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Selling photos

Alex G


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It can take a while to make a sale, and sometimes even longer to get the money out of the customer.


I sold a picture this month that I uploaded in 2010.


Buyers may look at an image for a project but not actually buy it for a year.


The stock business can be slow. If you are looking for immediate income this is not the place.

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You are going to need to upload thousands of high quality, well captioned and keyworded pictures before you get steady sales.  The old rule was one sale per month per thousand pictures,  I suspect, and I do not know, it’s nearer one sale per month per 2,000 pictures.


There are a small number of contributors who make sales with small portfolios but they tend either to be outstanding photographers or have highly specialised niches. 

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Hi Alex,


You will have to work on your captions and tags. They are inadequate. I only looked at two:


Peninsula: typo
Great Australian Bight: shocking misspelling
Animal: there is none

Caption: Along the road

what road, where.


Read Alamy's guidelines on tags and captions and review yours or your images will not be found.


Hope this helps.

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Hi Alex, I agree with the above comments and would like to add that you have some good images in your port.


But you also have too many similars which is detrimental to your ranking and will slow sales down by not being seen by image buyers.


You need to get to around 5,000 - 6,000 images to start getting regular sales and that may only be one or two a month.




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Hi Alex,

Positives - you've got some nice photos. Also, you have only got a few pictures up so you can make corrections easily to these now and moving forward - much harder when you have to change captions and keywords for thousands of images. And you've only been here for 2 weeks!! It took me 6 months to make my first sale - clients can take up to 3 months to report a sale to Alamy.


Negatives - you've not been making things easy for yourself in terms of sales.


1. You have a really really small portfolio. Only 99 images, and actually much less than that because you have so many similars - e.g. "The pod of dolphins from above" I count 18 almost identical images. As others have said, you need many more images. 


There is also the argument that you need more saleable images, rather than just quantity. I would say you need both. 


2. Drone image sales are becoming increasingly popular. I could potentially see one of your dolphin pod images being used as a book cover. But otherwise, they're unlikely to sell. No information in the caption on the species (common name and Latin name) or where in the world they are. Be aware that captions are searchable. Have a look at the following:




Other problem - the dolphins / the pod is really small in many of the images. You've got loads of water around them and it's just boring negative space. Leaving space as 'copy space' is a thing. But the main subject is too small, especially when client only see thumbnails in searches. Ask yourself:

  • what is a client going to use my image for / to illustrate? e.g. A particular species of dolphin? Dolphins in a particular location in the world? Dolphins as an endangered species?
  • How do your images compare to other images of that subject on Alamy?

One positive, there don't appear to be too many aerial images of dolphins on Alamy!


3. You've also got lots of vignetting on your sunset images. Not sure if that's deliberate or not?


4. Imagine you're a photo buyer looking for sunsets in a particular area in South Australia. Your image (below) appears with 100 other images on a search page. One of several search pages a client may look at.

Sunset - Image ID: 2RBWC0A

There's no information at all in the caption. On the thumbnail, the sky is very plain and the land is completely black. You're probably going to keep looking, no?


5. Keep a look out for published stock photos. This will give you a much better idea of what sells.


6. Have a look at other contributor's portfolio reviews. Lots of useful information there.



Good luck!








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Stick with it Alex - I joined last July and have had 4 sales since December - I'm very pleased wth that to be honest 🙂 given that my portfolio is rather small - as more experienced contributors have said, put  more images on the site - good luck 🙂

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Hi Alex


I wonder what you are taking photos of?


I didn't sell anything for a long time, but then got a sale. I have only sold four so far, but I have not been very dedicated so far. I think people who upload more and who have their finger on the pulse of what is current might get better results.


Anyway, here's what I found........out of the four I sold it was the images that are a little bit different that have sold. A bit more imaginative, something a bit different that other people haven't got, something unusual. I think topical, current things sell. I think that if Xmas is coming you need to think of that. If summer is coming you need to think of that and be creative in your work and in your workflow.


Also, on the contributor dashboard under the upload button it says 'what to shoot' and if you click this you will find out what people want to buy.


Good luck you will get a sale if you keep going


I am a Lincolnshire girl 😄




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