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Hi! Im a brand new contributor to Alamy. (Ive been a photographer for about 5 years now.) My specialty is macro nature photography and landscape. Do you have any tips on how to get your first sale? I know not to expect to make a lot of money on here, but I do want to at least make a couple dollars a week. 

Here is my portfolio: https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/691013.html

 

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Posted (edited)

Submit a thousand quality varied images and you may achieve your goal of $2 net per week, or even more if you are better than average. 

Edited by andremichel
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Alamy law #1: Writing your keywords will be more important than you think it is. Even taking into account Alamy law #1.

 

https://c7.alamy.com/comp/T7R6DB/wrens-at-bird-feeder-T7R6DB.jpg

Your birds on your garden feeder are not wrens. This is what a wren looks like.

 

You are right that wrens at a bird feeder is not a well covered subject.

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) - Stock Image

Which is a pity, because they are such wonderful birds.

If I search for wren at bird feeder, your house sparrows now come up first as wrens. So you do have tremendous good Alamy rank. make use of it: go photograph these wrens on a bird feeder and all those other subjects with less than 100 images on Alamy and you will sell regularly.

 

wim

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I'm no expert but I think your birds are Pipits of some kind.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Sultanpepa said:

I'm no expert but I think your birds are Pipits of some kind.

 

If you look at their beaks, they're seed eaters. On my feeders I have the same: a female and a young house sparrow. Pretty pleased they're back.

Exactly which sparrow is hard to tell, because Passeriformes, include more than half of all bird species. But my guess is passer domesticus i.e. house sparrow. However because the location is given as Texas, I don't know. US sparrows are different from old world sparrows. (They're actually more like our finches and buntings.)

Besides I'm from Amsterdam where we were only able to distinguish 2 types of bird: sijssies en drijfsijssies, roughly translated as Siskin and Water-siskin. But then in the Amsterdam dialect.

(Oh and Pipits have long pointy beaks which means they will probably eat insects. But they're still Passeriformes. We call them Piepers. Nice song.)

 

wim

 

edit: My knowledge of birds does not extend much further than my 2 bird feeders and the trees in my street. Taking into account the Amsterdam upbringing I've come pretty far though. Recently four of these settled in the neighborhood and are treating me to wonderful lunchtime concerts.

Edited by wiskerke

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The reason you don't get lots of photos of Wrens at garden bird feeders is because they don't come to them - wrong sort of food.  With wildlife knowing your subject is as important as being able to take good photos .  Okay so now someone is going to find me a photo of a wren at a garden bird feeder aren't they !

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Paul Glendell said:

The reason you don't get lots of photos of Wrens at garden bird feeders is because they don't come to them - wrong sort of food.  With wildlife knowing your subject is as important as being able to take good photos .  Okay so now someone is going to find me a photo of a wren at a garden bird feeder aren't they !

 

Not very likely to see a picture of a wren on a feeder, Paul, you are correct that wrens rarely, if ever, use bird feeders. 

 

Mary, the key to getting your first sale is the same as getting your 100th. Have a large, well-shot collection of images which have been carefully and accurately keyworded. You've made a good start by asking the question here. I despair sometimes of the mountain of images I see on Alamy which are carelessly and inaccurately shot, captioned and keyworded. Look for and follow the example of the best contributors. 

 

There are many experienced professional photographers on Alamy and nature is a subject which is well covered, so you will have to strive hard to compete.

 

You might want to have a look at your pictures of the monarch butterfly. I'm not an expert, but I don't think they are endangered. I suspect there are also several variations of the monarch and you are more likely to make a sale if you have identified the precise species (include the Latin name if you can). I wouldn't include generic keywords such as earth, nature, creation as they are unlikely to be used in a search for your subject.  Include the location 'Texas' only if the species is in some way specific to that area, or there is something unusual about the subject in that location.

 

Is the 'butterfly bush' a proper name for that plant? If not, find out what it is an include it in the keywords.

 

Have fun building up that 1000 strong portfolio - it will come in time if you are determined.

 

ETA. Note that the wrens on the bird feeder in Wim's post are Carolina wrens, not the UK variety (Troglodytes troglodytes).

Edited by Joseph Clemson

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36 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

If you look at their beaks, they're seed eaters. On my feeders I have the same: a female and a young house sparrow. Pretty pleased they're back.

Exactly which sparrow is hard to tell, because Passeriformes, include more than half of all bird species. But my guess is passer domesticus i.e. house sparrow. However because the location is given as Texas, I don't know. US sparrows are different from old world sparrows. (They're actually more like our finches and buntings.)

Besides I'm from Amsterdam where we were only able to distinguish 2 types of bird: sijssies en drijfsijssies, roughly translated as Siskin and Water-siskin. But then in the Amsterdam dialect.

(Oh and Pipits have long pointy beaks which means they will probably eat insects. But they're still Passeriformes. We call them Piepers. Nice song.)

 

wim

 

edit: My knowledge of birds does not extend much further than my 2 bird feeders and the trees in my street. Taking into account the Amsterdam upbringing I've come pretty far though. Recently four of these settled in the neighborhood and are treating me to wonderful lunchtime concerts.

 

Noticed the bill after posting so definitely not a pipit. I'm gonna plump for House Finch (f)

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Posted (edited)

Yes.. captions and keywords are very important. To get sales for plants and animals, you have to got the extra mile sometimes and identify species, find latin names, etc. Another example:

 

Beautiful butterfly on leaf Stock Photo

 

The caption reads, "Beautiful butterfly on leaf".

 

Keywords are:

amazing
beauty
butterfly
close up
earth
flower
habitat
insect
lady
leaf
life
lighting
macro
magazine
natural
nature
nectar
painted
purple
wildlife
yellow
zinnia

 

Firstly.. what type of butterfly is it? That should absolutely be a supertag and be in the caption.

Secondly, where in this image are: earth, flower, lady, magazine, nectar (OK.. they eat Nectar but not in this image) , purple, zinnia (this is a type of flower that butterflies like... but there isn't one in this image)

 

Including irrelevant (and just wrong) tags will kill your CTR and then your ranking and essentially mean your photos will drop out of sight in preference for other peoples' photos.

Not including important keywords like the species of butterfly will mean that the person who is writing a text book about butterflies and specifically wants an image of that type of butterfly will not find your image.

 

 

Edited by Matt Ashmore
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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Paul Glendell said:

The reason you don't get lots of photos of Wrens at garden bird feeders is because they don't come to them - wrong sort of food.  With wildlife knowing your subject is as important as being able to take good photos .  Okay so now someone is going to find me a photo of a wren at a garden bird feeder aren't they !

 

Click on the thumbnail in my post? So probably only in winter. If you set  yourself to it, any bird will come to a feeder. Provided it's somewhere near of course and will come near a house. However it may mean constructing and maintaining specialized feeders. I've seen some, but mine are pretty standard be it with a diy cage around it.

 

wim

 

This proves that getting the Latin name right is important. The wrens in the US are totally different from the wrens in the old world:

Cactus wren ( Campylorhynchus) and Carolina wren ( Thryothorus ), the one from the thumbnail.

We here in the old world have only one: Troglodytes troglodytes great song! These do occur in the US as well though. The dutch name translates as little winter king.

Edited by wiskerke

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Posted (edited)

Those are female House Finches. The males have red on the top halves of their bodies. I have shot them in Oklahoma many, many times. The way you tell the females from ordinary sparrows is the distinctive contrasty brown stripes on the chest/bellies.

Usually where you see females, there will be males in the vicinity also. The red on the males (sometimes just a blush) become more distinctive during the spring mating season. I’ve often thought the males looked as if they were held upside down by the tail and dipped in red dye. Although the red isn’t solid.

These birds don’t migrate for the winter in my part of the country. I have pictures of them in the snow.

On another note. In my opinion only, you have developed your images with too much contrast, making them appear darker than they look in real life. While bird images need some developing, do it with a lighter touch.

 

Nature is a hard place to break into. That was my main focus when I joined. I loved shooting birds and butterflies, and flowers somewhat. While I have sold a few of those, on the whole not many compared to my editorial images. I pretty much wasted hours, days, months shooting birds and butterflies. The competition is fierce in flora/fauna. I suggest you do Alamy searches of your subjects and look at the first couple of pages to see what you’re up against. Look at how these images are developed.

In comparison, I shot a storefront and sold it within a week.  Not the usual time frame, but still...

 

So while you collect your birds and butterflies that you love, get out there and shoot other things. Diversify.  Shoot that blooming bush and tag with common name and scientific name. Shoot your neighborhood market storefront. Shoot a family picnic, bbq, or someone bringing a cake from the oven.  Or a grandmother holding a child. Try to make them unique. Angle, etc.

You do not have to have releases to shoot people. Nice if you can get them, but most images here are sold editorial with no release necessary. Just list them RM, or RF-editorial. 

Hope this helps and good luck to you. I had somewhere like 500 to 800 images in my port before making a sale. Then the second sale took awhile, too. Patience and persistence is needed. If you look below at "other images by this contributor" you'll see more of my House Finch images.

Betty

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-house-finches-carpodacus-mexicanus-male-and-female-perch-on-a-budding-16777836.html?pv=1&stamp=2&imageid=46DB3700-0AC7-47D6-AC47-D88A6A79A59A&p=39562&n=0&orientation=0&pn=1&searchtype=0&IsFromSearch=1&srch=foo%3dbar%26st%3d0%26pn%3d1%26ps%3d100%26sortby%3d2%26resultview%3dsortbyPopular%26npgs%3d0%26qt%3dHouse%20Finch%2c%20B%20LaRue%26qt_raw%3dHouse%20Finch%2c%20B%20LaRue%26lic%3d3%26mr%3d0%26pr%3d0%26ot%3d0%26creative%3d%26ag%3d0%26hc%3d0%26pc%3d%26blackwhite%3d%26cutout%3d%26tbar%3d1%26et%3d0x000000000000000000000%26vp%3d0%26loc%3d0%26imgt%3d0%26dtfr%3d%26dtto%3d%26size%3d0xFF%26archive%3d1%26groupid%3d%26pseudoid%3d%26a%3d%26cdid%3d%26cdsrt%3d%26name%3d%26qn%3d%26apalib%3d%26apalic%3d%26lightbox%3d%26gname%3d%26gtype%3d%26xstx%3d0%26simid%3d%26saveQry%3d%26editorial%3d1%26nu%3d%26t%3d%26edoptin%3d%26customgeoip%3dUS%26cap%3d1%26cbstore%3d1%26vd%3d0%26lb%3d%26fi%3d2%26edrf%3d%26ispremium%3d1%26flip%3d0%26pl%3d

Edited by Betty LaRue
typo
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Don't give up or become disillusioned - it is an economy class, long-haul flight with little leg room and it will take time (and commitment) to get there! Worth it in the end, if you like taking pics! I now have a Sony RX100 which I take with me everywhere and am always pleasantly surprised and a little amazed by what pops into view! My DSLR only comes out for planned trips.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Jansos said:

 I now have a Sony RX100 which I take with me everywhere and am always pleasantly surprised and a little amazed by what pops into view! My DSLR only comes out for planned trips.

 

Me too!! It goes to work, to the supermarket, to church, on days out, to visit friends and relatives... even to the public bathroom...

 

A condom vending machine on a wall in a gentlemen's public toilets to allow easy purchase of contraception. - Stock Image

 
(I don't take these sort of shots when other people are around but when you are waiting for your 6 year old to do what he has to do and you are a little bored and look up and you wonder if someone might write an article on family planning and the availability of contraception when you notice one of these....). So in response to the 'you know you are a stock photographer when...' thread.... 🙂
Edited by Matt Ashmore
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13 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

Yes.. captions and keywords are very important. To get sales for plants and animals, you have to got the extra mile sometimes and identify species, find latin names, etc. Another example:

 

Beautiful butterfly on leaf Stock Photo

 

The caption reads, "Beautiful butterfly on leaf".

 

Keywords are:

amazing
beauty
butterfly
close up
earth
flower
habitat
insect
lady
leaf
life
lighting
macro
magazine
natural
nature
nectar
painted
purple
wildlife
yellow
zinnia

 

Firstly.. what type of butterfly is it? That should absolutely be a supertag and be in the caption.

Secondly, where in this image are: earth, flower, lady, magazine, nectar (OK.. they eat Nectar but not in this image) , purple, zinnia (this is a type of flower that butterflies like... but there isn't one in this image)

 

Including irrelevant (and just wrong) tags will kill your CTR and then your ranking and essentially mean your photos will drop out of sight in preference for other peoples' photos.

Not including important keywords like the species of butterfly will mean that the person who is writing a text book about butterflies and specifically wants an image of that type of butterfly will not find your image.

 

 

Thanks for the feedback. Im not sure how some of those keywords got in there...maybe autofill?  Or maybe I accidentaly selected two images while typing keywords. Thank you so much for pointing this out. I appreciate it. How do you write keywords for thousands of photos? Doesnt it take a lot of time?

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2 hours ago, MTNPhotos said:

Thanks for the feedback. Im not sure how some of those keywords got in there...maybe autofill?  Or maybe I accidentaly selected two images while typing keywords. Thank you so much for pointing this out. I appreciate it. How do you write keywords for thousands of photos? Doesnt it take a lot of time?

 

Accidentally selecting several photos when intending to change only one is a common issue in the image manager (AIM), where you have to deliberately deselect an image after working on it. Alamy have been asked to change the way it does this, but stick to their guns that it is the best way. I still disagree.

 

Putting up thousands of photos usually takes a long time anyway, unless you have a pre-existing library, so its a case of doing them batch by batch. Have a browse of the forum and you will find discussions on the best keywording practices. My own is to use Adobe Lightroom to both process the image and add captions/keywords before uploading. In AIM I only need to select supertags and fill in the optional tab (the optional tab contains important info, by the way, and is not so optional as the name implies).

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On 10/05/2019 at 20:53, Jansos said:

Don't give up or become disillusioned - it is an economy class, long-haul flight with little leg room and it will take time (and commitment) to get there! Worth it in the end, if you like taking pics! I now have a Sony RX100 which I take with me everywhere and am always pleasantly surprised and a little amazed by what pops into view! My DSLR only comes out for planned trips.

Interesting point on the Sony RX100 camera. How advanced are these compared to DSLR ? i.e. in terms of low light handling.

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Some key tips for keywording animals and nature would be to capture all relevant and necessary visual details, specialist terms (such as latin name for species / classification), as well as concepts. What could the image mean to buyers who are not necessarily searching for that particular animal? An image buyer or brand manager may search for content to elicit an emotional response, so it's good to expand upon literal visual details to include concepts and set the context.

 

A good approach is to add hierarchical keywords (such as "animal") technical, and compositional terms where relevant (such as "side view"). Conceptual terms are a great way to boost / broaden access. For instance a buyer looking to convey "fragility" may search using the keyword fragility, but they may not think to look for "butterfly". They may be more interested in the story than the content. So by adding both, you could potentially double your chances of coming up under relevant search requests.    

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5 minutes ago, Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd said:

Some key tips for keywording animals and nature would be to capture all relevant and necessary visual details, specialist terms (such as latin name for species / classification), as well as concepts. What could the image mean to buyers who are not necessarily searching for that particular animal? An image buyer or brand manager may search for content to elicit an emotional response, so it's good to expand upon literal visual details to include concepts and set the context.

 

A good approach is to add hierarchical keywords (such as "animal") technical, and compositional terms where relevant (such as "side view"). Conceptual terms are a great way to boost / broaden access. For instance a buyer looking to convey "fragility" may search using the keyword fragility, but they may not think to look for "butterfly". They may be more interested in the story than the content. So by adding both, you could potentially double your chances of coming up under relevant search requests.    

 

I have a method which informs my keywording approach in that I try to avoid peripheral keywords which might produce too many false positives and drive down my CTR  and search ranking. As a result I keyword tightly and literally for the most part. As a keyword professional, do you have any empirical evidence which indicates whether tight keywording is noticeably better or worse on Alamy, compared with the use of details, broad concepts and emotional keywords? Does Alamy differ from microstock sites in this respect?

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Hi Joseph, I agree that peripheral keywords will impact negatively on your Alamy ranking as the search engine penalises weak keywording. Keywords need to be relevant and accurate. But apart from knowing what keywords are relevant and accurate, it helps to know how each search engine works, as they are all so different! I interviewed art buyers and picture researchers to find out how they search and the overall response was that they prefer to search using simple terms rather than limiting themselves with specific keywords.  However they also expressed frustration with the sheer volume of results a broad search returns. Experienced buyers may search broadly on Alamy, and then narrow down using concepts, but are unlikely to start with concepts. I would say that it pays to apply two layers of keywords a) objective keywords and 2) conceptual keywords as search behaviour is not a science. It's also a good way to future proof your assets because if you decide to distribute elsewhere down the line, your keywords will be comprehensive.

 

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13 minutes ago, Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd said:

Hi Joseph, I agree that peripheral keywords will impact negatively on your Alamy ranking as the search engine penalises weak keywording. Keywords need to be relevant and accurate. But apart from knowing what keywords are relevant and accurate, it helps to know how each search engine works, as they are all so different! I interviewed art buyers and picture researchers to find out how they search and the overall response was that they prefer to search using simple terms rather than limiting themselves with specific keywords.  However they also expressed frustration with the sheer volume of results a broad search returns. Experienced buyers may search broadly on Alamy, and then narrow down using concepts, but are unlikely to start with concepts. I would say that it pays to apply two layers of keywords a) objective keywords and 2) conceptual keywords as search behaviour is not a science. It's also a good way to future proof your assets because if you decide to distribute elsewhere down the line, your keywords will be comprehensive.

 

 

Thank you for that. I may carry on with my present policy and perhaps introduce the occasional concept keyword where the image goes beyond the usual soft editorial. Distribute elsewhere? How could I ever think about leaving Alamy 😮😉?

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On 10/05/2019 at 08:53, Paul Glendell said:

The reason you don't get lots of photos of Wrens at garden bird feeders is because they don't come to them - wrong sort of food.  With wildlife knowing your subject is as important as being able to take good photos .  Okay so now someone is going to find me a photo of a wren at a garden bird feeder aren't they !

 

Those wrens in the second post had come to what looked like a suet cake.  Suet cakes also attract woodpeckers and some kinds of warblers.  Other kinds of warblers seem to come to hummingbird feeders (Tennessee Warbler here in Nicaragua).

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On 14/05/2019 at 13:02, Gnans said:

Interesting point on the Sony RX100 camera. How advanced are these compared to DSLR ? i.e. in terms of low light handling.

Pretty good, especially the newer models!

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1 hour ago, Jansos said:

Pretty good, especially the newer models!

I see consistent good reviews about this online. Thank you for that review from a stock contributor perspective.

 

This will possibly be on my wish list if I get past a good return from the contribution 🙂

 

 

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