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Sultanpepa

Is it possible to win at the Alamy game?

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I did a search for images of my home town. I noticed another agency has dumped 18,000 odd pictures in there. Page after page of searching and I've yet to find one image of mine now and I've went through 14 pages so far. I thought I had finally seen one of mine but upon clicking on it, not only was it not mine but it was wrongly captioned as a miners statue instead of a firefighters statue. I've got a fair dose of the blues now. :( I don't feel I can win with Alamy if I can't even get an image of my home city up on the first few pages. 

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If you only shoot travel ... well then no. You can't win. The volume of it pouring in is totally out of whack with the demand. However, the moment you step away and start shooting anything else, things get better. They really do.

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Luxury- Glasgow has 94,000 images, London has nearly 3 million, but  I've had a few respectable sales a mile from my front door. Not of things you'd expect either. None is a by-product of travel and none cost a penny to get, unless you count the odd half which I can assure you I'd have had anyway.

I don't bother with the usual landmarks at all. Think in Glasgow, not necessarily of Glasgow.

I'm still waiting for a sale from my 3-week trip round Scotland last year

Edited by spacecadet
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I don't live in London, but I do most of my non-studio photography there, going up on the train once a week or so. A large proportion of my sales recently have been taken on these trips, but as spacecadet says above, they are taken IN London, rather than OF London - people, details, traffic signs, logos, police at work etc - not travel images as such, though I have to do a bit of traveling to get them. 

There isn't much demand for my home town, but they do hold some big trials in the county court and I often get £6 from the MailOnline for one of my images of that.

 

Of course, the more competition there is for one subject, the more important you Alamyrank becomes. Yes, it is depressing when you find wrongly-captioned or just plain bad photos ranked above your own. 

Edited by Phil Robinson

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It's not worth worrying about generic images of broad searches of a specific city. As Phil said, it's usually the subject in the photo, not the place it is taken that is the important factor. And your rank of course. Any major city will have thousands to millions of images available. Don't do the broad tourist images, stick with the targeted subject. More money in those anyway.

 

Jill

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Something that sells well for me is statues and monuments, not usually for their location but for the subject - books or articles about the person, not the place. In these cases of course good research, captioning and keywording are at least as important as the photo.

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I did a search for images of my home town. I noticed another agency has dumped 18,000 odd pictures in there. Page after page of searching and I've yet to find one image of mine now and I've went through 14 pages so far. I thought I had finally seen one of mine but upon clicking on it, not only was it not mine but it was wrongly captioned as a miners statue instead of a firefighters statue. I've got a fair dose of the blues now. :( I don't feel I can win with Alamy if I can't even get an image of my home city up on the first few pages. 

 

Just a suggestion...If you put "%your home town"" in the search box in Alamy Measures ..All of Alamy you will see what things or activities in your town are being searched.

 

Paulette

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Thanks Paulette, I know that trick. :) The reason I was doing it this way was to see where my ranking would place my first image. What I didn't expect was to search over 14 pages. Obviously that agencies 18,000 images are ranked higher than mine.  :wacko:

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Entering my home town into Alamy Measures brings back 100s of irrelevant results.. but then I do live in Reading (Berkshire, England).  :)

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Thanks Paulette, I know that trick. :) The reason I was doing it this way was to see where my ranking would place my first image. What I didn't expect was to search over 14 pages. Obviously that agencies 18,000 images are ranked higher than mine.  :wacko:

Yes but try a more specific search and you will probably be much higher- glasgow xxxxx yyyyyy.

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I just tried this on London. I gave up looking for my first one after 35 pages, but those 35 pages contained nearly 100 pics from the same agency.

 

So what happened to Alamy's much-vaunted diversity algorithm? It looks as though they have quietly dumped it in favour of loading all the agency stuff at the top and to hell with the little guy.

 

Alan

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As far as actually winning the Alamy game goes, the prizes go to a pretty select group by the sounds of it. For the rest of us, treading water is probably the best we can hope for these days.  It's all relevant, as the man with the fuzzy hair said. Glasgow looks like a fine city. I'll have to visit one day. Should I bring me camera?

Edited by John Mitchell

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Thanks from me too, Paulette--I didn't know that trick. I don't make enough use of All of Alamy.

 

In the words of a recent former president of ours, Dougie: I feel your pain. Realistically, here we all are in an agency that now has 60 million images. Is it not logical that we have some trouble getting noticed? Oh, and we've just had a reranking. I dropped down a half page. Sales and zooms are a little better as time passes, but it's a slow walk. 

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So what happened to Alamy's much-vaunted diversity algorithm?

 

Alan

 

it pretty much vanished with the major search engine restructuring in April...

 

km

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There is a big market for travel pictures of local tourist spots of anyplace. However they are all oversupplied, so do not expect many sales.

 
Try to take pictures that capture the feeling/atmosphere of a place. Travel pictures of tourist spots do not do that. How do the locals think about their home? Read some classic books about the place, to see how the author captures the atmosphere in his writing.
 
What are your feelings about your home town? Try to capture your feelings in a photograph.
 
If you think you have captured the atmosphere of Glasgow, then make “Glasgow” a top level keyword. Things like a Glasgow street that is not a tourist spot, but a street that could only be in Glasgow.
 
Here is a Toronto shot of mine. Not a tourist spot but, tall buildings, cyclists, and a streetcar. The streetcar, a unique to Toronto mode of public transportation. Cyclists, love them or hate them, at the top of every Torontonians agenda.
morning-on-university-avenue-looking-sou
 
Another not a tourist spot image about the multicultural nature of Toronto
spadina-ave-neighbourhood-changes-from-j
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Wise advice from Bill. This street view of Vancouver was zoomed recently. I guess you could call it a travel shot, though, since it has a sightseeing bus in it and the area is a popular shopping district. However, I think it does reinforce some popular notions about Vancouver -- i.e. that it's a safe, clean, relatively uncrowded city. Note to myself, I need to take more shots like this one.

 

sightseeing-bus-on-corner-of-robson-stre

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The question really is whether anyone can win anywhere shooting found subjects for the editorial market.  The answer is probably no.

 

I'm very happy for people to go on trying, in fact please do.  But I have, in the main, given this up, as have many others.

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The question really is whether anyone can win anywhere shooting found subjects for the editorial market.  The answer is probably no.

 

I'm very happy for people to go on trying, in fact please do.  But I have, in the main, given this up, as have many others.

 

I agree. It is why 2015 has effectively been a sabbatical for me. I have concentrated on personal projects, on rediscovering my photographic mojo. The time out has been extremely valuable in helping me discover what else I could be as photographer, and perhaps even an approach, a style.

 

Now I have  to see if it is commercial. That said producing yet more of the same, as Robert says, the same as everybody and his dog, was not going to work, or be enjoyable.

 

Interestingly I have done nothing for a year and I am having my best year since 2008/2010 (revenue/numbers) but that actually is not saying very much. Perhaps I was tinkering too  much trying to find the secret to a decent ranking. I cannot draw any conclusion as it is VERY MIXED using my real life test searches. Sometimes the first image others page 20+

 

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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There is a big market for travel pictures of local tourist spots of anyplace. However they are all oversupplied, so do not expect many sales.

 
Try to take pictures that capture the feeling/atmosphere of a place. Travel pictures of tourist spots do not do that. How do the locals think about their home? Read some classic books about the place, to see how the author captures the atmosphere in his writing.
 
What are your feelings about your home town? Try to capture your feelings in a photograph.
 
If you think you have captured the atmosphere of Glasgow, then make “Glasgow” a top level keyword. Things like a Glasgow street that is not a tourist spot, but a street that could only be in Glasgow.
 
Here is a Toronto shot of mine. Not a tourist spot but, tall buildings, cyclists, and a streetcar. The streetcar, a unique to Toronto mode of public transportation. Cyclists, love them or hate them, at the top of every Torontonians agenda.
morning-on-university-avenue-looking-sou
 
Another not a tourist spot image about the multicultural nature of Toronto
spadina-ave-neighbourhood-changes-from-j

 

I was over in Calgary in late August. This was one of the images I took and a sale came through at the beginning of the month. 

young-man-on-a-two-wheel-self-balancing-

 

In fact I've had more success abroad I think than I've had at home. :)

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Thanks from me too, Paulette--I didn't know that trick. I don't make enough use of All of Alamy.

 

In the words of a recent former president of ours, Dougie: I feel your pain. Realistically, here we all are in an agency that now has 60 million images. Is it not logical that we have some trouble getting noticed? Oh, and we've just had a reranking. I dropped down a half page. Sales and zooms are a little better as time passes, but it's a slow walk. 

If we've had a re-rank then I haven't moved an inch. Not sure whether that's a good or bad thing.  

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Only 117 images from my small home town - most - but not all of them - mine. 

We have a former US president and a presidential candidate living here, so I actually license them - usually directly from my Photoshelter site. It's a very pretty place, but not a tourist destination so it's no surprise. 

 

In terms of travel images, I find that Alamy is a good outlet for them and it is about 1/2 of what they license for me here. Concept shots also seem to sell. When I travel to shoot stock, l will shoot 1,000 images of a place but only upload a handful to maybe a dozen. I sometimes wonder if I should be less picky about it and upload everything that meets QC and grow my portfolio. Most of the shots that sell are not the major tourist venues but the details - however, some iconic landmarks shots have also done well for me here and elsewhere. 

 

Alamy has licensed some images of mine from major cities such as L.A., Boston and Baltimore, but a lot of my travel is of lesser-known spots along the east coast, and smaller cities where the competition is still stiff but not quite so daunting. When I'm shooting a travel icon, I try to think about leaving lots of copy space and how it can be used by a designer. It makes some of my work far more stocky, but also more useful for certain buyers. When I'm shooting an assignment, I try to shoot the details and tell a story, and these types of images should also work on Alamy. Sometimes my travel shots land on page one for a simple one-word place name search and sometimes I despair of ever finding them. I just hope that the agencies don't end up with all the prime spots or we won't have a chance. 

Edited by Marianne

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Wise advice from Bill. This street view of Vancouver was zoomed recently. I guess you could call it a travel shot, though, since it has a sightseeing bus in it and the area is a popular shopping district. However, I think it does reinforce some popular notions about Vancouver -- i.e. that it's a safe, clean, relatively uncrowded city. Note to myself, I need to take more shots like this one.

 

sightseeing-bus-on-corner-of-robson-stre

 

I'm hoping that my trip through your lovely city in August won't have been wasted. (photographically speaking) I enjoyed the trip regardless.

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Wise advice from Bill. This street view of Vancouver was zoomed recently. I guess you could call it a travel shot, though, since it has a sightseeing bus in it and the area is a popular shopping district. However, I think it does reinforce some popular notions about Vancouver -- i.e. that it's a safe, clean, relatively uncrowded city. Note to myself, I need to take more shots like this one.

 

sightseeing-bus-on-corner-of-robson-stre

 

I'm hoping that my trip through your lovely city in August won't have been wasted. (photographically speaking) I enjoyed the trip regardless.

 

 

Good luck, Dougie. Wish I could tell you that my Vancouver street shots sold like Tim Hortons doughnuts, but all I have to report is a handful of repeat sellers.

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OK, I guess I'll be stepping on many photographers' toes now!

When you want to play the stock game successfully, you need ..... guess what ..... S T O C K !

Is 1000 images "stock"? Nope, not in my book. Is 2000 images "stock"? Nope, still not even close. 3000? Nope! 4000? Nope! 5000? Hmmm ..... it's a start.

Everybody knows by now that RANKING plays a major role at Alamy. You get a good, steady ranking (meaning good visibility) by having regular sales. How on earth does one expect regular sales with 1000 images .....????

Just my two cents, but most photographers step in way too soon. They start with a medium ranking which soon sinks to the bottom from which they can't recover.

More than ever is stock a HUGE numbers' game.

 

Do I sell travel and nature shots? Yep, several a day. And why? Because my images are found within the first five pages of search results. So what do I care there are 50,000 images of a certain subject! We all know that clients don't look much further than the few first pages.

How did I managed that! I started right away with 10,000+ images, succeeded in maintaining my medium ranking and over the years improved it.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

HUGE seems to be the operative word of the day.

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Entering my home town into Alamy Measures brings back 100s of irrelevant results.. but then I do live in Reading (Berkshire, England).  :)

Watch those NT pictures, Matt. ;)

 

EDIT: add "Berkshire" and you'll get the results you want.  But a certain Mr Balfour-Evans has the town pretty much sown up (along with lots of other locations).  That man has his head screwed on.

Edited by losdemas

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