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riccarbi

Alamy, could you speed up your QC process a bit during weekends, please? (Title edited to avoid further criticism)

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Posted (edited)

I am a photographer mostly focused on contemporary art & architecture.

Last week I went to the Venice Art Biennale, three days before the grand opening, with my press pass (it took me five years to get the Wednesday pass, while the exhibition opens to the public on Saturday). I shoot about 500 pictures, developed about 100 of them, and started uploading to Alamy. Thereafter... I started to wait. Processing stage, evacuating stage, database update...
Meanwhile, many similar photos were already available (and searchable on Google) on two other stock photo agencies (guess you all know whom I am speaking about...).
Alamy, have you ever wondered about renting someone to review contributors' pictures in the weekend, just to compete with your rivals, especially after the recent restrictions in Live News picture requirements?
Today I added about 50 new (news?) pictures; yet, I'll arguably have to wait until Monday afternoon to see whether they were approved. or not. A waste of time and money, for both me and you.

 

Edited by riccarbi
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Posted (edited)

Well done on saying the same thing in triplicate. Maybe you should contact Alamy directly: contributors@alamy.com

 

 

Edited by John Morrison
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But you are just uploading your images as stock. And they are taking the normal amount of time to go live. It looks to me as though you should have applied for live news access.

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14 minutes ago, Thyrsis said:

But you are just uploading your images as stock. And they are taking the normal amount of time to go live. It looks to me as though you should have applied for live news access.

 

Agreed, or reportage. 

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Thyris and Mr Standfast are correct in pointing you towards Live News of Reportage. However, you need to be aware of recent changes to Alamy's policies on who has access to Live News and/or reportage. You will find discussion in this thread.

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Posted (edited)

Live News is not feasible for me. It takes no less than two full days to cover the Venice Biennale. Thereafter you have to develop and edit each photo, check image quality, prepare captions, keywords and so on... 48 hours are not enough to post a significant number of images this way. Furthermore, I used to post Live News pictures in the past and I didn't sell a single one of them, perhaps Alamy is not considered a reference in the LN market, who knows...
What I tried to say is that, In today's world, Saturday is a working day for many of us, including me. To rent someone to do the QC on Saturdays doesn't look a big effort IMHO, and would make Alamy more competitive in the Stock Photo market at a reasonable cost, arguably.
To wait from Friday morning to Monday evening (or even Tuesday) from uploading to having your images available for keywording is too much, in the current World Wide Web ecosystem; or, at least, I believe it is.

Edited by riccarbi
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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, riccarbi said:

Live News is not feasible for me. It takes no less than two full days to cover the Venice Biennale. Thereafter you have to develop and edit each photo, check image quality, prepare captions, keywords and so on... 48 hours are not enough to post a significant number of images this way. Furthermore, I used to post Live News pictures in the past and I didn't sell a single one of them, perhaps Alamy is not considered a reference in the LN market, who knows...
What I tried to say is that, In today's world, Saturday is a working day for many of us, including me. To rent someone to do the QC on Saturdays doesn't look a big effort IMHO, and would make Alamy more competitive in the Stock Photo market at a reasonable cost, arguably.
To wait from Friday morning to Monday evening (or even Tuesday) from uploading to having your images available for keywording is too much, in the current World Wide Web ecosystem; or, at least, I believe it is.

Nothing to stop you uploading images after the first day and then more after the second day, if you have Live News access. If I go to an event and need to use burst mode I can end up with many hundreds of images. If you don’t have the wherewithal to select, process and caption (which can be done in advance) quickly, then Live News isn’t for you and you will have to settle for the usual delay uploading stock. Contributions on the other sites were presumably via their live news equivalent. I really don’t see that you can complain. 

 

I wonder, too, how you managed to get a press pass without the facility to upload news images, although it could be you didn’t realise you no longer had access to it.

Edited by Sally
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You've known all this in advance, both in your own situation and of how Alamy works. Surely the value in these images was as news? I'd have thought that once the amount of time had passed that you'd left it that their value as stock would be no different whether they were on sale today or next month.

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Live News is feasible for everyone.  Shoot for a time period, then upload.  You should be able to edit and caption pics in minutes.  You want results,  you have to put in the effort.

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15 hours ago, riccarbi said:

I am a photographer mostly focused on contemporary art & architecture.

Last week I went to the Venice Art Biennale, three days before the grand opening, with my very special press pass (it took me five years to get the Wednesday pass, while the exhibition opens to the public on Saturday). I shoot about 500 pictures, developed about 100 of them, and started uploading to Alamy. Thereafter... I started to wait. Processing stage, evacuating stage, database update...
Meanwhile, many similar photos were already available (and searchable on Google) on two other stock photo agencies (guess you all know whom I am speaking about...).
What the hell, Alamy! Instead of opening foreign offices and the like, have you ever wondered about renting someone to review contributors' pictures in the weekend, just to compete with your rivals?
Today I added about 50 new (news?) pictures; yet, I'll arguably have to wait until Monday afternoon to see whether they were approved. or not. A waste of time and money, for both me and you.
Alas! You can do better than this. You can be quicker and more efficient than you currently are....
 

 

I don't think you really understand the difference between stock and Live News.  Despite your '...very special press pass...' you are uploading via stock which means you have to wait for them to go through a process.  If you apply for Live News access and get it your images will be available to potential customers within about 15 mins.  If you cannot upload images to Live News within a couple of hours of making them then maybe you need to rethink your approach and workflow. It is not Alamy's fault - it is your basic misunderstanding of the process.

 

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2 hours ago, Sally said:

I wonder, too, how you managed to get a press pass without the facility to upload news images, although it could be you didn’t realise you no longer had access to it.

 

Sorry, but this is a bit offending.
I have a Press Pass, not a Press Photographer Pass, because I write from 20 to 40 articles about the Venice Biennale (art and architecture) each year. Furthermore, I have access to the first day of press preview which is restricted to major newspapers and magazines which are covering the Biennale for, at least, five years. (If you have ever been there, you know that shooting decent photos on the third press preview day is almost impossible due to the crowd)

I shoot a large number of photos there (usually from 500 to 1,000), but only a small part of them is included in my articles, while the others go to Alamy. Live News is useful for...news, not for contemporary art pictures which have a complex and long keywording process (you have to clearly identify the artist, the artwork's title, the year, check for previous copyright restrictions, and so on). You can't do that in minutes, because no one is interested in "a picture of artwork at the Venice Art Biennale 2019", you must add a lot of details to make it commercially interesting.  I try to do my best and, in a day or two, I write five to six articles, select and edit about 100 pictures (discarding 200 more pictures which are repetitive or technically not enough good to be published), both those for my articles and those to be sent to Alamy, and put all that stuff online. Therefore, my first pictures are potentially available for other magazines usually on Friday morning, which is when I begin sending them to Alamy for QC (the Biennale opens to the public on Saturday and all the publishers which haven't sent their photographer to it are looking for pictures from Friday evening to Sunday morning. I am aware that contemporary art and architecture are small niche markets, and I understand Alamy can't change its QC process for what is just a small number of additional sales, compared to their 160-million-picture repository.
Yet, at least in my case, a QC running six days a week could be very, very useful. Most online agencies work 7 days a week (for example, outsourcing support and evaluation processes overseas), so I am just suggesting to Alamy to consider such a move seriously.

 

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40 minutes ago, Gordon Scammell said:

 

I don't think you really understand the difference between stock and Live News.  Despite your '...very special press pass...' you are uploading via stock which means you have to wait for them to go through a process.  If you apply for Live News access and get it your images will be available to potential customers within about 15 mins.  If you cannot upload images to Live News within a couple of hours of making them then maybe you need to rethink your approach and workflow. It is not Alamy's fault - it is your basic misunderstanding of the process.

 

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Posted (edited)

There is still no reason that I can see that you can't upload to 'Live News'. But first I'd contact 'Contributor Services' and explain the circumstances as to why they can't be uploaded within an hour. They're there to help and I'm sure they will do their best to accommodate or advise on a solution. Drop them an e-mail or better still give them a call. Let us know how you get on.

Edited by Sultanpepa
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sultanpepa said:

There is still no reason that I can see that you can't upload to 'Live News'. But first I'd contact 'Contributor Services' and explain the circumstances as to why they can't be uploaded within an hour. They're there to help and I'm sure they will do their best to accommodate or advise on a solution. Drop them an e-mail or better still give them a call. Let us know how you get on.

 

Thank you, Sultanpepa. That's useful advice, I'll contact the contributor support and explain my case. I'll report their answer here.
Just to clarify my point. With the new, shorter time limit, Alamy clearly expressed its vision about what a "Live News" picture actually is. And most of my pictures, IMHO, are simply not that kind of photos (namely, they do not depict sports events, celebrations, political events, and so on). I can't properly prepare 100, or even just 10, images within one hour, because in that hour I am still shooting and moving from one venue to another until midnight and beyond. And the following day it's just the same. Therefore, there is currently a gap between pictures which lose much of their value within a day and should be really considered "Live News", and evergreen photos which I will sell maybe five years from now. There are photos you will sell in 2023, perhaps, but that you'll sell much more probably within a week. They are neither "Live News" nor evergreen, but something in between which would much benefit from a quicker revision process during the weekend or, alternatively, with an "Extended News" category with a different submission deadline.

PS. "very special press pass" was ironic, anyway I've just deleted it since that was clearly not obvious to all...

Edited by riccarbi

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Posted (edited)

your images have really excellent composition.  yeah, QC is slow as F..... f-stop 22. the last day to upload stock before the people go home on the weekends is thursday morning the latest.  anything after thursday morning, you will have to wait until monday for it to pass, or tuesday if it's a "bank holiday"

Edited by sooth
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I remember when I first uploaded to one of those other agencies, it was 10 days before your images were either passed or failed.  I believe they are a bit quicker now, but not sure how quicker.  Outside of the weekends, I have usually had mine through Alamy's QC in a day, with the odd one taking longer.

 

Jill

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Oh the one hour submission rule bites again. My understanding is that Alamy wants live news within the hour so it has a commercial advantage, but it will reject images which are over 24 hours old; so clearly there is a wider window than one hour. If your submission is for example, after 61 minutes the door is not slammed in your face, you just run the risk of not being the first in the buyers queue. As an aside reportage puts your images straight into the stock collection.

 

Your earlier post implies your dissatisfaction with a lack of sales from live news rather than your interpretation of Alamys rules is one of the sources of your angst. Clearly you are frustrated but I feel self review of your workflow will be more rewarding than suggesting Alamy changes their business plan.

 

May I also suggest that before your next big opportunity you ask for workflow suggestions on this forum. When asked a question you will be amazed at the generosity of the forum contributors, we will all learn something.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mr Standfast said:

As an aside reportage puts your images straight into the stock collection.

<snip>

 

 

 

Yes, it's quicker as Reportage bypasses QC, but after my FTP upload the submission wasn't visible in AIM, only appearing after the 24hr Alamy search engine update.

 

Just out of interest, does the Alamy search engine update every 24hrs over the weekend and holiday periods too?

Edited by sb photos

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3 minutes ago, sb photos said:

Just out of interest, does the Alamy search engine update every 24hrs over the weekend and holiday periods too?

Yes. At least that part is automated. It seems odd to me that measures isn't

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, riccarbi said:

 

Sorry, but this is a bit offending.
I have a Press Pass, not a Press Photographer Pass, because I write from 20 to 40 articles about the Venice Biennale (art and architecture) each year. Furthermore, I have access to the first day of press preview which is restricted to major newspapers and magazines which are covering the Biennale for, at least, five years. (If you have ever been there, you know that shooting decent photos on the third press preview day is almost impossible due to the crowd)

I shoot a large number of photos there (usually from 500 to 1,000), but only a small part of them is included in my articles, while the others go to Alamy. Live News is useful for...news.....

 

It was not meant to cause offence. Given you are an Alamy contributor, asking a question on an Alamy forum, I think it was reasonable for me to assume your pass was to take photographs.

 

An art exhibition which only takes place once a year is still a news event.  These were, potentially, news images, and you wanted them up quickly in order to sell as news, not later as stock, otherwise you wouldn’t have been concerned about a 24/48 hour delay. There are ways to quicken up captioning.

 

 

Edited by Sally
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On 18/05/2019 at 21:11, riccarbi said:

Meanwhile, many similar photos were already available (and searchable on Google) on two other stock photo agencies (guess you all know whom I am speaking about...).

So they were using the necessary tools to get the job done, you didn't, so why are you blaming alamy for your failure to get these news pictures uploaded on time?

Have you not heard of Photomechanic and variables?

ps. the only thing I make you right about is the alamy opening times, should be open on a Saturday morning at least!

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20 minutes ago, LawrensonPhoto said:

So they were using the necessary tools to get the job done, you didn't, so why are you blaming alamy for your failure to get these news pictures uploaded on time?

Have you not heard of Photomechanic and variables?

ps. the only thing I make you right about is the alamy opening times, should be open on a Saturday morning at least!

 

Photomechanic yes, but not sure I understand what you mean by variables? Enlighten me please. 🤔

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Posted (edited)

For example, if I type this in the keyword window  --->    \s1\

It brings up this:

storm waves, stormy sea, stormy seas, stormy weather, Weather, Stormy weather, Storm, Storm Seaside, Gale, Gales, Gale force winds, Waves, Ocean, Sea, Stormy day, Stormy morning, Gale-force, Extreme weather, crashing waves, bad weather

 

So, footballer with number 1 on his shirt could be ---> \f1\   =   West Ham goalkeeper Adrian makes a fine save

Art gallery exhibition, artist 1 ---> \a1\  =  Artist Joan Miro

Art gallery exhibition, artist 2 ---> \a2\  =  Artist Pablo Picasso

Picture ----> \p1\  =  Blue I, II, III

Typing this in the caption: \a1\, \p1\ gives     Artist Joan Miro, Blue I, II, III

so typing this {city}, {location}, {country}. \{day}\ {iptcmonthname3}, {iptcyear4}. gives me this: Hastings, East Sussex, UK. 6th May, 2019. I never ever have to type in the current date for a caption anymore

make up your own ones for whatever match, art exhibition, photo shoot, etc you are attending before you get there

So with the op, I'm sure he would have had an idea of the artists exhibiting and artworks, all of that could have been pre written along with dates, location, etc

Edited by LawrensonPhoto

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25 minutes ago, LawrensonPhoto said:

For example, if I type this in the keyword window  --->    \s1\

It brings up this:

storm waves, stormy sea, stormy seas, stormy weather, Weather, Stormy weather, Storm, Storm Seaside, Gale, Gales, Gale force winds, Waves, Ocean, Sea, Stormy day, Stormy morning, Gale-force, Extreme weather, crashing waves, bad weather

 

So, footballer with number 1 on his shirt could be ---> \f1\   =   West Ham goalkeeper Adrian makes a fine save

Art gallery exhibition, artist 1 ---> \a1\  =  Artist Joan Miro

Art gallery exhibition, artist 2 ---> \a2\  =  Artist Pablo Picasso

Picture ----> \p1\  =  Blue I, II, III

Typing this in the caption: \a1\, \p1\ gives     Artist Joan Miro, Blue I, II, III

so typing this {city}, {location}, {country}. \{day}\ {iptcmonthname3}, {iptcyear4}. gives me this: Hastings, East Sussex, UK. 6th May, 2019. I never ever have to type in the current date for a caption anymore

make up your own ones for whatever match, art exhibition, photo shoot, etc you are attending before you get there

So with the op, I'm sure he would have had an idea of the artists exhibiting and artworks, all of that could have been pre written along with dates, location, etc

I think, technically, this is called code replacement. There are some good you tube videos about how to do it. You need to create a text based document using plain format, eg Text Wrangler is a good bet, with a simple list of abbreviations followed by TAB, then what you want to automatically be typed in when you use that abbreviation. So for example, it might look like this:

 

PM       Teresa May, Prime Minister

JC         Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party Leader

 

etc

you can make them as long as you want and have different text docs for different types of events. 

 

Then go to Photo Mechanic and add this document using Edit>Settings>Set Code Replacements.

In your pre-prepared caption you can then simply type in \PM\ and it will replace that with what you have defined it by.

 

Variables are the various parts of a caption that you can define eg event name, location, date, etc

 

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32 minutes ago, LawrensonPhoto said:

For example, if I type this in the keyword window  --->    \s1\

It brings up this:

storm waves, stormy sea, stormy seas, stormy weather, Weather, Stormy weather, Storm, Storm Seaside, Gale, Gales, Gale force winds, Waves, Ocean, Sea, Stormy day, Stormy morning, Gale-force, Extreme weather, crashing waves, bad weather

 

So, footballer with number 1 on his shirt could be ---> \f1\   =   West Ham goalkeeper Adrian makes a fine save

Art gallery exhibition, artist 1 ---> \a1\  =  Artist Joan Miro

Art gallery exhibition, artist 2 ---> \a2\  =  Artist Pablo Picasso

Picture ----> \p1\  =  Blue I, II, III

Typing this in the caption: \a1\, \p1\ gives     Artist Joan Miro, Blue I, II, III

so typing this {city}, {location}, {country}. \{day}\ {iptcmonthname3}, {iptcyear4}. gives me this: Hastings, East Sussex, UK. 6th May, 2019. I never ever have to type in the current date for a caption anymore

make up your own ones for whatever match, art exhibition, photo shoot, etc you are attending before you get there

So with the op, I'm sure he would have had an idea of the artists exhibiting and artworks, all of that could have been pre written along with dates, location, etc

 

I see, thanks for the explanation. Interesting. 

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