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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 Abingdon, can generate interesting images. I'm still sorting through mine.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Edited by sb photos
Corrected Didcot to Abingdon

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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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Hi Bridget,

Smooth operator huh, suggesting putting your portfolio in for a critique and then jumping in to critique it! ;) I understand what you say about motivation. I know it doesn't generate a lot of earnings, but it's nice to make some money with your hobby and it's better than buying lottery tickets when you sell an image! I also understand what you say about not wanting just blue skies and bunnies hopping across meadows in your images - you want to stand out. I do think there is room for making moody images, but they should generally be more artistic I think. If you're producing photos that are generally editorial (which most of your pictures seem to be), I think buyers want clear images telling a story with natural colours and proper exposure. I agree with some others that I don't think having a lot of dark editorial images is going to help them sell. I'm sure you're trying to create a moody look with this image for example:

 

A red fishing boat makes its way along the River Dee, Chester, Cheshire, UK - Stock Image

 

And it is true that you never know what might sell; I just can't imagine this would ever sell. Have you seen similar images to this anywhere?  I can tell it's not a night time shot, it's in sunshine and just looks horribly underexposed. Similar comment for this one, again, I can't imagine ever seeing this somewhere in print or online, it's basically just a lot of black.

 

The old sports hut on Merton fields, behind Merton College Oxford. The hut is due to be replaced late 2019. - Stock Image
In fact, I've got my screen on full brightness, and most of your images look underexposed. You might want to review your white balance as well. Are you just using the auto setting from the camera? You can adjust it in Lightroom (sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs). This one for example definitely looks too blue overall:
 
Salt Hill Park, Slough, Berkshire, UK - a playground for both young children and teenagers. The town is well served with green spaces and play areas. - Stock Image
 
Finally, it's fun to do nature shots, but there are lots of good ones out there:
 
Bumblebee (Rhombus) collecting pollen in a garden - Stock Image
You're not using a macro lens so the background isn't really thrown out of focus that well. You could achieve that with a long zoom lens though. Again this looks underexposed, and also the colours look undersaturated.
 
The live news shots look great, I see you've taken on board about changing the captions now that they're "old news".
 

On the upside, the more images you have, the better you will sell, 600 is quite a small portfolio. And I am jealous, you are in probably the place in the UK that buyers most want pictures of. I've stayed over in London once or twice and taken very few pictures, but they still seem to sell well.

 

Good luck, keep it up if you can.

Steve

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Steve F said:

Hi Bridget,

Smooth operator huh, suggesting putting your portfolio in for a critique and then jumping in to critique it! ;) I understand what you say about motivation. I know it doesn't generate a lot of earnings, but it's nice to make some money with your hobby and it's better than buying lottery tickets when you sell an image! I also understand what you say about not wanting just blue skies and bunnies hopping across meadows in your images - you want to stand out. I do think there is room for making moody images, but they should generally be more artistic I think. If you're producing photos that are generally editorial (which most of your pictures seem to be), I think buyers want clear images telling a story with natural colours and proper exposure. I agree with some others that I don't think having a lot of dark editorial images is going to help them sell. I'm sure you're trying to create a moody look with this image for example:

 

A red fishing boat makes its way along the River Dee, Chester, Cheshire, UK - Stock Image

 

And it is true that you never know what might sell; I just can't imagine this would ever sell. Have you seen similar images to this anywhere?  I can tell it's not a night time shot, it's in sunshine and just looks horribly underexposed. Similar comment for this one, again, I can't imagine ever seeing this somewhere in print or online, it's basically just a lot of black.

 

The old sports hut on Merton fields, behind Merton College Oxford. The hut is due to be replaced late 2019. - Stock Image
In fact, I've got my screen on full brightness, and most of your images look underexposed. You might want to review your white balance as well. Are you just using the auto setting from the camera? You can adjust it in Lightroom (sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs). This one for example definitely looks too blue overall:
 
Salt Hill Park, Slough, Berkshire, UK - a playground for both young children and teenagers. The town is well served with green spaces and play areas. - Stock Image
 
Finally, it's fun to do nature shots, but there are lots of good ones out there:
 
Bumblebee (Rhombus) collecting pollen in a garden - Stock Image
You're not using a macro lens so the background isn't really thrown out of focus that well. You could achieve that with a long zoom lens though. Again this looks underexposed, and also the colours look undersaturated.
 
The live news shots look great, I see you've taken on board about changing the captions now that they're "old news".
 

On the upside, the more images you have, the better you will sell, 600 is quite a small portfolio. And I am jealous, you are in probably the place in the UK that buyers most want pictures of. I've stayed over in London once or twice and taken very few pictures, but they still seem to sell well.

 

Good luck, keep it up if you can.

Steve

 

Thanks Steve - I'll have a read through later.

 

Those images look *very* different on my screen, and I have the brightness turned way down (its at about 25%).

I feel pretty ashamed if thats how the pictures really look. Quite different to my screen and to how they appear in Lightroom.

 

The colours are probably due to the way I process- but I don't like over processed work. If it's a dull day, then there will be no zinging sunlight to spice them up.

The image of the bees looks dull and lifeless as you have posted. 

 

I've taken another look and what you see is definitely not what I see on my screen.

 

One important thing I will add (very kindly) is that if you are going to completely rip apart a portfolio, then you should also add in many positives.

That is the essence of good teaching, and something I do in fact know a lot about.

 

In the end the only conclusion is that I'm not talented enough - just being honest here (not trying to generate 'sympathy').

It seems a bit daft that Alamy accept images that ultimately will never sell, and are just left dangling on a website.

For myself, the money and time would be better spent elsewhere.

 

Thank you very much for your comments, however painful.

best wishes 

 

 

 

Edited by BidC

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On 12/08/2019 at 18:35, geogphotos said:

The tag 'no people' seems to work okay.

 

But isn't Doc's point that it will also generate false positives?... i.e it will match equally if someone searches for "people" and "no people"

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, BidC said:

 

In the end the only conclusion is that I'm not talented enough - just being honest here (not trying to generate 'sympathy').

It seems a bit daft that Alamy accept images that ultimately will never sell, and are just left dangling on a website.

For myself, the money and time would be better spent elsewhere.

 

I don't agree with that.. I think you have ability (I particularly like your live news images).. it's just a learning process to get better and learn what to tweak here and there in terms of image choice, post-processing, etc. When I started, my CTR bounced around 0.2 whereas nowadays my 'total CTR' is 0.57 (which as it happens was last month's average CTR across all of Alamy).. I have learnt an awful lot since I started. The good news is that CTR can improve.. note that in Alamy measures it reads, "Period : 01 Oct 2018 to 01 Oct 2019" which means that CTR only really covers your last 12 months.

 

I think you might want to ask yourself why you are submitting images to Alamy. If it is to make money quickly then I think that ship sailed 7 or 8 years ago (at least for someone only just starting out today). You mention in another thread about being able to earn more money looking after children which makes me think that the financial side of stock photography is important to you. Personally photography is a hobby and stock photography gives me an end goal, a reason to take photos. Before discovering Alamy, I would take photos but all-to-often, the photos wouldn't even make it off my SD card. And it they did make it onto my computer, it would be a case of great... now what do I do with them? They would end up buried on my hard disk somewhere and forgotten about forever more. But since discovering Alamy, I have motivation and a reason for my photography... but for me, the financial aspect wasn't my initial driver although I do make some pocket money nowadays which is nice.

 

It's also worth noting that Alamy is a numbers game (as well as quality). People used to say as a rough guide to anticipate one sale a month for every 1500 images. Last month I got 6 sales which does seem to still fit with this way of thinking given as I am now starting to close in on having 8000 images. You have 600 images so not having too many sales is not necessarily so much a reflection on how good your images are as to how many you have.

 

And you don't have to travel far and wide and spend hours on excursions to take photos either... one of my sales last month was my family's shoes piled up in the hall...

Shoes piled up in a hallway Stock Photo

.. I saw the scene, thought it looked interesting and so to quicky took the shot. It didn't cost me any money to take and it took me about 5 minutes. (As an aside: Lo and behold it was used by The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/aug/24/tim-dowling-when-you-die-want-that-picture#comments. I particularly like the first comment on the article, "Terrible photo of shoes. Just imagine what an unfairly 'let go' Belgian cartoonist might have made of this opportunity." .. made me smile 😆)

 

My thinking would be that if you enjoy your photography to just carry on as much as time allows... over time the size of your portfolio will grow organically and you will get some sales.

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Ashmore
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1 hour ago, Matt Ashmore said:

 

I don't agree with that.. I think you have ability (I particularly like your live news images).. it's just a learning process to get better and learn what to tweak here and there in terms of image choice, post-processing, etc. When I started, my CTR bounced around 0.2 whereas nowadays my 'total CTR' is 0.57 (which as it happens was last month's average CTR across all of Alamy).. I have learnt an awful lot since I started. The good news is that CTR can improve.. note that in Alamy measures it reads, "Period : 01 Oct 2018 to 01 Oct 2019" which means that CTR only really covers your last 12 months.

 

I think you might want to ask yourself why you are submitting images to Alamy. If it is to make money quickly then I think that ship sailed 7 or 8 years ago (at least for someone only just starting out today). You mention in another thread about being able to earn more money looking after children which makes me think that the financial side of stock photography is important to you. Personally photography is a hobby and stock photography gives me an end goal, a reason to take photos. Before discovering Alamy, I would take photos but all-to-often, the photos wouldn't even make it off my SD card. And it they did make it onto my computer, it would be a case of great... now what do I do with them? They would end up buried on my hard disk somewhere and forgotten about forever more. But since discovering Alamy, I have motivation and a reason for my photography... but for me, the financial aspect wasn't my initial driver although I do make some pocket money nowadays which is nice.

 

It's also worth noting that Alamy is a numbers game (as well as quality). People used to say as a rough guide to anticipate one sale a month for every 1500 images. Last month I got 6 sales which does seem to still fit with this way of thinking given as I am now starting to close in on having 8000 images. You have 600 images so not having too many sales is not necessarily so much a reflection on how good your images are as to how many you have.

 

And you don't have to travel far and wide and spend hours on excursions to take photos either... one of my sales last month was my family's shoes piled up in the hall...

Shoes piled up in a hallway Stock Photo

.. I saw the scene, thought it looked interesting and so to quicky took the shot. It didn't cost me any money to take and it took me about 5 minutes. (As an aside: Lo and behold it was used by The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/aug/24/tim-dowling-when-you-die-want-that-picture#comments. I particularly like the first comment on the article, "Terrible photo of shoes. Just imagine what an unfairly 'let go' Belgian cartoonist might have made of this opportunity." .. made me smile 😆)

 

My thinking would be that if you enjoy your photography to just carry on as much as time allows... over time the size of your portfolio will grow organically and you will get some sales.

 

 

 

 

+1 to what Matt says. Bridget, just carry on when you get time.

 

Matt, great "found" photo, hopefully didn't have to tidy the kid's shoes too much ;)

Steve

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hey Bridget,

I don't know what proportion of the photographers on Alamy are amateurs/hobbyists, but I suspect it's a lot. I'm not sure if I'd class myself as a (part part part time) semi-commercial photographer as I do some professional work sometimes or just a hobbyist really, but regardless, I'm completely self taught. Reading the Alamy Forum has helped improve my photography a lot. As has looking out for stock photography images online, in books and magazines etc, and reading photography magazines and books.

 

I'm a bit confused that your images look so dark when you're editing them on a screen with only 25% brightness. That should mean they look way overexposed on a screen that's near 100% bright, but they actually look very dark... Hmmm...

 

I'm going to try and make this as quick as possible, hopefully it doesn't sound too daunting. Once you've done it a few times you can get quite fast. Most of it's just moving sliders. I sometimes do some extras, but the following is what I do for most photos. There are videos on YouTube for this too. I'm hoping you have Lightroom (LR), or can edit with some equivalent software. This is just my personal processing, I'm sure other people have got different ways of doing it.

 

  • You urgently need to calibrate your screen. You can do this with something like Color Munki easily, it just does it for you. Maybe see if you can get hold of a second hand copy, or borrow one off of someone.
  • You can batch edit your photos in Lightroom in the "Library" but I like to do mine individually.
  • Processing in Lightroom under the "Develop" tab:
  1. Lens corrections - apply correction for your lens - if you're lucky, LR does it automatically for you. Remove chromatic abberation.
  2. Transform - make sure horizon is straight and buildings are not leaning at funny angles. You can get away with "Auto" in a lot of cases.
  3. Adjust the exposure. I do it by eye so it looks "right" to me, but you can also try and get the histogram so the 'bell shape' is in the middle and not skewed to the left or right.
  4. Adjust contrast by eye.
  5. Adjust the whites and blacks so that the histogram goes all the way to the left and right with no clipping. But check by eye as well, sometimes you don't want to go all the way to the edge.
  6. Adjust shadows and highlights by eye (sometimes necessary).
  7. Adjust the White Balance as necessary. Default is "as shot". Change it to "Auto" to see what it looks like. See what you think, adjust by eye as you see fit.
  8. Adjust vibrance and saturation. By the way, increasing the overall exposure a lot seems to automatically increase the saturation so you might actually need to apply negative saturation.
  9. Adjust saturation and luminance on individual colours if necessary, i.e. if one colour looks really garish or flat.
  10. Check for dust bunnies with the spot removal tool, and click on "visualise spots". It's a bit hit and miss though so I just tend to zoom in on the photo by eye and remove them.
  11. Sharpening - I just leave it as default and I believe that is alright for Alamy.
  12. Export as highest quality jpeg with sRGB or AdobeRGB colour space - don't apply additional sharpening.
  13. Congrats, you're done, next photo!

I hope this helps,

Steve

 

p.s. positives - sorry, I don't normally bother! I'm not trying to rip your portfolio to shreds. You do have a lot of good photos and I agree with what Matt has said that you can take good shots and have talent. I don't think you're too far off. Keep it up when you have time and keep learning, you'll get there.

 

p.p.s I'm a civil engineer by day, my work regularly gets reviewed and red penned - hopefully not so much ripped to shreds as when I was a graduate!

 

p.p.p.s. I took your images in the post above from the thumbnails - I think the thumbnails look a bit darker than the originals, but your images are still often very dark.

Edited by Steve F
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On 14/08/2019 at 05:25, BidC said:

the captioning has been a slight mystery me to me

No need to find it a mystery - the caption should answer the question Who What Where Why When and How. The main words from the caption should also go into the tags and, with me, are those that get supertagged. Don't over-keyword and absolutely ignore the discoverability bar - it will invite you to add irrelevant words to get the bar green. A great many of us here (me included - I cringe when I think of what I uploaded when I started and how I keyworded) have been through the process that you are now starting on. Alamy is a professional agency not a club and all the rules are different. Soak up the masses of info on this forum and look at the monthly "Have you found any Alamy Images" thread, which is an invaluable resource. 

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18 hours ago, Steve F said:

Hey Bridget,

I don't know what proportion of the photographers on Alamy are amateurs/hobbyists, but I suspect it's a lot. I'm not sure if I'd class myself as a (part part part time) semi-commercial photographer as I do some professional work sometimes or just a hobbyist really, but regardless, I'm completely self taught. Reading the Alamy Forum has helped improve my photography a lot. As has looking out for stock photography images online, in books and magazines etc, and reading photography magazines and books.

 

I'm a bit confused that your images look so dark when you're editing them on a screen with only 25% brightness. That should mean they look way overexposed on a screen that's near 100% bright, but they actually look very dark... Hmmm...

 

I'm going to try and make this as quick as possible, hopefully it doesn't sound too daunting. Once you've done it a few times you can get quite fast. Most of it's just moving sliders. I sometimes do some extras, but the following is what I do for most photos. There are videos on YouTube for this too. I'm hoping you have Lightroom (LR), or can edit with some equivalent software. This is just my personal processing, I'm sure other people have got different ways of doing it.

 

  • You urgently need to calibrate your screen. You can do this with something like Color Munki easily, it just does it for you. Maybe see if you can get hold of a second hand copy, or borrow one off of someone.
  • You can batch edit your photos in Lightroom in the "Library" but I like to do mine individually.
  • Processing in Lightroom under the "Develop" tab:
  1. Lens corrections - apply correction for your lens - if you're lucky, LR does it automatically for you. Remove chromatic abberation.
  2. Transform - make sure horizon is straight and buildings are not leaning at funny angles. You can get away with "Auto" in a lot of cases.
  3. Adjust the exposure. I do it by eye so it looks "right" to me, but you can also try and get the histogram so the 'bell shape' is in the middle and not skewed to the left or right.
  4. Adjust contrast by eye.
  5. Adjust the whites and blacks so that the histogram goes all the way to the left and right with no clipping. But check by eye as well, sometimes you don't want to go all the way to the edge.
  6. Adjust shadows and highlights by eye (sometimes necessary).
  7. Adjust the White Balance as necessary. Default is "as shot". Change it to "Auto" to see what it looks like. See what you think, adjust by eye as you see fit.
  8. Adjust vibrance and saturation. By the way, increasing the overall exposure a lot seems to automatically increase the saturation so you might actually need to apply negative saturation.
  9. Adjust saturation and luminance on individual colours if necessary, i.e. if one colour looks really garish or flat.
  10. Check for dust bunnies with the spot removal tool, and click on "visualise spots". It's a bit hit and miss though so I just tend to zoom in on the photo by eye and remove them.
  11. Sharpening - I just leave it as default and I believe that is alright for Alamy.
  12. Export as highest quality jpeg with sRGB or AdobeRGB colour space - don't apply additional sharpening.
  13. Congrats, you're done, next photo!

I hope this helps,

Steve

 

p.s. positives - sorry, I don't normally bother! I'm not trying to rip your portfolio to shreds. You do have a lot of good photos and I agree with what Matt has said that you can take good shots and have talent. I don't think you're too far off. Keep it up when you have time and keep learning, you'll get there.

 

p.p.s I'm a civil engineer by day, my work regularly gets reviewed and red penned - hopefully not so much ripped to shreds as when I was a graduate!

 

p.p.p.s. I took your images in the post above from the thumbnails - I think the thumbnails look a bit darker than the originals, but your images are still often very dark.

 

Actually Steve -  I have no faith or trust in anything you may say.

 

As for stock being a 'get rich quick' scheme, even I have more sense than that. 

 

My screen does not need an 'urgent review', but maybe your communications skills do.

 

If Alamy take the images, thats good enough for me. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, BidC said:

 

Actually Steve -  I have no faith or trust in anything you may say.

 

As for stock being a 'get rich quick' scheme, even I have more sense than that. 

 

My screen does not need an 'urgent review', but maybe your communications skills do.

 

If Alamy take the images, thats good enough for me. 

 

 

 

Hi Bridget,

I was trying to help, I'm sorry you took it this way.

 

Best wishes,

Stephen

 

p.s. I think the get rich quick scheme was from another user

Edited by Steve F
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