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I finished in the red for the month, which is the first time that has ever happened.

 

I had a $180 refund from a sale the previous month, then 5 sales for $140 gross this month.

First time since switching to Blue that I've started off in the red. A sale from last month was refunded and then licensed for 19 cents less. That and a distributor sale came out to $23.67 gross.

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I had regular sales, and they stopped dead.

Here’s a thought: you may have had beginner’s luck, with a few quick sales, which raised your expectations too high.

 

From 8,000+ pix here, I get an average of one sale every two days. But that’s the average: last week I had five sales in one day, breaking a barren spell of two weeks. These peaks and troughs seem pretty consistent with a medium-sized portfolio like mine. With 416 pix, the peaks and troughs will be much bigger, and, of course, the total number of sales will be fewer...

Very true.... Up until very recently I only had about 1k images and I've been uploading like a demon here and elsewhere.... nothing here this month but zooms are now at 44 for the month and quite a few are on ref numbers so looking positive. 

 

Duncan (or whoever knows),

 

do you mind explaining what are the zooms on ref number you have and what does that mean? Also, how to check it?

 

Thanks,

 

V.

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Have you looked at "My Alamy"? I realize you must have in order to get to the page where you can submit images. I guess I mean have you looked at "Measures" under "My Alamy"? Lots of information there. Explore and you will see your zooms and (one hopes) sales. Or maybe I don't understand your question.

 

Paulette

 

Oh, I see. You were referring to the fact that Duncan said he had zooms on his reference number. Sometimes instead of a search word reported in Measures the search has been for the reference number of the image. That is usually a good sign. They have seen your image before and want to look at it again or maybe buy it. I get those and usually that means a sale -- but not always, alas.

Edited by NYCat

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Adding to my earlier comment. One thing you do need to pay attention to is the frequency and length of time you dedicate to this.

 

Stock is all I do but the last month has been knackering. Monday this week was the first time in over a month whereby I dedicated just one day to getting images. Most other weeks, I have been travelling here, there and everywhere and it can get very waring.

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That's your call, Ron, and good luck to you.

 

But with 416 images you've never really been in the game. And the number of images is not the only factor here. Your problem is/was too much theory and not enough activity . . . you talk the talk but you won't walk the walk. The entire stock industry has been collapsing in on itself and continues to do so. So the agency across town is in trouble too.

WIth all due respect Ed, but I have walked the walk. I have been shooting images for 18 months now, and I have a portfolio of 1000 images elsewhere. But read my post again please and this thread. There are people here that walked the walk, and with 12,000 twelve thousand images (!) have 4 FOUR sales. It has nothing to do with me talking but everything with sales on Alamy.

 

Cheers.

There's a photographer at Arterra with a little over 4000 images. He's sells on average 25 images/month at Alamy and he doesn't even have English related images (Alamy mainly concentrates on the English market and he's Belgian, mainly shooting in Belgium)

Those who moan (OK, I also moan a lot -_-) and sell very little - though they have +2000 images online - should take a GOOD look at what is published in the media. Then take a GOOD look at what the competition has to offer and then have a GOOD look at your own pictures. Ask yourself in all honesty if your images are on par with that competition.

 

With all respect, but I see a lot of work done in a very hasty manner, as if the photographer is under pressure to take pictures, steps out but hasn't got the slightest clue what his goal is. You're not going to make it when you run around like a headless chicken, snapping away at whatever that crosses your path without even thinking how the light falls, how the background looks like, not even has the patience to wait for the right moment.

 

The guy, I just mentioned, has another approach. Before leaving the door, he THINKS. According to the season, what is hot in the media, what event or celebration is coming up, he plans how and where to go shooting. And he only steps out when the conditions are right. He also makes his own interesting projects. One example: "assistance dogs". He calls up a training center for assistance and guide dogs, makes an appointment and does a coverage about the everyday life of a disabled person and his assistance dog (shopping in the supermarket, handing over the purse to the cashier, opening doors, picking up the phone, etc.).

When he covers a city or a whole region, he goes on a day with a clear blue sky and brings along a printed map with the location of the interesting buildings which he wants to cover. Each location on the map is marked by a round circle with a dot. The dot marks the location of the ideal position of the sun. That way he knows exactly where and when to stand to shoot that sight in the best possible light (looked it up on beforehand with google maps).

Yep, preparation is the name of the game. He also has the right equipment for the job. He shoots architecture with tilt & shift lenses.

 

Why am I saying all that? Because stock photography is a profession which should not be taken lightly IF you want to sell.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

I hope i am not on of the chickens but great explanation like always ! +1  I also dont live in the UK so i need to always think what could be interesting from other perspective looking at Poland.

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Perfect!

 

Thank you Philippe. This was the only image i had :(. Especiall because it was a editorial shot. It was unnoticed. But i get your message. They look indeed amazing. Maybe i had taken a few shots more and i would had better one.

 

I find it anyway great that you are sharing your knowlegde.

 

Mirco

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Vote up for that one Arterra. Actually very insightful knowledge indeed. The sort of thing that could be kept under lock and key, but makes perfect sense once you read it. 

 

Planning
How am I going to achieve this
What's my barriers
How can I be different yet convey the clear message

How is the light and using TPE android app, where is the light going to fall later in the day

 

Theses a few of the things I've been sticking by lately for my landscape shots. I have no idea why I don't apply them to Alamy shots. 

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Interesting - I wouldn't use any of the bicycle lesson shots. They all look too conscious of the camera, too conscious of the situation, too studied in terms of light and background. They look as if they happened on purpose rather than being observed, to a greater or lesser degree. I'm not sure what I would look for. Also, about studying the light and time of day for buildings. If everyone does this, we end up with lots of nearly identical images, especially if they also only visit on clear blue sky days. I believe in being completely random. Just be where you are. Doesn't apply if you are toting a 5 x 4 and wanting to do the big setpiece image one or two per day - but who is buying those now?

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Buyers want many different 'looks'. Some buyers are visually literate, others less so. It's amazing what sells.

 

Sometimes I go out with a shooting list and a firm plan. Other times I give myself a holiday from all that pre-planning and just have a wander ("random", like DK)... which can help to fine-tune my observational skills and 'being in the now'-ness.

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Editors don't want to create 'pages that are pleasing to look at' - graphic designers want to do that (even if the result is unreadable and misses the point of the article it all started with). Editors want to find visually strong highly relevant images which add information content, either by better illustrating something mentioned in copy, or by going beyond the copy and providing extra information through captioning (the old National Geographic approach). If you wrote a caption which duplicated information in the main article, you'd be instructed to edit the article or write a different caption.

 

In traditional magazine and newspaper design, there are fixed elements: the headline (most important and must be short but demand attention, need not be a sentence), the standfirst (usually a sentence or short paragraph in length) to summarise the content, crossheads or subheads to identify sections of article and their focus, and then a variety of ways of highlighting or simplifying text including pullquotes and boxouts (sections copied and highlighted from the main article), and asides (additional copy not in the main text like mini-stories in their own right, associated with the main article). Also info boxes, charts, tables, lists etc.

 

Photo illustration can replace or partner every one of these elements - you can look for a picture which will act like a headline, immediately grabbing attention; or like a standfirst, explaining in a bit more detail what the article will be about; or like a crosshead, breaking up a long read with a visual indicator of key points; or the photo can be like a side article, stand-alone with its caption. A good article (in-flight magazines are usually well structured this way) can include all these aspects. Good journalistic photographs can allow the casual reader (like the person flipping through an in-flight mag) to read the captions and look at the pictures, but not bother with the main text, and find that a complete 'read'.

 

Pretty pictures which just 'look good on the page' are only ever needed when the main article is a heavy read and doesn't need a picture but will otherwise look dull - accountancy and financial magazines have a high demand for these. Same on web pages. After all, a shot of a pile of coins really does NOT add anything to an article but think how many of those are used.

 

Looking at the 'sales found' threads I see that quite strong often unconventional images are often picked and they are rarely in the shift-lens corrected blue sky mode. On the web or in print, the images chosen from Alamy at least seem to have very strong specific relevance to the articles or subjects. Piles of coins apart, they are intellegent choices and also images you could never have found from old-style picture libraries (with a few exceptions like John Panton's brave ACE venture).

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Bit like Ron I guess except with zero track record here, I have to say that some of the numbers being reported seem good but pretty depressing when looking at the portfolio sizes and the revenue that they would generate on the micros even with royalties going for a few cents a pop.

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Bit like Ron I guess except with zero track record here, I have to say that some of the numbers being reported seem good but pretty depressing when looking at the portfolio sizes and the revenue that they would generate on the micros even with royalties going for a few cents a pop.

 

Woody,

 

The problem about Microstock is that Editorial wise you would not generate the same as on sites like Alamy. For sure many photographers here have their images also on other traditional stock sites. I sold some editorial on microstock. But far less than commercial. From 1 editorial i sold 40 commercial images. Alamy and other similar stock sites are known to sell more Editorial then commercial. So it is understandeble that they dont switch. I would never do it.

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A successful stock pic can be one that ‘works’, in its own right. Or it may work in conjugation with other pix, text or design elements, once an editor or designer makes use of it... which means it may not look ‘complete‘ when viewed as a thumbnail... and what the buyer is licensing is 'potential'.

Thinking about this stuff doesn’t create firm conclusions, but maybe it keeps us ‘on the ball’ when we’re shooting...

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Going on from John above, I took several pics for my work. They chose an image based on where the text would sit on the image and where their heading would sit. It was a nice insight into how an image is chosen. Even more alarming is the decision to take it against not taking it. 

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Composing an image with an awareness of copy space is a necessary and essential element of a stock photographers skillset

 

again, its about image making, not photo taking

 

km

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Sorry for coming back to the topic Microstock. I wanted to add something on my asnwer to Woody.

 

I was for 4 years working with Microstock. I learned many things from there. I see often people comparing Alamy to microstock. Like i said before they are both directed to a totally different market. Some beginners find microstock more actractive because it is a fact that you will see sales inmidietly. The sales makes many people happy. Me too at the beginning. But you will realize that you will be speaking about cents. I have an very good image that is sold by Shutterstock 800 times. I counted the revenue that makes 463 dollars :(. 800 times is a big number in 1 year. But knowing that for 463 dollars it could be used in the same year in about 2000 articles since it is RF it makes the image like some discount product spreaded all over the world. I really think it is better to have the same image on a traditional stock site and maybe you will have to wait 1 year until the image is sold but there will be only 1 user without having the feeling of discount + it is much easier to check for abusement. I earned in one month from one Dutch traditional Agency with 8 sales twice as on Shutterstock with 209 sales. I learned from that. 

 

I just want to say that Microstock is not a "better place" where you have to think it will solve all your "earning problems". If you are allready in Alamy concentrate to make your portfolio better. I understand that there are low price sales also here but with distance less than on microstock. After trying both i come to the conclusion that for especially editorial shooter Alamy and other similar agencies are a better choice.

 

This is my experience.... please dont attack me :). I am not saying that it is a rule. Just my life.....

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Bit like Ron I guess except with zero track record here, I have to say that some of the numbers being reported seem good but pretty depressing when looking at the portfolio sizes and the revenue that they would generate on the micros even with royalties going for a few cents a pop.

 

Woody,

 

The problem about Microstock is that Editorial wise you would not generate the same as on sites like Alamy. For sure many photographers here have their images also on other traditional stock sites. I sold some editorial on microstock. But far less than commercial. From 1 editorial i sold 40 commercial images. Alamy and other similar stock sites are known to sell more Editorial then commercial. So it is understandeble that they dont switch. I would never do it.

Very fair point!  Personally, I make only 100 - 200 new images in a year, not editorial and it could well be a case of wrong material for this market but definitely wrong if thousands of images needed to be visible

 

Quick edit, just saw the additional comments..

 

I actually don't have views in terms of better of worse and, certainly, different markets have different benefits depending on what you do :)

Edited by woody

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I didn't sell anything in September, but would have been overjoyed if I had, considering I am just building my portfolio.  Did have one reference number search, so hoping that turns into a sale. It was simply of a small Cessna plane at the local airport where I stopped in on my way to town to take some pics.  

 

I like the wandering aspect of photography. On the weekend I went to the local cattle auction and got some neat shots, not of the auction, but of the outside vendors and trucks loaded in carrots and stacks of cages with chickens.

 

I passed a solar panel "farm" but it was a dark day and around noon, so they were all lying on their backs.  But there were about 300 of them, so I am going to go back on a bright afternoon or morning when they will be angled nicely.  I didn't even know it was there, and its about 10 minutes from my farm.

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I passed a solar panel "farm" but it was a dark day and around noon, so they were all lying on their backs.  But there were about 300 of them, so I am going to go back on a bright afternoon or morning when they will be angled nicely.

 

A solar farm on a dull day is ideal stock!

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Interesting - I wouldn't use any of the bicycle lesson shots. They all look too conscious of the camera, too conscious of the situation, too studied in terms of light and background. They look as if they happened on purpose rather than being observed, to a greater or lesser degree. I'm not sure what I would look for. Also, about studying the light and time of day for buildings. If everyone does this, we end up with lots of nearly identical images, especially if they also only visit on clear blue sky days. I believe in being completely random. Just be where you are. Doesn't apply if you are toting a 5 x 4 and wanting to do the big setpiece image one or two per day - but who is buying those now?

 

I don't agree with your dismissal of Philippe's bike-lesson images, David. On a scale of 1-to-10, I would given them an eight. They are very good when compared to many of the truly awful directed "model" images on Alamy. 

 

I came into photography from a background in theater as an actor and sometimes a director, so I know how to get amateur models to look natural. However, if you scan through my collection you won't see any model setups . . . because I can't see the practicality of spending money on stock production with the current prices being paid. So I don't make photos, I find them and take them. 

 

Ed

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A successful stock pic can be one that ‘works’, in its own right. Or it may work in conjugation with other pix, text or design elements, once an editor or designer makes use of it... which means it may not look ‘complete‘ when viewed as a thumbnail... and what the buyer is licensing is 'potential'.

 

Thinking about this stuff doesn’t create firm conclusions, but maybe it keeps us ‘on the ball’ when we’re shooting...

When my sister was working in design she despaired about the lack of choice. She would find pictures that were almost right but needed a slightly different pose/ angle, perhaps looking left instead of right but they often weren't available andf she had to commission a photographer or an illustrator. That was in the heyday of traditional film based stock and expensive print catalogues. Now it is affordable to produce and present those subtle variations we are penalised for doing so - too many similars! It would be interesting to get a current designers view on similars, especially if they could be presented in a stack so as not to overload the search results.

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Martin, the new Olympus was just launched and as a result I've had to lay out lots of fourthirds (actually also 4:3 shape ratio) images on to pages - and for other reasons, I've been shooting with the same system myself. It's amazing how photographers compose tight on this format, when they tend to leave length clearance on 2:3 format for A4 and US magazine page crops, and leave even more space on square formats for horiz/vert crop. But MFT/FT - most pix are a perfect final crop... and very difficult to work with!

Edited by David Kilpatrick

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SNIP... But MFT/FT - most pix are a perfect final crop... and very difficult to work with!

I crop most of my Nikon D300 images from native 3:2 format down to 4:3rds format. Two reasons - the first, I believe, you once mentioned a fair while ago on the old Forum - is that 4:3 thumbnails appear larger in the search results page... and the second reason is that my three lens kit consists of very old 24mm 55mm and 135mm manual Nikkors... and I generally need to crop images from those lenses down to 4:3 to cut out the crappy, soft corners!  8~(

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The best format for big thumbnails is square of course. I wish there was a proper square-sensor camera other than older medium format stuff!

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