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Stephen Taylor's portfolio


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Hello, I have been contributing to Alamy for a about a year or so now and I have almost four hundred pictures on the site. So far I have had no joy selling any of them yet 😞 I would appreciate any feedback at all on the portfolio. From reading comments on other people's portfolios I recognise a couple of issues:


1. The quantity - I think there needs to be quite a lot of photos before you begin to make sales. I tried to upload once a week but probably not in enough quantities.

2. Pseudonym - my photographs are on a wide range of subjects; some travel, a few still lives and a lot of other stuff in between. Is my collection too eclectic and should I be looking at creating a new pseudonym for some of the work?


I am sure there are lots of other things I could be doing differently and I hope that the collective wisdom of this forum might be able to point me in the right direction. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Best wishes






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Hi Stephen,

Sorry you haven't had any sales yet! To start positively, you obviously know your way around your camera, exposure and focusing is great.


You have taken some shots of yourself working at your computer, with yourself looking directly at the camera in a lot of them. Two points - most buyers do want pictures of people doing things, but they are very keen these days that the photos look "natural" (whatever that means!) What this does mean though is normally no shots with a model looking directly at the camera as it looks contrived. Secondly, your window behind you is providing backlighting and there is no light shining from the front; basically the lighting of the main subject - you - is terrible. Lighting is very important for almost all photos apart from things like abstracts and backgrounds maybe. Similar comments for the catapult pictures, you're looking directly at the camera again and the lighting isn't great.


You've taken this picture of a church (below) from a quirky angle with some framing by the trees which is nice. The trees do obscure the main subject somewhat, they're not so much framing it as hiding it. And have you got any normal pictures of the church at a normal angle - i.e. something a travel guide or website might use? It is true that you never know what might sell and very well photographed landmarks may well need photographing from an unusual standpoint. I just can't imagine any client wanting to buy this view of the church when presumably there are "better" views showing more of the church at a normal angle. Also the sky is very dark (polariser?) You could make sky lighter by adjusting the blue luminance in Lightroom for example.


The Church of St John's, Smith Square, behind the bare branches of a tree in winter, and against a blue sky - Stock Image


You seem to have a lot of images showing partial views of buildings or landmarks, often in (presumably UK) overcast grey light. The compositions are sometimes a bit questionable, partial views on a landmark (unless that partial view is interesting on its own), or the landmark appearing very small compared to its surroundings. Again, lighting of the subject is sometimes a problem. Your exposure is fine, it's just that the lighting sometimes makes the subject look boring. I'm not saying that you always need to photograph on sunny days, but some sort of shadow in a scene is good to have.

For tips on what actually sells, have you been looking in magazines and newspapers at the pictures inside? I find my smartphone is great for looking at online articles in newspapers because they always have a stock (or press agency) photo illustrating the story. There's also the Alamy monthly images sold thread:
I hope this helps! It certainly is a learning experience being on Alamy and it has helped me a lot to improve, but I've still got a way to go.
p.s. pseudonym - I've got a complete mix of different photo types and I'm selling ok, I wouldn't worry about it unless you want to occupy a particular niche.
Edited by Steve F
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I had a quick look at your pix. A couple of thoughts…


You have ‘small pox’ in both caption and tags (PK26GR), but not ‘smallpox’.


I like the way you’re trying to pick unusual angles, leaving space for copy, etc.


Your habit of drying out your tea-bags on a washing line - presumably to use again - makes every sense in these difficult times! Tags for the image might include ‘penny-pinching’, ‘counting the pennies’, ’deprivation’, ‘hard times’, ‘money-saving’, ‘recycling’, ‘cheapskate’, ‘mean’, ’miser’, ‘miserly’, ‘poverty’, ‘thrift’, ‘economy’, ‘economising’, 'austerity'. The pic could illustrate economic recession, or personal poverty, or just being a bit of a Scrooge. Hanging orange segments from a washing line makes less sense!


‘People doing things’ is a good photographic fall-back (though without the people looking at the camera).


A few pix don’t really ‘say’ anything (such as W3BFXF, T7MBEY, RW05R2, RNEP5P, RNEP81, RXTENK).


Best of the bunch, IMO, are the guy in his allotment shed, shown from inside and outside. Kinda wistful.


Main problem, re sales, is that you need more pix…

Edited by John Morrison
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Thank you to Steve and John for your comprehensive and very helpful comments, especially your comments, Steve, on lighting and composition; and John on key word suggestions. Keywording is always a bit problematic.  I am glad that you liked some of the pictures.

Best wishes



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