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Was wondering if anyone could possibly review my portfolio ?

 

https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/bridgetcatterall

 

I joined Alamy in 2016, but have only really been submitting frequently this year.

I cover 'live News' when able, mostly in London as strangely its more difficult to find out what's going on locally.

However there are so many excellent London photographers, I don't really expect sales unless they sell as stock later (I have had a few sales this way).

My local newspapers do not employ photographers, (having made their last remaining tog redundant this year) and ask the

public to send in photos for publication, so I can't see any way way they would pay for images !

 

But I am trying to build up a stock portfolio - sadly no gorgeous and bouncing children to photograph, but nonetheless I am looking to find subjects and topics of interest to document.

 

I enjoy doing this primarily, but would also like to boost sales :)

 

Thanks to anyone kind enough to take a look ! 

Bridget

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Bridget, like you, I only started contributing to Alamy fairly recently, joining in February 2017.

 

Looking at your portfolio, it would have more impact if you had a header image. In choosing an image, try to visualise what would look best in the wide narrow strip. When a visitor lands on your portfolio, it displays page 1 of All Images. This should display your strongest images, as they generate the visitors first impression. Update regularly as you shoot and upload any new strong images. Don't display similar images.

 

I would look through each of your images before they grow in number, checking for any abnormalities. For instance, 'Swans on the River Avon, Evesham W376AB', there is only one swan, it's a weak image and under additional information has text related to a Brexit Party activity that was intended for a Live News submission. One thing to beware of is if you add additional information or make changes via AIM, make sure you don't have non relevant images selected. That is the most likely cause of the Live News Brexit Party text being applied to the swan. 

 

Re your comments on lack of news in the Oxfordshire area, I find Oxford interesting, although any news related events from Oxford doesn't normally compare to London. Shame Trump doesn't visit Blenheim Palace regularly. Also when the Oxford Union invites controversial speakers it generates lively protests. Some of the STFC RAL open days, not that far from Alamy HQ at Didcot, can generate interesting images. I'm still sorting through mine.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Edited by sb photos

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, sb photos said:

Bridget, like you, I only started contributing to Alamy fairly recently, joining in February 2017.

 

Looking at your portfolio, it would have more impact if you had a header image. In choosing an image, try to visualise what would look best in the wide narrow strip. When a visitor lands on your portfolio, it displays page 1 of All Images. This should display your strongest images, as they generate the visitors first impression. Update regularly as you shoot and upload any new strong images. Don't display similar images.

 

I would look through each of your images before they grow in number, checking for any abnormalities. For instance, 'Swans on the River Avon, Evesham W376AB', there is only one swan, it's a weak image and under additional information has text related to a Brexit Party activity that was intended for a Live News submission. One thing to beware of is if you add additional information or make changes via AIM, make sure you don't have non relevant images selected. That is the most likely cause of the Live News Brexit Party text being applied to the swan. 

 

Re your comments on lack of news in the Oxfordshire area, I find Oxford interesting, although any news related events from Oxford doesn't normally compare to London. Shame Trump doesn't visit Blenheim Palace regularly. Also when the Oxford Union invites controversial speakers it generates lively protests. Some of the STFC RAL open days, not that far from Alamy HQ at Didcot, can generate interesting images. I'm still sorting through mine.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply in such detail. I really appreciate it :) 

 

I’ll need to be much more vigilant with the captioning etc - the problem you describe was a result of not changing the details in Photomechanic during one of my first times using it .. I thought I’d deleted the info, but obviously not. Thanks for pointing it out.

 

I’ll certainly go through the images as you suggest, and also take a trip to Didcot.

 

Boris Johnson snuck a visit to Culham last week, which even the Oxford Mail did not know about, but looking up the list of speakers at the Oxford Union  is certainly something to explore.

 

Thank you very much again

best wishes, 

Bridget

 

Be great if the header image would upload, but,  just like the 'download' feature, it doesn't seem to want to play ... perhaps if I keep trying (!)

Edited by BidC

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, BidC said:

Be great if the header image would upload, but,  just like the 'download' feature, it doesn't seem to want to play ... perhaps if I keep trying (!)

 

Success with some Alamy options can be browser dependent. I think I had the same or a similar issue when setting mine up when using Safari, my default browser. Try with Chrome, and if not successful, with Firefox.

Edited by sb photos

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Firefox deposits ads and Chrome collects data :)  So, I just need to accept the system as it works for me.

 

Thank you though !

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Hi Bridget

 

I had a look through your portfolio and its a good start!

 

If I might make some suggestions:

 

Firstly, images of landscapes or buildings are much more likely to sell if they have nice blue skies +/- white clouds. Your images of Broughton Castle are fine, but they are unlikely to sell when you look at the competition on Alamy. I know when starting one is keen to get many images up, but try and edit right from the word go - you will benefit in the longer term

 

Secondly, The words used in the caption are ranked highly by the search engine. In your image R11X0X , rather than captioning it "female model", better would be something like "Head and shoulders portrait of attractive caucasian brunette aged 30-35 years outdoors", and in the tags, make sure you have the same words, as well as something like the following:  "woman, one, 1, person, head and shoulders, portrait, outdoor, outdoors, outside, age 30-35 years, aged 30-35 years, young, attractive, brunette,"  etc etc. you get the picture

 

Thirdly, if there are no people in an image, don't tag it "no people", as the word "people" will be picked up by the search engine when someone searches for "people" and it will harm your rank. Use the tag "nobody" instead.

 

Hope this helps. Good luck!

 

Kumar 

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The tag 'no people' seems to work okay.

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30 minutes ago, Doc said:

Hi Bridget

 

I had a look through your portfolio and its a good start!

 

If I might make some suggestions:

 

Firstly, images of landscapes or buildings are much more likely to sell if they have nice blue skies +/- white clouds. Your images of Broughton Castle are fine, but they are unlikely to sell when you look at the competition on Alamy. I know when starting one is keen to get many images up, but try and edit right from the word go - you will benefit in the longer term

 

Secondly, The words used in the caption are ranked highly by the search engine. In your image R11X0X , rather than captioning it "female model", better would be something like "Head and shoulders portrait of attractive caucasian brunette aged 30-35 years outdoors", and in the tags, make sure you have the same words, as well as something like the following:  "woman, one, 1, person, head and shoulders, portrait, outdoor, outdoors, outside, age 30-35 years, aged 30-35 years, young, attractive, brunette,"  etc etc. you get the picture

 

Thirdly, if there are no people in an image, don't tag it "no people", as the word "people" will be picked up by the search engine when someone searches for "people" and it will harm your rank. Use the tag "nobody" instead.

 

Hope this helps. Good luck!

 

Kumar 

 

Thank you so much, Kumar. That's really helpful. When I have a day spare, I will sit down and make adjustments based on what you all have said. Thank you again :) Much appreciated.

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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

The tag 'no people' seems to work okay.

 

It's exactly as Doc says. For some mysterious Alamy logic, each word in a phrase is searchable.

So if someone is looking for 'people', the 'no people' tag will be picked up.

If memory serves, someone recently was complaining about it.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, gvallee said:

 

It's exactly as Doc says. For some mysterious Alamy logic, each word in a phrase is searchable.

So if someone is looking for 'people', the 'no people' tag will be picked up.

If memory serves, someone recently was complaining about it.

 

Thank you :) - I'll go back and make sure I amend 

 

PS - your pics bring back memories of a trip my family took to Cairns from Canberra (I grew up in Aus) - funny how the mind retains certain images and impressions. It was very nice to take a browse, and a trip to way back then ! Thank you :) 

Edited by BidC

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11 minutes ago, BidC said:

 

Thank you :) - I'll go back and make sure I amend 

 

PS - your pics bring back memories of a trip my family took to Cairns from Canberra (I grew up in Aus) - funny how the mind retains certain images and impressions. It was very nice to take a browse, and a trip to way back then ! Thank you :) 

 

Thank you. Cairns is a wonderful place to live with incredibly varied scenery 15mn drive all around: the reef, the rainforest, even savannah on the other side of the range.  It's probably not to everyone's taste with the heat and monsoon but I love it.

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8 hours ago, gvallee said:

 

Thank you. Cairns is a wonderful place to live with incredibly varied scenery 15mn drive all around: the reef, the rainforest, even savannah on the other side of the range.  It's probably not to everyone's taste with the heat and monsoon but I love it.

 

I don't remember much about Cairns itself (and it was a long time ago, so it will have chnaged a lot), but your pictures of the sugar can fields (in particular), and others brought back memories. I remember the banana plantations, the reef, and the tip of the peninsula - we went all the way from Canberra on a bus (!), so I have impressions of that journey as well. All the pics of inland scenes, with the light, the red soil etc all bring back memories of different trips out :) [Even the footage of the snow that fell recently - we had snow in Canberra one year). Am always amazed how images can do that. Anyway - thanks for the pointers regarding the profile !

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2 hours ago, BidC said:

 

All the pics of inland scenes, with the light, the red soil etc all bring back memories of different trips out :)  ...... Am always amazed how images can do that.

 

 

That's what has kept me hooked on photography since I was a teenager. I can look at a photo I took 40 years ago and remember the feeling the prompted me to take it in the first place.

 

Alan

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Hi (again)

I like your portfolio, but as noted more work is needed on keywords and captions.  For animals and flora/fauna Latin names and full breed titles are needed as these are common search terms.

 

You have some nice model shots, but try to get them to do something for more marketable photograph. 

 

You are right, finding out about local events, in advance is difficult.  Twitter is your friend.  Every morning I search twitter for “Brentwood” where I live.  Often events and incidents appear first on Twitter.  Even the “why is the police helicopter over my house” is worth a look.  The local fire service website will often carry live incident news.  I find the police much more difficult.  Despite a Press card and a good “news” reputation with on the ground officers I find the Essex Police press office unhelpful.  Which is sad as I am a supporter of the local police 

 

I pick up up a few local stories from Facebook but it is not designed for this type of activity. 

 

Local political parties may be a source of information.  However, at least around here they seem to have a “fear” of photo coverage.  But, I have some contacts and recently picked up some local, but nationally relevant stories.  My local MP is now PPS to Boris Johnson so there is a possibility of the very occasional local news lead. 

 

There is a general election in the offing, but, due to cited security reasons, but much more to do with media management, access to events or even advanced information will be difficult for freelancers.  There will be so called public meetings but they will not be advertised (until after the event) and open to invitees only....

 

That leads on on to the “contacts” issue.  Over the years I have built up local contacts of two sorts.  The first is, as indicated, local politicians, business people, schools etc who I can contact to follow up on twitter stories etc.  The second sort are the “informants”. Who, if they see something interesting, a police incident etc, will let me know.  My son is great at spotting a potential story and giving me a ring.  I often catch stories not covered by the local media. (Who often ask, and don’t get, free pictures)

 

The “Westminster beat” which is where I do most of my work, is interesting.  I subscribe to a very expensive newswire service, but find I pick up just as many stories by being in the right place at the right time.  Yesterday I went to Downing Street on a “random” visit and found out John Bolton, US National Security Advisor, was on a meet and greet with Sajid Javid....   Just by being in the Westminster area during weekdays will nearly guarantee a story or three.   Some of my fellow togs concentrate on certain themes and build up contacts with campaign groups etc who not only feed them photo opportunities but also sometimes provide them with PR work.  I also find talking to some of the agency togs is helpful in terms of events.  Some, not all, are generous with tip offs.  Camera crews are also an excellent source of information once you get to know them.  In my early days I would follow camera crews around as they would, inevitably, head for a story.  

 

I know now you have religious connections, that in itself is a workable niche.  With the right contacts etc 

 

Being a freelance news photographer is badly paid (and getting worse) I know one well known, frequently published news contributor who has given up largely for that reason.  access to information is most difficult.  Getting accreditation is difficult, sometimes impossible.  I am on the mailing list of a couple of PR companies and that helps.

 

A National Press card is essential.  It will not, in most cases, get you access but it will allow you to talk to the doorkeeper.  

 

 For me, “finding the story” is an enjoyable part of the professional challenge. 

 

Best of luck...

 

By the way, I lived in Didcot then Abingdon (home of Alamy) for many years, before having to live in Essex...

 

Ian

 

 

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On 13/08/2019 at 09:03, Inchiquin said:

 

That's what has kept me hooked on photography since I was a teenager. I can look at a photo I took 40 years ago and remember the feeling the prompted me to take it in the first place.

 

Alan

 

Its an amazing and evocative medium isn't it. I hope the images we take today live to tell the stories of our time to those coming after us :) 

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22 minutes ago, IanDavidson said:

Hi (again)

I like your portfolio, but as noted more work is needed on keywords and captions.  For animals and flora/fauna Latin names and full breed titles are needed as these are common search terms.

 

You have some nice model shots, but try to get them to do something for more marketable photograph. 

 

You are right, finding out about local events, in advance is difficult.  Twitter is your friend.  Every morning I search twitter for “Brentwood” where I live.  Often events and incidents appear first on Twitter.  Even the “why is the police helicopter over my house” is worth a look.  The local fire service website will often carry live incident news.  I find the police much more difficult.  Despite a Press card and a good “news” reputation with on the ground officers I find the Essex Police press office unhelpful.  Which is sad as I am a supporter of the local police 

 

I pick up up a few local stories from Facebook but it is not designed for this type of activity. 

 

Local political parties may be a source of information.  However, at least around here they seem to have a “fear” of photo coverage.  But, I have some contacts and recently picked up some local, but nationally relevant stories.  My local MP is now PPS to Boris Johnson so there is a possibility of the very occasional local news lead. 

 

There is a general election in the offing, but, due to cited security reasons, but much more to do with media management, access to events or even advanced information will be difficult for freelancers.  There will be so called public meetings but they will not be advertised (until after the event) and open to invitees only....

 

That leads on on to the “contacts” issue.  Over the years I have built up local contacts of two sorts.  The first is, as indicated, local politicians, business people, schools etc who I can contact to follow up on twitter stories etc.  The second sort are the “informants”. Who, if they see something interesting, a police incident etc, will let me know.  My son is great at spotting a potential story and giving me a ring.  I often catch stories not covered by the local media. (Who often ask, and don’t get, free pictures)

 

The “Westminster beat” which is where I do most of my work, is interesting.  I subscribe to a very expensive newswire service, but find I pick up just as many stories by being in the right place at the right time.  Yesterday I went to Downing Street on a “random” visit and found out John Bolton, US National Security Advisor, was on a meet and greet with Sajid Javid....   Just by being in the Westminster area during weekdays will nearly guarantee a story or three.   Some of my fellow togs concentrate on certain themes and build up contacts with campaign groups etc who not only feed them photo opportunities but also sometimes provide them with PR work.  I also find talking to some of the agency togs is helpful in terms of events.  Some, not all, are generous with tip offs.  Camera crews are also an excellent source of information once you get to know them.  In my early days I would follow camera crews around as they would, inevitably, head for a story.  

 

I know now you have religious connections, that in itself is a workable niche.  With the right contacts etc 

 

Being a freelance news photographer is badly paid (and getting worse) I know one well known, frequently published news contributor who has given up largely for that reason.  access to information is most difficult.  Getting accreditation is difficult, sometimes impossible.  I am on the mailing list of a couple of PR companies and that helps.

 

A National Press card is essential.  It will not, in most cases, get you access but it will allow you to talk to the doorkeeper.  

 

 For me, “finding the story” is an enjoyable part of the professional challenge. 

 

Best of luck...

 

By the way, I lived in Didcot then Abingdon (home of Alamy) for many years, before having to live in Essex...

 

Ian

 

 

 

Thanks so much Ian for taking so much time to send all the detail - I really appreciate it. 

 

It's true the captioning has been a slight mystery me to me, so I sometimes look at other images to see how others have described them to get more of an idea. In the beginning, I added too many tags, and so I now go through the list of images coming up in searches (through Alamy Measures) and change the tags accordingly, often cutting out many. But I think now I'm not specific enough. Slowly I'm going through and making amends as I have time. 

 

The model shoot was part of a day course, and I have to say model/portrait/event group portraits are really not in my skill set, and not really something I enjoy !  When I was a nurse ( and not in charge), I often requested to work in a cubicle - so much nicer to relax and work  1:1 with a family, and not be 'styled'. Also why I enjoyed working in research so much. I much prefer the portraits I take when giving childcare, but it would be inappropriate for me to ask to use those commercially.

 

Picking up contacts etc will be the most challenging - particularly as I'm not yet confident I can perform well under pressure, but it is something I must look to obtaining slowly. Thanks for pointing that out.

 

The church aspect is a tricky one, as my inclination is to do any work for a church organisation free - its a kind of 'service', a 'giving back', and I enjoy being able to contribute something.

 

The press card will be the bind. One of the main reasons for doing the course I had decided upon was because I could apply for that. But I discovered, thanks to a very kind press tog who pointed it out, it doesn't have a chip, and so is probably not very useful.  My idea was to be able to use it also as a means to work alongside more experienced photographers, as using a nursing analogy,  we all learn a lot by observation. Anyway - one never knows if it may have a use. The providers were very generous with it's time limit. After that I would need to be published in order to obtain a 'proper' card.

 

It's all a very slow process, but that's OK as it gives me time to stumble and develop :). I also have other commitments but am hoping to become a sprightly old lady who can still carry a camera (!), so all is not lost.

 

I hope that you are enjoying living in Essex ....  moving is a huge wrench (in my experience), but something I myself will need to do - now set to start next January. 

 

Thank you very much again.

I've made note of all your pointers and will consider each one carefully.

 

God Bless !

 

 

 

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