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How am I doing? Any input welcome!


KitJames

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Greetings everyone. I reached 26 images submitted in total and working towards 50 then 100 and so on since December 2023. My portfolio is slowly growing, and I'm willing to hear feedback if what I'm doing could be improved, or what I'm doing right or wrong. Although I've not taken criticism before, I'm willing to learn with help from others. 🙂

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Hi KitJames,

Welcome to Alamy! Good to set yourself targets. Also good to get some pointers near the beginning so you don't need to go back and change everything later.

 

Looks like a good start with your portfolio. Some comments:

 

  • Captions are generally good. You don't need to write 'taken on' it's a waste of words. Also, the date in the caption is a waste of words unless it's of a specific event, e.g. a football match or village fete, or you're shooting live news. Your bird photos don't say where they are. Country would be a minimum.
  • You don't need a full stop at the end of your captions.
  • Can you make your images more saleable, by thinking up possible uses by clients? E.g. 

    Electricity pylons and the flooded field a result of heavy rain throughout Oxfordshire, taken in Thrupp Turn, Faringdon. - Image ID: 2WBTY0B . Could you have put that this is a climate change concept in the caption?

  • Your images should generally be illustrating a concept, a place, object etc. If your image doesn't illustrate what it's supposed to be showing very well, it isn't very likely to sell.

shifford-lock-on-the-river-thames-near-chimney-meadows-on-a-partly-cloudy-spring-day-a-willow-tree-on-the-right-march-2022-2WENK6Y.jpg

It's not a bad picture. Would be helped immeasurably by having a narrow boat in shot, but aware that you don't always have all day to hang around. The lock itself is too small in the image for me - without the caption I'm almost thinking the weeping willow or the cones are the main subject.

 

view-of-the-uffington-white-horse-from-a-field-in-great-coxwell-centred-between-trees-in-the-distance-october-2023-2WBE0XC.jpg

I finally figured out that the white horse is under the watermark! Same comment as the photo above. The main subject is much much too small in shot so the image is not a good illustration of the horse. I had a look at other Uffington Horse images on Alamy and they look much more saleable - I can't see this particular image licensing. That said, your viewpoint was not common, so I could see it perhaps being more successful if it was much more zoomed in on the horse from your vantage point. You would probably also need a bit of dehaze in Lightroom (if you use that).

 

  • Final point, you need to be much more commercial. Just walking around outside taking pictures of random stuff you like may be fun, but it's not going to be very productive from a stock point of view. What can you imagine a client using your image for? Get an idea of what sells. Keep a look out in newspapers, magazines, books, websites for stock photos - they're everywhere (you can see in the image credits the names of stock agencies). Compare the subject choice, lighting, composition etc. of your pictures with what sells. It may be slightly depressing, but your most saleable image is probably the lambing season sign. It's a clear concept, well illustrated. Not pretty, but pretty doesn't sell well (in my experience, although happy to be corrected by any contributors selling pretty pics).

 

Hope this helps. Best of luck,

Steve

 

Edited by Steve F
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13 hours ago, Steve F said:

Captions are generally good. You don't need to write 'taken on' it's a waste of words. Also, the date in the caption is a waste of words unless it's of a specific event, e.g. a football match or village fete, or you're shooting live news. Your bird photos don't say where they are. Country would be a minimum.

I'll fix those captions now. 😃 

 

13 hours ago, Steve F said:

Can you make your images more saleable, by thinking up possible uses by clients? E.g. 

Electricity pylons and the flooded field a result of heavy rain throughout Oxfordshire, taken in Thrupp Turn, Faringdon. - Image ID: 2WBTY0B . Could you have put that this is a climate change concept in the caption?

Captioning it as "A climate change concept of electricity pylons among the flooded field a result of heavy rain throughout Oxfordshire, taken in Thrupp Turn, Faringdon" something like that? Climate change can be attributed to this. 

 

13 hours ago, Steve F said:

Your images should generally be illustrating a concept, a place, object etc. If your image doesn't illustrate what it's supposed to be showing very well, it isn't very likely to sell.

I'm working on it 🙂 I should consider revisiting most of the places, especially Shifford Lock for the place in action of a boat going through its gates in a better spot. So I understand that. At the time of the photo it wasn't at all that busy, if not peaceful. I did have another photo, but the sign was partially obscured by the ladder railing (unless that's also acceptable.)

 

13 hours ago, Steve F said:

It's not a bad picture. Would be helped immeasurably by having a narrow boat in shot, but aware that you don't always have all day to hang around. The lock itself is too small in the image for me - without the caption I'm almost thinking the weeping willow or the cones are the main subject.

 

Yeah the subject could've been better. I'll revisit the place eventually for a better composition, when I feel much better that is.

 

13 hours ago, Steve F said:

I finally figured out that the white horse is under the watermark! Same comment as the photo above. The main subject is much much too small in shot so the image is not a good illustration of the horse. I had a look at other Uffington Horse images on Alamy and they look much more saleable - I can't see this particular image licensing. That said, your viewpoint was not common, so I could see it perhaps being more successful if it was much more zoomed in on the horse from your vantage point. You would probably also need a bit of dehaze in Lightroom (if you use that).

Oh that's an annoying thing to spot, I didn't think of this. The lens I used in the image was my 100-300mm on my Panasonic Lumix GH5ii, and that was the maximum focal length I was using at 300mm. I'll note for a revisit. When you're on a slight budget the possibilities are pretty limited, but I'll remember to tighten the frame. I don't use Lightroom but I use Affinity Photo (which does not have any dehaze functionality). Would a circular polarizer help with haze? I've been reading about it and considering one, to use with 2 of my lenses as long I have a downsizing adapter. I only have a variable ND filter but haven't found any use for it just yet. I have also been considering a different camera, only because I'm not exactly focusing on video anymore.

 

13 hours ago, Steve F said:
  • Final point, you need to be much more commercial. Just walking around outside taking pictures of random stuff you like may be fun, but it's not going to be very productive from a stock point of view. What can you imagine a client using your image for? Get an idea of what sells. Keep a look out in newspapers, magazines, books, websites for stock photos - they're everywhere (you can see in the image credits the names of stock agencies). Compare the subject choice, lighting, composition etc. of your pictures with what sells. It may be slightly depressing, but your most saleable image is probably the lambing season sign. It's a clear concept, well illustrated. Not pretty, but pretty doesn't sell well (in my experience, although happy to be corrected by any contributors selling pretty pics).

 

The lambing season sign? 🤔 Interesting. I'll keep seeing what appears on newspapers (I rarely read the paper) mags and websites to get a better idea. I felt at the time of some of the photos there weren't a lot of so I thought to submit some of my own to expand the library a tiny bit more. I'll keep working on it. 🙂 

 

I appreciate your input so so much. I've noted your suggestions and recommendations and will take them onboard. 

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1 hour ago, KitJames said:

Captioning it as "A climate change concept of electricity pylons among the flooded field a result of heavy rain throughout Oxfordshire, taken in Thrupp Turn, Faringdon" something like that? Climate change can be attributed to this. 

 

No set way of doing it. I try to add concepts when I can't fill out the caption otherwise. Here's an example:

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/16942-images-sold-in-august-2023/?do=findComment&comment=344625

 

1 hour ago, KitJames said:

I should consider revisiting most of the places

 

I do revisit local areas. Often the lighting or weather is not good enough for your image when you're there the first time.

 

1 hour ago, KitJames said:

but the sign was partially obscured by the ladder railing

 

Having the sign in would be nice, but you were so far away for your image that it was illegible anyway.

 

1 hour ago, KitJames said:

Oh that's an annoying thing to spot, I didn't think of this. The lens I used in the image was my 100-300mm on my Panasonic Lumix GH5ii, and that was the maximum focal length I was using at 300mm. I'll note for a revisit. When you're on a slight budget the possibilities are pretty limited, but I'll remember to tighten the frame. I don't use Lightroom but I use Affinity Photo (which does not have any dehaze functionality). Would a circular polarizer help with haze? I've been reading about it and considering one, to use with 2 of my lenses as long I have a downsizing adapter. I only have a variable ND filter but haven't found any use for it just yet. I have also been considering a different camera, only because I'm not exactly focusing on video anymore.

 

Don't worry about the Alamy watermark. Just make sure your main subject is bigger normally! 300mm on a micro 4/3 should be plenty long enough, I wouldn't worry about trying to get more range. Use your feet, get closer to the subject!

 

I originally used circular polarisers, stopped for a few years, thinking of possibly using them again in a limited way... Yes, could help with haze on a sunny day / in the right conditions.

 

I stopped using all my ND filters. They're really only for use with a tripod. The variable filter would be for early morning / late afternoon, when the sky is much brighter than the land. They don't work well when you have a horizon that isn't a straight line. And Lightroom can apply linear masks and even select the sky so you can change its exposure. So ND filters are obsolete now really. And fiddly to use and carry around. Not sure about the capabilities of Affinity Photo.

 

There are 10 stop NDs for smoothing out waterfalls, or the sea etc. but that's not my sort of photography.

 

Different camera? Well... It's hard to make much money from stock these days. And getting harder. If you use your camera a lot outside of stock, then sure. If you're mainly just using it for stock, I would see if you're making any money from stock before you consider forking out for an upgrade.

 

Here's James' thoughts. He rambles a bit, but usually makes good points:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTTokao_VJI

 

 

You're welcome. Nice to get a detailed response back!

Steve

 

Edited by Steve F
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58 minutes ago, Steve F said:

 

No set way of doing it. I try to add concepts when I can't fill out the caption otherwise. Here's an example:

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/16942-images-sold-in-august-2023/?do=findComment&comment=344625

 

Ah understood. As long I haven't added any unnecessary words to the caption I should be alright. So I fixed captions now, removed the unnecessary full stops and the dates taken (didn't occur to me that it's provided in the info below the image!)

 

58 minutes ago, Steve F said:

 

I do revisit local areas. Often the lighting or weather is not good enough for your image when you're there the first time.

Absolutely true, the weather down south isn't always clear skies and sun.

 

58 minutes ago, Steve F said:

Having the sign in would be nice, but you were so far away for your image that it was illegible anyway.

I'll check the other photos I had that day, there might be ones that are better (or possibly worse) but I'll check either way.

 

58 minutes ago, Steve F said:

Don't worry about the Alamy watermark. Just make sure your main subject is bigger normally! 300mm on a micro 4/3 should be plenty long enough, I wouldn't worry about trying to get more range. Use your feet, get closer to the subject!

 

I'll find a route to get closer, and keep my 100-300mm then, although to me I found the distinctive manger being the subject more than the chalk itself at the time. But I agree I could have been closer and still have had the manger and the chalk figure in the shot.

 

58 minutes ago, Steve F said:

I originally used circular polarisers, stopped for a few years, thinking of possibly using them again in a limited way... Yes, could help with haze on a sunny day / in the right conditions.

Yeah it was hazy that day and I feel it'd make bigger sense to have one to reduce it, since my software doesn't have any dehaze. Unless I fork out for Photolab (it's expensive despite having a lot of features) I'm still on a limited budget.

 

58 minutes ago, Steve F said:

I stopped using all my ND filters. They're really only for use with a tripod. The variable filter would be for early morning / late afternoon, when the sky is much brighter than the land. They don't work well when you have a horizon that isn't a straight line. And Lightroom can apply linear masks and even select the sky so you can change its exposure. So ND filters are obsolete now really. And fiddly to use and carry around. Not sure about the capabilities of Affinity Photo.

I could use HDR as an alternative and do it in Affinity Photo, provided I use a tripod. I have done it before as an experiment and it came out pretty good. I'll keep toying with Affinity Photo because some can make good use out of it despite it's slightly limited RAW development features.

 

58 minutes ago, Steve F said:

Different camera? Well... It's hard to make much money from stock these days. And getting harder. If you use your camera a lot outside of stock, then sure. If you're mainly just using it for stock, I would see if you're making any money from stock before you consider forking out for an upgrade.

 

Ouch, true. Many of the photos I've taken and submitted I've never considered stock before at the time. But needs did change and I'm at peak with my current camera feature wise, yet still have a lot to learn. At least the EVF's a lot better than my last camera, I can take images with the EVF without it washing out. It was an issue with my original GH5.

 

4 minutes ago, Steve F said:

I'll re-read the advice as a refresher. 👍 Cheers!

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7 minutes ago, KitJames said:

As long I haven't added any unnecessary words to the caption I should be alright.

 

Yes, but try to use all 150 characters available as captions are searchable by clients. 

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(14) total "lambing season sign dog" images:
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/sign-lambing-season-dog.html
 
NONE have dog walker in background which would,
IMO, make image stand out, more salable...
what time of day has the most dog walkers...?
 
with every image one ought ask oneself, IMO,
how can I make my image stand out from crowd
of images already taken of this subject...?
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3 minutes ago, Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg said:
NONE have dog walker in background which would,
IMO, make image stand out, more salable...
what time of day has the most dog walkers...?
 

That's a thought. There weren't any at the time of the picture, but I'll note that too when spring comes round, I could get one with dogwalkers in the background in that area again, but maybe during the mornings or evenings? 

 

4 minutes ago, Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg said:
with every image one ought ask oneself, IMO,
how can I make my image stand out from crowd
of images already taken of this subject...?

Different composition's a main one, and timing provided there's another related background/foreground things going on and lighting. It's something I should definitely ask myself when I go through my photos or take photos.

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On 31/01/2024 at 18:18, Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg said:
NONE have dog walker in background which would,
IMO, make image stand out, more salable...
what time of day has the most dog walkers...?

 I don't know about you KitJames, but I'm completely new to both photography and stock. Taking photos of strangers scares the life out of me. I researched a little around the law, and it just seems so risky.

Edited by Stuart E
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Yes I'm in the UK, we still have the EU GDPR law here as far as I'm aware. If a photo is sold containing a person(s), unless newsworthy,  seems to be a rather grey area.

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56 minutes ago, Stuart E said:

 I don't know about you KitJames, but I'm completely new to both photography and stock. Taking photos of strangers scares the life out of me. I researched a little around the law, and it just seems so risky.

It can be daunting stepping out the comfort zone to have people in photos. There are still many photos of towns and cities with people in them, and these photos are marked as editorial since there are no releases for the buildings, logos and people in them. So, yes they're still sold, albeit used in editorial purposes, nothing commercial like advertising and promotional material. I mark most of mine editorial for that purpose.

 

Jeffrey suggests that a photo of the lambing season sign would stand out more if a dogwalker was also in the shot (I would prefer blurred but still visible that it's a person and a dog walking) because there are no pictures depicting that according to search. That would be an editorial thing to have a dogwalker in the photo because it's related to the subject.

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1 hour ago, Stuart E said:

Yes I'm in the UK, we still have the EU GDPR law here as far as I'm aware. If a photo is sold containing a person(s), unless newsworthy,  seems to be a rather grey area.

https://www.alamy.com/blog/what-does-gdpr-mean-for-stock-photographers

 

I don't know if you've read this - if not it may help you feel more confident in including people in your photos 

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4 hours ago, Stuart E said:

Yes I'm in the UK, we still have the EU GDPR law here as far as I'm aware. If a photo is sold containing a person(s), unless newsworthy,  seems to be a rather grey area.

 

It's fine in the UK. Images of unreleased people can't be used for advertising purposes - but that is up to the end purchaser of the image, not the photographer. Don't take pictures of people where they have a reasonable right to privacy, e.g. in their home or garden (unless you have permission obviously). But anyone out in public can be in a photograph otherwise.

 

Have a look at the images sold threads. 99% of the images with people in will not have model releases:

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/17449-images-licenced-feb-2024/

 

See also:

https://www.alamy.com/blog/releases-who-what-when-where-why

 

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On 06/02/2024 at 14:21, KitJames said:

It can be daunting stepping out the comfort zone to have people in photos.

some believe if a stock photographer works in democracy they
have moral obligation to reinforce the legal right to take photos
in public places, & that to avoid "less comfortable" subjects is to
allow their rights, in their minds & in society, to erode bit by bit...
 
Edited by Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg
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  • 4 months later...

So, I have reached beyond 50, now beyond 60 images at 66. I did have issues with applying appropriate tags, and I used an extension to help with tagging but even then I still worry if I am overdoing it. I have not had any CTR since, remaining at zero, so I feel I'm still continuing to do it wrong. 

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what if you had queried as follows:
I have (66) total images but no regular CTR yet.
Does anyone have (100) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, NO)
Does anyone have (500) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, RARE)
Does anyone have (1000) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, OCCASIONAL)
Does anyone have (5000) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, YES)
so...
get thee to a level of 5000 or more...
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1 hour ago, Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg said:
what if you had queried as follows:
I have (66) total images but no regular CTR yet.
Does anyone have (100) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, NO)
Does anyone have (500) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, RARE)
Does anyone have (1000) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, OCCASIONAL)
Does anyone have (5000) images or less with regular CTR data?
(my guess, with exceptions, YES)
so...
get thee to a level of 5000 or more...

Ah, noted. 👍 I'll keep uploading and keep trying to do the right thing. 🙂 .

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