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Newby Blues


RT Guy
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Hi,

 

I've had a pop at uploading both direct and indirect to Alamy. 

 

Probably I've been doing it all wrong as currently I am looking to build my portfolios quite quickly as this game seems to be as much about volume of uploads as it about quality, composition, etc. This is what's got me into difficulty with Alamy. With other sites I can with confidence upload 20, 30, 50 photos with keywords sorted etc. Indeed I use xPiks to help with those uploads. Alamy is one of the big 3 that seems to hate this way of doing things. I've had a couple small batches get through... and a few batches rejected in entirety because the only photo looked at wasn't liked by the person who looked at it. Trashing the entire upload.

 

However... I also upload via 3rd party middlemen (renaming nameless today). They obviously have a different arrangement and if they accept the photos, so it seems likely that alamy does too. Same goes for the other more difficult sites, again remaining nameless today. Happy through the big third party, unhappy from me the small guy direct. So it seems to me I gotta pay the commission to get my stuff onto those platforms.

 

Ok my investment with equipment is just short of 3k. Not enough I hear you shout if I want to earn 30 cents on a photo. I get that and another couple of grand is just nearly ready to go into the kit pot. That's not to say I know how to use it properly yet. I'm learning and improving possibly. Quickly as I can. I'm 60 years old, not a child. I got this whole photography thing in my mind as being my migration out of my day to day business into something more relaxing, that hopefully in perhaps half a dozen years will be able to help supplement my pension. Not overly ambitious I think. Also as a tech guy, I'm into the whole drone thing, the 360 degree VR camera thing and I think that suits my style of things far better than some giant lens Pentax would ever do. Yes I got a tripod,,, but it's for my Pocket 2 to do hyperlapses with!

 

I don't want this to sound like a rant. It's not that. I just feel the need to express a little frustration that while what's trending seems fine, it all depends on who does the submitting to the platform as to what exactly gets accepted. That just doesn't seem as fair to new starters, new investors of time, money, perhaps some talent.

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Stock industry is not easy to digest. Quality first. $3k does look like entry level equipment, when I was shooting professionally, my camera body only was more than that (to keep standards). And then - lenses. When we pass the quality mark - there is also usability of the images. Generic shots don't sell. Without a plan, with generic snapshots, portfolio with 2000 images you can have 0 (zero) sales. So, rejection based on quality, rejection based on subjects.

I'm writing that not to discourage you. With a competition of more than 100.000 photographers, only +200mil images you need a plan and skills - if that makes any sense. Crying doesn't help. If you need an advise - please ask here, there is a lot of people with vast experience. But ask questions, don't cry.

 

Pav

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Hi RT Guy,

It is a numbers game to an extent. Arguably, there are some objectively "naff" stock photos that are published. But don't discount quality either. You can do very well with a small tightly focused portfolio, compared to someone with a much bigger portfolio who mainly just walks around outside and e.g. just shoots everything they see (I'm talking about both image technical quality and choice of subject matter here).

 

I think if you change your perspective, the stricter quality control requirements for Alamy should act as an incentive to actually improve the technical quality of the images that you're taking and editing. In terms of me personally failing QC, I failed the first upload in 2014, when I basically didn't know what I was doing with regards to picture editing. Since then, I've had 1 fail in 7 years. Other people are doing similarly or better even, considering I have a small portfolio and many contributors have much larger portfolios. If you insist on just knocking them out and not worrying too much about quality, just be a bit more discerning about what you actually upload to Alamy.

 

I think Alamy QC is probably quite fair with respect to the quality requirements that they've set from what I've seen on the Forum. You can as a last resort query if you think they're being too harsh, but generally they are right. Guidelines here:

https://www.alamy.com/contributor/how-to-sell-images/guidelines-for-submitting-images/?section=3&_gl=1*1dixlnj*_ga*MjMwOTc1NjQ2LjE2MDU4Njg5ODk.*_ga_M5V9H9N7G8*MTY2NjY5NTIyNC4xMzIwLjEuMTY2NjcwMzE3NS4wLjAuMA..

 

In particular, see this PDF:

https://www.alamy.com/contributors/alamy-how-to-pass-qc.pdf

 

Regarding failure of the whole submission if one image fails - Alamy sets high standards and aims to deliver a quality product to clients. They only spot check your work, because they expect you as a professional (although there's a lot more hobbyists these days!) to check it thoroughly before submitting. Failure of the whole submission is intended to incentivise you doing your own QC. I would argue actually that Alamy lets far too many images through that I think fail their submission criteria, but that's another story... Bear in mind that your submissions may get scrutinised more if you've recently failed QC.

 

Quality issues of images submitted by 3rd parties is a regular topic on the Forum here. It doesn't seem worth it to pay them a commission too though, surely better to do it yourself?!

 

I really wouldn't worry about how much you've spent on kit. You can still get decent images from many kit lenses that will pass Alamy QC. Many contributors here just use the Sony RX100 series of cameras, which has an in-built zoom lens.

 

It is a lot of work to earn any money through stock. And some people are a lot more successful than others. The sad thing is that the average returns per image have been dropping for years - market saturation and microstock business model. But, if you love doing photography and you'd be taking photos anyway, it is worth trying to monetise it.

 

Hope this gives some food for thought.

Steve

 

 

 

Edited by Steve F
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37 minutes ago, Pav said:

Generic shots don't sell.

 

I sell quite a few.... I think it helps to regularly upload new imagery. A lot of clients probably look at the latest imagery.

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On 19/10/2022 at 22:39, RT Guy said:

wasn't liked by the person who looked at it.

No.

Alamy's only criterion is technical quality. Images are not edited for content. If you have failed it's because you can't meet the QC requirement. If you learn how do do so your images will pass. Simples.

Oh yes. "Area of the dock unusually quiet during docker strike". Which dock? Which strike? Without tags the image will never be found.

Edited by spacecadet
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2 hours ago, Steve F said:

compared to someone with a much bigger portfolio who mainly just walks around outside and e.g. just shoots everything they see

 

 

Isn't that most forum users? Certainly me, for the returns not much incentive to do anything else.

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25 minutes ago, Martin L said:

Isn't that most forum users? Certainly me, for the returns not much incentive to do anything else.

 

Ha ha, maybe :P

I meant more that generally we should be a bit more discerning about what we shoot. If some things don't illustrate a concept well, they're never likely to sell... Ditto for if you're trying to show a famous place or even areas off the beaten path, but the image is too generic (a contradiction!?) and doesn't show anything of interest.

 

I should add that my generic shots are normally taken within the home.

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Re third party: if it's an agency, images are probably uploaded via the archival route. They skip QC.

 

About what to shoot: You seem to be in or near Felixstowe. Have a look here what subjects clients are looking for when they're searching for Felixstowe images.

Set the start date as far back as possible. Put %felixstowe% in the search box (the %% is a database thing).

Read the text in the yellow box to the right.

Play around with the columns. The first setting to try is UCO largest number first.

To find subjects that have not been covered, set Views to least first. Every subject with less than 100 views is worth considering.

If you have a better image than what's already on Alamy, that's surely worth uploading. Clients do sometimes look beyond the first page.

Do pay attention on what keywords clients are using. If it's a subject that is of interest outside the UK, include American English terms and spelling. Alamy doesn't do that for you.

Maybe the third party does your keywording? If so, take note how they do it. But only if they are actually selling anything here.

 

wim

 

 

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On 19/10/2022 at 17:39, RT Guy said:

 I'm into the whole drone thing, the 360 degree VR camera thing and I think that suits my style of things far better than some giant lens Pentax would ever do.

 

if you can do drone photography well, that could sell. but in the end--whether it's a pentax, or a drone--it's photography, and technical quality and composition matter.

 

 

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Personally if you have a drone licence I'd stick to submitting drone images. There's less likelihood of someone else having similar images and from what I can see they do tend to sell better. In saying that I'd suggest that unless you can submit 20-30 thousand images you are unlikely to provide yourself with that pension top up. Stock is all but dead and typically my images are selling for less than a pint of milk. Sorry to be downbeat and I really do hope you make some money at this but as the years go by it's becoming less and less likely especially now that PA own Alamy. Maybe some will disagree but I've given you my experience and thoughts. Good luck. 🤞🏻

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