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It's obvious from the monthly "How was your Jan, Feb, July, etc.?" forum threads that most of us aren't exactly getting rich.

 

This leads to the conclusion that the market has become supersaturated with certain types of imagery.

 

Travel seems a prime example of a glutted area. What are some other oversupplied subjects?

Edited by John Mitchell

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London; New York; Paris; Amsterdam.

;-)

 

Oh and cats, but everybody knows you cannot have enough cats.

 

wim

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I think it is not the subject, but the treatment of the subject that is oversupplied.

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pubs, sheep, steam locomotives, totem poles

Edited by John Mitchell
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I think it is not the subject, but the treatment of the subject that is oversupplied.

 

There's some truth in that . . . in my opinion :-)

 

I'd strongly caution against drawing any conclusions whatsoever about "the market" based on the reported results from a minuscule percentage of contributors. There are much more valid analyses of "the market" available, many of which have occasionally been linked-to from here. Mind you, the messages some of those analyses contained did not always make for good reading for many here, but they were certainly food for thought..

 

dd

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Sorry, but

 

It is not a question of a market becoming "over saturated" but a lack of professionalisum on the part of the contributors.

In my opinion making images for licensing is a profession, not a hobby.  It is not just picking up a camera and taking some

snaps, then waiting for the $'s to roll in.

 

While I do carry a, or several, Alamy approved digital cameras with me most days, I only submit a 100th of the images

that I shoot.  I also now make 100 times more than what I make from Alamy licenses doing commissioned work.

 

It is a difficult question, stock versus commission and there was a time when stock worked for me, that time may come

again, but in 2015 it is commissions, or photography done for a client. 

 

Chuck (still the original one)

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The News route probably provides a bypass to the masses of shots already available. News has to be current, so older images are ruled out. The problem is finding suitable subjects that are available to the casual shooter and are of sufficient interest to the papers, and, as Keith Morris pointed out in his video, time is of the essence.

 

I've dabbled and, to date,failed miserably, but some of those shots have subsequently sold as non news items.

 

Re oversupplied subjects, that applies to virtually all areas of activity, but, in my experience, it's still worth shooting popular scenes, there may be loads of competition, but there's also hordes of customers.

 

I suspect most stock shooters with a bit of experience will have suffered the fate of finding a niche product, only to have it replicated by others and see promising sales wither. It's part of the game.

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I think that conceptual  images, which can have a variety of different used/interpretations, commercial, or otherwise  is a good way to go, particularly after listening to the interview with redsnaper earlier!

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Sorry, but

 

It is not a question of a market becoming "over saturated" but a lack of professionalisum on the part of the contributors.

In my opinion making images for licensing is a profession, not a hobby.  It is not just picking up a camera and taking some

snaps, then waiting for the $'s to roll in.

 

While I do carry a, or several, Alamy approved digital cameras with me most days, I only submit a 100th of the images

that I shoot.  I also now make 100 times more than what I make from Alamy licenses doing commissioned work.

 

It is a difficult question, stock versus commission and there was a time when stock worked for me, that time may come

again, but in 2015 it is commissions, or photography done for a client. 

 

Chuck (still the original one)

 

I tend to agree. If you look at a lot of what is on Alamy the unfortunate reality is that it's either weekend warriors or the leftovers from the majors. Yes, there are some top pros on Alamy (I'm thinking David Noton and Steve Bloom) but really this place isn't where it's at.

 

It's understandable from a marketing point of view that Alamy says they have 60 odd million great images but as has been said before it is not 60 odd million great images.

 

The collection is not edited and that is the major downfall of it.

 

Cities are photographed a lot but they do sell. Why? Because they are a fluid entity that is always changing. Buildings get demolished and new ones appear in their place. Point of views disappear and so the list goes on.

 

A good, well composed and lit photo will always sell better than what a weekend warrior can do.

 

As I noted, and got shot down for, on the How Much did you earn thread you should not be looking at the gross but the net and that is a fact. The gross does not pay the bills the net does. Saying you got $500 gross is fine but what is the bottom line? That is all that is applicable and I think at times some people are deluding themselves.

 

Personally, this is my life and it is how I spend my time. I am forever either shooting or editing so my head is 100% into photography. I know a friend of mine who is an amateur. If he goes out somewhere it takes him a few days to get into that mode of taking an image whereas for me it is very quick because it's my job and not a hobby.

 

Oh, and I fully expect some negativity in reaction to this.

Edited by Jools Elliott
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"The collection is not edited and that is the major downfall of it."

 

Well, that isn't totally correct. I would hope that those of us who have been with Alamy a long time edit our submissions. Alamy isn't going to say, "Please, no more images of cute kittens or British pubs." It's up to us to make those decisions.

 

As far as looking at our net incomes goes, I'm sure we all do that, especially when it comes time to pay the bills.

 

 Interesting responses so far, some predictable and others thought-provoking. There are many different types of photographers on Alamy -- from Weekend Warriors to Super Pros with super powers. Alamy is quite a democratic place, which is one of its strong points IMO.

 

Keep 'em coming...

Edited by John Mitchell
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One of the other problems is that it is way too easy to become a contributor and get images up. I remember joining PhotoLibrary (no longer exists) back in 2010. I had to send them 3 submissions before I got a contract. They wanted an initial submission of 200 images which is why there were 3 submissions. They edited from each to get to that number.

 

They wanted to see that I was:

 

1) A serious and professional photographer.

2) Capable of producing images all the time that they felt would sell

 

I know that Alamy fills a whole for some picture editors that are looking for off the cuff stuff. But the reality is that to be earning decent money people need to be producing decent, well thought out images and not images of sign posts or other such things. Yes, they have their place but that ain't how the cash is going to come in.

 

As well, looking at "how much did you earn last month" thread, I see some people earning some pretty good money BUT they have over 10000 images and they should be earning a heck of lot more than they are quoting. Why are they not earning more? Million dollar question!!!

Edited by Jools Elliott
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 What are some other oversupplied subjects?

 

'woman eating salad' = 13,173 images.

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 What are some other oversupplied subjects?

 

'woman eating salad' = 13,173 images.

 

 

spaghetti = 35,408

Edited by John Mitchell
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Are we doing enough as individual to help ourselves though? (me included!).

 

For example frequently arising complaints:

 

* 60 million images etc on Alamy - how can I compete etc.

* People with smart phones taking photos which are good enough for stock.

* Falling prices

 

So instead of complaining that someone has stolen our ball, why aren't we playing in their yard?

 

Stockimo addresses the first three complaints above...but how many people are treating it with the same dedication as the normal collection? The average selling prices is higher, there are less than 200k images and if you have an iPhone you have the correct equipment. You can also take photos in places an SLR would get frowned on. Plus we have the advantage of a head start with knowing what sells.

 

 

Michael

Edited by Armstrong
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My health stops me doing as much  photography as I would like to, But believe hard work pays you put the time and effect in you will get results that sell .I would image buyers are always looking for newer images though I realise old ones sell as well. 

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I think the stock photo industry generally suffers from an oversupply of unfeeling, perfectly executed, beauty images. Images are take by photographers who are too busy to understand, and therefore have nothing to say about, the subject matter.

 

If a collection is curated, who will protect the photographers from the curators? As to curated stock photo collections making more profit for photographers, the anecdotal evidence would suggest otherwise.

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I think the stock photo industry generally suffers from an oversupply of unfeeling, perfectly executed, beauty images. Images are take by photographers who are too busy to understand, and therefore have nothing to say about, the subject matter.
 
If a collection is curated, who will protect the photographers from the curators? As to curated stock photo collections making more profit for photographers, the anecdotal evidence would suggest otherwise.

 

 

I agree, in a "curated" collection, photographers are being as curated as much as their images are. Personally, i got sick of being curated and am generally happy with Alamy's way of doing things (warts and all).

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Curated collections cost a lot to maintain, and it would be the photographers who pay. Instead of 50%, we would be looking at 20-30% of the gross. Someone has to pay those people to look at every single image submitted.

 

And as a photographer who likes to do all keywording in advance, I would be ticked to be told my image was not "a good fit" when I had spent time in PP and doing all my keywording, for nothing. Time I won't get paid for.

 

Of the millions of photos on Alamy, I would lve to know the numbers of images that belong to the people who submitted thinking it would be easy money, and gave up at 500 images as they weren't raking in the dough yet. I'll bet there are thousands of those.

 

Jill

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Back to the original topic, wouldn't a popular image subject/term only be considered oversupplied if the # of images far outweighed the need for that subject by customers?   e.g. I notice in A of A, some cities with lots of images also have lots of searches, "New York" has 268 pages of searches, "London" has 590 pages of customer searches in the past year, with many searches having multiple UCOs.   (by comparison, Vancouver has only 24 pages of searches, sigh)

 

Maria

Edited by MariaJ

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Back to the original topic...

 

Actually, I think everything that has been said is on topic and relevant to the conversation.

 

John quite rightly posed the question of over-supply. You have to then ask is that over-supply because places like Alamy allow us to upload anything as long as it passes QC.

 

There are pluses and minuses for un-curated collection. Clearly, Alamy is bulging at the seams with images but is that really a good thing?

 

Yesterday, I was talking to a guy who works in the commercial side of things and he couldn't believe how many images were now listed on here. And he was saying it in a negative way.

 

Ask yourself the question from the other side of the fence. You're an image researcher looking for good quality material. Do you want to spend your time wading through a ton of material?

 

One other thing that would be nice for Alamy to do, and I don't think it's here, is to be able to turn on and off searches whereby the Creative is split from the Editorial. Again, there would be pluses and minues but I'm guessing that the majority of contributors on Alamy are first and foremost Creative contributors rather than editorial contributors.

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The quote thingy doesn't seem to work...

 

Bill makes good points but isn't there a problem in that the buyer must rely on keywords to do the search?  This means that the same subject matter expressed differently or with more feeling is still going to be buried with anything else having the same keywords.

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Jools, I don't know what you mean by Creative and Editorial. Do you mean released vs unreleased? If so, there are tickboxes right next to the main search box.

What Alamy means by 'Creative' (as opposed to 'Relevant') I can't imagine.

I have a few series of the same subject where some images seem to be classed as Creative and some don't, despite all needing - or, in some cases, all not needing - releases. I can't see what is more 'Creative' about those which have been so categorised within my own series (far less anyone else's), and they are all equally 'relevant'.

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Back to the original topic...

 

Actually, I think everything that has been said is on topic and relevant to the conversation.

 

John quite rightly posed the question of over-supply. You have to then ask is that over-supply because places like Alamy allow us to upload anything as long as it passes QC.

 

There are pluses and minuses for un-curated collection. Clearly, Alamy is bulging at the seams with images but is that really a good thing?

 

Yesterday, I was talking to a guy who works in the commercial side of things and he couldn't believe how many images were now listed on here. And he was saying it in a negative way.

 

Ask yourself the question from the other side of the fence. You're an image researcher looking for good quality material. Do you want to spend your time wading through a ton of material?

 

One other thing that would be nice for Alamy to do, and I don't think it's here, is to be able to turn on and off searches whereby the Creative is split from the Editorial. Again, there would be pluses and minues but I'm guessing that the majority of contributors on Alamy are first and foremost Creative contributors rather than editorial contributors.

 

Hi Jools -

 

Not sure I agree with your final paragraph - I think most contributors to Alamy are editorial contributors, but I guess it depends what you mean by Creative. I think Alamy regards Creative as the sort of stuff which is more likely to sell for Commercial rather than Editorial reasons - ie. for Advertising etc as opposed to textbook, newspaper use, etc.

 

Quite honestly however I dont think Alamy have got it right with this split primarily because with the number of images they have and daily receive, and given that they appear to "handpick" many of the Creative collection, the Creative collection has loads of editorial stuff in it and vice versa.

 

I suspect nowadays Alamy are more likely to put the more saleable items or the frequent sellers in the Creative selection whether they are Commercial or Editorial

 

Regards

Kumar 

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I'm not sure that they hand pick the creative section. I've just searched 'Santander.'

 

There are loads of apparently irrelevant cartoons mixed in with a few images of the place in Spain in the Creative bit, whereas the Relevant section contains some photos of the place, and many photos of the bank.

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As a former photo editor in book publishing and television, I always wanted to look through a lot of material. That was my job.

 

Initial image suggestions from the editorial committee were often vague and garbled. Looking through a lot of images could be inspirational, and help me narrow the focus. I also needed to see a wide selection of treatments, and variations in subject matter.  

 

My boss said that I should try to present the editorial committee with 100 possible, but different, images for every image published. I once photo researched a project that had over 3,000 images published.

 

A professional photo researcher has an eye for a good picture. Good images that have a point of view, jump out immediately from the crowd. They are never buried on a web page. When reviewing portfolios in the presence of the photog I would intentionally slow down. If I went at my normal faster speed and flipped through, the photographer would think I was not looking at his images.

 

The one thing that put me off was a photo agency or an archivist pushing only a few images at me. Usually they were popular images that had already been published by the competition. I am the one doing the selection, not an outside agency or archivist. My job was to look at a lot of images, and come up with a selection that made our publications look unique.

 

In the age of the internet, a photo researcher needs a quick eye, lots of well keyworded images to look at, and a fast website. Alamy meets the standard.
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