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lrj

Portfolio review for a newbie

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I'd appreciate anyone with experience having a look at my portfolio. I've just restarted with Alamy (150 images total so far, many more to come) and I'd like to know if I'm heading in the right direction.

 

https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/526038.html

 

Thanks a lot.

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Hello Laurence,

 

A  few miscellaneous comments, in no particular order...

 

For the most part the pictures look well composed and display nicely, so you obviously know your way round a camera and can post-process - always a good start. You also have a nice variety of images.

 

Be as specific as possible in your description and keywords. The cloud picture needs to have a cloud type ID to give it the best chance of a sale. I don't know what it is, but someone on Alamy forum will.

 

Images with people and no release must be either RM or RF-Editorial. It's not clear if you know the couple in the wedding pics, but I personally would want to have their say so before posting any image like this for either editorial or commercial use.  For commercial use written model releases from all people shown in the image is essential.

 

Be precise with your captioning and keywording. In the blackbird image it's not really clear why the blackbird might be described as 'tame'. In the keywords, the word 'twitcher' is superfluous as there is no obsessive birdwatcher pictured, even if it may be implied.  Inaccurate keywords will get you views, but no corresponding  zooms and your images will gradually be pushed down the search rankings  (search for CTR in the forum).

 

The deer images are nice but I would whittle the series down to maybe the  four best images - too many similars also harms your CTR.

 

Some of the images of Bamburgh castle ought not to be uploaded to Alamy as I know they forbid commercial photography of any kind on their property without permission (I've visited, I've asked and was turned down). It's a pity because you have some nice shots there. No commercial photography (which usually includes photography for editorial use)  is the policy with many castles, great houses, and some parks. If you are on a public right of way you are probably OK, but not within the property itself. I always research in advance the commercial photograph policy of any place I visit, so I know where I stand. 

 

With flora and fauna pictures, if your are sure of your identification, include the Latin name in description and keywords. 

 

There is a lot of competition from contributors with similar generic portfolios (me for one), some with thousands of pictures and many years of experience. You'll need to work hard at your photography AND even harder your captioning and keywording  in order to have any success, but no doubt you will in time. Have fun and good luck.

 

 

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Thanks so much Joseph.  You've gone above & beyond with some great advice.

 

The competition strikes me as difficult. I used to hear rule-of-thumb figures for stock like £1 per year per image, so your 3000 images might be earning £3000/year, but I guess in the current world of microstock that no longer applies. Is there a current approx figure?  I do wonder how much time it's worth spending on stock.

 

I'll check the RF images with people & no release, & tick the editorial only box.

 

I do indeed need to get tighter & more precise with the keywording. I find that part the most tedious.

 

At Bamburgh castle I did have permission, but for my client, not for stock. I'm stretching it !

 

Thanks again Laurence

 

 

 

 

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At Alamy an oft quoted rule of thumb is one sale per month per thousand images. I dream of £3000 per year from Alamy, though a few exceptional contributors manage it.

 

Agreed, keywording is tedious but essential.

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I thought £3000  year was highly unlikely Joseph!   What's the typical Alamy earning per sale  for the photographer?  £15- £20 for RF ?

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RGfoto, that tool looks interesting but for me it just returns shutterstock images. How does it help keywording?

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You're better off looking through all of Alamy and seeing what people were searching for which might suggest that some of those terms might fit various photos of yours as accurate keywords.  Also look through "what should you shoot."

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Thanks MizBrown, that's useful too. 

To see what people were searching for, do you mean the "related searches" listed after you've done a search?

 

Thanks

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8 hours ago, lrj said:

I thought £3000  year was highly unlikely Joseph!   What's the typical Alamy earning per sale  for the photographer?  £15- £20 for RF ?

 

Contributors tend not to reveal  specific amounts for licences they sell, so It's hard to estimate the figures you ask for. What I can say is that it is well-known that Alamy's prices have been forced down by the competition of microstock in recent years, however a single Alamy sale will usually far outstrip the pennies paid by microstock (where contributors rely on making many, many sales) . You can get some idea of what images have sold for at Alamy by looking at some of the regular threads on the forum 'How was your [month]' and 'Images sold in [month]'.

 

 I can't offer any estimate for RF anyway because I only sell RM. RF ought to bring a significant premium over RM as an RF image can be used multiple times after purchase, but limited anecdotal evidence suggests this premium is actually not very much.

 

I also have an opinion about keywording tools. Mostly  they rely on aggregating keywords attached to similar images on microstock sites. They are one step away from copying and pasting another contributors labours in compiling keywords, which is a practice frowned upon here. Some users of such tools are guilty of using them indiscriminately, adding the keywords presented without considering whether they apply to their specific image. In the long run such a practice harms their CTR and search ranking, but the practice also rankles generally as it means search results presented to the prospective customer will contain irrelevant images, making the purchase process more difficult. I can understand the usefulness of keywording tools for contributors whose first language is not English, to give them a helping hand in keywording, but it needs to be done with care. Keywording becomes easier with practice and the best keywording service is the one inside one's head.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

 

(I've visited, I've asked and was turned down).

 

 

Of course you were.

OP, I prefer David Kilpatrick's policy. Don't ask, because the answer is always no. If the policy isn't explicit, either on a sign or on the ticket, and I'm not asked to stop, it's fair game. You're not bound by an onerous term unless it's brought to your attention. Alamy may take them down later if their arm is twisted anyway, so don't waste too much time on such images. And don't pay the National Trust until they change their policy.

I have certainly had sales from places that may have had such a purported prohibition (I can't be sure, because of course I don't ask permission), including NT properties. One is a repeat seller that accounts for 10% of my turnover. Any comeback? Of course not.

I was once asked to stop photographing on the apron at a French airport, which if course I did. The photograph I took immediately beforehand has sold a couple of times.

Edited by spacecadet

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9 hours ago, lrj said:

RGfoto, that tool looks interesting but for me it just returns shutterstock images. How does it help keywording?

 

I was similarly flummoxed by that tool initially, it does deal with images on another library though, as you say but it can be helpful. Yes you come up with images from that library but then you have to highlight some of those to then come up with the keywords that are common to those selected images. The next stage adds them to the box, comma-separated. The interface is not that intuitive. It's not a bad way to get ideas I suppose but it is also quite revealing as to how many unsuitable or even irrelevant images come up on the first screen, depending upon what you are looking for.

 

The best Alamy tool for understanding keywords, and how they are used is 'All Of Alamy' or AoA and there are many very useful posts on this forum about how to make best use of that. It basically shows what actual keywords have been searched for on Alamy, and how successfully in terms of 'Zooms' and Sales. It takes a bit of learning and I'm just a beginner so the forum is your best resource.

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Posted (edited)

I sometimes find the MS tool useful too. You just have to be careful with very general tags as well as what you might call the "lifestyle" and "concept" type of suggestions- I'm pretty sure I've never had a sale from that sort of search.

Edited by spacecadet

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2 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

You can get some idea of what images have sold for at Alamy by looking at some of the regular threads on the forum 'How was your [month]' and 'Images sold in [month]'. 

 

Thanks Joseph - from a quick look people seem to be getting average earnings of $15 - $30 per sale. I'm not sure of the RF/RM balance of that.

 

Harry, I'll have a look at AoA - taa for all the info. Very helpful

1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

I was similarly flummoxed by that tool initially, it does deal with images on another library though, as you say but it can be helpful. Yes you come up with images from that library but then you have to highlight some of those to then come up with the keywords that are common to those selected images. The next stage adds them to the box, comma-separated. The interface is not that intuitive. It's not a bad way to get ideas I suppose but it is also quite revealing as to how many unsuitable or even irrelevant images come up on the first screen, depending upon what you are looking for.

 

The best Alamy tool for understanding keywords, and how they are used is 'All Of Alamy' or AoA and there are many very useful posts on this forum about how to make best use of that. It basically shows what actual keywords have been searched for on Alamy, and how successfully in terms of 'Zooms' and Sales. It takes a bit of learning and I'm just a beginner so the forum is your best resource.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

 

Ignore this post lol !

Edited by lrj

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40 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Here's a thread to get you started with AoA:

 

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/9185-alamy-stats-usagehow-do-you-use-them/

 

Just had a look at AoA.  Bit of an eye opener -  the odd castle is no good,  I just need pics of Marilyn Monroe & a hundred other celebs & politicians!  

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, lrj said:

Just had a look at AoA.  Bit of an eye opener

 

Yes, I think you have to be in a pretty positive frame of mind before you look at it! On the other hand pictures can sell out of the blue and some seasoned contributors still admit that they can't see much of a pattern. As I think has been said looking at the 'Images sold in...' threads is very useful though it's fairly UK-centric thanks mainly to the location of the dedicated souls who devote so much of their time to doing it for the benefit of all of us, there is some non-UK stuff.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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19 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

Hello Laurence,

 

A  few miscellaneous comments, in no particular order...

 

For the most part the pictures look well composed and display nicely, so you obviously know your way round a camera and can post-process - always a good start. You also have a nice variety of images.

 

Be as specific as possible in your description and keywords. The cloud picture needs to have a cloud type ID to give it the best chance of a sale. I don't know what it is, but someone on Alamy forum will.

 

Images with people and no release must be either RM or RF-Editorial. It's not clear if you know the couple in the wedding pics, but I personally would want to have their say so before posting any image like this for either editorial or commercial use.  For commercial use written model releases from all people shown in the image is essential.

 

Be precise with your captioning and keywording. In the blackbird image it's not really clear why the blackbird might be described as 'tame'. In the keywords, the word 'twitcher' is superfluous as there is no obsessive birdwatcher pictured, even if it may be implied.  Inaccurate keywords will get you views, but no corresponding  zooms and your images will gradually be pushed down the search rankings  (search for CTR in the forum).

 

The deer images are nice but I would whittle the series down to maybe the  four best images - too many similars also harms your CTR.

 

Some of the images of Bamburgh castle ought not to be uploaded to Alamy as I know they forbid commercial photography of any kind on their property without permission (I've visited, I've asked and was turned down). It's a pity because you have some nice shots there. No commercial photography (which usually includes photography for editorial use)  is the policy with many castles, great houses, and some parks. If you are on a public right of way you are probably OK, but not within the property itself. I always research in advance the commercial photograph policy of any place I visit, so I know where I stand. 

 

With flora and fauna pictures, if your are sure of your identification, include the Latin name in description and keywords. 

 

There is a lot of competition from contributors with similar generic portfolios (me for one), some with thousands of pictures and many years of experience. You'll need to work hard at your photography AND even harder your captioning and keywording  in order to have any success, but no doubt you will in time. Have fun and good luck.

 

 

 

Great answer Joseph. Is teaching in your background?

 

Bill

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3 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

 

Great answer Joseph. Is teaching in your background?

 

Bill

 

You are too kind, Bill. Not teaching, but I was a lay preacher and then a minister for a good number of years, which has a didactic element.

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20 hours ago, lrj said:

Thanks MizBrown, that's useful too. 

To see what people were searching for, do you mean the "related searches" listed after you've done a search?

 

Thanks

 

All of Alamy under Alamy Measures was what I meant, but related searches would also be useful. 

 

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