjoy rather than being focussed entirely on sales.  Not a bad attitude, in my opinion, when returns across the board are generally poor. 

 

Good luck.

 

Chris

 

 

Edited by CM photo
grammar

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15 hours ago, Gerry Bishop said:

I'm really learning a lot here, so thank you all for being so helpful. Yes, I suspected that photos of bugs and plants and landscapes wouldn't necessarily be hot items on a site like Alamy, but I thought I'd give it a go, and will continue to do so. 

 

It hadn't occurred to me that by offering the same photos to two different sites I'd be "competing with myself," so interesting insight, Spacecadet!

 

Again, I really appreciate all your good comments.

 

Gerry

 

 

I would be cautious of assuming you are competing with yourself - there is good evidence this is not the case done by others.  It seems to be the case that the majority of image buyers do not have the time or inclination to shop around - and will probably not see an image on one agency and look on others to see if it is cheaper.  I think it is like owning 2 shops - one in the posh part of town one on the sink estate.  They sell similar and same items but at different prices - however, it is very rare for a customer from the posh one to visit the sink one to get the stuff cheaper.  It does happen but not enough to affect bottom lines.

At the same time the whole industry and market is changing rapidly and has been changing for a while - and what held true last year may not this year.  I think all you can do is experiment around and see what works for you and your images - which will not necessarily be what works for me and my images.

Oh and yes numbers - you do need them.  OK huge numbers of crap will not outsell small number of top quality but that small number of top quality will not make a lot - you need at least a medium size (and I am looking at 4 figures here) for consistent earnings.

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To all who have responded to my original posting, thanks for the compliments and for the wise and encouraging words. You've given exactly the feedback I was hoping for and have impressed me with your understanding of this side of the business. 

 

And yes, I've always taken photos of the things I love and for my own enjoyment, with any sales being just a cherry on top. So with the insights and assurances you've provided, I'll just keep on shooting and uploading and hoping for the best.

 

Gerry

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5 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

I would be cautious of assuming you are competing with yourself - there is good evidence this is not the case done by others.  It seems to be the case that the majority of image buyers do not have the time or inclination to shop around - and will probably not see an image on one agency and look on others to see if it is cheaper.

 

Really?

Try a GIS for the first five of OP's images. Four come up on a MS site first.

I wonder if the buyer who hasn't got 5 seconds to save $20 is going to remain a buyer for very long.

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3 hours ago, spacecadet said:

 

Really?

Try a GIS for the first five of OP's images. Four come up on a MS site first.

I wonder if the buyer who hasn't got 5 seconds to save $20 is going to remain a buyer for very long.

Alamy themselves gave sort of answers to this issue - https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2018/02/06/do-alamy-buyers-search-elsewhere-answers-from-alamy/  

There are various resources available to those who want to do the research but the over all conclusion seems to be that if having images with multiple agencies does any harm to the contributor that harm is so negligible as to  make measuring it impossible, and that that actually there are likely to be benefits.

Everyone has to look at the info and decide for themselves.

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23 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

Alamy themselves gave sort of answers to this issue - https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2018/02/06/do-alamy-buyers-search-elsewhere-answers-from-alamy/  

There are various resources available to those who want to do the research but the over all conclusion seems to be that if having images with multiple agencies does any harm to the contributor that harm is so negligible as to  make measuring it impossible, and that that actually there are likely to be benefits.

Everyone has to look at the info and decide for themselves.

 

Interesting link, thanks.

 

Mark

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