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Okay, what areas do I need to improve on.


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I had an uptick in sales after getting the numbers up to close to 900 and haven't had a sale since late June and not many zooms.

 

I've deleted some photos, replaced some with better edited versions.   Any that should be deleted or re-edited.   Any thing missing in captions.  

 

 

 

 

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I personally don't see anything "wrong" with your portfolio except for perhaps a few images that could be better framed (align straight edges with the frame of the photo for instance) or with slight alteration to the exposure/contrast. While it is not the only tool at your disposal, the histogram is very useful here, and learning to read it might help. I don't feel I am qualified to offer any further technical advice really as I sometimes make these mistakes myself though it is a constant path to improvement.

 

It's very hard to look at a portfolio and say, technical mishaps aside, that it will or won't sell well. People will offer you their opinion on this but one person can't speak for Alamy's entire client base. I have sold some bizarre photos and to this day precisely nothing I have sold has the fabled magic bullet of "people doing things". Well, I tell a fib there, that is true in terms of stock but live news of "people doing things" has sold, as you'd expect. My point being don't be tricked into thinking you need to conform to a certain style to make sales. If you can find a niche (hint: you've got one) and excel at it you'll be laughing.

Edited by Cal
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A few impressions…

Too many pix are rather gloomy: interiors, still-lives, in shadow, etc.
Need more light, more colour, more contrast, more vibrancy, more people doing things (rather than slumped in doorways, or looking at the camera!)
The weather looks even gloomier than UK!
Some unremarkable street-scenes (‘undecisive’ moments).
Birds, animals, insects… too far away.
Food… looks unappetising.
Odd compositions… people with feet ‘cut off’, half a motorbike, etc.
A lot of shots look unplanned, without much of a visual ‘point’. Too many snapshots.
Sorry, this sounds rather negative… but it’s only my opinion…

 

I’d take a deep breath, reset, and use your local knowledge to produce more ‘telling’ pix. What are the issues that are currently engaging the people of Nicaragua? And what would also be of interest to the wider world? Explore some themes… At the moment, IMO, you’re just scatching the surface…

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11 minutes ago, John Morrison said:

A few impressions…

Too many pix are rather gloomy: interiors, still-lives, in shadow, etc.
Need more light, more colour, more contrast, more vibrancy, more people doing things (rather than slumped in doorways, or looking at the camera!)
The weather looks even gloomier than UK!
Some unremarkable street-scenes (‘undecisive’ moments).
Birds, animals, insects… too far away.
Food… looks unappetising.
Odd compositions… people with feet ‘cut off’, half a motorbike, etc.
A lot of shots look unplanned, without much of a visual ‘point’. Too many snapshots.
Sorry, this sounds rather negative… but it’s only my opinion…

 

I’d take a deep breath, reset, and use your local knowledge to produce more ‘telling’ pix. What are the issues that are currently engaging the people of Nicaragua? And what would also be of interest to the wider world? Explore some themes… At the moment, IMO, you’re just scatching the surface…

 

You have a typo on the title of your image 2CXT5ER.

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I know you wanted to get some kind of critique but I just wanted to take a side step to say that I really enjoyed looking through your portfolio, IMHO you have some great pics.

Unlike John (sorry John!) I really like the more 'natural' shots of the people doing normal stuff and streets of where you live. Really interesting.

 

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34 minutes ago, Martin L said:

I know you wanted to get some kind of critique but I just wanted to take a side step to say that I really enjoyed looking through your portfolio, IMHO you have some great pics.

Unlike John (sorry John!) I really like the more 'natural' shots of the people doing normal stuff and streets of where you live. Really interesting.

 

I agree. I find your portfolio a really interesting insight into everyday life in Nicaragua. I think most of your tags and captions are fine. There are a few images where it might help to include Nicaragua in the caption not just the keywords. Also on your image of kids playing soccer, you could include Football, as that's what we usually call it in the UK.

 

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2 hours ago, John Morrison said:

The weather looks even gloomier than UK!

 

Half the year it rains.  When the sun shines, the shadows are very dark and the sun tends to blow out anything on the other end of the histogram.    13 degrees north of the equator and 1,000 meters up. 

 

Lovely temperatures, though.  April is the only hot month.   I'm sitting here in a fleece jacket. 

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I really like your "Made in Jinotega" images of people making things. They should lend themselves to education uses among others. Have you thought of doing a book?

 

On my visits to Nicaragua, I've seen it through the lens of a visitor and a working travel journalist (which I was at the time) than a resident. However, I'd consider adding more conventional travel and tourism images to your collection if possible. My Nicaragua sales tens to be in that vein -- well-known markets, prominent architecture, landscapes, history, coffee plantations, public art, etc. Perhaps browse through some travel guides (online and print) to see what kinds of images are in demand. Travel is bound to pick up when the virus is finally under control.

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Martin L said:

I know you wanted to get some kind of critique but I just wanted to take a side step to say that I really enjoyed looking through your portfolio, IMHO you have some great pics.

Unlike John (sorry John!) I really like the more 'natural' shots of the people doing normal stuff and streets of where you live. Really interesting.

 

 

Most of the US and at least some of Europe has very different sets of interests in Nicaragua.  The Reuters photographer only shows up when things are bad here.   The majority of the Nicaraguan photos on Alamy that aren't civil unrest and dead people are tourism promotion.  

 

But to buck those trends, I have to take better photos that grab people and make them see the daily life in Nicaragua as worth paying attention, too.   2018 was not the simple story of a cruel dictator sending police to shoot peaceful non-violent protestors (only armed with handguns and muzzle-loading rock lobbing mortaros).  People can be better photographers than I am, but less well-informed or less able to hold the contradictions of the place in their minds without picking a side.   2018 was a dreadful cluster fuck of rumors, lies, and drones on the two sides that were fighting.  The military refused to play.   The Gallup surveys that showed around 75% of the Nicaraguans who answered polls opposed to Ortega now show over 65% prepared to vote for him in 2021.   The opposition turned out to be lead by the usual suspects from the old families.

 

The other thing is maybe work on photographing Nicaraguans doing things just as people doing things, and hope Alamy develops a Latin American market, and they can be sold there without paying the least bit of attention to US and European stereotypes about Latin America. 

 

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I've always found the demand for Latin America images to be very good on Alamy. At least half of my sales every month are of images taken in the region, especially Mexico.

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5 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

I really like your "Made in Jinotega" images of people making things. They should lend themselves to education uses among others. Have you thought of doing a book?

 

On my visits to Nicaragua, I've seen it through the lens of a visitor and a working travel journalist (which I was at the time) than a resident. However, I'd consider adding more conventional travel and tourism images to your collection if possible. My Nicaragua sales tens to be in that vein -- well-known markets, prominent architecture, landscapes, history, coffee plantations, public art, etc. Perhaps browse through some travel guides (online and print) to see what kinds of images are in demand. Travel is bound to pick up when the virus is finally under control.

 

 

 

I've lived in a couple of places in the US and now Jinotega here that relied on tourism.   I took the Made in Jinotega series as a way to exploring what was here beside the touristic things.   I think relying on tourism cripples places that are poor to start with.  And the whole Nicaraguan New Year series should be something of interest to tourists, but some of the burning munecas still are somewhat disturbing for me to look at.   The picture of the woman caressing the muneca before it's burned has creeped out a least one other expat here.  Nobody else's Nicaraguan New Years photos feature the burning of the Old Men of the Past Year.  It's practiced in Mexico and here, and probably some other Central American countries, and in parts of India.  I haven't checked yet to see if it's also a Gitano custom as many of the local last names are generally Gitano in Andalusia.  Or what? 

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1 minute ago, John Mitchell said:

I've always found the demand for Latin America images to be very good on Alamy. At least half of my sales every month are of images taken in the region, especially Mexico.

 

By Latin Americans, or by us Anglos and Europeans looking for the exotic?    I've licensed once to what was obviously a Spanish-speaking buyer. 

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1 minute ago, MizBrown said:

 

I've lived in a couple of places in the US and now Jinotega here that relied on tourism.   I took the Made in Jinotega series as a way to exploring what was here beside the touristic things.   I think relying on tourism cripples places that are poor to start with.  And the whole Nicaraguan New Year series should be something of interest to tourists, but some of the burning munecas still are somewhat disturbing for me to look at.   The picture of the woman caressing the muneca before it's burned has creeped out a least one other expat here.  Nobody else's Nicaraguan New Years photos feature the burning of the Old Men of the Past Year.  It's practiced in Mexico and here, and probably some other Central American countries, and in parts of India.  I haven't checked yet to see if it's also a Gitano custom as many of the local last names are generally Gitano in Andalusia.  Or what? 

 

I hear you. However, there are many different types of tourism. For instance, true "ecotourism" (it does exist) can be very helpful to local people. Not all tourism is BS, although a lot of it is.

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15 minutes ago, MizBrown said:

 

By Latin Americans, or by us Anglos and Europeans looking for the exotic?    I've licensed once to what was obviously a Spanish-speaking buyer. 

 

My images are definitely not "exotic". Travel a very broad category -- e.g. education publishers license a lot of "travel" images.

 

Here's an article on Ometepe I wrote for Americas magazine (now gone unfortunately) illustrated with my photos. A couple of them have licensed on Alamy as well over the years.

 

P.S. All kinds of buyers for Latin America images on Alamy, including countries in the region -- Mexico, Brazil, etc. -- and in Asia as well, not just North America and Europe.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Just now, John Mitchell said:

 

I hear you. However, there are many different types of tourism. For instance, true "ecotourism" (it does exist) can be very helpful to local people. Not all tourism is BS, although a lot of it is.

 

 

One of the things I was doing on Facebook was moderating a Spanish language orchid growers and fanciers group.  The people asking to be members of the group were engineers, marketers, one prison guard, and various apparently well-off Cubans.  The only country that hasn't had people applying for group membership have been Venezuela, so obviously that country has problems.  Bolivians, yep, some of them are well-enough off to be keeping hybrid catts and dendrobiums.   But they're not the colorful locals most tourists are looking for.   My fantasy is selling to their magazines and newspapers, not US and European tourist promotion sites and magazines.   Chelsea Northrup's stock modeling photos sold to Turkey because she could pass.    Doing this would require that people in Latin America were looking to Alamy for ordinary people doing things.  Spain has an interest in its former colonies, and Alamy does have a presence there, I believe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, MizBrown said:

 

 

One of the things I was doing on Facebook was moderating a Spanish language orchid growers and fanciers group.  The people asking to be members of the group were engineers, marketers, one prison guard, and various apparently well-off Cubans.  The only country that hasn't had people applying for group membership have been Venezuela, so obviously that country has problems.  Bolivians, yep, some of them are well-enough off to be keeping hybrid catts and dendrobiums.   But they're not the colorful locals most tourists are looking for.   My fantasy is selling to their magazines and newspapers, not US and European tourist promotion sites and magazines.   Chelsea Northrup's stock modeling photos sold to Turkey because she could pass.    Doing this would require that people in Latin America were looking to Alamy for ordinary people doing things.  Spain has an interest in its former colonies, and Alamy does have a presence there, I believe.

 

 

 

 

Understood. Markets -- especially paying ones -- within Latin America for the types of images that you mention tend to be very limited. That said, back in print and film days, I manged to find some Latin American outlets for my travel articles and photos. I was a regular contributor to an English-language newspaper in Mexico City, a magazine in the Yucatan that published in both Spanish and English, the Tico Times, plus a couple of other publications. All these markets basically dried up when the world went digital. Asi es la vida.

 

An interesting (maybe) aside -- I used to sometimes get invited on press trips by tourism boards in Latin America. When I told them that I had outlets for articles in the region, they weren't the least bit impressed. They of course were interested in North American and European markets.

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32 minutes ago, GeoffK said:

As John Morrison has already mentioned, far too far away on the flora and fauna. You have access to some lovely orchids and exotics but you really will struggle to sell images with poor backgrounds, where the plant is only a small part of the composition. Too much use of harsh flash...with today's technology you really can't get away with that (could barely in the 1980s).

 

Horticulture clients generally want really close or the whole plant to show growth habit - if showing the latter you need a lot of plant(s) unless a setting shot. Too many of yours fall in between these areas IMO.  A 100mm or 180/200mm macro really helps get OOF areas which many clients like for closeups..... especially verticals with decent OOF copyspace. 

 

Study end use, after all that's what you are after.

 

HTH

 

 

 

I had a 105mm Nikkor VR macro when I lived in the US and was shooting with a D50 and then a D300, but don't have that now.   I do see what you're saying.  I can set up an octobox with my AD 200s.   The courtyard tends to be breezy and a bit lower light when it's not contrasty bright sun and shade.  Other option would be to take plants upstairs to the studio where I have an SK400ii on a C stand, and can get backdrops of various kind done with poster paper.

 

I have a 30mm macro for the Sony a6000, and have used a Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 older portrait lens for some shots, but I think those work better for the fish.

 

My only medium zoom at this point is an APSC 55-210mm Sony, which isn't particularly close for animals or birds, so probably I shouldn't bother with more of those at this point. 

 

Current lenses for the a6000 is a 24mm f/1.8 Sony/Zeiss, a 35mm f/1.8 OSS Sony, the 30mm macro, and  the 55-210mm variable aperture zoom.  Current lenses for the a7 original models are the Sony/Zeiss 35mm f/2.8, the Sony/Zeisss 55mm 1.8, a Batis 18mm f/2.8.    Two manual focus lenses on adaptors -- a 50 mm Yashinon f/1.7 and the 105mm f/2.5 (both capable of taking some very sharp pictures on either model Sony).    Lighting gear -- two AD200s, two hot shoe flashes, octabox and a rectangular soft box that lives on the SK400ii, umbrella, three reflectors, and a studio with white walls and mixed white and zinc ceiling.

 

So I have to do what I can do until I can afford some of the lenses on my B&H wish list: a macro lens, the Sony 24-105mm f/4 for a walk-around a7 lens, and Sony's 200-600mm variable aperture zoom (I've already got a monopod). 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, John Morrison said:

 

One of many... but thanks for pointing it out... 😎

 

Still can't find it.  Searching  for that

4 hours ago, John Morrison said:

 

One of many... but thanks for pointing it out... 😎

 

I still can find it and it didn't come up in Image ID search in Alamy Image Manager.  Clue of what it was of? 

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10 minutes ago, meanderingemu said:

if you correct it now, it may hit the search engine before Christmas 😉

 

Found it.  Okay, guys.  I've got to get some of the local Christmas lights before I send off another batch, though, unless it keeps on raining tonight like it's doing now (this is normally the dry season, but hey, 2020 is cursed. 

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