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Any comments or suggestions for giving my photos the best chance of being used gratefully received! 

https://www.alamy.com/portfolio/picturesbypatsy

I haven't used many keywords for most of mine, because I think it's highly unlikely they'll show up in searches for anything as broad / vague as 'flowers' and have therefore concentrated on the plant names and anything I feel is reasonably specific to that image. Does that seem like the right approach?

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Hi Patsy. Flower images can sell well here, and you've taken the right approach with including the plant names, season and month, etc. It's a good idea to put this information in the keywords as well as in the caption. I noticed you've made a mistake with the caption on 4 images of primroses and/or grape hyacinths. The keywords are correct, but the caption says they are tulips. Perhaps you didn't deselect those images when captioning the next set. Good luck.

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Hi Patsy,

No need to share your portfolio, we can click on the blue number under your name to see your pictures.

I haven't sold a lot of flower pictures, so you can take some of this with a pinch of salt, although I do like photographing flowers when I get the chance 🙃

1. A lot of the images seem to be quite underexposed, at least one stop to my naked eye:

Winter cyclamen, magenta winter cyclamen in bloom - Stock Image

Daphne odora aureomarginata, winter flowering shrub in bloom January UK - Stock Image

June roses in bloom at Southsea rose garden 2021 - Stock Image

 
Brighter / more normally exposed stock images tend to sell better.
 
2. You've got a couple of images with a mix of bright sunshine and shadows across the flowers and plants. Seeing as most of these are in your garden (amazing garden btw), I would take the opportunity to shoot them in the best light possible (which may be next year now for certain blooms). I often go back to scenes where I've photographed, but wasn't happy the first time around because the light was poor. Back to flowers, some publications only accept flower images taken in indirect sunlight. So I would do a mix of direct and indirect sunlight for the flowers. But not showing both at the same time, I think publications may be put off by this:

Summer flowers of Eryngium giganteum (Miss Willmott's Ghost / White Sea holly) in July UK - Stock Image

Summer flowers of Eryngium giganteum (Miss Willmott's Ghost / White Sea holly) in July UK - Stock Image

 

 

3. Here you've broken the cardinal rule of not having the main subject much darker (underexposed) in relation to the background. It generally doesn't work:

Moon daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) surrounded by meadow flowers July UK - Stock Image

4. I would do a mix of images showing several flowers and leaves (zoomed out), and then some closeups of a single flower. Not sure if you've got a macro lens, but you can try to throw the background out of focus as you've done on some single flowers.

 

5. Looks like you might have some camera shake here?

Helleborus orientalis in bud Stock Photo

 

 

 

 

6. I'm a complete flower ignoramus, but are these tulips as listed in the caption??

Tulips ( tulipa ollioules ) flowering in a spring garden UK April - Stock Image


7. Try to have a clear subject in your stock photos, flowers or otherwise:

Tulips ( tulipa ollioules ) flowering in a spring garden UK April - Stock Image

(the blue flowers or white flowers are the main subject? I had to read the caption)

 

8. I've decided I'm going to try and start using a flash with a diffuser for more macro photography so I don't have to have such a wide open shutter and subsequently really shallow depth of field. I struggled seeing where the focus point was in this image at first. You do have a really shallow depth of field. If you'd picked the outer edge of the petals to be in focus more, you'd probably have got the stamen ends in focus too, rather than a more hidden focus point at the base of the petals:

Helleborus orientalis Stock Photo

 
 
 
 
 
Main take away is look at your exposures and lighting for your subjects. I hope this helps,
Stephen
Edited by Steve F
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16 hours ago, VbFolly said:

Hi Patsy. Flower images can sell well here, and you've taken the right approach with including the plant names, season and month, etc. It's a good idea to put this information in the keywords as well as in the caption. I noticed you've made a mistake with the caption on 4 images of primroses and/or grape hyacinths. The keywords are correct, but the caption says they are tulips. Perhaps you didn't deselect those images when captioning the next set. Good luck.

Thank you.

I'll add those details in the keywords and fix the error. I'm sure you're right about not having deselected an image before adding the wrong title. I got that wrong a couple of times – thought I'd fixed them all, but obviously not!

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13 hours ago, Steve F said:

Hi Patsy,

... I hope this helps,

Stephen

It does indeed! Thanks for all the tips.

You may have guessed I've been going through pictures I took for myself. I'm starting to realise that's not good enough and I need to start shooting with stock pictures in mind. (The huge rose garden isn't mine btw, but all the other photos so far uploaded are from mine. It's not a big garden – my greatest photographic skill is in making it look like a normal housing estate garden extends for half an acre!)

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Just now, PatsyCollins said:

It does indeed! Thanks for all the tips.

You may have guessed I've been going through pictures I took for myself. I'm starting to realise that's not good enough and I need to start shooting with stock pictures in mind. (The huge rose garden isn't mine btw, but all the other photos so far uploaded are from mine. It's not a big garden – my greatest photographic skill is in making it look like a normal housing estate garden extends for half an acre!)

 

Shooting for stock, and particularly editorial for Alamy, is different, yes. It helps to have a clear theme or concept when shooting and to have a clear subject. If you're out and about, pictures with people in tend to sell better (the number of years I used to wait for people to get out of the frame when I was shooting for myself!)

 

Well done, couldn't tell the garden size!

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Just now, PatsyCollins said:

I know what you mean about waiting for people to get out of the way!

Don't I need model release forms to photograph people? 

 

No, you don't need model releases. Think of all the crowd pictures or pictures of people queuing that you see in newspapers for example. The photographer didn't ask them all for a release. You can photograph anyone from public property, although I wouldn't go sticking your lens in someone's face. So if you're taking a picture of a high street, for example, you would expect to see a few people in it. All you need to do is mark under the optional info tab in Alamy Image Manager (AIM) that you don't have a model release (and that you don't have a property release if you're photographing identifiable buildings or objects like an iPhone). This will automatically flag that the image can only be used for editorial purposes and that it can't be used for commercial (e.g. in a toothpaste advert) purposes. The end user (buyer) is responsible for using the image correctly. You just need to make sure that you caption correctly and that you don't say you have a release when you actually don't.

 

There's a bunch of threads on releases in the Forum that you can Google and there's also an Alamy blog on it (there's a blog section on the website).

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Thanks! That's very helpful.

I did read a lot of info about model releases and stuff, and that's the impression I got, but I was concerned I might be doing something wrong. I think that unless I have permission it would be best to photograph people, rather than a person and/or not have them recognisable (as with the person holding the pencil on your map photos)?

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51 minutes ago, PatsyCollins said:

Thanks! That's very helpful.

I did read a lot of info about model releases and stuff, and that's the impression I got, but I was concerned I might be doing something wrong. I think that unless I have permission it would be best to photograph people, rather than a person and/or not have them recognisable (as with the person holding the pencil on your map photos)?

 

I forgot to mention, photographing people in public - that's specific to the UK, other countries may have different rules (which you can Google if you're on holiday somewhere).

 

Photographing people, there is such a thing a street photography, which works best when the subject is unaware they're being photographed. Which you could try by photographing with your camera at waist height or surreptitiously - I think a lot of people aren't keen on doing that kind of photography these days because of the reaction you can get when people realise they're being photographed.

 

Just photograph the tourist attraction or shop front, street etc. that you're interested in and don't worry if there's people in the frame. You will occasionally get asked what you're doing, particularly if you're in a non-touristy area, just be polite.

 

Well, that's actually me holding the pencil and magnifying glass in the map pictures, so I have actually marked them as model released (although I can't imagine these being used as commercial shots). I didn't have a 'model' or my tripod available - yes it was hard to do one handed shooting with a macro lens 😛 I don't tend to show the face in a lot of these shots because it's not needed, although I do sometimes. My wife and daughter modelling here:

A mother holding up her fingers to show her two year old daughter which number to place, using a counting shapes stacker educational toy - Stock Image

 

A woman taking a self diagnostic VivaDiag SARS-CoV-2 Ag Rapid Test for Covid-19 at home - Stock Image

Must tell my wife to have a higher temperature next time!

A young woman in her thirties diagnosing whether she has a fever by taking her own temperature with a digital infrared thermometer. UK - Stock Image

 

 

Multiple people in shot, but my wife in the foreground to fill the blank space:

A female tourist looking at tourists and residents on the streets Fondamenta Minotto & Fondamenta del Gaffaro in the Santa Croce area of Venice, Italy - Stock Image

 
Try to get family members and friends to wear neutral (non-garish) coloured clothing if you use them in pictures. And be careful of the skin tones if you're shooting indoors.
 
Lots of people:
People drinking coffee outside on a spring day on Worcester High Street, England - Stock Image
 

You can ask people if you can photograph them too, e.g. a shop keeper, or someone with an interesting appearance... But you normally won't get a model release.

 

Edited by Steve F
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On 22/07/2021 at 07:51, PatsyCollins said:

Don't I need model release forms to photograph people? 

No. 

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