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AlanS

Please Critique my photos and keywords.

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Hi everyone,

I need a little help to make my photos more visible to buyers and would really appreciate an honest critique of my uploaded photos and keywords if you are willing to spare the time.

I joined in 2009 and only have 133 photos for sale, a paltry number I know, so uploading regularly is my first way to improve visibility.

I have sold three photos ( not a lot I know ) whilst having only 66 photos on the site, so I feel I can produce salable work.

I tend to photograph in my local area of Salisbury and the New Forest, UK. Weymouth, the Jurassic coast and Southampton are also potential areas of industry, docklands and landscapes to source new material for Alamy. I rarely travel abroad so travel subjects will be few and far between unless my circumstances change.

I now use the Canon 6D and L lenses and have had success with Alamy's QC process on a more regular basis. This has been encouraging in itself so I'm more inclined to add to the millions of photos already on here:)

I'm aware the stock industry is a saturated field and prices are almost rock bottom but my photos are better up for sale than hidden away on my hard drive.

Thank you in advance for your time and comments.

Alan.

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I would say nothing wrong with the photos I see, but please I may not be the great expert that some are on here, may be a number very similar - but then who an I to say that!

 

Just remember Stock Photography is not a 100 yard sprint - it is a marathon; it takes time, experience and much learning .....................

 

Hope that helps

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About one view/image/month seems to be a fair average but it's a numbers game- you might expect a sale a year with 100 images.

Just as an example, you have some oak trees, genus Quercus (is that in the keywords?)  Q. robur? Probably, but there are 600 species.

Get the idea?

Edited by spacecadet

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You just need more and (more varied) pictures.

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You just need more and (more varied) pictures.

I think this is key to sales and interest in your collection.

One ot two images of this and another of that seems to serve best.

This is probably because picture editors eventually view your collection because of your style/subject area and might find the variety more appealing.

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I would say that some of your images are too similar. eg EGRH6P and EGRH76, CXXCM6 and CXXCMK, CXPY4X and CXPY4N.  I would only submit one out of each of those pairs.

 

The only time I would say to upload two very similar images is if one is portrait and one is landscape.

 

I think EGAK2F is a strong image.

 

A good resource is the 'Alamy Images found' thread. That is a good way to see what subjects and style of photos sell.

 

Michael

 

 

I

Edited by Armstrong
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Hi Alan,  In my opinion you have a good eye for composition and your work is quite artistic. There is nothing wrong, just keep producing more of the same quality. Stock photography is really a numbers game, so with only  80 images, you will not be very visible! Of course, producing a pleasing, well composed and artistic image is important, but in Stock, you need quite a large portfolio containing a large range of subjects, to stand a better chance of  being seen and for selling your work.  I don't think there is a problem with your key-wording either.  But stock is really  a long haul  business where numbers and choice, for the buyer,  play quite a large roll. I am fairly sure that, on Alamy,  there is a  direct correlation between numbers of image sales  and  the size of you portfolio.

Edited by John Gaffen

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It’s been said many times: the market is saturated in this kind of work.  The rural idyll, tourist areas, friendly animals that aren’t eyeing you up for supper.  The photos are fine, but they are clearly not what buyers are looking for.

 

Nowadays it is essential to study the market.  For editorial work go to  WH Smith, browse consumer mags, look at trade mags in big reference libraries, look at school text books.  See what is used and how it is used.  Avoid making a beeline for anything to do with tourism.

 

Also spend some time each week looking at photographs on display.  Start here: http://www.alamy.com/category/Default.asp.  Then look at premium/high end collections at G and C.  Visit leading niche agencies and aggregators.  They are all leading because they are selling.

 

A lot of photographers fail because they live in a bubble and have remarkably little interest in what others are doing, and how they are doing.

Edited by Robert Brook
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I don't feel qualified to give anyone advice these days, but I believe that Robert B. is correct. Most of us generalists are going to have to change our ways. Markets truly are saturated with the types of images that he describes -- i.e. ones that used to sell well as stock. I've been lucky on Alamy because I have a lot of older editorial "niche" images that continue to do well here. I realize, though, that moving forward, I'm going to have to reassess what I'm doing if I want to keep making sales.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Thank you all for taking the time to look at my photos and to give such good advice, particularly from Robert Brook about how to research the market. I hadn't thought about it quite that way before.

 

I'll try to stop uploading similars too. The examples pointed out are quite clear to me.

 

I shall add the Latin names from now on.

 

Kind regards, Alan.

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Another tog from Salisbury? Blimey, we'll have to stop that;)

 

The similars has already been commented on so I'll pass to the next.

 

Lighting. Absolutely key and for my own critique I would say that it needs more thought.

 

Subject matter. Interesting but as others have said you're headed into a saturated market in some areas. You've got loads of horses and so have a lot of others. Remember, you need to be getting stand-out images for a buyer to want it.

 

Variety is good but with stock you must get this into your head. It is not just a numbers game. It is having a good number and variety of images that are of excellent quality. Yes, people sell images they never thought would sell BUT buyers will always return to someone whose images stand out as they are of exellent quality.

 

Always think before hitting shutter. Is it worth it? Is everything/ everyone in the right place? Can I make it any better Is it better than what's out there or is it just adding to the million and one other copies of it?

 

Harsh? Hopefully not ;)

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Guest

.......

Edited by Guest

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Something I've found over the years is that, if you can engage with you subject,  because you are interested in it, for whatever reason(s), be they emotional, artistic, political or intellectual e.t.c,  you are far more likely to produce better/ more interesting, powerful  and engaging images, than if you have no real connection at all. (May be I am stating the obvious).  To create a large portfolio, a certain degree of motivation is necessary, just to maintain ones enthusiasm and  passion for photography. I have found that this can come from many different and diverse areas. Something I missed in my previous post is the use of Latin names when dealing with animals and plants, is useful as clients sometimes use them when they are searching for specific images.  So I agree with the previous post. One last comment is that I do not really search the vast Alamy collection to specifically look for gaps, where subjects are poorly represented. They are many great and skilled photographers on Alamy. My point being is that, if I thought  about all the competition out there, all the time, I probable would never pick up my camera again! I console myself with the thought that someone, somewhere might just consider my image  better than the others already out there.  So belief in yourself as a photographer is something I find very important.

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Something I've found over the years is that, if you can engage with you subject,  because you are interested in it, for whatever reason(s), be they emotional, artistic, political or intellectual e.t.c,  you are far more likely to produce better/ more interesting, powerful  and engaging images, than if you have no real connection at all. (May be I am stating the obvious).  To create a large portfolio, a certain degree of motivation is necessary, just to maintain ones enthusiasm and  passion for photography. I have found that this can come from many different and diverse areas. Something I missed in my previous post is the use of Latin names when dealing with animals and plants, is useful as clients sometimes use them when they are searching for specific images.  So I agree with the previous post. One last comment is that I do not really search the vast Alamy collection to specifically look for gaps, where subjects are poorly represented. They are many great and skilled photographers on Alamy. My point being is that, if I thought  about all the competition out there, all the time, I probable would never pick up my camera again! I console myself with the thought that someone, somewhere might just consider my image  better than the others already out there.  So belief in yourself as a photographer is something I find very important.

 

I feel the same way. It's fine to say that you need a diverse portfolio, but if you have little interest in photographing certain subjects, then the passion won't be there. I find that I get bored fairly quickly unless I'm truly interested in what I'm shooting, which is probably not a great attitude for stock photography. However, most of my bestsellers (such as they are) have been of subjects that appealed to me in some way. I'm not sure that photographing subjects solely because they might sell as stock is sustainable in the long run. I've tried that, and it just doesn't feel right after awhile. 

Edited by John Mitchell

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buyers will always return to someone whose images stand out as they are of excellent quality.

Never thought of that, although once said it becomes obvious.

 

I don't think your critique was harsh Jools. An honest opinion helps me to improve, so thank you for your time.

 

 

And 'made with a Lee 10 stop filter'...in the caption.....sorry but nobody cares and you've now put that image in a search for coffee filter or filter paper etc.....

Thanks for pointing this out. Keywords have been amended.

 

 

I'd concentrate on images where you have little or no competition and keep your fingers crossed so they become regular sellers

Good advice Arterra, I'll definitely keep that in mind as well as the other points you raised.

 

I really appreciate all your advice and thoughts.

 

Alan.

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I feel the same way. It's fine to say that you need a diverse portfolio, but if you have little interest in photographing certain subjects, then the passion won't be there. I find that I get bored fairly quickly unless I'm truly interested in what I'm shooting, which is probably not a great attitude for stock photography. However, most of my bestsellers (such as they are) have been of subjects that appealed to me in some way. I'm not sure that photographing subjects solely because they might sell as stock is sustainable in the long run. I've tried that, and it just doesn't feel right after awhile. 

 

 

There is plenty of evidence that trying to do a bit of everything is a short cut to failure, or 'I've got XXk images and sold a couple this month' syndrome.  It's also the case that leading agencies tend not to want generalists, although nowadays 'niche' means more than just having a subject, but also, or either, having a particular aesthetic.  There is still a market for classic anonymous stock that could be produced by any competent photographer, but since almost anybody can now be a competent photographer within certain parameters, it's a market that is fading fast - or rather being taken over by the micros. 

 

We aren't allowed to mention agencies by name here, but look at the best collections at the majors, and what is being done at the handful of smaller agencies that are getting good returns for their contributors, and you will see that the trend is towards hiring photographers who work in a particular style of their own.  It is also pretty obvious that Alamy is trying to move in this direction, although not being an edited collection, is doing so with both hands tied behind its back.

 

I might add that I’m no exemplar here – nearly all new work that I do goes to edited collections.  If I only had my Alamy work, I'd be seeking advice too.

Edited by Robert Brook
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There are some nice pics there but very few commercial pics there. Look at the market place you are selling into and ask yourself how many articles/books/magazines etc there are about ponies,  compared to say obesity or finance.

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I think what makes a photo commercial / salable is what I'm trying to learn about at the moment. It will take me some time but I'll get better the more I try.

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Hi Alan

To be honest knowing what sells is pretty simple, it is making enough photographs too make it worthwhile that is difficult..
It is making photographs for the market not for yourself, look all around you at photographs in the media, that is what sells.

 

Look for long term themes used in newspapers, magazines ie the NHS, unemployment, beat coppers, the elderly, pets, babies, dangerous dogs, children at play or study. If you have kids they could be a great source of subjects, bullying, 1st day at school, homework................

Edited by Mark Baigent
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