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I have contributed to Alamy almost 10 years now and have well over 15,000 images online.  I average a minimum of several image license sales every week of the year.  

 

I have been shooting professionally for over 30 years, using digital capture and Adobe Photoshop for almost 15 years, and have never had a digital image rejected for quality reasons by any other stock agent, including Getty, except by Alamy. 

 

In recent months I have experienced what I perceive to be inconsistencies in the Quality Control measures. After going years without a QC Failure, I have had two batches of images fail in recent months.  The images were captured with a Canon EOS 1DX and Leica M9-P. In both cases I made (from the original files that Failed QC) beautiful 16x20” prints and sent them in to Alamy for further consideration. In both cases Alamy QC said the images were not up to their standards. I completely disagreed with their assessment, but to no avail.

 

I am seriously considering pulling my images from Alamy. The amount of time spent properly preparing & submitting images against the increasingly low fees is not providing a very good return on investment. 

 

I am wondering if anyone else is having similar, inconsistent, problems with the quality-control group?

 

Mark Weidman

 

_______________________________

 

H. Mark Weidman Photography

24 Trailside Circle

Salida, CO 81201-7011 USA

 

Studio: 719-207-4713

Mobile: 719-221-5585

 

email: mark@weidmanphoto.com

web: http://www.weidmanphoto.com/

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I am seriously considering pulling my images from Alamy.

 

Really? You'd delete 15,000 images? In what paralell universe does that make sense?

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Some of us base our business decisions based on principles; not just on the "bottom line".  I rarely, if ever, post on this forum but rather spend my time shooting and submitting images to my three agents.  It was not that many years ago that my images sometimes brought four and five figure license fees.  My absolute minimum license fee was $200 at that time. My thought to pull my collection from Alamy would be based on the decision that I did not want to be part of an organization that is contributing to the severe decline in license fees. I do not intend to single out Alamy alone for this trend, as there are many other factors to consider.

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I had spell early last year when I started having QC failures after years of virtually trouble-free submitting. It turned out that I was indeed making errors, mainly because I had started using a new camera (mirror-less) and was not used to its idiosyncrasies. Once I sorted them out, everything went back to normal -- i.e. no failures. Have you been using different processing software or other equipment lately?

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Mark,

 

I understand that you are upset, but to base such a decision on two fails does seem a little extreme.  You may well be totally right; the QC individuals who reviewed your work may well have made an error (we are all human).  And as to license fees: that's the story across the board, no?  The license terms are just as poor!  But if you pull your images here, then why not everywhere else?  Certain other organisations may well achieve higher rates - but at a lower %age - and one never knows what will happen tomorrow.  Don't put all your eggs in one (or even two!) basket(s).

 

DC

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The decision would not be based on just the two fails.  Even at that, I have to take into account the considerable time (days) of work to prepare the batches of images that failed (hundreds). The decision has more to do with what I perceive as Alamy's stubborn refusal to admit a mistake, along with the low usage fees. I am not inclined to commit to yet more days, or weeks, of work preparing new images, on the chance that their QC department may make yet another mistake. I do not feel I was given a fair shake. One of their reasons for the QC failure is that it is not a reasonable comparison between a digital file examined at 100% on a computer monitor, with a large color print blown up to the equivalent of the 100% file.  My argument was if the print is beautiful, with plenty of sharp detail, then the file must be fine. A bad file cannot produce a quality enlargement.  Nothing was done to the original files before printing them, except adding an Output Sharpening Layer specific to the printing paper (and I told Alamy that).  And, to answer John's question, I have not changed my digital workflow other than occasional upgrades in Photoshop.  If anything, the image processing software is better than ever and my cameras are better than ever.

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I should have clarified in my recent response that I am not much to spend time on Forums, and not really interesting in diverting from the topic.  I am simply looking to see if anyone else has had similar experiences with QC.  Thanks.  Mark

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I only have 1800 images but use a consumer level camera and lenses with no fails (except for an accidental upload a long time ago). 

 

Jill

Edited by Jill Morgan
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I should have clarified in my recent response that I am not much to spend time on Forums, and not really interesting in diverting from the topic.  I am simply looking to see if anyone else has had similar experiences with QC.  Thanks.  Mark

Would you be prepared to post 100% crops of the failed images? Without them its impossible to form an opinion. People may feel they have had similar experiences but It could be they rightly failed QC.

 

Your current portfolio is giving you an income at the moment so it seems a waste to turn the tap off on that.

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I've found QC to be consistent. Whenever I've had a fail, I've found that QC's verdict was justified.

 

I agree with earlier comment and suggest posting a 100% crop for review. Then you'll see whether others agree that QC have made a mistake or not.

 

Passing QC is not difficult, but it does require a consistent, meticulous approach. If these requirements become too time consuming (especially considering the typical $ per image is now getting so low), then you could stop submitting further images to Alamy. But I certainly wouldn't pull 15,000 existing images if you're getting regular sales.

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I should have clarified in my recent response that I am not much to spend time on Forums, and not really interesting in diverting from the topic.  I am simply looking to see if anyone else has had similar experiences with QC.  Thanks.  Mark

 

No problem.  In which case, no.

 

394 submissions - from which you may see that my submissions have been tiny (the vast majority <10) and therefore the relative inspection rate of individual images is very high.  Two fails:

  1. SoLD: My first submission following acceptance here.  Uploaded a file which was 'upscaled' as a test. Didn't work out, so have never done it since.  Had to wait a few weeks before re-submission.
  2. Dirt or dust or other blemishes: A couple of months back.  Again, my mistake.  Uploaded three images which hadn't been thoroughly cleaned for dust spots.  Cleaned all the same images; re-uploaded the same images on the same day; passed QC the following day.
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I really was not looking for an opinion on whether the image files were good enough to pass QC, but, since someone asked, I am happy to share sample files.    I could not find a way to attach JPEGs to this Reply - I see the "My Media" icon, but how does one upload image files to the "My Media" library?

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I really was not looking for an opinion on whether the image files were good enough to pass QC, but, since someone asked, I am happy to share sample files.    I could not find a way to attach JPEGs to this Reply - I see the "My Media" icon, but how does one upload image files to the "My Media" library?

 

The "My Media" library doesn't work.  You have to host images on a remote Website and link to them in order to display them here.

Edited by losdemas

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Some of us base our business decisions based on principles; not just on the "bottom line".  My thought to pull my collection from Alamy would be based on the decision that I did not want to be part of an organization that is contributing to the severe decline in license fees.

 

In that case, you would be considering pulling your images from Getty, as istockphoto is part of the Getty organization. istockphoto started the low price trend, and perpetuates it.

 

To answer your question, I have had two QC failures in 410 submissions over 11 years. Both failures were a long time ago, and my fault. 

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Well, you are correct in that if I was with Getty I should be considering pulling my images from them.  But, I did not like the way they were treating their photographers and pulled my images from Getty about two years ago.  Mark   Tomorrow I will create an online gallery and post some of the sample images that failed QC.

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Mark:  My profile is similar to yours:  10 years with Alamy, 15,000+ images in the collection, average 2-3 sales per week.  Since January 1 this year I have submitted 2376 new images.  In April two batches from a recent trip were rejected (344 images) on the same day.  I reviewed the submission, noted that it contained several images taken with my cell phone (food shots), and decided that at 100% magnification they were of marginal quality.  I removed them (about six images), resubmitted, and have had no further problems.  The nine submissions I've made since April have been quickly approved, usually in about 24 hours.

 

I agree that prices are down everywhere, but I'm with four agencies and Alamy continues to achieve the highest average sale prices for me--in my case about $75-80 per sale.  Wish it were more, but if you've got an agency that gets higher prices, please let me know.  But like you, I will not deal with Getty.

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I have contributed to Alamy almost 10 years now and have well over 15,000 images online.  I average a minimum of several image license sales every week of the year.  

 

I have been shooting professionally for over 30 years, using digital capture and Adobe Photoshop for almost 15 years, and have never had a digital image rejected for quality reasons by any other stock agent, including Getty, except by Alamy. 

 

In recent months I have experienced what I perceive to be inconsistencies in the Quality Control measures. After going years without a QC Failure, I have had two batches of images fail in recent months.  The images were captured with a Canon EOS 1DX and Leica M9-P. In both cases I made (from the original files that Failed QC) beautiful 16x20” prints and sent them in to Alamy for further consideration. In both cases Alamy QC said the images were not up to their standards. I completely disagreed with their assessment, but to no avail.

 

I am seriously considering pulling my images from Alamy. The amount of time spent properly preparing & submitting images against the increasingly low fees is not providing a very good return on investment. 

 

I am wondering if anyone else is having similar, inconsistent, problems with the quality-control group?

 

Mark Weidman

 

_______________________________

 

H. Mark Weidman Photography

24 Trailside Circle

Salida, CO 81201-7011 USA

 

Studio: 719-207-4713

Mobile: 719-221-5585

 

email: mark@weidmanphoto.com

web: http://www.weidmanphoto.com/

 

You raise two distinct issues:

 

"The amount of time spent properly preparing & submitting images against the increasingly low fees is not providing a very good return on investment"

 

. . . and . . .

 

"After going years without a QC Failure, I have had two batches of images fail in recent months"

 

The former: yes, I think most would agree. Some adjust their expectations, redefine what constitutes a "very" good return, while others withdraw from the game (or move to a new or slightly different game). Common thread, no one alone is ever going to be able to change the rules of the main game, but if this is the reason you're looking to leave, you're no orphan.

 

The latter: no consideration that you just may have made at least 2 errors out of over 15,000 instances? 100% crops may add something to that point . . . and if this is the reason you're looking to leave, well, perfection carries a heavy price obviously, and it's certainly not one I'd voluntarily bear.

 

dd

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Hey if you do not pass Qc, you made a mistake. If you have 15,000 images on

line then it is possible that Alamy made a mistake. I have not had an image fail

QC since the "Mail a CD" days.

 

This is Alamy's sand box and the Alamy has rules, play by them

 

Chuck (still the original one)

Edited by Chuck Nacke
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The decision would not be based on just the two fails.  Even at that, I have to take into account the considerable time (days) of work to prepare the batches of images that failed (hundreds). The decision has more to do with what I perceive as Alamy's stubborn refusal to admit a mistake, along with the low usage fees. I am not inclined to commit to yet more days, or weeks, of work preparing new images, on the chance that their QC department may make yet another mistake. I do not feel I was given a fair shake. One of their reasons for the QC failure is that it is not a reasonable comparison between a digital file examined at 100% on a computer monitor, with a large color print blown up to the equivalent of the 100% file.  My argument was if the print is beautiful, with plenty of sharp detail, then the file must be fine. A bad file cannot produce a quality enlargement.  Nothing was done to the original files before printing them, except adding an Output Sharpening Layer specific to the printing paper (and I told Alamy that).  And, to answer John's question, I have not changed my digital workflow other than occasional upgrades in Photoshop.  If anything, the image processing software is better than ever and my cameras are better than ever.

 

Funny that your capabilities section includes........'Attitude/Maintain a sense of humur'.........

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I am wondering if anyone else is having similar, inconsistent, problems with the quality-control group?

 

 

No.

 

Alan

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To answer Mark's original question - no.

 

QC does a great job and finds flaws in my work before paying customers do. I find them far more fair - and a bit easier - than Getty or any of my direct clients. When I had a recent failure for a dust spot, I found myself actually appreciating being told. How many editors would just reject the image without telling me? How many clients would I wind up loosing?

 

And one more question for Mark. If you walk away, where do you plan to go? Is there some secret market where photographers are both highly paid and protected from their own mistakes?

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Some of us base our business decisions based on principles; not just on the "bottom line".  

 

So you feel you're on higher moral ground than the rest of us, eh? 

 

My history is much like John Mitchell's: a change of equipment called for some changes in my workflow, and that caused a few mistakes and fails at QC. When I cooled down, I sorted things out and moved on.

 

Now you are planning to post 100% blowups and get the opinions of forum members?  Alamy is not a co-op agency. Forum members have nothing to say about which images of yours past or fail QC. You have already lost this argument. QC will not be changing their mind. Move on.

Edited by Ed Rooney
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Folks, thanks very much for the mostly constructive comments.  As expected, there are a few insulting comments (Ed), which is precisely why I rarely take the time to post on this Forum. Based on Ed's comment I won't take the time to post sample files online, since he succinctly points out  "Alamy is not a co-op agency. Forum members have nothing to say about which images of yours past or fail QC."  Sincerely, Mark Weidman

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