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Don't worry about your camera/lens combo, since your pix are passing Alamy's QC.


Don't be too hasty about what will sell and what won't. Taking "static' things is not a "waste of time" (most of my sales are of the 'built environment'). You will need to get a few sales under your belt before you decide what to shoot more of. People doing things is always a good default.


Your captions look OK, the lighting of your pix too. You live in an interesting part of the country - vernacular architecture, etc - so good luck...

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Jen, nice portfolio and a good start.



W5RWWW – Not sure the woman adds enough to the picture. Maybe vertical crop? What do you think?  The location is Strattons Walk; I can’t think of a Reason not to mention it. No, I don’t know the old codgers but may have gone to school with them!

W67AX1 – What is the musicians name? They usually have a CD in their guitar case, and I use a snap as a memory jogger. Needs to be in the caption and key words. His Mum might want a picture.

WAN2F2 – Very difficult light but it’s very narrow in St John’s Alley. Brighten shadows and dim the highlights or wait for the sun to go in? Try it and see what you think. Medieval spelling?

W9EGKF – Nothing to lose by throwing some more key words in. Balustrade, repair; repaired; restored; restoration; spindle(?), old.

Various – Devizes Market. These are the your most commercial pictures, real food, markets and the perception of rural living are good lifestyle topics. IMHO, all need contrast control though.

W9EHAP – The most Cotswold(y) part of Melksham. A better picture than mine. The little island the memorial sits on is reputably coffin shaped because it was the site of a plague pit. We didn’t know that when we played there on the way to school!

Nothing wrong with the camera and lens.



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26 minutes ago, Jan Brown said:

Meant to say that, regarding Strattons Walk, I left it out because I thought it was irrelevant to the image. As Wim pointed out on another thread, it's unlikely anyone's going to want too many photos of Melksham, never mind of Strattons Walk in particular, and if they did they wouldn't want a photo where two men talking is the main feature. Will muse on it, though.

Yes, it is more a picture of two old men. Stock pictures have a life of their own though, just don't

know what people want. When Elvis returns he is as likely to turn up in Strattons Walk Melksham as anywhere.


Melksham is not so bad, just in the shadow of Bath, Bradford and Lacock.


Enjoy your photography!

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Hi Jan,

Welcome! +1 to John on camera/lens combo - if you've passed, you're already ok. Most clients won't be pixel peeping or printing very large.


l like the light in your pictures. But some of the buildings look like they weren't built straight! A lot of the verticals are leaning left or right on your building pictures. Even on buildings that you have photographed front on, some of them look to be leaning away from the viewer. Do you have Lightroom or Photoshop? This is an easy fix in Lightroom, you can use "Auto" as an adjustment or fiddle with the other sliders.


A couple of examples:

Corn Exchange bus stop in the Market Place, Devizes - Image ID: WAN0HW

A group of women, possibly three generations of the same family, crossing the road outside the Bear Hotel in Devizes, Corn Exchange in the background - Image ID: WAN0MF

A grand white stucco Edwardian building with green cupola in Devizes built and dated 1912, a branch of Santander bank before it closed in May 2019 - Image ID: WAN217


Just be aware that you will lose some of the edges of your picture when you adjust the verticals, so you may want to shooter a bit wider so you have some space around the edges of your subject that you can lose.


With regards to which subjects sell, you would be surprised. This forum post is a good start:


I'm sure people don't necessarily post their best sellers on there, but there's a good range of subjects.


Hope this helps,



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On 30/08/2019 at 13:37, Jan Brown said:



I like the contrast but must think 'stock'.




I like contrast too, but the way I deal with it for stock (assuming you're using a variant of Photoshop) is to use the Levels sliders. First I use the outer sliders to make sure that the histogram covers the full dynamic range. Then if the picture looks a little dark I adjust the mid-range up a little until there is some detail in the mid shadows. Finally I may add a little more bottom end just to intensify the blacks but not at the expense of the mid-range. For images with a lot of intense shadows I might start with the Shadows/Highlights settings before turning to the Levels.



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Don't worry about your camera. Alamy still licenses images that I took with my 6MP D70 and my 18-55mm kit lens, which I then had to upsize to 45MP for Alamy's size requirements back in 2008-2009, using a now ancient version of Lightroom, Capture One and/or Photoshop. Your D3400 with the same lens and today's software is lightyears ahead, and you can leave your photos as they are or even downsize if they aren't sharp enough. It's a 24MP camera! I shot for years with what I still feel was a state of the art 12MP D700 (tons of sales), but admittedly I had upgraded my lenses by then. If you think you need something better, get a 50mm prime - inexpensive and they are excellent. I'm still using one of my 16MP mirrorless cameras with a prosumer lens alongside my 42MP Sony and high quality G Master primes. And I've sold more from the 16MP Oly lately. Alamy also sells my iPhone pix on their related site. Most sales are for web use, but in any event your camera is way more than adequate. 


Nice images, but the I'd try taking the contrast down a bit and opening up the shadows a little, they seem a bit dark in a lot of your images. I assume that you are shooting in RAW and using PS or PS Elements or some similar software. A one-year subscription to Photoshop and Lightroom is a little under $11 a month (don't know in pounds, but similar I imagine) , and I think PS elements is even less and not a subscription. 


Good color and composition, and a nice variety, so you are off to a good start. Good luck!

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Hi Jan, I've had a quick look through your images. Everyone that has commented so far has been constructive. I will echo do not become demoralised so early on, it's early days.


I note from checking the dates you visited and photographed nearby towns, many on weekdays, that you are not tied to only shooting weekends. This gives you the freedom to shoot when the weather and light is good, and the option to shoot local events that are during the working day or early evening. When photographing buildings there can be a temptation to press the shutter as soon as the subject is framed. Better, if viable, is to use a tripod and take time composing to minimise geometric distortion. In many cases any remaining geometrical issues can then be resolved in PP.


Looking at some of your work you have photographed people from behind. Unless doing this is intentional, I would always try to shoot people front on. Some photographers find this awkward. A way to combat this would be to hold the camera to your eye well before your targets come into range, as if you were waiting for them to pass, then click at the optimum moment, keeping the camera to your eye until they have passed.


The larger towns of Chippenham and Bath aren't to far away from you, it's worth checking for events taking place there that can expand and vary your stock images. Also consider searching for and if found, photographing the company premises of businesses that involve emerging technologies or that could be in the news due falling profits or for controversial reasons. This is just one thing I've started, as I need to diversify to increase sales. Have yet to upload.


Long ago I used to regularly pass through Slaughterford, and the S was often painted over so it read laughterford. Keep your eyes open for quirky things that may be of interest.


Also keep your ear to the ground re celebrities and politicians. For instance, in the mid to late 1980's I used to eat and drink in a lovely Wiltshire pub. Chatting to locals I learnt Tom King, who was then a Conservative minister under Thatcher, lived a few hundred yards from the pub. I never saw him in the village, but did photograph his house from the road, it wasn't protected by a wall, but the police guard did come out of his small hut to question me. Sometime later 3 suspected IRA operatives were arrested nearby and got 25 years each, he was lucky. History now, but it shows there can be news interest in the quietest village.











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Steve, thats a smashing post!


I rememberTom King, there was time when the BBC often  found him difficult to contact for a comment and the satirical programmes started coining the phrase, "to do a Tom King".

You mentioned, "photographing the company premises of businesses that involve emerging technologies or that could be in the news due falling profits or for controversial reasons". I have sevaral pictures in my portfolio of the head office of a big company, two of these have delivered 9 licences over the years. When the company was doing well the sunny day picture did well, but now they are getting some bad press, the poorly lit picture is selling.  It's not a very scientific observation but it fits in with my understaing of the odd way stock works. Jan, that's a subject you may not get "tyred" of doing. Some sunny pictures of the factory I'm thinking about may be just the thing they need!


Jan, I have a couple of ways of approaching market traders. My favourite is the candid shot from the side, when the transaction is taking place, the customer has money in their hand, the trader has the goods in the other, they're concentrating on each other, not the photographer. The other is to just walk up to them and say "can I have a picture, can I get the name of your farm in the back ground",  "Wossit for" is the usual reply,  the honest answer is for a picture library that the papers use to illustrate small towns. I usually get a picture and a friend for life. But if it doesn't feel comfortable don't sweat it. Havn't managed to get any sausages though...


As for Melksham not showing up very often in the all of Alamy search that Wim did, the mention of the Assembly Rooms did jog a memory but I could'nt see why, so I looked again and found...





16257_JMF_Melksham_18 Mr Standfast 15 February 2019 Rights Managed Country: Worldwide
Usage: Commercial electronic
Media: Website, app and social media
Industry sector: Entertainment & Leisure
Image Size: Any size
Start: 01 December 2018
End: 01 December 2023
Single placement and design, duration in perpetuity





Which is a rubbish picture., I did however spend the $4.99 wisely.


Jan, you have a lot of subjects around you, enjoy you photography!









Edited by Mr Standfast
typos many many
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Upload your landscape shots!


In the past year, of my last 7 landscape sales here, 5 were in the $50-$245 range (average price $97). Used for everything from small business marketing on web sites to magazines. If you love shooting pictorial shots, and you are out in the lush English countryside (someplace I only know from photographs and paintings), then do what you love!


My favorite subject to photograph for a long stretch of time was lighthouses and the sea (though I don't live very close by). I shot those photos initially just for myself but find now that they are still my best sellers. The first photo of a lighthouse that I took back in 2009 has earned me well over $1,000 from stock photo licenses, and when combined with other shots of that  lighthouse I took on that day, the grand total approaches $2,000. Not bad for an hour's work. The following year, I shot another two lighthouses in one town, and that shoot has done even better. Most photo shoots won't do that well (I only have a few other single days that have), but I learned that there was a good market for my nautical images and I have planned vacations accordingly, always making back the costs of those trips (usually a 3-8 hour drive from my home, staying overnight anywhere from 2-5 nights). The point is that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Even if you have a handful of shoots every few months that make you several hundred dollars each, you'll do okay. Landscapes don't usually change so those photos will keep selling again and again for many more years than the 5-10 year life of the "average" stock photograph.

Edited by Marianne
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22 hours ago, sb photos said:

A way to combat this would be to hold the camera to your eye well before your targets come into range, as if you were waiting for them to pass, then click at the optimum moment, keeping the camera to your eye until they have passed.


Good idea! 

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7 hours ago, Jan Brown said:


Thanks for this, Marianne, I would've responded sooner but I wanted to give what you had to say some real thought.

It's been a long time since I seriously pursued landscape photography and I know that I will never again stand for three hours in a field waiting for the light to change. Urggh. Apart from anything else, there were a few occasions when I came close to being, shall we say, negatively approached and once when I could very easily have been robbed and worse. And I don't run as fast as I used to, even without a camera-mounted tripod over my shoulder. Cowardly? I was once told 'it wouldn't stop Fay Godwin', well that's her choice and I wouldn't worry by the edge of a remote Scottish Lake, but elsewhere . . . 

My old landscape shots are all on transparency and I wouldn't know where to start with transferring them. Same with the travel shots I took in Australia, New Zealand and various parts of south-east Asia in the 80s. *sigh*

However, you have begun the tingling of renewed interest in landscape and - as and when I can afford the travel expenses which I currently can't, even within the UK - I will explore that area of photography once more. Like yourself, I'm very attracted to the coast, boats, harbours, seaside resorts and, yes, lighthouses. I thought conventional wisdom had it that landscape doesn't sell in stock but, from what you've said, that might not be quite true. 

The idea of concentrated bursts of photographic activity makes absolute sense for me. That is what I had in mind for when I'm in a position to do it and I'll work towards that. Apart from anything else, it has been brought home to me that the somewhat parochial nature of my port so far is not going to cut the mustard but it is, at least, a base to build from. I have to admit that, although it was fun to take them, they are a bit like the junk food version of photography. Fun while you're doing it but not very satisfying long-term. My best images still give me satisfaction years after taking them. Got to get back to that. Thinking 'stock' doesn't produce my best work by any means and I have hobbled myself and produced hybrid shots that are neither entirely stock nor entirely anything else. And I think trying to produce good work is more important to me than succeeding in stock. Besides, as you say, shooting what I love may well pay dividends.

I suspect I'll eventually shoot both landscape and street/documentary. And let the chips fall where they may.

Thanks again, Marianne, yours was a very thought-provoking and useful post. 




Jan, glad to be of help. I think if a scene speaks to you it will speak to others too. That doesn't mean the best photos will always sell, but the stock photography market is vast and varied. Alas, not as lucrative as it once was, but if you can make money from taking images that speak to you, then you have profited from them twice.


That doesn't mean you shouldn't also try shooting concepts, lifestyle, village life, whatever else you think might sell - try different things. But by all means getting out in nature is good for the soul and hopefully it will be good for your pocketbook as well.


I suppose I have a romanticized idea of the English countryside, but looking at your photos of village life I'm assuming there are country walks nearby, perhaps some autumn color, maybe canals? Places nearby where people like to go on holiday that don't require you to spend more than a tank of gas (petrol) for a day trip with your camera? For example, I often see long strings of sales reported here to Country Walks magazine and for various UK maps. Good luck! I look forward to seeing you report your first sale!  

Edited by Marianne
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Thanks for the inspiration.


Today is made for Melksham and Trowbridge!


Jan, I doubt that I will be doing this today but I am sure that wiser stock photographers than me would advise that you shoot in 'Melksham but not of Melksham' ( not necessarily Melksham!) ie) illustrate national and even global issues with locally created content - environment, pollution, businesses, energy use, transport, signs, logos, housing developments, adverts, and so on. 


Sunshine and on the way to Melksham. What could be better! 😁


PS) There used to be a pub sign for the Grapes which showed a bunch of bananas - I missed taking that pic! 

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Ian and Jan,


Just looked through the Melksham pictures on alamy,  some ideas..

The industrial section on Bowerhill  is poorly covered. It has a couple of interesting company's.

St Michaels, Church Walk, Cannon Square, Lavendar Terrace,  always worth a wander. I saw a nice  Greg Balfour Evans picture of the memorial, but it had a blue van in the background.


There's enough pixels for every one. Have fun.


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