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chilker

New-ish Submitter Looking for Pointers

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Hello!

 

I've had an account here for quite some time, but only in the last few months have I actually started uploading beyond my initial test upload. I have been working through quite a backlog of photos I've taken over the last few years and now have a few hundred up and available. I recognize that Alamy sales tend to take a little more time than a new submitter might hope, but before I commit to adding hundreds more photos and spending the time describing and tagging them, I'd like some advice or feedback about how I've been doing so far. Could someone please take a look and offer some thoughts? I live in Japan, so most of my shots were taken here. It seems Alamy does not have tons of photos of Japan, but I don't know if that's because photos of Japan don't often sell here, or if it's the other way around.

 

Anyway, I greatly appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you!

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Just had a quick look at your pix. A few look a bit dark and/or need the shadows 'opening up' a touch...

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Hello chilker your portfolio looks  mostly good but the concert images are to far away from the band   keep adding more  

 

John 

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21 hours ago, John Morrison said:

Just had a quick look at your pix. A few look a bit dark and/or need the shadows 'opening up' a touch...

Thanks for taking a look! The concert ones are the dark ones? Or am I consistently too dark? With future uploads I'll keep trying to brighten them and not let the shadows be too overbearingly dark. Thank you!

 

 

14 hours ago, John Keast said:

Hello chilker your portfolio looks  mostly good but the concert images are to far away from the band   keep adding more  

 

John 

I agree about the concert images--unfortunately I took those shots years ago before I even thought I would be putting them online. I know they're not great, but I saw there were very few photos of that band on Alamy, so I thought I'd at least try with a few. Thank you for the feedback!

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I agree with John here.  Some images are too dark, but in lots it is due to heavy shadow areas.  You need to open up the areas with the deep shadows.

 

Jill

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On 08/06/2019 at 22:06, Jill Morgan said:

I agree with John here.  Some images are too dark, but in lots it is due to heavy shadow areas.  You need to open up the areas with the deep shadows.

 

Jill

Thanks!

 

I will be more cautious about shadows! I guess I never realized that dark shadows were considered problematic.

Edited by chilker
Fixed typo

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27 minutes ago, chilker said:

 

I will be more cautious about shadows! I guess I never realized that dark shadows were considered problematic.

 

 

They're not if they're incidental to the main point of the image, but they're likely to be if they form a significant part of the composition.

 

Alan

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Thanks for the feedback! Now that it's been a few months and I have tried to brighten up some of my later uploads and adjust my keywording a bit, I would appreciate if some people could take a look and offer some ideas. I started getting a little more serious about uploading to Alamy in January or February (though I've had an account for awhile...) but still have not had a sale. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Maybe I use too many tags? Maybe the pictures (mostly of Japan) are not in demand here? Or perhaps I still need to improve (well, I know that's the case...)

 

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you!

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You have some interesting images, and I would think that you'll eventually see sales. I have no idea what the demand for images of Japan is like. However, Alamy Measures shows plenty of Japan-themed searches, which has to be a good sign. Your captions and keywords/tags look fine to me.

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I'm sure there will be a market for your images, so keep working and uploading.

 

Your newer images do look better, but I think they could still benefit from a little more brightness, contrast and colour saturation in post-processing. Images which 'pop' stand out in search thumbnails and do tend to sell better. Spend time browsing the monthly 'Images sold in...' forum thread as that will give you and idea of the look of images which sell, even if the subjects differ to yours.

 

I would advise to not put a location in your caption when the subject is not very specific to that location (e.g generic flowers, animals). Captions are heavily weighted in the search algorithm and if you include a location, it will tend to come up when a buyer searches for that particular place. For the most part they will be looking for an image of the location, not a flower or frog. False positives in the search will tend to impact adversely on your search ranking, over time.

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Some of your pictures will be more saleable with some localised adjustments. It only takes a moments in PS to apply a gradient filter (for example your image 2A0NJTT). The original (left 1/3) is unlikely to sell, but after adjustment (right 2/3) it might.

 

Alamy-2-A0-NJTT.jpg).

 

Mark

 

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On 07/06/2019 at 08:14, John Morrison said:

Just had a quick look at your pix. A few look a bit dark and/or need the shadows 'opening up' a touch...

 

+1.

 

It's a mystery to me why so many contributors don't open shadows. Very often, I have to do that in LR and then add a little contrast. The reason why it's best to shoot "night" images at dusk is that at dusk there is shadow details. 

 

Edo

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4 minutes ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

+1.

 

It's a mystery to me why so many contributors don't open shadows. Very often, I have to do that in LR and then add a little contrast. The reason why it's best to shoot "night" images at dusk is that at dusk there is shadow details. 

 

Edo

Ed, I'll say this quietly, but I use "auto tone" in LR and it does that for me. It does mean I usually need to pull down the highlights somewhat.

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Thank you, everyone! I wonder now if it is my monitor that's set too bright, so that my images look brighter than they do on other people's screens! I will keep adjusting to try to see what I can do to make it look right to me, and also look right on Alamy!

 

3 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

I would advise to not put a location in your caption when the subject is not very specific to that location (e.g generic flowers, animals). Captions are heavily weighted in the search algorithm and if you include a location, it will tend to come up when a buyer searches for that particular place. For the most part they will be looking for an image of the location, not a flower or frog. False positives in the search will tend to impact adversely on your search ranking, over time.

Thank you for this, too! I'd read so many places that location was very important, so I put it in nearly all the captions, but now I think that putting it in the keywords only makes a lot more sense. Thank you for pointing it out.

 

2 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

Some of your pictures will be more saleable with some localised adjustments. It only takes a moments in PS to apply a gradient filter (for example your image 2A0NJTT). The original (left 1/3) is unlikely to sell, but after adjustment (right 2/3) it might.

If I were to do something like this to many of my images, what would be the best way to go about it? Is there a way to reupload new versions of the same images so they retain the same stats, keywords, and captions? Or do I upload them all, copy over the keywords (making appropriate improvements along the way!), then remove all the keywords from the original (too dark) versions of the images, finally deleting them so I don't have both versions active and visible on Alamy?

 

I sincerely appreciate all the help you've already offered. Thank you!

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Mark and Mark: I do a lot more adjusting in both LR and PS than just opening shadows. I'm gonna try what you guys do . . . although I'm not unhappy with my workflow. I often have to reduce the highlights. 

 

Chiler: your dark shadows are not just a screen-brightness problem. 

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2 hours ago, chilker said:

Thank you, everyone! I wonder now if it is my monitor that's set too bright, so that my images look brighter than they do on other people's screens! I will keep adjusting to try to see what I can do to make it look right to me, and also look right on Alamy!

 

Thank you for this, too! I'd read so many places that location was very important, so I put it in nearly all the captions, but now I think that putting it in the keywords only makes a lot more sense. Thank you for pointing it out.

 

If I were to do something like this to many of my images, what would be the best way to go about it? Is there a way to reupload new versions of the same images so they retain the same stats, keywords, and captions? Or do I upload them all, copy over the keywords (making appropriate improvements along the way!), then remove all the keywords from the original (too dark) versions of the images, finally deleting them so I don't have both versions active and visible on Alamy?

 

I sincerely appreciate all the help you've already offered. Thank you!

 

If you have the funds to obtain a monitor calibrator, I would highly recommend it. Even getting a secondhand one,as I did, transformed the look of my images and gave me a lot more confidence that me post-processing was right. There are are ways to calibrate a monitor without the a hardware accessory, but they are no way near as reliable.

 

For location. Put it in the keywords if it would be genuinely useful, but even just the keywords will produce soem false positives. For the flowers and such like generic shots where location is not significant, put the location in the Additional info field (optional tab in Image Manager). There is also a  location field proper in the optional tab, which I fill in for every image I upload. Neither the additional info nor the location field are searchable, so they don't produce false positives. They are, however, visible to the buyer, so they can see the info if they need it.

 

If you want to think about re-processing your existing images, bear in mind that they will have to pass QC in the normal way. However, if you contact Contributor Relations they will guide you through what needs to be done about replacing existing photos with a new version. I think you will still have to redo the captions and keywords, but CR are best placed to guide you.. Many people on Alamy use Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw for colour processing and keywording. With these you can embed captions and keywords in the image before you upload,  which is useful if you ever do need to re-upload or if you send photos to more than one agency. There are other processing and keywording solutions  search the forum for threads discussing this.

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Thanks again, everyone, for the expert advice. I'll make some more adjustments and get in touch with Contributor Relations, try to improve my workflow, and get going on taking more pictures and editing them in a more salable manner.

 

I use Capture One for editing instead of Adobe software, but it does have keywording capabilities. I just have not fiddled with them at all, since I only submit to Alamy and I happen to find the keywording system here quite user-friendly. Thank you!

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On 30/10/2019 at 03:09, chilker said:

 

 

I use Capture One for editing instead of Adobe software, but it does have keywording capabilities. I just have not fiddled with them at all, since I only submit to Alamy and I happen to find the keywording system here quite user-friendly. Thank you!

 

 

one thing you might want to try to see if your screen is playing tricks on your perception,  edit a picture to where you think it's fine,  then press  A global auto adjust,  just to see how far C1 thinks it should have gone based on algorithm standards.   Effect would be totally different,  but should give you idea if your screen is in line

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On 29/10/2019 at 11:01, spacecadet said:

Ed, I'll say this quietly, but I use "auto tone" in LR and it does that for me. It does mean I usually need to pull down the highlights somewhat.

 

Wow! LR auto tone is going to save me a lot of time on a lots of images. Thanks, Mark.

 

And Chilker -- you do not have a lot of images with dark shadows . . . but it does effect most of your landscapes. 

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1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

Wow! LR auto tone is going to save me a lot of time on a lots of images. Thanks, Mark.

 

 

I'm referring to "auto tone" on the import preferences- it seems to behave slightly differently when you click "auto tone" in the develop module for some reason. I'm assuming you're still processing from RAW-  I expect it would behave  differently on jpegs. I recommend a trial, if you haven't already done one.

With auto tone on import I rarely have to touch the blacks, shadows or contrast, but as I said the highlights usually need to come down, but you're doing that anyway, and sometimes the exposure.

Pleased to have saved you some drinking time!

Edited by spacecadet

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Hi Chilker,

I like your samurai pictures! I'm not sure this helps exactly (sorry!), but I literally just sold my first picture to a Japanese client yesterday. But the subject is a tram in Vienna so maybe for a travel book for Austria....?

 

Country: Japan
Usage: Editorial
Media: Book, print and/or e-book
Print run: up to 5,000
Placement: Inside
Image Size: 1/8 page
Start: 31 October 2019
End: 31 October 2024

 

Steve

Edited by Steve F

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Thanks! Just had my first sale, and I'm going to slowly go through my photos re-evaluating captions and tags, while also re-editing some of the darker landscapes to brighten them up. Thank you all again for the pointers and ideas! All you wonderful people of the Alamy forum have been an immense help!

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I agree with all that has been said about brightening images.. particularly the shadows.

 

Additionally, I'd be a bit careful about images like this one:

 

Traditional Japanese woodblock print designed by Jed Henry and produced at David Bull's Mokuhankan. - Stock Image

 

... it could be taken as 'stealing' someone else's work... the artist's. There is no 'wider context' here.

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15 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

I agree with all that has been said about brightening images.. particularly the shadows.

 

Additionally, I'd be a bit careful about images like this one:

 

Traditional Japanese woodblock print designed by Jed Henry and produced at David Bull's Mokuhankan. - Stock Image

 

... it could be taken as 'stealing' someone else's work... the artist's. There is no 'wider context' here.

Thank you for that! I was curious about this, too. I am actually friends with the artist who designs it, and work at the place where the prints themselves are made and have received permission from all required parties to sell images of these works. Even with that permission and property release, is such an image still not sell-able?

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3 hours ago, chilker said:

Thank you for that! I was curious about this, too. I am actually friends with the artist who designs it, and work at the place where the prints themselves are made and have received permission from all required parties to sell images of these works. Even with that permission and property release, is such an image still not sell-able?

 

If you have appropriate releases you may well be OK for these images.  I'd query Alamy Contributor relations for their take on it.  Their decision would be final on this.  Having said that, if they do allow the images to remain on sale I'd personally be inclined to mark them as editorial only otherwise you could find yourself competing commercially against the true owner(s),

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