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Bionic

Feedback and advice greatly appreciated

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Hello there good people of Alamy. I'm pretty new here and so far only have a very limited number of photographs on here but I'd greatly appreciate any tips, advice, feedback and constructive criticism you would care to give. I'm very much aware my biggest issue is the size of my portfolio but would rather start out doing things properly rather than have to go back in a few months time and sort out a shed load of problems. I've already made one sale that I've put down to beginners luck but that has raised another question in that although I have a sale my CTR and zooms both stand at 0.

Thanks in advance for looking and any advice will be very much appreciated.

Thanks again. James :)

 

 

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James, I am going to begin the discussion with a comment that I believe should be made more often; try to make at least a small part of your portfolio reflect a specialty. We all do found photos, but they're not what makes portfolios stick out. Find a specialty and sprinkle those images into your collection. That way, people can more easily describe you and search for you. 

 

Others here are really great at pointing out issues with captioning and keywording. Pay attention to their comments! 

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Thank you for taking the time to have a look and for the advice. I'm a farmer by trade so I tend to take quite a few photos in that area. I had thought about adding more farming photos but I'm also acutely aware that they are probably of limited interest to a lot of potential buyers so I'm a little wary of specialising too much in that area. I'd be interested in hearing others thoughts on this. 

Again thanks for taking the time, it's genuinely greatly appreciated. 

Thanks again. James :)

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Was your one sale so far a farming photo? Having a specialist portfolio can be very interesting as you have an understanding of, and access to, a world that is inaccessible to many other photographers. You can easily create a second pseudonym for your farming pictures. In your position I would spend  while searching Alamy using farming keywords and looking at the results. If you think you can do better than the photos that are there or you find that there are no results for more specific search terms, you could be in a position to build a nice niche portfolio. Farming is a topic that is of worldwide interest. 

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Thanks for the advice, it really is of great help. The sale I've made wasn't a farming one it was the photo of the old barn with the fishing boat next to it. I really hadn't thought of focusing on farming images as I hadn't really thought of anyone being overly interested in them. I suppose when you do something day in day out it becomes mundane but I appreciate your point that I probably have access to things a lot of people don't. Is there any benefit to grouping images together under different pseudonyms or is it purely a way of helping with organisation. To be honest the more I learn about stock the more questions it seems to raise which makes me realise just how much more I've yet to learn (not entirely sure that made sense but I know what I meant). 

Thanks again for taking the time. It really is most helpful, I really appreciate it :)

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Farming is definitely an area of potential, as are many industries where the photographer has a degree  of knowledge and access to areas not easily available to the general stock photographer. The subject areas of the impact of Brexit on farming, changes in farming technology and veganism v animal husbandry spring immediately to mind as subjects which will be of interest to the mainstream media in the coming months. Countryfile is one of the consistently most popular and widely watched factual programs on UK television.  Go for what you know.

 

You are right to seek advice early on so that you set out your stall to the best advantage. I'm just off the to the shops to buy some of 'your' produce, but I'll drop in some more comments later, if others don't beat me to it.

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Think as, from the perspective of, a possible client.

Maybe using Google Images with something like:

UK farming technology

UK farming economy or even: The Economist UK farming

UK farming tourism

UK farming schools

UK farming export

UK farming Brexit

farming advertising

You get the idea.

 

wim

 

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Thank you everyone for your help, it's opened my eyes a bit to say the least. I think tonight's job will be to do a few farming image searches and go from there. 

I really can't express enough how grateful I am that you've taken the time to share your experience. 

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I am delighted to see the direction this thread is going in. There are some very interesting comments.

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Apart from Brexit (and I'll put 50p in the swearbox just for saying the word), agriculture, land use, animal husbandry, changes in our eating habits, vegetarianism and veganism, etc,  are some of the hottest topics in the news cycle... and will remain so for the forseeable future.

 

Climate change affecting agriculture...

Consequences of intensive farming...

Producers being paid late by supermarkets...

Countryside stewardship...

Rights of way across farmland...

Effects of pesticides...

Farmers facing financial difficulties...

Marginal and hill farming...

Consumer interest in organic, artisanal and 'authentic' foods...

Grants to farmers...

Farmers markets... selling directly to consumers...

Etc...

 

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Pseudonyms can be a useful tool for keeping different collections apart. You could have a general stock one and a farming one. That way if one does poorly it does not drag the better performing one down. As John has said farming is of interest and often a political football. Each time you roll your eyes at a headline, go out and shoot the reality, or try to illustrate the idea.

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I'd have put money on the boat and barn being your first sale!

 

You've some smashing pictures and the makings of a varied portfolio. Definitely make the most of the farming issues you have acces to that others have not but don't forget the ordinary, the wellington boots, the bills, the muddy kitchen floor and anything else that comes to hand. You will be surprised at what people will buy.

 

When it comes to squeezing the value out of each picture, keywords and captions are your friend.  Write what you see.

 

For TRKTG8;  "Sailing ship in Whitby Harbour with abbey in the Background". If you said

"Sailing ship [insert name]  in Whitby Harbour with [Whitby] abbey in the Background, your caption would appeal to the ship searchers; whitby abbey searchers as well as ship in harbour searchers.

 

Above all, enjoy your photography!

 

 

 

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May I also suggest that images of farming also have great commercial appeal. Don't overlook that beautiful and/or powerfully symbolic shot.

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Do you subscribe to farming specialty magazines? Do you get farming-related junk mail? Flip through the pages and shoot that.

Are are you bombarded with promotional materials by equipment manufacturers and maintenance service providers? Shoot that.

 

GI

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8 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

May I also suggest that images of farming also have great commercial appeal. Don't overlook that beautiful and/or powerfully symbolic shot.

 

They also show up in calendars.  

 

 

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Again, thank you all for your advice and thoughts on the matter. You've certainly given me plenty to think about. 

I think I am going to create a farming pseudonym, if nothing else concentrating on the farming aspect to a degree will be a relatively easy way to boost my portfolio size.

I'm honestly blown away by how helpful you've all been. I've been a member on other forums in the past where constructive criticism consists of "you're new here thats #*@#*" so for so many of you to take the time to genuinely help is amazing.

Once again many, many thanks. James :)

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Encouraging contributors helps everyone in the long term because the higher the overall quality of imagery on Alamy, the more customers will keep coming to their pages.

 

If it hasn't already been said, get shots of people doing things on the farm. Get in close, get shots of detail as well as the broad picture.

 

Think beyond the farm. For example, every time there's a supermarket price war the news is all about suppliers being squeezed. What will the newspaper use as an illustration? Quite possibly a nice colourful picture of a box of apples being packed on the farm.

 

As John said above, think about trends in food. You might even think about diversifying into new areas of farming and capturing a niche market in photos for yourself in the process. I don't know what type of farming you do, but as a vegan myself, I would be photographing every aspect of the growing cycle and constantly keeping an eye on what is being marketed to vegans.

Leaving farming behind for the moment, quite a few of your photos of popular places are taken in dull lighting and so the subject itself looks a little dull. Remember that when you're photographing somewhere popular your pics are going to be competing with hundreds or thousands of others taken in bright light.

 

Alan

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One of the best images I’ve taken was of my son-in-law. Here in the U.S., he was wheat harvesting and the combine broke down. He was visibly dirty, hot and sweaty, and had a combine part in his hands working on it. He hated the picture because he wasn’t clean and spiffed up. Everyone else (wife, sister, children, brother, in-laws) thought it was the best picture they’d ever seen of him because in a nutshell, this picture illustrated who he was.

farmer

man

occupation

love of farming 

working hard (and the dirt on his face and clothing illustrated it)

breaking down

harvesting

harvesting wheat

wheat belt

wheat field

crop

Providing food

grain

wheat field in background 

fair weather

hot

old equipment

old (combine brand)

(Brand of combine)

breaking down

Hard working

dedication

repair

repairing

No, it’s not on Alamy. It was taken with film, and never scanned. ☹️

 

So while you are taking those farming shots, don’t forget the personal. Set up a tripod and take one of you doing a chore with a remote, or pay someone a coin (makes it legal) to take the shot. Don’t forget images of inspecting the crop or produce...cupping the plant in one’s hand, etc. Or set someone else up and get pictures of he/she mending a fence or doing the other chores. In fact, if you get some of a woman doing them, you’ve opened up another whole genre...women farming. When you get sunshine (anything showing sky) or bright overcast (great for people and objects not showing sky), make use of it. Remember the light...early or late, not midday. Great light can make an ordinary image spectacular.

I’m about to get excited about the possibilities, here! 😁

As a child, (aged 7-8) I spent a year and a half on a farm. I rode on the combine, frolicked in the pasture, loved on the cows and made a pet of a chicken and a baby mouse. (Bad move...don’t make a pet of something that will end up on the dinner table or let your mom find out about the mouse). That short time forever tuned me in to the farm life.

Betty

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Thanks. I appreciate the point made about some of my photos being taken in dull lighting, it honestly hadnt occurred to me which is the benefit of another set of eyes looking over them. As far as getting images of people working on the farm is concerned, that may be more of a challenge as I know from experience they tend not to hang around long when they see me with a camera. I have tried using a tripod to capture myself at work once as that's how i got the welding picture.

Thanks again. James :)

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5 hours ago, Bionic said:

Thanks. I appreciate the point made about some of my photos being taken in dull lighting, it honestly hadnt occurred to me which is the benefit of another set of eyes looking over them. As far as getting images of people working on the farm is concerned, that may be more of a challenge as I know from experience they tend not to hang around long when they see me with a camera. I have tried using a tripod to capture myself at work once as that's how i got the welding picture.

Thanks again. James :)

 

Using yourself as a model is a usually good idea as it is easy to get a signed model release. Providing there are no property issues (prominent trademarks,  brands, private locations not owned by yourself) then model released images can be used for commercial purposes. This opens up a whole new market for your images, usually a more lucrative one than editorial only images.

 

HOWEVER, in your case I would be a little cautious . Harking back to the potential topics mentioned in earlier posts, there is some  potential for contentious commercial usage of your images, for example an anti-farming organisation may be able to use model-released images in a leaflet attacking some farming methods. This may upset some pictured people if they don;t support that view. If there is no release and images are editorial only, this is less likely to occur.  I  would suggest you only ask other people to sign a model release if you can make it clear what it may mean to them - that their image may appear in advertisements or other promotional material. Indeed only sign a model release for yourself if you are comfortable with the implications.

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I agree very strongly with Joseph re model releases for non professional models

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Hello again folks, I'm hoping you don't mind me giving this a little bump but I've tried to take on board the advice you were all good enough to share with me and make appropriate adjustments to my still small portfolio. I'm just looking for a little reassurance that I'm heading the right way or some guidance if I'm not before I have a mountain of corrections to put in to place. 

Thanks in advance. James :)

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Still going the right way! Nice variety. The  chainsaw and the lathe pictures might be stronger with some hands in the picture. Good luck.

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Thanks for taking the time to have a look :) I'll keep plodding along and try to get my numbers up. 

Thanks again. James

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Great shots of agricultural machinery doing what they supposed to be doing (with specific description). Do more of that, go wider to show expanse, from above if you can, show more of the field. Great blue skies, but in bad weather as well.

Great shots of tractor fire and firefighters' response team.

Do farmer inspecting crops (and whatever else farmers do in the field), with an identified machinery in the background.

Do modern technology (ie smart phone) use by the farmers. You should know better than a lay person (GPS, weather, etc apps?)

Do traditional, time-tested techniques used by the farmers. You should know better than a lay person.

Show tools (lathe, chainsaw, anything else) BEING USED.

Shoot a complete work cycle through all the seasons. Maybe even the same field from the same vantage point to show the progression. That'll make a nice sequence that lay people won't have the patience/access to do.

What do you do with harvested crops? Shoot that.

 

Blue background in W5DMTD (and similar) is dated, shoot on white/light.

 

Good luck.

 

GI

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