Jump to content

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

even quite common things like Mahonia Japonica only have a couple of hundred examples

Of which a fair few are not of the true species Mahonia japonica but the x media hybrids with Mahonia oiwakensis subsp. lomariifolia.  Difficult to charge a premium price for rarity when there is no guarantee of accuracy in captioning and keywording.

 

Having said that I must pop out tomorrow and photograph my own plant.  Your post has made me realise I  have no shot of the flowers on Alamy 😀

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, John Richmond said:

Of which a fair few are not of the true species Mahonia japonica but the x media hybrids with Mahonia oiwakensis subsp. lomariifolia.  Difficult to charge a premium price for rarity when there is no guarantee of accuracy in captioning and keywording.

 

Having said that I must pop out tomorrow and photograph my own plant.  Your post has made me realise I  have no shot of the flowers on Alamy 😀

And there in lies the biggest problem in deciding what and how to give a rarity premium.  Is the miss labeling a deliberate attempt to gain an advantage or just a general photographer who is not an expert whose research has thrown up a load of other inaccurately identified things so they have identified their shot as the same. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/01/2020 at 18:04, meanderingemu said:

 

or like a certain MS does

 

Signature - Best Quality

Essential - Lowest Price

 

 

(and if you are not exclusive with them all your images are not best quality)

 

I think I mentioned that back in the day when non-exclusives could have a certain number in the Signature collection, I made more money there with fewer than 100 images than anywhere else, because those Signature images sold often and for higher prices. They then changed their model and lost a ton of people, and now everyone's number are way down. Premium works. Especially if people don't want to search through 100 million images. You need to put your best work on the other micros in order to be invited to join their Premium collections, so a dilemma for those of us who want their best work on Alamy. 

 

It's insane that so few stock libraries have sales teams. Alamy's personal touch and unique library are selling points that they should continue to take advantage of and I'm sure they are doing their best, maybe expanding that sales team and going for those premium clients is a way to keep prices up, at least for that portion of the collection not mirrored on the micros - or even if images are similar to what's available elsewhere, that personal touch could keep clients coming back. And maybe that horse has left the stable. I used to shoot for dozens of local NY metro area publications, both commercial work for their advertisers and editorial assignments, but now most of them no longer exist. The few that remain put more images online, and print a much thinner magazine, and they pay about half of what they did back in 2006. One large multi-magazine client started bartering instead of paying and I stopped working with them. As advertising dries up, there are fewer assignments for commercial work, magazine revenues, which rely on advertisers, are drying up, and they manage to find people happy to work for free to get their work seen. In fact, I know of one publication where photographers have actually offered to pay them to get their work on the cover! It's not just Alamy that has dropped their prices. The profession has been suffering for years. 

 

Technology lets us license our work around the world - my first license here was to Moscow - and it made it easier for people like me who only started shooting locally for publications part time in 2006 (and who learned that stock photography existed in 2008), to get in the game. I worked for a photographer who shot for big agencies like Jupiter Images.  She and I would work with editors on her shoots - one of them even offered to review my portfolio - I was nervous and working hard to put together a good one - and then they got bought out by G. Wish I had gotten in the game sooner - I worked with editors on my magazine and newspaper assignments and learned a lot, but in those days prices for stock photos on Alamy used in books and national magazines were often a tad more than I'd get for a cover shoot, so stock still seemed like the best place to place my images. And I could shoot things I loved and license them. It seemed too good to be true...

 

Yes, I used to think that stock was a great way to generate a portion of my income, and I love shooting and have a backlog of work on my hard drives, so I'm still in the game. I also still get a thrill when I'm in a bookstore (a rarity in itself) and find my work in use in a book, in a puzzle, or on a calendar cover. But I hate it when that work has been licensed for far less than it used to be, and feel satisfaction when I know that Alamy or I have gotten a decent price for it. I'm not sure how to remedy the situation of falling revenues, and I know that I only see a things from my limited perspective, hence a video from James A @Alamy would be more than welcome.  All I can think to do is to work harder and faster, grow my portfolio, and try to work with clients who still value my work. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 17/01/2020 at 14:24, Alamy said:

 

For the same reason as always I'm afraid - we'd love to be more interactive here but we've got a small team and other priorities have to come first. As you'll find, the more we respond to, the more follow-up questions there are and then people can feel aggrieved when they don't get a response. With the colour space issue, I think I recall actually calling you to try and clear up the confusion, so I hope that shows that we are not being neglectful in our responsibilty to support our contributors! 

 

A webinar / video / Q+A type thing is not a bad idea, we'll have to see if we can make that work for some point this year. 

 

Cheers

 

James A 

 

Please do. I read the blog and it is really helpful to get things from an agency's perspective. A video by you would be quite welcome. Will you be traveling to PhotoPlus Expo in NY in the fall? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There should be a way for  contributors to report inaccurate captions. Then, obviously someone on the Alamy team would have to check if the report is correct and determine if it's an honest mistake or if the contributors with the spam or inaccurate keywords is a repeat offender. Might require too much work on Alamy's part but I know of at least one other agency that has a partially automated system. They tell you an image has been flagged and you reply. When I started out I mistakenly tagged a building in Scotland, and after correcting my mistake it's gone on to be licensed countless times. Keywording takes knowledge and lots of research, and the forum here can help. I just know that I've had people approach me through my website for images of certain small towns on the east coast and twice now they've mentioned how hard it was to find those images, hence I've put many on Alamy as exclusive as well as licensing them directly via Photoshelter.

 

I've also seen those images licensed here and, although properly captioned by me, have had newspapers across the country misidentify the town using a shot that could have been taken anywhere in the state. That's the other problem, rushed editors who settle for anything, as newspaper staffs dwindle and their staffs are no longer trained. l took a few classes toward a master's in journalism back in 1980, then got a job as a newspaper reporter and photographer. A year later I  concluded that my efforts were better spent getting a law degree. Even then a journalism degree seemed like a luxury that would not pay for itself in the long run, and that's when tuition, room, and board were about $8,000 -10,000 a year at a private university - today it would be $40-60,000. Who has that kind of luxury when journalism jobs are dwindling and the US press is constantly under attack? Bloggers with no credentials are shooting photos with their iPhones, as are reporters from well-known publications, while professional photographers are jockeying with them to get a pro shot. It's a mess... 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been around for a short time so I know nothing about the golden years. I'm not depending on Alamy money in any way, this is just a hobby to me. I have only 8 reported sales so far, but seven of them were sold for $5 or less. My average net earning out of those is $1.58.

 

Almost all of my ~2 000 images are exclusive. That decision was based on assumption of getting $$ sales every now and then. Now it seems being exclusive only gets me some cents more, but fewer sales. I'd probably make more being also on microstock agencies. At least I'd get more of my work published in one form or another, which is a big motivator for me.

 

I've got still a lot of images in my archive to upload and I don't have time to do it on many agencies at once, but at some point I have to make up my mind. Not thinking about leaving Alamy, but I guess I could get those $0.96s from other agencies as well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, JaniMarkus Hasa said:

I've been around for a short time so I know nothing about the golden years. I'm not depending on Alamy money in any way, this is just a hobby to me. I have only 8 reported sales so far, but seven of them were sold for $5 or less. My average net earning out of those is $1.58.

 

Almost all of my ~2 000 images are exclusive. That decision was based on assumption of getting $$ sales every now and then. Now it seems being exclusive only gets me some cents more, but fewer sales. I'd probably make more being also on microstock agencies. At least I'd get more of my work published in one form or another, which is a big motivator for me.

 

I've got still a lot of images in my archive to upload and I don't have time to do it on many agencies at once, but at some point I have to make up my mind. Not thinking about leaving Alamy, but I guess I could get those $0.96s from other agencies as well...

I am definitely seeing more sales from other microstock agencies - and multiple sales of single images mean that each image can make more money.  The thing is which I am seeing and which gets reported a lot by others is that while several places may have the same images different ones sell at different places.  To me this makes it worth having the same image at multiple agencies because it increases the chances of finding the place that image is going to sell.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 17/01/2020 at 11:19, MDM said:

Doc, Allan, Julian Eales and I started meeting up back in 2014 and we meet 3-4 times a year for a chat.

 

Just to keep the record straight Mick it was you, Doc (Kumar), Keith Douglas and I at the first meeting. Julian joined later.

 

Keith moved up north later and has not been to a meeting for some time. In fact he does not seem to post on the forums any more.

 

Allan

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 21/01/2020 at 06:34, Starsphinx said:

I am definitely seeing more sales from other microstock agencies - and multiple sales of single images mean that each image can make more money.  The thing is which I am seeing and which gets reported a lot by others is that while several places may have the same images different ones sell at different places.  To me this makes it worth having the same image at multiple agencies because it increases the chances of finding the place that image is going to sell.

 

 

 if different images sell at different places, isn't optimal to actually put the images where they have the best chance of selling for the highest Amount, and periodically revise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Just to keep the record straight Mick it was you, Doc (Kumar), Keith Douglas and I at the first meeting. Julian joined later.

 

Keith moved up north later and has not been to a meeting for some time. In fact he does not seem to post on the forums any more.

 

Allan

 

 

Correct Allan. I realised this after posting but did not bother to correct as it is not of much interest to anyone else I would think. Keith is unlikely to be insulted by my forgetting him. In fact Keith was the main reason for meeting in the Wrestlers as he worked nearby and had to always go early. Julian probably came to the second meeting. Kumar and I are still neck and neck in terms of attendance as neither of us has missed any yet. 

Edited by MDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, meanderingemu said:

 

 

 if different images sell at different places, isn't optimal to actually put the images where they have the best chance of selling for the highest Amount, and periodically revise?

If I could tell in advance what was going to sell where then yes - but I cannot tell what is going to sell full stop yet alone what is going to sell at what place.  At the moment I still have a small port - under 1000 images (different numbers different places because requirements do vary a bit - and i started at different times) maybe if I get up to a few thousand I will be a better judge of where photos are going to be best put - but if I dont know I am putting them all up in all places.  All the evidence I can find is that rather counterintuitively this does not result in losing out through competing with your own self.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

  All the evidence I can find is that rather counterintuitively this does not result in losing out through competing with your own self.

 

 

would love to see your studies about that.  For example i would think your wonderful post fire images would have lowered your return by being put through all other agencies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, meanderingemu said:

 

 

would love to see your studies about that.  For example i would think your wonderful post fire images would have lowered your return by being put through all other agencies.

There are a couple of professional stock photographers that blog who have investigated it as deep as they can with the data available (I believe one has in the past posted in the forum - not sure if they are still here) and found no relation between searches/zooms/add to collections on one site and sales of the same subject on other sites.   The theory is that most buyers are in time pressured jobs without the time to shop around, and further more the bulk is done through accounts with pre existing arrangements made by their employer - where the employer has an account with X their employees cannot go and buy from Y. 

If you think about it despite all the articles and advice on saving money by shopping around for the majority of people the majority of time it is the exception not the rule.  Do you have multiple shopping apps with different offers on?  Do you visit multiple coupon/voucher sites?  Do you use comparison sites every time you shop?  Do you visit every shop in town to see if stuff is reduced?  Or do you have a shop or 2 that are conveinient for your route and time, which you are familiar with, and so 80% of the time stick to even if you could save money going to a different shop?

My fire shots are slightly different - they were live news.  Live news has its own requirements for both agency and contributor - the photographer needs somewhere that is going to get their shots onto news editors screens as fast as possible.  The agency needs people who are going to get the right shots, accurately title and describe them, and get them delivered fast.  Alamy is the only stock agency I use that has the live news department and so is the only one that got those shots.

  • Confused 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was this me?

 

I have examined this question over and over again and never see a relationship between where photos are posted and how well they sell at each agency. We old timers - used to the days when buyers would check several agencies before they used an image - are stuck on this point. It's completely wrong today though and for good reason; typical stock photo users have one subscription and never go beyond it. They may have comparison shopped when they bought the subscription, and once they have it, that's their source. When you're paying hundreds of dollars a month for unlimited images from a micro - even ten bucks more for something from a specialist looks like a ripoff. 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Just to keep the record straight Mick it was you, Doc (Kumar), Keith Douglas and I at the first meeting. Julian joined later.

 

Keith moved up north later and has not been to a meeting for some time. In fact he does not seem to post on the forums any more.

 

Allan

 

 

Hi Allan. I'm still up North! I keep an eye out for the date of the next Cambridge meetup in case I am in the area, but so far the dates haven't been in synch.

 

I have made a few posts on the forum, but Alamy and stock photography has taken less attention from me over the last few months as I've had some non-photography paid work to keep me busy!

 

Keith 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Keith Douglas said:

 

Hi Allan. I'm still up North! I keep an eye out for the date of the next Cambridge meetup in case I am in the area, but so far the dates haven't been in synch.

 

I have made a few posts on the forum, but Alamy and stock photography has taken less attention from me over the last few months as I've had some non-photography paid work to keep me busy!

 

Keith 

 

 

 

Hi Keith. It is good to hear from you on the forum. I don't think you will be moving so soon again though.

 

Actually I am heading North too but on the other side of the country to Lincolnshire. House purchase is in progress as I speak, I hope.

 

I think it will be easier for me to get to the meetings from there.

 

All the best,

 

Allan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

Was this me?

 

I have examined this question over and over again and never see a relationship between where photos are posted and how well they sell at each agency. We old timers - used to the days when buyers would check several agencies before they used an image - are stuck on this point. It's completely wrong today though and for good reason; typical stock photo users have one subscription and never go beyond it. They may have comparison shopped when they bought the subscription, and once they have it, that's their source. When you're paying hundreds of dollars a month for unlimited images from a micro - even ten bucks more for something from a specialist looks like a ripoff. 

 

However, there is the 10% loss of income on Alamy for non-exclusive images. That can really add up, especially with repeat-sellers. Even a ten-dollar loss on the sale of an image here can take an awfully long time to recoup on a micro (on subscription sales of the same image). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

However, there is the 10% loss of income on Alamy for non-exclusive images. That can really add up, especially with repeat-sellers. Even a ten-dollar loss on the sale of an image here can take an awfully long time to recoup on a micro (on subscription sales of the same image). 

 

 

it's actually 20% loss  (10%/50%).  I also love the fact the proponent of upload everywhere all images, then goes on "oh, but for these one I don't"  (even though i the so called experts have actually said "no exceptions")

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, meanderingemu said:

 

 

it's actually 20% loss  (10%/50%).  I also love the fact the proponent of upload everywhere all images, then goes on "oh, but for these one I don't"  (even though i the so called experts have actually said "no exceptions")

 

Yes, it is 20% if you look at it that way. To be fair, there are certain types of commercial images that appear to stand little chance of licensing here, so I can certainly understand why people send them "over there" where they might do better. I've been experimenting a bit with that myself on a very small scale, but I now realize that I'd have to submit 1000's of images in order to make things worthwhile, which is something I'm not willing to do at this stage of the game (too old and grumpy). Also, my "old school" hangups mean that I find those mini-payments debilitating.

Edited by John Mitchell
  • Upvote 3
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too, see it as a twenty percent loss. But my Alamy sales are insignificant compared to my sales at the micros - indeed, I went with the micros after sizing up my situation at Alamy. At Alamy, I have no repeat sellers - there are images that I had on Alamy alone for five years or more without a sale that have racked up hundreds of downloads on the micros. My typical Alamy sale is an agent sale - most likely in Turkey - that is around eight bucks before the agents take their respective cuts.

 

And there are always exceptions! I have several thousand images that aren't in my specialty that are on Alamy alone. In total, all of them rack up twenty or thirty bucks a year, not enough to worry about percentages.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

I too, see it as a twenty percent loss. But my Alamy sales are insignificant compared to my sales at the micros - indeed, I went with the micros after sizing up my situation at Alamy. At Alamy, I have no repeat sellers - there are images that I had on Alamy alone for five years or more without a sale that have racked up hundreds of downloads on the micros. My typical Alamy sale is an agent sale - most likely in Turkey - that is around eight bucks before the agents take their respective cuts.

 

And there are always exceptions! I have several thousand images that aren't in my specialty that are on Alamy alone. In total, all of them rack up twenty or thirty bucks a year, not enough to worry about percentages.

 

These days, at least 50% of my sales are repeat-sellers, so it sounds as if we're in different leaky boats. You've put together a very nice collection of commercial images. Glad to hear that they are doing well "over there".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but red arrows will never hurt me. 😉

  • Haha 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/01/2020 at 12:32, Chris1603 said:

This is a depressing thread, particularly as I have only recently started doing this. I only have 72 images up, which is nothing I know, but to think it is largely going to be useless in returns makes me feel less enthusiastic about the whole thing. I've not sold one image either, not sure what I'm doing wrong ... clearly something!

 

This thread depressed me too and got me thinking differently about it all.  But I'll keep going because I take photos all the time anyway.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is another point which is worth discussing. What is the price threshold under which to keep on submitting to Alamy will non longer be financially viable?

Since I started contributing to Alamy regularly, in 2016, my average net revenue per image sold has dropped from $23 to $17 to $16. This year, so far, it is as low as $10. 

Let me do some math.
In the last three years my yearly average has been 1 photo sold every 30 images in my Alamy port. 
I estimate the commercial lifetime of a picture to be of about 10 years (this is a highly disputable assumption, admittedly; yet, I deem it reasonable in my case); consequently, I can expect to sell, sooner or later, 1 picture every 3 pictures I'll upload to Alamy from now on.
I'll spend about half an hour developing, checking, editing, converting, uploading, and keywording those 3 pictures, if I'll be quick enough. This means 6 images per hour and eventually to sell two of them in the next 10 years, statistically. If prices will remain as they currently are, this is about $20 per one hour's work, before taxes. Please consider that I'm not including equipment and travel costs (and shooting time).
$20 per one work's hour is barely acceptable, at best: this is my threshold. Therefore, if per-image revenue will drop further, it would be no longer commercially viable for me to keep on uploading photos to Alamy. I'd better find a different commercial strategy as soon as possible.
OK, I can still optimize and speed up my workflow a bit to produce more images per hour, use faster keywording tools, automatize picture development, pay less attention to editing, and so on; but there's a limit I won't be able to cross, and a very close one, I fear.


That's my problem, of course, but it's also Alamy's. 
If contributors like me will find that Alamy's revenues have dropped so much that they won't even cover their basic costs, they'll probably simply stop submitting new images and just rely on what they'd already uploaded.
Yet, the business model on which Alamy is based requires contributors to keep on uploading new images at a constant pace or, better, at an increasing one. That's the point. Falling prices could seriously undermine Alamy's own business model and put my Alamy portfolios, and all the work I already did in building it, at risk.

Edited by riccarbi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are missing one of the most basic fundamentals of the stock photo industry; there is an unlimited supply of new photographers. People will keep entering the business without regard to what's happened in the past. Most of the stock photographers I knew twenty-five years ago have quit (because of falling revenues) long ago, and they've been replaced by another generation that's pretty much given up over falling revenues. You yourself joined in at exactly that point and now somebody is waiting in the wings to take your place too.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.