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Alamy service slowed from Covid?

Bob Wick

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I want to walk through my experience so far.  If someone could indicate whether this is typical, or Alamy is being stressed due to the epidemic.  Because I'm not sure this is going to work out for me:


Late Saturday night I took some local news photos that might have been of regional and local interest.  I was hoping to have the photos available for licensing by Monday morning.

On Sunday I began investigating Alamy, reading the contracts, etc.  I completed the application process to become a member, and at 6:50 pm received an automated Welcome email.

I immediately went through the Live News application process to meet the 24-hr news window, and prepared the photos with the requested metadata.

At 8:28 I received an email confirming the LiveNews application, but stating they are very busy and requesting that I contact news@alamy.com for temporary LiveNews access, which I promptly did at 8:33 pm.

At 2am I received a reply from news@alamy.com with instructions on how to prepare the images, which I had already done.

A couple of emails back-and-forth, and I was informed the photos are now outside the 24hr window and no longer eligible for Live News.  They said I should contact contributors@alamy.com and upload them as Reportage.

As it turns out, I had already applied for both Reportage and Archival uploads but the functions weren't approved yet.  As suggested, I sent contributors@alamy.com an email at 2:17 am asking them to please check on my Reportage status.

I immediately received an automated reply saying if my question wasn't answered in the following info, I would get a real reply within 24 hours.  It also suggested some questions might be answered in the community forums....


So I signed up for the discussion forum this morning and posted some simple questions related to the Portfolio page.

Now it is 9pm Monday evening. Any interest in the photos is probably gone now, but I still cannot select the LiveNews or Reportage boxes on the uploads page.    My first forum post has been awaiting moderator approval for nine hours.  And I have yet to receive an actual reply from contributors@alamy.com


(The times listed are United States Mountain Time Zone)


This all is very frustrating to me.  Is this just how the system works?  How does anyone ever get approved for LiveNews within an hour, as they suggest, or even meet the 24hr cutoff period?



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You need to set things up in advance. 


From what you say this was your first contact with Alamy and you expected to be approved to upload images within minutes. I can't think of any other agency where I would expect to sign up and contribute images in that way without any advance notice. 


Perhaps a bit of forward planning was needed?



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I think you're absolutely right.  It was so fast and relatively easy to sign up, but then hit a speed bump.

But they do market the LiveNews angle pretty heavily.  I doubt many people have several days' notice they're going to photograph a news event.  ;)

Tuesday morning here now, I still can't upload any news photos but at least the forum post has been approved.  🙂


It's very nice to 'meet' you, by the way.  Have a good day!

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I think what Ian (geogphotos) meant was for you to get Live News approval in advance, then whenever you want to send any images for Live News you already have approval and the images will be approved within 24 hours.


And welcome too!



Edited by Stokie
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Thank you Stokie, I'll be ready next time.  :)


After 30 hours I did receive a reply from Alamy Contributor Relations this morning, only informing me I cannot upload anything to Reportage/ Archival until my application is reviewed.


The photos are now 60 hours old and probably have no value or interest as current news.  I bypassed Alamy already, reaching out directly to a regional paper where I've had news photos published before.  So maybe I'll get a bite there.  And I still intend to upload them as stock photos.  CSI stuff is quite popular now, and I don't see an abundance of similar authentic materials on Alamy.

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In the meantime I'm preparing a collection of standard stock photos, emphasizing landscapes and nature.  In particular I have photographed certain regional and national parks that appear to not have any stock photos available.

I've been planning to do that for a long time.

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Well the news story had a big resurgence, the whole "justice for" angle, along with a search for the suspects.

Meanwhile I'm still blocked from uploading anything to Reportage.  You'd think they'd want to see the photos first, before denying or approving the application.


How long does it normally take to get accepted for Reportage/Archive uploads?

And is it safe to assume there will be another delay as they approve the actual uploads?



I think what Ian (geogphotos) meant was for you to get Live News approval in advance, then whenever you want to send any images for Live News you already have approval and the images will be approved within 24 hours.


The thing is, I was following Alamy's specific instructions to bypass the standard process and instead receive a "temporary approval":


Thanks for your application. We’re very busy at the moment so we’re working in a slightly different way. If you have news images ready with IPTC and captions laid out exactly like our news policy, https://www.alamy.com/help/live-news-policies.pdf, please email news@alamy.com and we’ll look at giving you temporary access to the live news service.


Since I still cannot select the News box on the upload page, it seems I remain in queue for approval.  So even if I took different breaking news photos today, I'd have to repeat the same process of emailing back and forth trying to secure temporary approval before the 24hr deadline...


I wonder if when LiveNews rejected the last temporary approval request offhand because of the deadline, and directed me instead to Reportage, did they know I would be stuck in limbo for days and days?


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  • 3 weeks later...

@Bob Wick  As a fellow American, the issue with Live News is also that we are hours behind so that we start out at a time disadvantage (5-6 for me in NY and even more for you out west) as it is not really 24 hours, but simply a day. On the other hand, once you are approved for Live News I think you will find them quite helpful and responsive. That has been my past experience, although I have not shot any news images since Covid began.


 It never hurts to reach out to local & regional publications on your own. Alamy has licensed stock for me to some very local markets here in the US, but with time constraints, taking advantage of your own contacts can't hurt.


And most important - Welcome to Alamy!


They are a good market for the regional stuff you described (regional/national parks) particularly when there is not much competition. Alamy is known for the breadth of its library, and editors and web designers seem to seek them out when they can't find very specific images. I just had a sale today based on a search of a small town on the east coast that is relatively unknown but slowly becoming more of a tourist destination, and  it is not the first time I've sold images from there - both editorial and to local businesses - via Alamy. So, good luck!

Edited by Marianne
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