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The more I submit to the news feed, the more and more I'm noticing that the media companies that operate in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, tend to have their own photographers that are sent out to locations to shoot the event for the publication in question. Some of these photographers I have spoken to, and respect them dearly, so I'd never want to pretend to be the same as them. 

 

My point is that apart from the pretty much staged events, and well known functions, unless you manage to get really lucky and snap something close to you at a moments notice that's newsworthy, there's not a lot you can do to get your work sold if it's a local event. Yes better images could work, a different perspective and idea could also work, but if the media outlets are sending their own guys in, you'll have a hard time trying to sell any pics if the media outlet is getting the pics from their own guys. 

 

The Scotsman - has their own photographers
Daily Record & Sunday Mail - I've sold a couple to them
Evening Times - They have their own guys
Kirkintilloch Herald - has their own guys (my home town) 

Glasgow Herald - Use the same guys as the Evening Times

BBC Scotland - Never seem to buy any pics, and also have their own guys. 

STV - Always want images for free via crowd sourcing. 

 

That's just a number of the big players. 

 

I was in Glasgow last night for the switching on of the Christmas lights. A big event in the calendar, so I made a point of getting tickets and getting close to the action. I took about 200 shots. 43 of which I felt suited the theme and they went on the news feed. The Scottish media seemed to glaze right over the fact that anything happened at all. The Evening Times were the only people that ran a story on it, and they had pics from their own guys. 

 

A few weeks ago, a major flood wiped out rush hour traffic on Glasgow's busiest road causing major delays for hours and it was a scene of major frustrations and upset. STV ran a small story about it, and asked if anyone had images to send them in. I sent the alamy news link and it fell on deaf ears. 

 

My experience of selling to other publications are that if your image is generic enough, you will attract nationwide. The Daily Mail, for instance, cropped one of my pics of footsteps in the snow, probably because there was an identifiable glasgow landmark in the distance. 

 

My instinct is that I'll carry on regardless, however, sometimes you are left confused by what you think is news and what they actually run as 'news' that day. 

 

It must be very frustrating for the guys out everyday capturing this stuff all the time. I'm trying hard here not to look like I'm moaning. 

 

Anywho I'll shoosh now lol 

 

Cheers for reading, 

 

Paul 
 

 

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that's the nature of freelance news....

 

mostly you do the work and get nothing

 

 

and be thankful that this is your hobby...not your job

 

 

km

Edited by RedSnapper
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I have submitted a few times to news, but I think that you have to be pretty damned dedicated to follow this route.  I have encountered the same issues as you with 'local' news - no-one really wants to know (mainly for financial reasons).  I believe that if you want to do this, then either you have to be really good and/or be out and about all the time, or you have to be taking images with the longer view in mind - as you imply - taking images that will later sell as generic stock.

 

I looked around today and thought about going to a couple of local(-ish) TV/film shoots.  But based on past experience, I thought again and decided to spend the day keywording stuff already in the bag.  The chances of getting anything worthwhile seem small: I'd have fuel and parking costs to pay for (+time getting to the locations); and the returns just haven't so far justified the outlay, unless there's a high %age chance of getting something decent.

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that's the nature of freelance news....

 

mostly you do the work and get nothing

 

 

and be thankful that this is your hobby...not your job

 

 

km

 

Indeed Keith. Us hobbyists dabble, dip our toes in, get lucky sometimes and often wonder what it would be like to do it all the time. The fantasy is probably very far from the reality. For those who have taken the plunge, it's probably a very up and down world. 

 

I have submitted a few times to news, but I think that you have to be pretty damned dedicated to follow this route.  I have encountered the same issues as you with 'local' news - no-one really wants to know (mainly for financial reasons).  I believe that if you want to do this, then either you have to be really good and/or be out and about all the time, or you have to be taking images with the longer view in mind - as you imply - taking images that will later sell as generic stock.

 

I looked around today and thought about going to a couple of local(-ish) TV/film shoots.  But based on past experience, I thought again and decided to spend the day keywording stuff already in the bag.  The chances of getting anything worthwhile seem small: I'd have fuel and parking costs to pay for (+time getting to the locations); and the returns just haven't so far justified the outlay, unless there's a high %age chance of getting something decent.

 

I guess it's the risk you take. I've had loads of opportunities to grab something for the feed, however, life likes to get in the way. The people around me don't tend to think what I do on Alamy is very serious, and it boils my blood. If I was on my own, I'd be out every night and weekends if I could. Photography is such a solitary pursuit. 

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Paul,

 

I think you need to look at this with a slightly more hard nosed and focussed approach.

 

Alamy as a news agency isn't well established as you would say Getty, PA, AFP, Reuters are in terms of the access to the nationals and the deals in place for usage for breaking news (which some might say is a good thing). If you look at the local newspaper market, particularly those with staff photographers then Alamy are even less likely to get a show for a run-of-the-mill image.

 

Because they have the same open approach to receiving "news images" as they are stock there is also no real criteria applied as to what makes it onto the news feed - although of course what gets actively promoted to the papers is a much smaller percentage. So what you think is "news" might not actually be in the marketable sense of the word.

 

In order to get a show in the nationals you'll need (all IMVHO of course):

 

- a weather image  :rolleyes:

- a unexpected event (like the helicopter crash in Vauxhall) where you happen to be on the scene or close enough to get there before established news & get it on the wire before others (although you could argue direct sale for those might be better)

- a planned event which is sufficiently low down the priority order of the main agencies that it isn't covered in any depth by them

 

a small car accident, a closed road, a local minor protest isn't going to be big enough news for the nationals. Generic locally bad weather could be used to illustrate the wide spread nature of flooding/snow/winds in the nationals as we recently saw with the storms but conversely wouldn't likely be sold to local news by Alamy as their own photographers or crowd-sourced images will be in sufficient supply.

 

If you get locally relevant news images, and there are no staffers/stringers about on the scene then you should probably offer your images directly to the locals (for payment) as you'll stand more chance of getting a show & some money than if you just stuck them up onto Live News - and you should be able to get email addresses for the picture desks of your local news relatively easily. I'm not saying you should low-ball or shaft your local press colleagues but there will be a time that they are half way through a list of grip&grins and not about when something happens - particularly if you are in the right place at the right time.

 

I'm coming up to my first year of trying out the Alamy Live News part of the company as a contributor. I don't really regret any of the jobs I have done, I'm grateful for all of the accreditation I have received and at the worst I have driven up my number of images on the stock area of the site as a result. But there are certainly some things I won't be doing next year given my improved understanding of where Alamy sit in the pecking order of news agencies (unless we hear differently in a video message, blog or by email). Some I will look to repeat, and I'll be looking at where there has been obvious success and try to do more of that.

 

I also wouldn't be putting myself in any personal danger, and in your situation wouldn't compromise paid employment for the sake of trying to get a news image.

Edited by Mike@Meonshore
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Thanks Mike for that very informative reading :) 

 

One thing I missed out of my points from my earlier post was the weight of Alamy news in the industry. You kind of cleared that up. In defence of the news folks at Alamy they no doubt work very hard to keep it going and with success. Like you say, the big guns are there holding more weight in the world of news than Alamy. I myself sometimes look at the news feed and wonder if something fits 'news' but that's just my own opinion. One mans news is another mans toilet reading. 

 

I'm quite happy just to carry on with both areas. I don't think I submit enough to jeopardise any full time photographers earnings in Glasgow at the minute. I only know of two others that submit to the news feed. Cheers for the insight Mike. 

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Well as I said all IMVHO.

 

And it is worth saying I'm in no way knocking the Live News team who I think do a great job, and have some real success from a standing start. 

 

 i would personally like to see some more updates and insight from the Live News part of Alamy to help us focus more and to be more successful as a whole.

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Just had two images licensed for a news story. Parascender died in Tenerife whilst parascending!

Images were uploaded as news last December as part of a story on a a parascending competition…no sale!

Who knows what is news today or tomorrow. :wacko:

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Well as I said all IMVHO.

Mike,

 

what are sales like from News vs regular stock? Is it worth it? Papers are by far my lowest paying clients nowadays.

What is your opinion about training? Do you think everyone can have a go at it?

What would be the difference between people who had training and/or some years experience in the news field vs newbies or people journalists?

 

wim

 

edit: sorry rude as always: Mike thank you for your insightful post!

Edited by wiskerke
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Switching on lights is not news, it's a photocall PR event, and therefore you really only expect staffers and stringers to cover it. There are other seasonal things in Scotland and although I have only ever bothered to do two or three brief half-hours covering such stuff, I make sales. Hogmanay, Burns night, summer civic festivals, other seasonal stuff. I just don't look at things the usual way if it's possible to get something different. I've managed to get a decent fee for a local Kelso annual fair, when there was no chance of even a local paper using any pix (swarming with the regulars) - but I got on stage and photographed the audience, where all the rest were in the audience photographing the stage... all you then need is a way to caption and keyword.

 

There's always a saleable shot (not that I can be bothered). Christmas lights switch on, think maybe some very cute 3-4 year old's face as the lights come on. Or think the electrician standing next to the distributor board waiting for it all to blow :-) I used to do well for 'back stories'. After I left my newspaper (where I was a journalist not a photographer) I used to pick up stories they basically threw away with a few lines, get into the underlying story and then get into a national or a magazine. My first publication in The Sunday Times - frightening that it's going to be 40 years ago soon - came when a Yorkshire TV story just happened to mention that a row of terraced houses due for demolition was the longest in Europe (probably not true, but, what the hell?). My immediate thought was - why no picture? Because TV could not show it. So I turned up, and made a taped-up print panorama long enough to cover the picture editor's desk. They sent me back to get more backgrounders, and we found a great corner shop, a tin bath hanging in the yard with a little girl wrapped in a dressing gown, and stuff like that. They ran the main pic over 11 columns of a double page spread - and I got some in the BJP as a portfolio (1976).

 

but no newspaper in Yorkshire, where this was, had even bothered to consider it. I did several more similar stories, often picking up from the minimal coverage in local papers, which made the ST or other nationals, before moving into advertising and catalogue work and having no time to do this.

 

Any keen good freelance today should still be able to do the same. Ignore the news 'event' - find the back story which can sell AFTER the news event as a photo essay or a set. Think features not news. Joe public with his or her smartphone does NOT produce feature concepts or photo sets.

Edited by David Kilpatrick
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Well as I said all IMVHO.

Mike,

 

what are sales like from News vs regular stock? Is it worth it? Papers are by far my lowest paying clients nowadays.

What is your opinion about training? Do you think everyone can have a go at it?

What would be the difference between people who had training and/or some years experience in the news field vs newbies or people journalists?

 

wim

 

edit: sorry rude as always: Mike thank you for your insightful post!

 

Wim,

 

Don't have enough data to be able to give you any real insight to be honest. Whilst I sold well initially on Alamy I basically abandoned my collection on here back in 2005 and focussed on social photography, particularly weddings, and since I started to look again at stock with fresh eyes now I'm more a commercial photographer with some portraits my opportunity to create more (and if I'm very honest better quality) stock images is on the rise again - albeit maybe a few years too late.

 

Since then, and after clear out, I'm playing catch up on quantity and variety to give myself a fighting chance in a library that is 40x what it was when I was first active.

 

I have sold images I submitted for Live News, but after the 48 hour timeframe and so they were part of the newspaper scheme. Had they been immediate sales then the fees would have been much much better. But that is down to the nature of what I photographed. I'd say from a purely immediate financial satisfaction it isn't (and certainly not compared to portraiture) - but then I'm still learning.

 

As for training - it couldn't possible harm, knowing how to build a feature as David points out above, isn't something that everyone grasps - but I suspect that it is more about finding out about the right things to cover, and being there at the right time in the right place through planning or happy accident - and then filing them quickly and accurately. As a seasoned newspaper snapper, or freelance PJ you'd be in a much better place but then I suspect you would either be working directly for someone, or supplying direct ;-)

 

Schelpping up to the same events that every other photographer and agency does and taking the same images, is again as David points out, is relatively futile - by all means get them quickly, but then look for the unique viewpoint and story.

Edited by Mike@Meonshore
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I myself sometimes look at the news feed and wonder if something fits 'news'

remember that what youre seeing on AlamyLiveNews is just what comes in ......much of it unusable, irrelevant or too late

 

What goes out from Alamy to the desks is, as Mike said,  a much smaller much more tightly edited selection

 

km

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