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Timestopper
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Hi there, I've been a part time photographer and educator for fifteen years.  Currently dabbling in photo tourism. The question of what to do with all the images on my hard drive brought me to Alamy. Happy to be here. 

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You've found the perfect answer to your question! The captioning, tagging, and pseudonym creation that a successful Alamy experience requires will keep you busy for decades. Keyword for a decade or two and your vocabulary will become spectacular too.

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Welcome on board, but before you go much further I think you should look at your keywords. You have quite a lot of only vaguely associated words that are not directly relevant to the photo. For example, you photo of the artist’s hand painting in Havana (RP4P87). You have communism, marxism and socialism in there. This image does not represent any of those ideologies. Same with cuban government, politics, hemingway, che guevara. Having these indirect keywords can harm you ranking. I know from experience - when I had about 5000 images with Alamy and almost no sales I had a rethink. I deleted 2000 of them and deleted probably 60% of my keywords, leaving just those that answer the question who, where, when, what, why and how. The result was an almost overnight reversal of my fortunes. Also, don’t pay any attention to the Alamy discoverability bar. Its a badly implemented idea which encourages people to keep adding keywords just to get their image in the green. Some images need only a handful of accurate and relevant keywords. Adding irrelevant keywords only means that your image will appear in more irrelevant searches.

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18 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

You've found the perfect answer to your question! The captioning, tagging, and pseudonym creation that a successful Alamy experience requires will keep you busy for decades. Keyword for a decade or two and your vocabulary will become spectacular too.

 

18 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

Welcome on board, but before you go much further I think you should look at your keywords. You have quite a lot of only vaguely associated words that are not directly relevant to the photo. For example, you photo of the artist’s hand painting in Havana (RP4P87). You have communism, marxism and socialism in there. This image does not represent any of those ideologies. Same with cuban government, politics, hemingway, che guevara. Having these indirect keywords can harm you ranking. I know from experience - when I had about 5000 images with Alamy and almost no sales I had a rethink. I deleted 2000 of them and deleted probably 60% of my keywords, leaving just those that answer the question who, where, when, what, why and how. The result was an almost overnight reversal of my fortunes. Also, don’t pay any attention to the Alamy discoverability bar. Its a badly implemented idea which encourages people to keep adding keywords just to get their image in the green. Some images need only a handful of accurate and relevant keywords. Adding irrelevant keywords only means that your image will appear in more irrelevant searches.

Thank you so much Colin...I really appreciate your time and lesson.  The Alamy discoverability bar is exactly why I was reaching for far fetched words.  So, you actually recommend using fewer words...interesting.  Can I simply delete key words or must I re-submit?  mmmm.  Why does Alamy keep the discoverability bar? 

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18 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

You've found the perfect answer to your question! The captioning, tagging, and pseudonym creation that a successful Alamy experience requires will keep you busy for decades. Keyword for a decade or two and your vocabulary will become spectacular too.

Thank you so much Brian! 

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5 minutes ago, Timestopper said:

 

Thank you so much Colin...I really appreciate your time and lesson.  The Alamy discoverability bar is exactly why I was reaching for far fetched words.  So, you actually recommend using fewer words...interesting.  Can I simply delete key words or must I re-submit?  mmmm.  Why does Alamy keep the discoverability bar? 

...six more images just passed QC....this is an oddly humbling experience....I'll take your WWWWWH advice. Thanks again. 

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59 minutes ago, Timestopper said:

Can I simply delete key words or must I re-submit?

No, you just delete them, very easy but they will exist on Alamy until the server indexes the database again, normally within 24 hours.

 

As to the Discoverability Bar, I think it's fair to say that it could do with revising, good to encourage anyone to keyword but tempting at first to try and play arcade games and make it change colour by adding irrelevant ones, I know, I did it when I first joined.

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Welcome to Alamy. You are in competition with thousands of other photographers, some of them with decades of experience in professional stock and press photography, so there is much to learn. There is also a massive opportunity to learn as many of them are generous with their advice, disseminated through the Alamy forum. 

 

One issue I would raise is that if you are selling your images as RF AND they contain people or property (trademarks, copyright work and many other categories) they should be marked as Editorial Only in the Optional information tab in the Alamy Image Manager (AIM). Alternatively, you can sell images as RM, as long as they aren't available as RF on any other agency. I know the tab says Optional, but much of the info you can enter in there is actually very important. 

 

I would also consider whether to post-process your images to give them a bit more visual punch (colour and contrast). If you have a look at the forum threads on what sells each month, you will get an idea of what to aim for.  

 

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4 hours ago, Timestopper said:

So, you actually recommend using fewer words...interesting.

 

No, I recommend using keywords that answer the what, where, when, etc. With some images that may not be very many. Others may go green. With photos of my kids I often go green as I put their ages in different variations (six yr old, six yrs old, six year old, six years old, 6 yr old.....you get the picture) which can quickly bumps up the number. The discoverability bar is just about the worst guide to keywording you can use. Another technique is to have a look at a couple of other Alamy photos of the same subject just to make sure you haven't forgotten any really obvious ones. All this is important as Alamy calculate your rank (which means on which page of search results your image appears) based on what they call CTR-click through ratio. This is the number of times your image is clicked to view compared to the number of times it appears in a search result. SO, the more irrelevant keywords means more appearances in search results with fewer clicks. Hence your rank will take a hit and your image will be lower in the search results. Newbie questions about the disco bar are frequent here - maybe one day Alamy will realise its value and get rid of it.

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Also, remember that Alamy does not use stemming. This means that you have to add plurals as well yourself, and don't forget US/British spelling variations (color/colour..) and different vocabularies (elevator/lift, sidewalk/pavement, etc). Yes you can delete unwanted keywords - in the Image Manager each keyword has a star and an X next to it. The star is to make it a supertag (ie highest relevance keyword - you are allowed 10) and the X is delete.

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3 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

Welcome to Alamy. You are in competition with thousands of other photographers, some of them with decades of experience in professional stock and press photography, so there is much to learn. There is also a massive opportunity to learn as many of them are generous with their advice, disseminated through the Alamy forum. 

 

One issue I would raise is that if you are selling your images as RF AND they contain people or property (trademarks, copyright work and many other categories) they should be marked as Edit orial Only in the Optional information tab in the Alamy Image Manager (AIM). Alternatively, you can sell images as RM, as long as they aren't available as RF on any other agency. I know the tab says Optional, but much of the info you can enter in there is actually very important. 

 

I would also consider whether to post-process your images to give them a bit more visual punch (colour and contrast). If you have a look at the forum threads on what sells each month, you will get an idea of what to aim for.  

 

Thank you so much Joseph. Ok, so you recommend I keep the RF and mark "Editorial Only" even if these images are not available in any other agency, correct? 

 It's interesting, after one of my photos failed in my first submission (ouch), I was very concerned about over processing so I actually pulled the images in and made them a little more subdued.  I appreciate your advice and feedback so very much. 

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3 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

No, you just delete them, very easy but they will exist on Alamy until the server indexes the database again, normally within 24 hours.

 

As to the Discoverability Bar, I think it's fair to say that it could do with revising, good to encourage anyone to keyword but tempting at first to try and play arcade games and make it change colour by adding irrelevant ones, I know, I did it when I first joined.

Thanks Harry.  The keyboarding did seem to be a bit labor intensive. 

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8 minutes ago, Colin Woods said:

 

No, I recommend using keywords that answer the what, where, when, etc. With some images that may not be very many. Others may go green. With photos of my kids I often go green as I put their ages in different variations (six yr old, six yrs old, six year old, six years old, 6 yr old.....you get the picture) which can quickly bumps up the number. The discoverability bar is just about the worst guide to keywording you can use. Another technique is to have a look at a couple of other Alamy photos of the same subject just to make sure you haven't forgotten any really obvious ones. All this is important as Alamy calculate your rank (which means on which page of search results your image appears) based on what they call CTR-click through ratio. This is the number of times your image is clicked to view compared to the number of times it appears in a search result. SO, the more irrelevant keywords means more appearances in search results with fewer clicks. Hence your rank will take a hit and your image will be lower in the search results. Newbie questions about the disco bar are frequent here - maybe one day Alamy will realise its value and get rid of it.

 

4 minutes ago, Timestopper said:

Thank you so much Joseph. Ok, so you recommend I keep the RF and mark "Editorial Only" even if these images are not available in any other agency, correct? 

 It's interesting, after one of my photos failed in my first submission (ouch), I was very concerned about over processing so I actually pulled the images in and made them a little more subdued.  I appreciate your advice and feedback so very much. 

 

5 minutes ago, Colin Woods said:

Also, remember that Alamy does not use stemming. This means that you have to add plurals as well yourself, and don't forget US/British spelling variations (color/colour..) and different vocabularies (elevator/lift, sidewalk/pavement, etc). Yes you can delete unwanted keywords - in the Image Manager each keyword has a star and an X next to it. The star is to make it a supertag (ie highest relevance keyword - you are allowed 10) and the X is delete.

Such good information...

 

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13 minutes ago, Timestopper said:

I assume "Quote" is a reply to a message on this forum and this is a new message?  

Yep

 

For the Brits we usually have to stress: add US spelling, because the rest of the world does not spell the way you do, and uses different words for things as well: like hood/bonnet; truck/lorry.

So for you it's the opposite: do check for UK spelling and or different words. Color/colour and so on.

Alamy is UK based and the split is about half UK half US. Where that leaves the rest of us I don't know. 😉

Oh and if there's no Eiffel Tower in the picture, there has to be a really good reason to use it as a keyword.

 

OTOH I think I would keyword

Love Locks on Paris Bridge - Stock Image

RP4P84

with: From Russia with love.

Not sure if the others would agree though as it will generate lots and lots of false hits for all those searches for the Bond movie.

What do the others think?

 

wim

Edited by wiskerke
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3 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

For the Brits we usually have to stress: add US spelling, because the rest of the world does not spell the way you do, and uses different words for things as well: like hood/bonnet; truck/lorry.

So for you it's the opposite: do check for UK spelling and or different words. Color/colour and so on.

Alamy is UK based and the split is about half UK half US. Where that leaves the rest of us I don't know. 😉

Oh and if there's no Eiffel Tower in the picture, there has to be a really good reason to use it as a keyword.

 

OTOH I think I would keyword

Love Locks on Paris Bridge - Stock Image

RP4P84

with: From Russia with love.

Not sure if the others would agree though as it will generate lots and lots of false hits for all those searches for the Bond movie.

What do the others think?

 

wim

Thank you wim, I learned about my over-keywording blunder this morning and am currently working them over.  Glad I submitted a few at a time initially.  Let me know if my latest posts seem better to you. I falsely assumed, the broader the keywords, the more hits. Might not surprise you that I don't know what the Bond movie reference is about...

 

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45 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Yep

 

For the Brits we usually have to stress: add US spelling, because the rest of the world does not spell the way you do, and uses different words for things as well: like hood/bonnet; truck/lorry.

So for you it's the opposite: do check for UK spelling and or different words. Color/colour and so on.

Alamy is UK based and the split is about half UK half US. Where that leaves the rest of us I don't know. 😉

Oh and if there's no Eiffel Tower in the picture, there has to be a really good reason to use it as a keyword.

 

OTOH I think I would keyword

Love Locks on Paris Bridge - Stock Image

RP4P84

with: From Russia with love.

Not sure if the others would agree though as it will generate lots and lots of false hits for all those searches for the Bond movie.

What do the others think?

 

wim

ahhh, yes. Bond movie...just clicked in my very-overloaded-with-key-words-noggin.

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37 minutes ago, Timestopper said:

Might not surprise you that I don't know what the Bond movie reference is about...

It's a really old film.

But with great music. And a great James Bond of course. And the stiletto shoes (no heels) of Ms Rosa Kleb, who was played by Lotte Lenya formerly the wife of Kurt Weill (of Mack the Knife fame).

 

wim

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1 hour ago, wiskerke said:

It's a really old film.

But with great music. And a great James Bond of course. And the stiletto shoes (no heels) of Ms Rosa Kleb, who was played by Lotte Lenya formerly the wife of Kurt Weill (of Mack the Knife fame).

 

wim

 

Nearly as old as I am! I was thinking of "The Spy Who Loved Me"  and how long ago I went on my first date - my mother drove us to the movies LOL - but I was wrong again about the movie - it was actually "Live and Let Die." They may be formulaic, but I always love a good Bond flick. Sean Connery is still my fave. You youngsters don't know what you're missing! Never Say Never...

Edited by Marianne
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4 hours ago, Timestopper said:

Thank you so much Joseph. Ok, so you recommend I keep the RF and mark "Editorial Only" even if these images are not available in any other agency, correct? 

 It's interesting, after one of my photos failed in my first submission (ouch), I was very concerned about over processing so I actually pulled the images in and made them a little more subdued.  I appreciate your advice and feedback so very much. 

 

The issue about RF and RF-Editorial or RM is not so much about having the same image on other agencies, it is more about the kind of use a picture may be put to. Having said that, it is an Alamy rule that if you have a picture selling as RM here, you can't have the same picture selling as RF at another agency.

 

The point I was making about RF-Editorial or RM is that pictures containing unreleased people or property can't be used for commercial purposes (e.g. advertising), only for editorial. At Alamy, such pictures should be RM or RF-Editorial Only.  Any image which does not contain unreleased people or property can be used for commercial purposes, and may be RF or RM if you prefer. You can read more detail about this issue in sections six and seven of How to Sell Your Images on Alamy

 

How much to post-process is  really about striking a balance between making the image 'pop', thereby looking attractive to buyers at thumbnail size versus making sure you don't introduce artefacts which will cause a QC fail versus allowing the buyer some leeway for adding their own processing - more difficult if the image is already heavily processed. The best basic advice is to shoot in RAW format and then use quality software such as Adobe Lightroom to process the RAW file. You will find lots of detailed discussions about the best practices on post-processing scatted around the forum and the Alamy blog. Have a look at the  portfolios of other contributors, especially those who appear regularly in the 'sales this month' threads to see what level to aim for. 

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Laura,

 

I like the few images that you have posted on Alamy and if you figure out the

captions and keywording you should do well, at least as well as can be done

these days.

 

Just my opinion, don't let anyone fool you into believing that it is numbers

of images online that make money.  In my opinion and from my own experience,

it is the quality of the images, the captions and keywords that make money in

the long run.  Don't pay too much attention to what was licensed today, look at

what was licensed last year and the year before that.  I also pay close

attention to the news, in the U.S. EU and Asia.

 

I would also add: Don't sell anything or image, let Alamy license them.

 

Good Luck,

 

Chuck

Edited by Chuck Nacke
proper English
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On 27/03/2019 at 17:50, Joseph Clemson said:

 

The issue about RF and RF-Editorial or RM is not so much about having the same image on other agencies, it is more about the kind of use a picture may be put to. Having said that, it is an Alamy rule that if you have a picture selling as RM here, you can't have the same picture selling as RF at another agency.

 

The point I was making about RF-Editorial or RM is that pictures containing unreleased people or property can't be used for commercial purposes (e.g. advertising), only for editorial. At Alamy, such pictures should be RM or RF-Editorial Only.  Any image which does not contain unreleased people or property can be used for commercial purposes, and may be RF or RM if you prefer. You can read more detail about this issue in sections six and seven of How to Sell Your Images on Alamy

 

How much to post-process is  really about striking a balance between making the image 'pop', thereby looking attractive to buyers at thumbnail size versus making sure you don't introduce artefacts which will cause a QC fail versus allowing the buyer some leeway for adding their own processing - more difficult if the image is already heavily processed. The best basic advice is to shoot in RAW format and then use quality software such as Adobe Lightroom to process the RAW file. You will find lots of detailed discussions about the best practices on post-processing scatted around the forum and the Alamy blog. Have a look at the  portfolios of other contributors, especially those who appear regularly in the 'sales this month' threads to see what level to aim for. 

Will take this much appreciated advice to heart.  Do commercial images sell better?  I have releases on older images and wonder if, moving forward, I should carry around model release forms. 

 I've been shooting RAW for years and processing in LR.  I've jumped ship from Canon EOS systems to Fuji XT-2 systems in the last few years. Whereas I'm pleased, I have to be more careful with noise, artifacts and overall compression issues in post with the Fuji. 

Thanks again.

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3 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Laura,

 

I like the few images that you have posted on Alamy and if you figure out the

captions and keywording you should do well, at least as well as can be done

these days.

 

Just my opinion, don't let anyone fool you that into believing that it is numbers

of images online that make money.  It is the quality of the images and the captions

and keywords that make money in the long run.  Don't look at what was licensed

today, look at what was licensed last year and the year before that.  I also pay close

attention to the news, in the U.S. EU and Asia.  I worked on one image that I shot

in the 80's that is a major news story now.

 

I would also add: Don't sell anything or image, let Alamy license them.

 

Good Luck,

 

Chuck

Good advice. Thank you Chuck.  Are you referring to the "Only available on Alamy" box? 

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