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Looking for some feedback\critiques on my portfolio.


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Hi There,


If anyone has the time I'd love to get some feedback on my portfolio.  Of course I'll reciprocate if anyone need feedback.  But I'm looking to hear from the pros, hopefully, those who've made some sales and been around Alamy for a while.




Thanks in advance,

Mark Laing


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Hi Mark,

It's late, so I'll get right to it!

1) I think your captions are far too short, you need to be more specific about what's in each picture. I've seen this caption a lot for example, "Underwood Farms Fall Festival Pumpkins 2020".



"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."


2) You've got a lot of shots with people in. That's great, but don't take pictures of people smiling at the camera unless you really are trying to make a specific statement, it draws attention to the photographer, they look like family snapshots and doesn't illustrate any concept very well because it's so distracting. You're trying to achieve a shot where someone is doing an activity and it should look like the person is completely unaware of the camera and actually doing the thing they're portrayed to be doing.


I'll add an exception, if you do a type of shot where you provide details of the individuals in the picture as a sort of live news shot, e.g. a shop owner (for example, name, owner for 40 years, family business father to son) standing in front of their shop posing/smiling at the camera then it's ok. 'Random' people (doesn't matter if it's your family) at an event - don't get them posing for the camera.


Pedal Cars at Fall Festival at Underwood Farms, Moorpark, California, USA - Stock Image

Playing in the bean pit at the Fall Festival at Underwood Farms, Moorpark, California, USA - Stock Image

Family snapshot/bad:

Cow ride at Fall Festival at Underwood Farms, Moorpark, California, USA - Stock Image

Fall Festival at Underwood Farms, Moorpark, California, USA - Stock Image


No no no! She should be looking at the computer or out into space, anywhere but at you. This is highly unlikely to sell for the 'school from home' narrative that you've provided. Also, you should mention the fact there's a child/girl (what age?) sitting at a desk and working on a laptop computer as well as the home schooling bit.

School from home via Zoom on a Chromebook - Stock Image


3) You've got too many similars.

4) I do like some of your fisheye lens shots (I'm assuming that's what you've used). Not sure I would have used it for this subject (that is very subjective though). Also, the caption should include mention of tourists/visitors and the vehicle taking up most of the shot:


Keys Ranch, Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA - Image ID: 2C568W1

Keys Ranch, Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA Stock Photo


5) Again, quite subjective, but I don't really like these shots:

Underwood Farms Fall Festival Pumpkins 2020 - Stock Image

The main subject is underexposed compared to the background. And what is it? Can't see any sweetcorn cobs, looks pretty boring.


Underwood Farms Fall Festival Pumpkins 2020 - Stock Image

It's a good compositional device to use an out of focus element in the foreground to draw attention through to the background. Except you've swapped the focus around here to a very distracting semi focused and underexposed bunch of.... autumn leaf stuff in the foreground


Fall Festival at Underwood Farms, Moorpark, California, USA - Stock Image

I won't say normally that a picture will never sell, because we are all surprised sometimes at what does sell. But this one is very boring, can't see anyone buying this as a representative picture of the event. If I don't think a picture has some chance of selling, I just don't put it up, especially when you've got lots of better ones for this event.

I hope that helps and gives you some things to consider. Good luck.
p.s. like your desert shots.
p.p.s just checked your keywords before I switch off for the night, you're spamming them:
Your pictures will appear at a certain level (e.g. first page, 10th page... etc.) in searches by clients, depending on various factors. CTR and Sales are the only factors we know about for sure in the secret formula Alamy uses to set our search ranking. Your CTR rank (on your Dashboard) is a function of the number of times a client zooms (clicks on) one of your images versus the number of times your images appear in a client search, but are not zoomed.

CTR=Zooms/Views * 100

This is basically a long way of me saying, don't spam keywords. E.g. don't put sky, blue, clouds for every single outdoors picture you shoot. There is a tendency to try to put lots of keywords for your images to try to get them seen by clients. So they may well appear in searches, but if they're not zoomed by a client, your CTR rank will drop. Which means your images won't show as high up in client searches. You don't want your images to get buried in the 255 million images on Alamy. By all means, put a lot of keywords in for certain pictures if they're relevant. Captions and keywords are almost more important than the image itself because you can have the most amazing images ever, but if they're keyworded wrong, no one will ever see them.


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.

Edited by Steve F
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1 hour ago, Steve F said:



Steve provides excellent detailed feedback, as he has done for me. If I get a chance, i will take a look at your gallery as well when I am free of work sometime.

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Maybe check your captions and maybe even your keywords again. Some are duplicates while the images show different things: a car in the caption, but a motorcycle in the image; one Norton in the caption, but another in the image. They're in some museum. These are the only ones I've checked and they may be the only ones that have wrong duplicates of course. Normally I'm not the one that finds the wrong needle in the haystack in one blink of an eye. (My wife is. 😎)



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I have found Alamy to be a long game, not immediate sales for me, so I think it very important to treat each photograph as an asset and do everything to maximize it’s possibility of being found and licensed. I spend a lot of time on description and keywords, looking at the photograph and describing in words what is in the frame. Your photo titled Camben Yard Camben Market, is a close up of a coat of arms, heraldry non of these words are in your description or keywords, instead you have bric a brac, hustle and bustle etc. I also think you have too many pumpkin day out photos.


The temptation when you have a large number of images to upload, potentially a complete portfolio to go into batch caption and keywords won’t get you sales. That’s partly why my Alamy portfolio is small because I spend time on the SEO aspect of getting the image found in searches. 

Best wishes and success for Alamy sales.

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Very much agree that you need to describe what's in each picture. I know it's a lot of work but I think detailed captions are important. I was startled that quite often the main subject (eg. young girl age 11-13, young boy, Dingwall's banner) doesn't get a mention in the caption. 

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Before you press the shutter button ask yourself who will buy this pic and how can it illustrate an article/what article can it illustrate?  I'd cut down on the jaunty angles - horizons are usually straight so if you have to angle the pic to make it interesting, was it interesting in the first place?  Just having a quick scan through your port, who is going to buy this?  Start streamlining your port and keep only the solid pics which have a good chance of selling.  Good luck!

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