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Greetings from California! I have a few questions...


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Hello all! I'm located in the central coast of California (equidistant from LA and San Francisco) and have generally focused on portraits of people and animals. During 2020, I thought I would: redo my website; organize the 25TB+ of photo files I have; scan and upload the hundreds of slides I have from the 40's to 60's; remodel my office/storage building/arachnid habitat into a functional studio + guest suite....yeah, didn't happen.

In the interest of starting something new, I  started posting to Alamy a few months ago. While I've had some views, I haven't sold any images yet (sold a few on Shutterfly, but yikes! the percentage of payment...). I've tried to clarify what works on Alamy through the website, blog, and forum, but if anyone would like to chime in...

  • Description vs. tagging: some advocate a description/title of a few words, some include many details. Does one approach or the other work well in certain categories, such as travel, concept, or lifestyle?
  • Have you had more success including many images in one category, or is it better to cover as many categories as possible?
  • I know other have weighed in on what the magic number is in order to start selling, but is there a consensus?
  • When keywording, should I include various spellings (harbor and harbour), or is that redundant? Is it better to add in as many keywords as possible (and move that lovely green line to the right) or does that confuse the search, and maybe it's better to stick with the most relevant keywords?
  • If I check a box indicating I've met (to some extent) one of the listed objectives on the Alamy Needs list, does that mean the party who listed that item will be notified?
  • What's the best way to use the Portfolio page?
  • and lastly, any helpful comments re my Alamy portfolio so far? https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/809782.html

Thank you for the inspiration and community!

Jennifer

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Alamy asks that we use complete sentences in captions and words that appear both in caption and supertag make the image appear higher up in searches. Yes, definitely use both British and American spelling. All keywords should be relevant but as many as possible helps. We don't know what happens with the Alamy needs.... just that you need to be certain to put the words they use in your keywords and caption. Search the Forum for threads about captions and keywords (tags). There is a lot here. Good luck...

 

Paulette

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Hi Jennifer,

Greetings from (old) Hampshire! Wow, that's a lot of questions. I won't answer all of them, but hopefully some other contributors will step in.

 

Description vs. tagging: some advocate a description/title of a few words, some include many details. Does one approach or the other work well in certain categories, such as travel, concept, or lifestyle? Different agencies have different requirements. Captions are searchable on Alamy and if you hover over a photo, you can see the caption without actually zooming the photo. I'm sure clients do this, so if you have short or incorrect captions on a photo, they will move swiftly on after hovering over the photo.

https://www.alamy.com/contributor/how-to-sell-images/captions-and-keywords-for-images/?section=8"

"Before you start, think about the potential use of the image and what it’s likely to be sold for, the more accurately you describe your image, the more visibility it will have in customer searches, which will significantly increase your chance of making a sale."

 

Have you had more success including many images in one category, or is it better to cover as many categories as possible?

If you find a niche subject that sells well, go for it. The consensus on the Forum seems to be to try to have a diverse well edited collection.

 

I know other have weighed in on what the magic number is in order to start selling, but is there a consensus?

Consensus used to be 1 sale per month per 1000 images. But Alamy has greatly increased its collection size in the last few years. I have just over 3000 images and sell about 6 a month on average, but I'm a bit more commercial about what I shoot.

 

When keywording, should I include various spellings (harbor and harbour), or is that redundant? Is it better to add in as many keywords as possible (and move that lovely green line to the right) or does that confuse the search, and maybe it's better to stick with the most relevant keywords?

Don't spam keywords, but include variant spellings, in particular British and American spellings. Also include singular and plurals  of words if appropriate. Don't worry about moving the line to optimised (green) - we have collectively decided that this is not a good idea unless you really need that many keywords. Too many irrelevant keywords will harm your CTR rank which affects how high up your images appear in searches.

 

If I check a box indicating I've met (to some extent) one of the listed objectives on the Alamy Needs list, does that mean the party who listed that item will be notified?

Don't know.

 

What's the best way to use the Portfolio page?

Don't bother unless you do commissions or paid photography work.

 

and lastly, any helpful comments re my Alamy portfolio so far? https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/809782.html

There is a separate thread for this and you're best off posting this particular question there:

https://discussion.alamy.com/forum/18-portfolio-critique/

Just FYI, you don't need to post a link to your Portfolio, we can see your images by clicking on the blue number under your name.

 

Hope this helps,

Steve

 

 

Edited by Steve F
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To add to Steve's excellent reply, your caption should answer the question Who is doing What, Where, When, Why and How. Those words then form the supertags (that is how I proceed anyway) and then you add other keywords, any emotional words (happy, funny, together...). Do include US/UK spellings as well as different words used (my trousers are your pants, your pants are my underwear, etc). Do ignore the green discoverability bar - this comes up regularly. Search the forum and you will find any number of discussions on it. Add keywords that are relevant to what you see - sometimes I get lots of keywords and sometimes I have very few.

If you can find your niche, then well done. I am still trying to find mine. Remember that your back yard is my dream destination and that your work environment may be ordinary to you but wholly inaccessible to me. We used to have a contributor years ago who was a police officer and his portfolio was red hot, he sold loads of pictures, 99% of which were not possible for the ordinary public to get. Avoid uploading lots of similar images of the same place or subject, they will just dilute your portfolio. It takes time and effort to build up a good portfolio and it can be tempting to upload lots of pictures to get the numbers up to a magic number. For old slides, you can send them as Archival to bypass the strict QC requirements. I have never done this so you could ask on the forum for advice from those that do.

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16 hours ago, NYCat said:

Alamy asks that we use complete sentences in captions and words that appear both in caption and supertag make the image appear higher up in searches. Yes, definitely use both British and American spelling. All keywords should be relevant but as many as possible helps. We don't know what happens with the Alamy needs.... just that you need to be certain to put the words they use in your keywords and caption. Search the Forum for threads about captions and keywords (tags). There is a lot here. Good luck...

 

Paulette

Thank you, that's very helpful!

 

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16 hours ago, Steve F said:

Hi Jennifer,

Greetings from (old) Hampshire! Wow, that's a lot of questions. I won't answer all of them, but hopefully some other contributors will step in.

 

Description vs. tagging: some advocate a description/title of a few words, some include many details. Does one approach or the other work well in certain categories, such as travel, concept, or lifestyle? Different agencies have different requirements. Captions are searchable on Alamy and if you hover over a photo, you can see the caption without actually zooming the photo. I'm sure clients do this, so if you have short or incorrect captions on a photo, they will move swiftly on after hovering over the photo.

https://www.alamy.com/contributor/how-to-sell-images/captions-and-keywords-for-images/?section=8"

"Before you start, think about the potential use of the image and what it’s likely to be sold for, the more accurately you describe your image, the more visibility it will have in customer searches, which will significantly increase your chance of making a sale."

 

Have you had more success including many images in one category, or is it better to cover as many categories as possible?

If you find a niche subject that sells well, go for it. The consensus on the Forum seems to be to try to have a diverse well edited collection.

 

I know other have weighed in on what the magic number is in order to start selling, but is there a consensus?

Consensus used to be 1 sale per month per 1000 images. But Alamy has greatly increased its collection size in the last few years. I have just over 3000 images and sell about 6 a month on average, but I'm a bit more commercial about what I shoot.

 

When keywording, should I include various spellings (harbor and harbour), or is that redundant? Is it better to add in as many keywords as possible (and move that lovely green line to the right) or does that confuse the search, and maybe it's better to stick with the most relevant keywords?

Don't spam keywords, but include variant spellings, in particular British and American spellings. Also include singular and plurals  of words if appropriate. Don't worry about moving the line to optimised (green) - we have collectively decided that this is not a good idea unless you really need that many keywords. Too many irrelevant keywords will harm your CTR rank which affects how high up your images appear in searches.

 

If I check a box indicating I've met (to some extent) one of the listed objectives on the Alamy Needs list, does that mean the party who listed that item will be notified?

Don't know.

 

What's the best way to use the Portfolio page?

Don't bother unless you do commissions or paid photography work.

 

and lastly, any helpful comments re my Alamy portfolio so far? https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/809782.html

There is a separate thread for this and you're best off posting this particular question there:

https://discussion.alamy.com/forum/18-portfolio-critique/

Just FYI, you don't need to post a link to your Portfolio, we can see your images by clicking on the blue number under your name.

 

Hope this helps,

Steve

 

 

Thank you, Steve! Yes, it's a whole new set of circumstances to navigate...

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3 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

To add to Steve's excellent reply, your caption should answer the question Who is doing What, Where, When, Why and How. Those words then form the supertags (that is how I proceed anyway) and then you add other keywords, any emotional words (happy, funny, together...). Do include US/UK spellings as well as different words used (my trousers are your pants, your pants are my underwear, etc). Do ignore the green discoverability bar - this comes up regularly. Search the forum and you will find any number of discussions on it. Add keywords that are relevant to what you see - sometimes I get lots of keywords and sometimes I have very few.

If you can find your niche, then well done. I am still trying to find mine. Remember that your back yard is my dream destination and that your work environment may be ordinary to you but wholly inaccessible to me. We used to have a contributor years ago who was a police officer and his portfolio was red hot, he sold loads of pictures, 99% of which were not possible for the ordinary public to get. Avoid uploading lots of similar images of the same place or subject, they will just dilute your portfolio. It takes time and effort to build up a good portfolio and it can be tempting to upload lots of pictures to get the numbers up to a magic number. For old slides, you can send them as Archival to bypass the strict QC requirements. I have never done this so you could ask on the forum for advice from those that do.

Thank you, Colin! As it happens, we had planned a trip to Quebec City...one of our dream destinations!  I had wondered if perhaps I should spend some more time shooting our local wineries and beaches. This week we expect storms with up to 70 mph winds - so maybe I'll start the next week.

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9 hours ago, Jennifer Ferber said:

As it happens, we had planned a trip to Quebec City...one of our dream destinations! 

And my back yard! If ever you do get this trip sorted out let me know and we can go out on a few photo shoots. I am always happy to be a tourist guide.

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On 26/01/2021 at 06:00, Colin Woods said:

And my back yard! If ever you do get this trip sorted out let me know and we can go out on a few photo shoots. I am always happy to be a tourist guide.

Thank you, and conversely - generally the Central Coast is a lovely place!

 

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Ah yes, the midpoint of Highway One, which puts you in Big Sur or wine country. I'm from Brooklyn, an East Coast lad, but I did a couple of shoots for American Airlines on the West Coast. I hope California solves its problems. It's too nice a place to throw away.

 

Welcome to Alamy, Jen.

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Thanks for asking these questions, Jennifer!  and the responses much appreciated.   I will go back to the alamy link and review their expectations, too.

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