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Hi Guys.

 

I've been placing my images mainly rights managed, and sales are not great.  I know I need to get a few thousand more images on the site, but moving forward I think I need to make a decision over rights managed v Royalty free.

 

The sector that I'll most want to work in is probably editorial - magazines etc.  With that in mind I thought that Rights Managed would be the way to go.  However I've been looking at the likes of a Royalty Free Agency whose name begins with S with another S for it's second word, which I'm told is taking over the world.  I'm concerned that if I want to make any money is Royalty free the way to go?  And if I've sold Royalty free - I can't then give a magazine an exclusive deal on a particular picture...

 

Any advice/experience welcome.  You may be able to help a fellow photographer out of spontaneous combustion...

 

Thanks

:-)

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 And if I've sold Royalty free - I can't then give a magazine an exclusive deal on a particular picture...

 

 

This is exactly right and why many of us will recommend Rights Managed over Royalty Free.

 

You need many more images, and honestly, time for those images to get discovered in order for the sales to move.  I have felt the same way in the past...and I used to be a contributor at those other agencies, but I discovered that I value my work much more and it isn't worth my time.

 

I had an image license pop up this month for a very basic item shot over a white background....an image that you would commonly find at those other sites.  It was used for ONE DAY in a national newspaper.  My royalty (net, not gross) was the equivalent of 152 image license royalties at that other agency that you say appears to be "taking over the world".  I would much rather license that image once (as common as it may be) and get paid for the one usage than license that image once, for 1/152 of the price and allow someone to use that image as many times as they wanted over and over again.

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Hello,

 

With the small port you have it is not fair to say that sales are not great. Also to small amount to decide if to choose RM or RF.

 

This agency S agency you mention is not a ticket to success. Don’t forget that there are different kind of clients. Buyers in that other agency are fine with cheap images. These images are bought by many others. So you have a cheap photo but it is not to avoid that hundreds or thousands other companies are using the same one. No chance for a little bit of originality. A more expensive RM images gives you more exclusivity. So I believe there is always a need for “expensive:” RM photos.

 

I was there also. It is nice in the beginning to see fast all the small sales coming in. 0.36 cent here and there. When you are very lucky you get occasionally a 28 dollar sale. You make 25 sales on a day but you come to the hard conclusion that you made only 9 dollars for 25 licenses. 25 opportunity’s thrown away for 0,36 cents.  It’s like giving your photos away. Now 25 companies have your photos that they can use and use again. While you got 9 dollars. I don’t say it is bad, I just want to say that it also has flaws.

 

Mirco

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Thanks guys.

 

Really not comfortable with Royalty Free for all the reasons you say and more.  It's just that I got told today that's where the market was headed - and it really didn't feel right for me.  It frightens me that you're making piracy really easy too.  You sell to person A, who then posts the pic on his website with no watermark, and the next thing you know is it's all over the place, and you can't trace and check against everyone you've sold RF to due to the practicalities... And you might have blown that exclusive magazine deal for peanuts...

 

Most helpful you feel the same.

 

C

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I don't have any RF images, but there is an RF agency who also begins with S but only has one word ;) and it guarantees a minimum of $10 per sale I believe.

Edited by Steve Tucker

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You can, of course, do both.

 

I submitted to the monster with two SS's for some time before I started with Alamy last year.  Since then, most of my work has gone RM on Alamy.

 

These days, I am trying to vary this a little.  I tend to put images with unreleased people or images on Alamy, but I will look at the competition and if my photo is likely to be swamped then I might put it on the monster as RF editorial if the subject fits.  As a variation of this, I went on a short train journey on Saturday to take some News Photos.  On the way, I was able to also take a couple of pictures of trains.  On the way back, I took another train photo but this was the same type of train as one on the way out.  So, for these, I will put the better photo on Alamy as RM and the other (taken different time different place) on the monster as RF editorial.  By the way, anyone who takes live news photos will tell you that you are more likely to sell a picture of the train used to get there than the event itself!!

 

For stuff that doesn't need a release, then I will put my best work / rare photos etc on Alamy as RM (possibly as RF leave them exclusively on Alamy for now).  Other, more standard, photos than can be RF will go to both Alamy and some microstock. In the future, I may separate my Alamy RF and RM portfolios by giving them different pseudos.

 

This is my strategy this week.  It may change!

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Almost all of my images are RM. I've been adding a few as RF lately, but it doesn't seem to make any difference in terms of zooms or sales. Consequently, I'm sticking for the most part with the RM model, which I still prefer. There are already zillions of RF images out there. Also, something else to consider is that many RM sales on Alamy are really hybrid RM/RF (e.g. iQ licenses).

 

Long live RM!

Edited by John Mitchell
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No need to decide whether you will go RM or RF. It comes down to the individual image. If it's easy to replicate or copy and was cheap to make then RF might be the right option. If it was costly and hard to get and in demand then I would go RM. RF isn't always a bad thing.

 

As for .36 sales. If you only pickup 25 of those a day you will struggle to make ends meet. On the other hand, my micro sales are over 100+ a day and range from .38 - $120. But, and that is a big but, you have to pickup your subject matter wisely. There is no one size fits all. Horses for courses etc.

 

 

Edit

 

As John Says

 

" Also, something else to consider is that many RM sales on Alamy are really hybrid RM/RF (e.g. iQ licenses)."

 

I've had a recent situation where my RM images were sold for $30 with 5 years unlimited use during that time with a magazine. At $2.96 a year I know I wasn't the one getting the good deal there ;-)

Edited by Duncan_Andison
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Yesterday a agency contacted me to ask if a RF photo of mine was not sold before. They where interested to buy exclusive rights under the condition that on the moment it is not used by anyone. The price was good enough that I didn’t mind to sell it for exclusive rights. The problem was that it was already sold in the past and since it is RF the buyer can used it again and again whenever he wants. For this reason the offer was canceled.

 

If the image would be RM and previous buyers using period would have been finished I could have made a very good sale.

 

This shows again that there is always need for RM no matter how much RF will grow.

 

Mirco

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The S agency you are refering to means quantity!  You have no chance what so ever unless you have at least, 1500 images in your port as a min. On the other hand, that S agency seems to be the only one selling plenty, not editorial but commercial stock.

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I saw a research report recently that said roughly 75% of stock photos sold these days are now RF. Makes me wonder the Rm/RF strategy going forward. Alamy sells RF so if one doesn't want the microstock sites to sell RF then Alamy might be the choice.

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I saw a research report recently that said roughly 75% of stock photos sold these days are now RF. Makes me wonder the Rm/RF strategy going forward. Alamy sells RF so if one doesn't want the microstock sites to sell RF then Alamy might be the choice.

 

I wonder if the reason may be that balance between RF and RM is even higher in RF direction? I mean in general there is more RF images than RM and this may cause the 75%...

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I saw a research report recently that said roughly 75% of stock photos sold these days are now RF. Makes me wonder the Rm/RF strategy going forward. Alamy sells RF so if one doesn't want the microstock sites to sell RF then Alamy might be the choice.

 

I wonder if the reason may be that balance between RF and RM is even higher in RF direction? I mean in general there is more RF images than RM and this may cause the 75%...

 

 

Nope, it's that clients are now preferring to use more and more RF. Every survey that I have seen from buyers is telling us that - US Graphic design one recently. One reason is that more clients now need to use an image through multiple media channels which makes RF more suitable. Image use is changing and one license is becoming more usable for a lot of clients.

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In my sales I can't say that RF sells better, it's not.

And one thing I'm worried about. If it's like you say - then we have problem, because RM is better for authors and it's obvious (better control over sales, track on usages, etc). I just stopped with RF and now focus on RM. Looks like I will not have that much sales in future ;)

Edited by Arletta

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It is always about what is better for the buyer. Then sales are coming. But even under this thinking it is not that ovious that RF is always better for the buyer. Like i mentioned before there are plenty of buyers that needs or wants exclusivity. Choosing for RF is here a wrong option.

 

Then there is the editorial world. RM has far more choice then RF. The point is putting editorial as RF gives just headache. To many rules gives to many restrictions on submitting editorial as RF. This leads to more rejections and also to less choice.

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I saw a research report recently that said roughly 75% of stock photos sold these days are now RF. Makes me wonder the Rm/RF strategy going forward. Alamy sells RF so if one doesn't want the microstock sites to sell RF then Alamy might be the choice.

 

I wonder if the reason may be that balance between RF and RM is even higher in RF direction? I mean in general there is more RF images than RM and this may cause the 75%...

Nope, it's that clients are now preferring to use more and more RF. Every survey that I have seen from buyers is telling us that - US Graphic design one recently. One reason is that more clients now need to use an image through multiple media channels which makes RF more suitable. Image use is changing and one license is becoming more usable for a lot of clients.

Yeah, the number of platforms for image use etc now would mean RM is quite expensive. If it is a major campaign with plenty of $'s in the budget then great, otherwise RF can be a lot more appealing.

 

Also, how many book /magazine editors have asked you for total exclusive rights over an image?!? They do happen but these days with tighter budgets, I'd imagine they will be a fewer in number. On this basis the balance of RM & RF should weigh in RF favour. Keep the very best / rare images as RM and the rest for RF. That said, to do well now the "Rest" have to be very good as well. We need to constantly improve on what we do and keep ahead of the chasing pack :-)

Edited by Duncan_Andison
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I saw a research report recently that said roughly 75% of stock photos sold these days are now RF. Makes me wonder the Rm/RF strategy going forward. Alamy sells RF so if one doesn't want the microstock sites to sell RF then Alamy might be the choice.

 

I wonder if the reason may be that balance between RF and RM is even higher in RF direction? I mean in general there is more RF images than RM and this may cause the 75%...

 

 

Nope, it's that clients are now preferring to use more and more RF. Every survey that I have seen from buyers is telling us that - US Graphic design one recently. One reason is that more clients now need to use an image through multiple media channels which makes RF more suitable. Image use is changing and one license is becoming more usable for a lot of clients.

 

 

Most RF licences, including Alamy's I believe, do not allow a designer/agency to use the same image across multiple clients; that is effectively sub-licencing which is not permitted, the client would be infringing copyright. Licence has to be bought specifically for the client. That client can then use it in brochures, catalogues, calendar, Christmas card (or why), on social media and in print or online adverts and anything else under their name.

 

That said I suspect a fair few designers may be tempted to bend the rules.

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If it's personal work, where I may be looking at a number of ways of using the material including limited edition prints, then it's RM.

If it's unusual material that is highly likely to be used in textbooks but has no obvious commercial usage, then it's RM.

If it's unreleased, and needs releases, then it's RM.

If it's here, then it's here ... and it's RM or whatever.

 

If it is work solely intended to sell via stock licensing, and I don't need releases, then it's a no brainer: RF

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If it's personal work, where I may be looking at a number of ways of using the material including limited edition prints, then it's RM.

If it's unusual material that is highly likely to be used in textbooks but has no obvious commercial usage, then it's RM.

If it's unreleased, and needs releases, then it's RM.

If it's here, then it's here ... and it's RM or whatever.

 

If it is work solely intended to sell via stock licensing, and I don't need releases, then it's a no brainer: RF

I think that is where I am headed for 2016, I dabbled with RF sometime ago and my best fees came from RF for ordinary pictures. As many Alamy RM licences are practically RF I think Robert's approach is the right one. My main difference of approach is that if I am likely to want to use and image as an art print, limited edition or otherwise, I will not be putting it up on Alamy. It will go on my own web site only, as I will need to keep control. I don't want mass market prints undermining a premium "art" product. (As I understand it Alamy's restrictions may not always be robust)

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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I saw a research report recently that said roughly 75% of stock photos sold these days are now RF. Makes me wonder the Rm/RF strategy going forward. Alamy sells RF so if one doesn't want the microstock sites to sell RF then Alamy might be the choice.

 

I wonder if the reason may be that balance between RF and RM is even higher in RF direction? I mean in general there is more RF images than RM and this may cause the 75%...

 

 

Nope, it's that clients are now preferring to use more and more RF. Every survey that I have seen from buyers is telling us that - US Graphic design one recently. One reason is that more clients now need to use an image through multiple media channels which makes RF more suitable. Image use is changing and one license is becoming more usable for a lot of clients.

 

 

Most RF licences, including Alamy's I believe, do not allow a designer/agency to use the same image across multiple clients; that is effectively sub-licencing which is not permitted, the client would be infringing copyright. Licence has to be bought specifically for the client. That client can then use it in brochures, catalogues, calendar, Christmas card (or why), on social media and in print or online adverts and anything else under their name.

 

That said I suspect a fair few designers may be tempted to bend the rules.

 

 

If you read what I said, it was multiple channels...... not multiple clients. RF is becoming more usable for many clients...i.e. for many clients RF is becoming the more usable.... to make it clearer.

 

Again, read the Graphic Design USA survey or many of it's ilk and you'll see that multiple media/channels is becoming the norm...... i.e it's used in print and web plus social media...one client, many uses...same image. That's why RF is becoming a go-to license for many. See the mission statement from the Getty VP, 3(?) years ago or so.....foretold what was and what has happened.

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Hello guys, I am new here and I would like to ask for advice regarding the license type. I have some photos that I have been selling on other sites as royalty free and I would like to upload them here as well. I assume I can only upload them as royalty free and nor rights managed, am I correct?

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More or less correct. If they are RF elsewhere they must be RF here.

 

However, be wary as RF elsewhere may allow 'unrecognisable' people to be included. At Alamy any part of any person in the picture - even tiny pinpricks in the distance, an unrecognisable body part or even a shadow - means it must  be RM here.

 

Also, I never tire of repeating that, in my humble opinion, uploading stacks of microstock images already available on other agencies simply devalues the value and uniqueness of the Alamy library, dragging down the prices we get here. I know lots of people do it and I know Alamy does nothing to discourage it, but it is still irksome.  I also realise that wholesale duplication of your microstock portfolio may not be your intention, in which case my apologies for casting aspersions, but this is an opportunity to make a general point which I believe cannot be overstated.

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As an aside. Is this written in to the contract? That putting RF elsewhere precludes RM here? The way that RM licences here are becoming so all-encompassing, its a bit rich to make such demands.

 

Contributor contract section 2, subsection 2.2.

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More or less correct. If they are RF elsewhere they must be RF here.

 

However, be wary as RF elsewhere may allow 'unrecognisable' people to be included. At Alamy any part of any person in the picture - even tiny pinpricks in the distance, an unrecognisable body part or even a shadow - means it must  be RM here.

 

Also, I never tire of repeating that, in my humble opinion, uploading stacks of microstock images already available on other agencies simply devalues the value and uniqueness of the Alamy library, dragging down the prices we get here. I know lots of people do it and I know Alamy does nothing to discourage it, but it is still irksome.  I also realise that wholesale duplication of your microstock portfolio may not be your intention, in which case my apologies for casting aspersions, but this is an opportunity to make a general point which I believe cannot be overstated.

 

- and you will only get the very rare odd sale here if the images already are on microstock. It is so easy today to find where you can get the same image much, much cheaper. 

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Hi all, thank you for your replies. So you all basically upload just to Alamy? Guys who are here a few years may I ask how are the sales here? Is it growing for you or declining? I must say the typical microstock is declining rapidly with more and more people submitting and more and more photos on the sites.

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