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Hi All,

 

I've just started with Alamy and am wondering about the number of pics one should put up and the possible revenue

stream for long time Alamy contributors.  Its been 15 years since I was part of a stock agency - then I had only 20 images (yep, just twenty) with the agency and these earned a little over $1,000 per year for me after taxes.  Not a lot, but it paid for gas/energy expenses each year.  I thought if I posted a solid 200 shots here, I could earn the same helpful revenue stream.  Although I don't have all 200 pics up, I've been surprised by not having a single sale - or even zoom - in a month.  It seems the stock industry has changed.  I've looked at some forum threads and found some people discus putting hundreds or even thousands of pics up (who on earth can put 1,000s of pics up, presuming one even has 1,000s of good pictures?  Do you have your kids uploading and keywording instead of going to school?)  I'm a passionate, serious photographer.  Is online stock photography essentially a hobby with no remuneration?  

Any feedback here would be appreciated - thanks!

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Sits back and opens the popcorn!........

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People may have a problem dealing with the sales figures and income paradise you describe, since you haven't already got a number of replies :)

 

Things have certainly changed - I would have liked to be around 15 years ago...

 

I think my ca. 2000 images gave 43 sales last year (cannot check as My Alamy seems to be down at the moment) - and prices are fractions of what you describe.

 

You will need at least two thousand images just to see regular sales among the 65 mio images now available at Alamy

 

Niels

 

Edited: Okay, Stokie was there before me....

 

I had 45 sales last year, My Alamy is up Again).

Edited by Niels Quist

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$5/image/year? Those days are long gone. 200 images might get you 2 sales a year

Put at least one zero on your number of images.

Who on earth can put thousands up? I can, I keep at it. it's taken a few years.

Edited by spacecadet

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What they said!

 

However, if you can find a magical market niche that isn't already well covered, you could do OK with fewer images. For most however, it's a numbers (of reasonable quality images) game.

 

You do have some lovely shots which should sell if you can get yourself a decent ranking, but, again, that's probably going to be down to exposure to the market place and the number of images available. 

Edited by Bryan

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To sum it up - microstock is in a race to the bottom

With 55 million images and about 250,000 added every week, buyers trying to find YOUR images is like finding a needle in a haystack

 

The only ones making any real money at this are a few big guns in the industry, and the photo factories that have several togs working and shooting new images for them everyday.

But only you can determine whether the time and effort spent is worth it for you.

 

15,years ago, this was fresh and new, I'm surprised you didn't stick around back then. Now it's a whole different game.

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This isn't microstock.

My average this year is over $70.

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$5/image/year? Those days are long gone. 200 images might get you 2 sales a year

Put at least one zero on your number of images.

Who on earth can put thousands up? I can, I keep at it. it's taken a few years.

 

No they haven't, at least at a few agencies, including some very big ones. Some photographers are earning much higher amounts, even assuming this is a net figure. There have been many posts on this forum pointing this out.  

 

Even here, if you study the trends, try and match the market to your own POV, understand how ranking works, $5 net is attainable.  And the same applies at a couple of micros.

Edited by Robert Brook

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The OP is talking about Alamy, not somewhere else. I'm not answering a question he didn't ask as I'm not qualified.

Edited by spacecadet

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The OP is talking about Alamy, not somewhere else. I'm not answering a question he didn't ask as I'm not qualified.

 

The question being: "Is online stock photography essentially a hobby with no remuneration?"

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 It seems the stock industry has changed.

 

You can say that again.

 

Regarding return per image: If I edited my collection down to only those photos that are licensed regularly, I'd have an enormous RPI. But then I would have missed out on the license of a photo of a mutant egg one of my chickens produced several years ago, a photo I never expected anyone would find a use for (and never expect to license again). The Alamy philosophy is "if the quality is adequate, put it out there, ya never know." This will inevitably result in a lower RPI than you'd get with a collection edited (by someone familiar with the industry) down to only those images most likely to be licensed. My own philosophy is not to upload photos unless I feel they can compete with what's already available for the same subject at the same price, and this has resulted in a somewhat more tightly (self-) edited collection than some here, but I can't really say that's a better approach than just uploading everything I think can pass QC.

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"I've just started with Alamy and am wondering about the number of pics one should put up and the possible revenue stream for long time Alamy contributors."

 

I don't think that questions like these are answerable any longer. When I started submitting to Alamy in 2007, I literally began making sales immediately. That was because I was lucky to have a lot of images that buyers were looking for. I got really busy scanning and uploading and started making a regular income at about 1000 images. However, the Alamy collection is now so large that if I were beginning today, I'm sure things would be very different. Gaps in the collection have been filled many times over. You've got some really nice work, but you've also got a heck of a lot of competition. Good luck.

Edited by John Mitchell

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To sum it up - microstock is in a race to the bottom

With 55 million images and about 250,000 added every week, buyers trying to find YOUR images is like finding a needle in a haystack

 

The only ones making any real money at this are a few big guns in the industry, and the photo factories that have several togs working and shooting new images for them everyday.

But only you can determine whether the time and effort spent is worth it for you.

 

15,years ago, this was fresh and new, I'm surprised you didn't stick around back then. Now it's a whole different game.

 

This is broadly correct.  Although Alamy doesn’t do bulk subscription deals, it is a variant of crowd sourced supply.  And there you have the problem.  Since everyone, his dog, cat and uncle, wants to be a photographer, thinks he is a photographer, is excited to see a bit of work in print, is more excited about that than the possibility of earning a solid income, then the usual demand/supply laws don’t operate. 

 

At least some of the micros now appear to be operating as gatekeepers.  I have read a few forum posts somewhere that claim some are even quite ‘hard’ to get into, whatever that means. 

 

When you refer to ‘big guns’ I assume you mean a couple of Seattle based operations, and it is certainly true that many active contributors are still doing relatively well there.  As is the case at a number of other agencies that mainly work with professional photographers.

 

It still remains the case, however, that if you avoid the herd mentality, work at your photography in order to develop something distinctive, study the market, try and get your hands on the latest creative research, act and think like a professional, there is still money to be made in this business.

 

 My own philosophy is not to upload photos unless I feel they can compete with what's already available for the same subject at the same price, and this has resulted in a somewhat more tightly (self-) edited collection than some here, but I can't really say that's a better approach than just uploading everything I think can pass QC.

 

 

Well, you are acting responsibly by not contributing to the problem, and tight editing discipline is now essential for anyone who wants to progress.  Even here, the ranking system favours those with editing skills.

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Hi All,

 

I've just started with Alamy and am wondering about the number of pics one should put up and the possible revenue

stream for long time Alamy contributors.  Its been 15 years since I was part of a stock agency - then I had only 20 images (yep, just twenty) with the agency and these earned a little over $1,000 per year for me after taxes.  Not a lot, but it paid for gas/energy expenses each year.  I thought if I posted a solid 200 shots here, I could earn the same helpful revenue stream.  Although I don't have all 200 pics up, I've been surprised by not having a single sale - or even zoom - in a month.  It seems the stock industry has changed.  I've looked at some forum threads and found some people discus putting hundreds or even thousands of pics up (who on earth can put 1,000s of pics up, presuming one even has 1,000s of good pictures?  Do you have your kids uploading and keywording instead of going to school?)  I'm a passionate, serious photographer.  Is online stock photography essentially a hobby with no remuneration?  

Any feedback here would be appreciated - thanks!

Do I understand you correctly that you have only given it a month and you expect sales already?  Even if any of your images have been used so soon it is unlikely that the sale would have been reported yet. You need more images and more patience. Sorry if I have misunderstood.

 

Pearl

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In my opinion (IMO), the problem with stock photography is "Stock Photograhers."

 

Think about the image and how that image illustrates the story.  IMO it is not about

how many images you upload, it is about the images and their relevance to the market.

ALAMY is a great well of images, most do not mean anything to most, but a large number

of those are important to a few.  I had sales when I had less than 500 images online with

ALAMY and I had a higher RPI.  That was then and this is now.  I also used to charge

$1,200 + expenses to shoot a headshot of an executive.

 

The bottom lines is that you need to do what you believe in, or you are wasting time and

band width..

 

Chuck (Still the original Chuck)

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When I first started out on Alamy I was making an average of about $400 per sale - now it is nearer $70.

 

If you have the images already processed them Alamy is a nice source of modest incremental income. It is questionable whether it is commercially viable when you take into account the time I take to keyword. 

 

If your pics are of a quality that could command a premium price then there are, IMO, other more remunerative options.

 

 

dov

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Things were a little different back in the days of dial up and film.  I don't really subscribe to the "race to the bottom" theory, it's simply a case of supply and demand and, as supply goes to the infinite, return per image goes in the other direction.

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I'm a newbie too.  (<1 month)  I loaded about 40 photos initially, added keywords, etc.  Then I acted like a buyer to see if I could find my own photos and if so, would I buy them.  I found that my photos were lost in the millions (i.e. tree silhouette during foggy dawn, old farm equipment at sunset, dog with ball) of similar photos.  So, instead of trying to get noticed by shear volume, I decided to hold back and develop a unique sense of style and perspective that might be marketable.  So, I'm not discouraged.  I'm going refocus, so to speak, and work on marketability versus me-too.

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I'm a newbie too.  (<1 month)  I loaded about 40 photos initially, added keywords, etc.  Then I acted like a buyer to see if I could find my own photos and if so, would I buy them.  I found that my photos were lost in the millions (i.e. tree silhouette during foggy dawn, old farm equipment at sunset, dog with ball) of similar photos.  So, instead of trying to get noticed by shear volume, I decided to hold back and develop a unique sense of style and perspective that might be marketable.  So, I'm not discouraged.  I'm going refocus, so to speak, and work on marketability versus me-too.

 

For whatever it's worth I think your work is excellent. Hope you do well.

 

Paulette

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I'm a newbie too. (<1 month) I loaded about 40 photos initially, added keywords, etc. Then I acted like a buyer to see if I could find my own photos and if so, would I buy them. I found that my photos were lost in the millions (i.e. tree silhouette during foggy dawn, old farm equipment at sunset, dog with ball) of similar photos. So, instead of trying to get noticed by shear volume, I decided to hold back and develop a unique sense of style and perspective that might be marketable. So, I'm not discouraged. I'm going refocus, so to speak, and work on marketability versus me-too.

Its not a question of "OR / INSTEAD", its a matter of shear volume AND develop a unique sense of style and perspective that IS marketable.

 

Of course, a lot depends on one's expectations. Do you expect to earn serious money or are you already happy if it covers your parking meter expenses?  :mellow: 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

 

Once again ... (I'm repeating myself so often I'm likely to develop a stutter):

 

Alamy is not the only show in town.  In fact it is only at Alamy and the micros where it's mainly about volume.  Outside of there the industry is changing. 

 

The best advice - not from me, but people who really understand this business (such as John Lund) - is to spread work around different types of agencies: maybe some in a micro or Alamy, some at G/C, some at a niche agency, some with an aggregator, although  niche agencies can be aggregators of sorts.  Maybe some at a really high end place, where the fees are what they should be, but sales are less frequent.  Only a fool starting out now would put all their eggs in one basket.  If Alamy went down the pan, most of the what's here isn't going go go anywhere else.

 

The only way to achieve this is to do what the poster says he intends to do.  Agencies don't want to look at thousands of images, 100 at most.

Edited by Robert Brook
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Yes, Alamy is a number game, 1500 images, 25 sales last year, most of them for the photos I would never expect to sale, like 250$ for a road sign "be careful elephant" or 50$ for a rare Chinese medical plant etc, yes it is possible to make big money with 200 images , if they are unique, top quality  and tell stories( by contacting  magazines) directly,  but maybe not here on alamy so upload as much as you can, try to find the niche, place or a subject that is not covered or has weak images , good luck 

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Hi all,

 

Thank you all so much for your replies - it has been very helpful, and given me a lot to think about.  I especially appreciate the people who shared their experience - that gives me/us something concrete to consider.  There are various solutions and strategies proposed here, which are helpful.  

 

Thanks!

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OK, for the OP

 

I am in tell it like it is mode, not be cruel but to help...

 

you have a couple of hundred pretty pictures in amongst 50 million other pretty pictures.

None of your couple of hundred photographs are especially commercial, work out who buys photographs and then look at what they buy.

You may get the odd sale here and there, but like many of us you seem to be making photographs that you like not what buyers want. You might try print sales?

Edited by Mark Baigent
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Even here, if you study the trends, try and match the market to your own POV, understand how ranking works, $5 net is attainable.   

 

I would certainly hope so.  

 

My current microstock sales exceed $5 per image per year.  And that is with my sub-par stuff (I've been saving the good images for Alamy).

 

I sure hope that if my "fair to middlin" images make just under $6.00 per image per year on a single microstock site, that then my BEST images - the really prime stuff - should do significantly better here where they can be sold on a Rights-Managed Exclusive basis.  If they don't garner at least that much, then I'd be better off just selling them on microstock, wouldn't I?

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