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31 zooms, only 3 sales...what am I doing wrong?


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Hi

 

In June I started uploading part of my portfolio to Alamy . I signed up many years ago but for some reason never had uploaded  anything 

 

So far with more than 3000 photos I've had 31 zooms and a CTR of 0.54. But only 3 sales and all of them of the same topic (editorial portraits of people in Cuba). This sales amount to a net income of $30.

 

So I guess I'm doing something wrong because there's no logic in spending the time to upload and tag 3000 photos if sales are so rare.

 

I'd really appreciate your advice

 

 

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Photographing iconic buildings (US Capitol, White House, Arlington Cemetary) put your photos in competition with tens of thousands of other photos of these.

 

You've been here less than a year if you only started uploading in June.

 

I sometimes look at the All of Alamy searches where Alamy had nothing, and see if I can cover any of those searches.   Someone wanted a photograph that no one of us had taken.

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13 minutes ago, MizBrown said:

Photographing iconic buildings (US Capitol, White House, Arlington Cemetary) put your photos in competition with tens of thousands of other photos of these.

 

You've been here less than a year if you only started uploading in June.

 

I sometimes look at the All of Alamy searches where Alamy had nothing, and see if I can cover any of those searches.   Someone wanted a photograph that no one of us had taken.

 

Or simply just used keywords none of us have thought of.

 

wim

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It looks as if you need to do some work on your keywords -- add more tags, be more specific, create super tags, etc.  That might help matters.  Many of your captions need fleshing out as well. Good luck.

Edited by John Mitchell
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3 hours ago, Kamira said:

Hi

 

In June I started uploading part of my portfolio to Alamy . I signed up many years ago but for some reason never had uploaded  anything 

 

So far with more than 3000 photos I've had 31 zooms and a CTR of 0.54. But only 3 sales and all of them of the same topic (editorial portraits of people in Cuba). This sales amount to a net income of $30.

 

So I guess I'm doing something wrong because there's no logic in spending the time to upload and tag 3000 photos if sales are so rare.

 

I'd really appreciate your advice

 

 

 

June was only 5 months ago and I'm guessing it maybe took most of June or even July to get all 3000+ photos online. Amounting to a little less than 1 photo per month sold which isn't great but it isn't terrible either. Your zooms and CTR doesn't seem too bad to me, CTR just a smidge under the alamy average. No point comparing one port to another but it may make you feel better to know that I've been uploading since 2019, consistently since March of this year adding around 1200 photos this year and total zooms for me is less than your 31, I also have a very low CTR. Thankfully a lot of what is zoomed for me does turn into sales and so far have only had one low double digits sale which has resulted in single digits net. If you have any niche subjects or interests which don't seem to be well covered here jump on that opportunity as it's a good way to keep sales up even with a niche port.

 

If I were you I'd stick at it and I suspect you will see a significant uptick next year. In terms of time invested the returns you get at first are small but as time goes on the cumulative effect of having more images on sale will bear fruit.

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5 hours ago, Kamira said:

Hi

 

In June I started uploading part of my portfolio to Alamy . I signed up many years ago but for some reason never had uploaded  anything 

 

So far with more than 3000 photos I've had 31 zooms and a CTR of 0.54. But only 3 sales and all of them of the same topic (editorial portraits of people in Cuba). This sales amount to a net income of $30.

 

So I guess I'm doing something wrong because there's no logic in spending the time to upload and tag 3000 photos if sales are so rare.

 

I'd really appreciate your advice

 

 

you are not doing anything wrong.  your CTR is in line with the average.

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5 hours ago, Kamira said:

Hi

 

In June I started uploading part of my portfolio to Alamy . I signed up many years ago but for some reason never had uploaded  anything 

 

So far with more than 3000 photos I've had 31 zooms and a CTR of 0.54.

 

the one thing i would say that seemed wrong is it does seem you achieve this lofty figure by uploading quite a few similar images.  for example i counted 29 images of the changing of the guard in Arlington, and none was different enough to warrant a different caption.  to me this seems a bit high.  offer your best work to the client, and reasons to pick one specific 

 

 

 

Also the one i like the best, i was able to go and buy much cheaper at another place

 

Edited by meanderingemu
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Thank you all for your help.

 

I'll keep trying. I've been in this business since 2008. I just had never considered uploading to Alamy.

 

While it is true you can buy all my images on other sites, probably cheaper I don't think in this business you are competing with yourself. Maybe in 2008...but today for every subject you can imagine there are thousands of photos from hundreds of authors. So you will almost always find a cheaper option (unless you want to buy images of a very specific event or photos depicting current news)

 

I understand Alamy is different than all the other micros but still...

 

Right now I'm making more at DT (for example) than at Alamy. And DT has been going downhill for years and I only keep an account there because the work is already done

 

Anyway, I'll follow tour advice and keep uploading.

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4 hours ago, Cal said:

 

June was only 5 months ago and I'm guessing it maybe took most of June or even July to get all 3000+ photos online. Amounting to a little less than 1 photo per month sold which isn't great but it isn't terrible either. Your zooms and CTR doesn't seem too bad to me, CTR just a smidge under the alamy average. No point comparing one port to another but it may make you feel better to know that I've been uploading since 2019, consistently since March of this year adding around 1200 photos this year and total zooms for me is less than your 31, I also have a very low CTR. Thankfully a lot of what is zoomed for me does turn into sales and so far have only had one low double digits sale which has resulted in single digits net. If you have any niche subjects or interests which don't seem to be well covered here jump on that opportunity as it's a good way to keep sales up even with a niche port.

 

If I were you I'd stick at it and I suspect you will see a significant uptick next year. In terms of time invested the returns you get at first are small but as time goes on the cumulative effect of having more images on sale will bear fruit.

Exactly. My CTR (which I understand is a zooms to views ratio) is not bad which means my photos or keywords are not that bad. People are finding my images.

 

What is bad is my sales to zooms ratio. Why are people zooming and not buying?

 

Of course, it could be because those images are for sale at other agencies. I don't know. I don't think is a good idea to be exclusive to any agency.

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37 minutes ago, Kamira said:

Exactly. My CTR (which I understand is a zooms to views ratio) is not bad which means my photos or keywords are not that bad. People are finding my images.

 

What is bad is my sales to zooms ratio. Why are people zooming and not buying?

 

Of course, it could be because those images are for sale at other agencies. I don't know. I don't think is a good idea to be exclusive to any agency.

 

Can't answer why people are zooming and not buying myself. EDIT: Only thing I can add to this is I looked at your port and everything I saw was RF. Though I shouldn't think that would hamper sales, I have only ever sold RM images. I have around 100 set to RF.

 

I'm not convinced having the same collection for sale on other sites (which are no doubt selling them cheaper) is a particularly good idea but then I don't know much. I'm mostly exclusive to alamy and based on how much time I spend making sure keywording and the other aspects are in order, I think one agency is enough for me. I've no doubt that if I applied myself more I probably could make more money but I'm already spending a good bit of time on it as it is.

 

However...

 

1 hour ago, Kamira said:

Right now I'm making more at DT (for example) than at Alamy. And DT has been going downhill for years and I only keep an account there because the work is already done

 

I read this surprisingly often. I've never yet asked the question whether people who have lots of micro sales are using the same portfolio as on here and whether it's the number of sales that are higher or the actual monetary value. Perhaps you can answer that for me. What I will say is that when looking around on the web in articles where stock images are used I see alamy attributed rarely, maybe 1/10 times on a good day. That makes me nervous about spending all of my time on here. Getty seems to come up far more often, particularly for the types of images you see in newspapers. In fact I would say Getty seems to be dominant across a wide range of places. So much so that I've often wondered am I doing the right thing by not submitting to Getty, but then I remember I looked at their site once and then promptly looked away. I seem to remember you start off with a 20% take of the winnings and must submit your images exclusive to them. I've also sold at least one image that is attributed to an agency I don't submit to (it might well have been Getty), so I'm guessing being opted into distribution enables this further exposure.

Edited by Cal
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2 minutes ago, Cal said:

I read this surprisingly often. I've never yet asked the question whether people who have lots of micro sales are using the same portfolio as on here and whether it's the number of sales that are higher or the actual monetary value. Perhaps you can answer that for me

 DT (Dreamstime) is not a top tier agency. In fact I really doubt it will survive much longer. I only have at Alamy about a third of the images I have at DT. But my sales (number of sales AND monetary value) at DT are higher than at Alamy.  Even when I my sales at DT are insignificant and I only keep my portfolio there because the work is done already.

 

I have never submitted to Getty. I have an account at IStock which I think is part of Getty but their submission process is complicated and tedious so I only have a couple of images with them.

 

I don't think putting all your eggs on one basket is a good idea. The stock photography business is not what it used to be. All those sites offering good photos for free are doing a great damage to this industry. That plus the massive amount of people from all over the world submitting images to all the agencies means our slice of the cake is getting smaller. I really hope Alamy will continue to thrive but is not easy with so much competition. 

 

Besides I have always thought that in this business you are not competing with yourself. If a buyer finds your image here too expensive he can almost always find a similar image from another photographer at another agency. Unless you are shooting specific events or current news

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I don't think anyone has mentioned that sales here are often reported some months after images have been downloaded, so you might very well end up with more sales from those zooms. People who are used to instant sales at Microstock agencies often expect it to be the same here, but the reporting and payment system at Alamy is very different and you need to be a lot more patient. The prices here vary a lot, and you can get some larger amounts as well as single dollar sales. In future it might be worth uploading some images here that are exclusive, particularly of less common subjects.

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1 hour ago, VbFolly said:

I don't think anyone has mentioned that sales here are often reported some months after images have been downloaded, so you might very well end up with more sales from those zooms. People who are used to instant sales at Microstock agencies often expect it to be the same here, but the reporting and payment system at Alamy is very different and you need to be a lot more patient. The prices here vary a lot, and you can get some larger amounts as well as single dollar sales. In future it might be worth uploading some images here that are exclusive, particularly of less common subjects.

 

I would agree. I had zooms reported in September, to which the corresponding sales came for two of the images on the 30th of October... over a month later. The payment still hasn't cleared and whenever it does (wouldn't be at all surprised if it was December or later) you then have to wait for the payout date and finally for the money to arrive. My experience is generally that it takes several months for you to have the money, and certainly for me this is entirely typical.

Edited by Cal
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12 hours ago, Kamira said:

Thank you all for your help.

 

I'll keep trying. I've been in this business since 2008. I just had never considered uploading to Alamy.

 

While it is true you can buy all my images on other sites, probably cheaper I don't think in this business you are competing with yourself. Maybe in 2008...but today for every subject you can imagine there are thousands of photos from hundreds of authors. So you will almost always find a cheaper option (unless you want to buy images of a very specific event or photos depicting current news)

 

I understand Alamy is different than all the other micros but still...

 

Right now I'm making more at DT (for example) than at Alamy. And DT has been going downhill for years and I only keep an account there because the work is already done

 

Anyway, I'll follow tour advice and keep uploading.

 

Your basic problem, as you have written, is that you are mainly shooting a lot of what other people shoot.....unreleased 'editorial' travel.  You can scale up your port on Alamy and guess what, you will be finding pretty much the same results, once your port is bedding in to sales channels, as now...just more zooms and some more sales hopefully.

 

If you wanted to make good money on those subjects you are twenty years too late - virtually all subjects are covered but you need to find those that are less saturated otherwise it's more of the same.  And less saturated cannot mean those locations that are never visted because they also will never be in demand from clients.

 

I searched through a number of pages and for example, not one POV of cafe or dining, you have been to many places where that is almost the most important thing that people do.  Plenty of people shooting grab shots of dining on the street but how about authentic POV dining with a view....... just one example.

 

If a shot is easy to get, every photographer will go for it... add in low costs of digital and you get millions of shots of the easy......

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30 minutes ago, GeoffK said:

If you wanted to make good money on those subjects you are twenty years too late - virtually all subjects are covered but you need to find those that are less saturated otherwise it's more of the same.  And less saturated cannot mean those locations that are never visted because they also will never be in demand from clients.

I. agree. But now every subject is saturatedd, even dining POV. . The other issue is that for photos involving models I prefer to do it with proper lighting and time. And you don't have any of that when you are travelling with your family..

 

I was testing the waters at Alamy and trying not to complicate myself with model releases at first. I.will upload my photos with models.

 

Thank you all for your help

 

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13 hours ago, Kamira said:

Exactly. My CTR (which I understand is a zooms to views ratio) is not bad which means my photos or keywords are not that bad. People are finding my images.

 

What is bad is my sales to zooms ratio. Why are people zooming and not buying?

 

Of course, it could be because those images are for sale at other agencies. I don't know. I don't think is a good idea to be exclusive to any agency.

 

 

already covered in other repies

Edited by meanderingemu
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25 minutes ago, Kamira said:

I. agree. But now every subject is saturatedd .

 

 

 

though things get saturated faster, not sure at point in time it's true on the editorial side, which is Alamy's strength.  I went through my sales so far this year, and about a third are from subject that had little presence in the database, quite a few on something that we didn't even know existed 12 months ago.  Things changes and database need to reflect before and after.

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38 minutes ago, Kamira said:

I. agree. But now every subject is saturatedd, even dining POV. . The other issue is that for photos involving models I prefer to do it with proper lighting and time. And you don't have any of that when you are travelling with your family..

 

I was testing the waters at Alamy and trying not to complicate myself with model releases at first. I.will upload my photos with models.

 

Thank you all for your help

 

 

Well a quick look on Alamy and the largest micro agency might disagree with the above 'venice dining pov' or not ...... proper models etc etc are past shoots, authentic has been one of the main requirements in commercially orientated stock for quite a few years. The glitch effect, ordinary people etc - all needed in stock (released). Your family would be ideal....

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kamira said:

But now every subject is saturatedd, even dining POV

 

Um, no.  I saw that people were searching for "Nicaraguan sign language" and all that was coming up were photos of Nicaraguan signs, which was not what the people looking for Nicaraguan sign language were looking for.   I got access to a refuge for deaf kids who used Nicaraguan sign language, and I've pretty much still have the only photos for that.    And the other option is doing the best photograph because it's unique and very good technically.  I tried to find out what the search terms had been for one of my fish photographs that went for $$$, and it appears to have been "cichlid pairs" but mine were perhaps the most animated cichlid pair.  I've licensed one short finned molly group twice, lowest fee was 2/3rds to me of what you've gotten so far. 

 

This is why I check what people have searched for that Alamy doesn't have many or any of.

 

I have the only jicaro gourd drinking set for horchata on Alamy, not that anyone has searched for that.

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Over all, watching the recent sales of the month forum for a number of years, the best combination for selling regularly and for decent prices most of the time at Alamy is being both informed in subject areas beyond the level of the average tourist and being a very good photographer.   Being very good as a photographer is important, but knowing what you're photographing seems to be equally important.   And that's how people can escape the cliches of the obvious travel shots that everyone is steered to taking by guides and guide books.  And with people doing things, it seems important to have a rapport with the people, to respect their skills at what they're doing (which is rare in models posing doing things they don't know really how to do).


Should this discussion from this point to moved to "Stock photography discussion and contributor experience?"   We're kinda off the original poster's questions at this point. 

 

 

Edited by MizBrown
Asking if the remaining posts on this thread should be moved.
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Great advice on this thread.

 

First: How can you see total zooms? I have over 40 zooms but the number has lowered because if they happened too long ago, they seem to fall off the count.

 

Second: I recently sold (albeit for a tiny amount) the most clichéd travel photo imaginable of the Castro District in San Francisco that I put very little effort into taking. I threw it up on Alamy but I didn't have any expectation for it. It was so ordinary. My suspicion is that because of my high placement in the searches, it was the first one of that shot that they saw, or maybe they wanted the most recent one.

 

Third: I did look at Alamy Needs once and they listed an architecturally innovative small college in my neighborhood for the disabled. I went inside one day before yoga class - it was just down the street - and took a lot of interior pictures. Only one other photographer had uploaded pictures of it and they had uploaded about 30 similars of the exterior. Not much competition. I have gotten a few zooms on these. https://www.alamy.com/search/imageresults.aspx?foo=bar&qt=ed roberts campus

Now I'm thinking I should upload some more. I have a bunch of architectural details.

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4 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

First: How can you see total zooms? I have over 40 zooms but the number has lowered because if they happened too long ago, they seem to fall off the count.

 

Second: I recently sold (albeit for a tiny amount) the most clichéd travel photo imaginable of the Castro District in San Francisco that I put very little effort into taking. I threw it up on Alamy but I didn't have any expectation for it. It was so ordinary. My suspicion is that because of my high placement in the searches, it was the first one of that shot that they saw, or maybe they wanted the most recent one.

>total zooms

I used to download all numbers of the year around Christmas time.

 

If you have such a good placement, I would try making the most best perfect ever image of that clichéd travel photo. And try a couple of others too, but not of the same cliché.

It could well take you a year though. Just take it dead serious. What would you want to see in it (think positive and aspiring images - with an activist mindset). Study what is out there. What could you do better (mindset). What would you want to avoid (mindset!). But also what is out there that you cannot do. (That could take another year though 😁)

 

wim

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