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Sultanpepa

Is it possible to win at the Alamy game?

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OK, I guess I'll be stepping on many photographers' toes (once more).

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 .....???? How many subjects do you cover with 1000 images? Honestly? Not a lot.

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. [my bold - DannyC]

More than ever is stock a HUGE numbers' game.

 

I remember when you used to say 3,000, Philippe!

 

Anyhoo, the emboldened text seems to relate to me. Thinking about creating a new pseud to move everything into, just so I can get a median ranking again...

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I have over 700 images on and around our local tourist area more than anybody else including other agencies, and like Dougie i have to go looking through a few pages before i start seeing my images,  one would think that having the majority of images on a certain subject he or she would be on the 1st page.

 

Is it possible to win the Alamy Game?  i think only if you are a contributing agency,  as a photographer you will be doing well if you get a place.

 

Paul.

Edited by Paul Mayall

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I think the need to have lots of images is a given, although what a 'lot' is is a matter of opinion.  Someone earning $25 per image per year would be doing very well with a couple of thousand, whereas at $0.50 per image you would need about 50K* to earn the same. 

 

Part of the problem is that crowdsourcing is, effectively, causing databases to fill up:  I think in many areas (of content and style) the Alamy database has gone way beyond being full up - elsewhere contributors might be told not to send any more.  On the other hand there are big gaps, which are invisible in the crowdsourcing world.

 

Anyway, this subject is endlessly discussed and the real answers can only found by digging into whatever reliable info we can source.  Some is provided by agencies but only for contributors eyes.

 

Some of these contain useful information, although you will need to sift through them to find it:

 

http://blueshiftideas.com/reports/011405GettyShutterstockRetainTheirEndsoftheStockPhotoMarket.pdf

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/269399134_Part_II_Marketing_Distribution_Performance

http://www.efos.unios.hr/repec/osi/journl/PDF/InterdisciplinaryManagementResearchXI/IMR11a17.pdf

http://gdusa.com/surveys/stock_visual_survey_2014.pdf

http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_167172_en.pdf

 

 

*Actually 100K ... 100K!

Edited by Robert Brook
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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

Oh, good grief! As usual somebody shows something simple to do and I mess it up.

Measures...check

All of Alamy..check

Search box..check

Type in %Oklahoma City

Get nothing

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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

Oh, good grief! As usual somebody shows something simple to do and I mess it up.

Measures...check

All of Alamy..check

Search box..check

Type in %Oklahoma City

Get nothing

 

There was no update on the 11th. Put in the 10th and you should see 2 results. edit- I meant to say take out "City"

Edited by Sultanpepa

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I just did %Oklahoma City and got results. ???

 

Philippe, could you loan me 10,000 images for a month or so? I want to start with a bang. 

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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

Oh, good grief! As usual somebody shows something simple to do and I mess it up.

Measures...check

All of Alamy..check

Search box..check

Type in %Oklahoma City

Get nothing

 

 

Can't see what you are doing from here. Leave it on the default which is , for me, one entire month.... the little circle on the far left clicked. Then type in the search box and click GO. I get three results for Oklahoma City and over a page for Oklahoma.

 

Paulette

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Philippe, thank you one more time fot motivating me to not give up and to work even harder... Everytime I start to give up I can find your post, just like you show up to answer my dubiousness and questions ;) Now roll up my sleeves and back to work!

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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. 

 

If you look at the USGDA link which Robert has posted or the new one which I linked to on a previous post, you will find that architecture only appears at no 10 in subject used and travel further down. So yes, they do sell but compared to other areas of stock, they are relatively poor sellers. The problem is that they are the easy fruit to pick, any 'found' photography is.

 

How many images do you have of the better paying/more frequently used genres? How many MR/PR images can you offer for commercial use in those genres?

 

If you shoot commercial work in the best selling genres you don't need thousands of images to get decent sales. You do need thousands for typical Alamy fodder but don't serve that up and you can easily get good results with much fewer images. The problem is they are harder to create.

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On the other hand there are big gaps

 

 

Not only are there gaps (I found several interesting subjects in central London last month for which Alamy has no images), but also popular places are changing all the time. Customers know this so it's my guess that when searching for popular travel destinations a lot of them use the New button which means that fresh material will always show up well in searches.

 

Alan

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On the other hand there are big gaps

 

 

Not only are there gaps (I found several interesting subjects in central London last month for which Alamy has no images), but also popular places are changing all the time. Customers know this so it's my guess that when searching for popular travel destinations a lot of them use the New button which means that fresh material will always show up well in searches.

 

Alan

 

 

By 'gap' I meant something much wider and deeper than this.  An example here might be Stockimo.  Maybe Alamy did some serious research and identified a need for this, or maybe left it to others and followed the trend, but what is being offered isn't quite like anything else currently available, and seems to be filling a need.  Another kind of gap is fairly obvious if you read some of the comments by moneyed buyers:  maybe they splash out on a lot of budget material for imagery that will do as basic decoration, as design components or for peripheral use (usually microstock), but also spend a lot on high quality, original content suitable for specific industries.  So understanding the needs of particular industrial, commercial or media sectors (e.g. biotech) is going to be very high on the list of priorities of anyone who isn’t piddling around.

 

As far as found locations go, I think you will find that for every Alamy contrib who  stumbles across one there will be 10 microstockers , and maybe 100 creative commons togs.

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You need lots of images AND a good, steady ranking.

Or - if you're name is wiskerke - just a good ranking ;) 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

Getting back to Dougie's original question about winning the "Alamy game," hasn't Philippe answered it fairly well? On a crowdsourced, unedited site like Alamy, you either have to keep uploading tons of sell-able (enough to maintain ranking) images or keep your collection small, high-quality, and well-edited and learn how to excel at the ranking game (i.e. wim's way). Most contributors seem to get bogged down somewhere in the middle.  

 

Also, "winning" can mean different things to different contributors. To many older types, like me, winning on Alamy means making enough sales every month to supplement other income. Younger photographers who really want to win -- i.e. actually make a decent living from this -- are the ones who face the biggest challenges.

Edited by John Mitchell
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I've enjoyed reading everyone's views and found all of them valid in one way or another. I'm still browsing Roberts links. (some of which are heavy going) Oh I so wish I had a creative bone in my body. As it stands, I don't think I can win at the Alamy game. I didn't have 10'000 images to dump in Alamy at the start. I had no professional photographic background and I had to feel my way into stock. What Alamy has given me is a reason to travel, explore, and to shoot, and also a desire to improve every aspect of producing pictures. If I ever find a style or a strong preference for what I like to photograph then I may head in a different direction but for now my aim is to improve returns and make this 'hobby' self sufficient. (and maybe a little left over ;) ) This year I've added quite a number of images which I feel are of higher standard than before however I'm only a few dollars short of last years total with 14 more sales. It feels like treading water in a vortex. Approximately 500 images added so far this year and probably another 100 before the years end should see me a bit short of the 4000 mark I had hoped for. However I'm going back to read all the comments again and see if I can work out a strategy for next year. If it means less images being uploaded next year then so be it. If I can't make more sales then better sales might be possible. Thanks for all the comments so far, I'm sure they will help others too.

 

Cheers

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"you either have to keep uploading tons of sell-able (enough to maintain ranking) images or keep your collection small, high-quality, and well-edited and learn how to excel at the ranking game" John.

 

If you enjoy doing that, and you don't need much of an income, then good.  But all that shoe leather, endless snapping and keywording would droive my bloody mental.

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I've enjoyed reading everyone's views and found all of them valid in one way or another. I'm still browsing Roberts links. (some of which are heavy going) Oh I so wish I had a creative bone in my body. As it stands, I don't think I can win at the Alamy game. I didn't have 10'000 images to dump in Alamy at the start. I had no professional photographic background and I had to feel my way into stock. What Alamy has given me is a reason to travel, explore, and to shoot, and also a desire to improve every aspect of producing pictures. If I ever find a style or a strong preference for what I like to photograph then I may head in a different direction but for now my aim is to improve returns and make this 'hobby' self sufficient. (and maybe a little left over ;) ) This year I've added quite a number of images which I feel are of higher standard than before however I'm only a few dollars short of last years total with 14 more sales. It feels like treading water in a vortex. Approximately 500 images added so far this year and probably another 100 before the years end should see me a bit short of the 4000 mark I had hoped for. However I'm going back to read all the comments again and see if I can work out a strategy for next year. If it means less images being uploaded next year then so be it. If I can't make more sales then better sales might be possible. Thanks for all the comments so far, I'm sure they will help others too.

 

Cheers

 

I would see that material as being helpful to anyone who wants to make their work more commercially relevant, Dougie.  For example, consider how RF licences are pretty much standard now.  Buyers don't want to be tied to a specific usage.  Many contributors avoid RF because of Alamy's very tight rules about releases, but, as long as you avoid all logos and brands, don't have a private building as a main subject, and make sure you do have signed model releases when you need them, releases aren't such a big hurdle.  A lot of commercial work is now done in CGI - harder to do, but no paperwork needed.  However, I would say, if you intend only to use Alamy, and intend to stick with RM, textbook sales are what you should be aiming for.  This does mean specialising more - in something that you find interesting relevant to that market.

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"you either have to keep uploading tons of sell-able (enough to maintain ranking) images or keep your collection small, high-quality, and well-edited and learn how to excel at the ranking game" John.

 

If you enjoy doing that, and you don't need much of an income, then good.  But all that shoe leather, endless snapping and keywording would droive my bloody mental.

 

You have a point there, Robert, but all the walking between bouts of keywording does help keep weight and blood pressure down.

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I've enjoyed reading everyone's views and found all of them valid in one way or another. I'm still browsing Roberts links. (some of which are heavy going) Oh I so wish I had a creative bone in my body. As it stands, I don't think I can win at the Alamy game. I didn't have 10'000 images to dump in Alamy at the start. I had no professional photographic background and I had to feel my way into stock. What Alamy has given me is a reason to travel, explore, and to shoot, and also a desire to improve every aspect of producing pictures. If I ever find a style or a strong preference for what I like to photograph then I may head in a different direction but for now my aim is to improve returns and make this 'hobby' self sufficient. (and maybe a little left over ;) ) This year I've added quite a number of images which I feel are of higher standard than before however I'm only a few dollars short of last years total with 14 more sales. It feels like treading water in a vortex. Approximately 500 images added so far this year and probably another 100 before the years end should see me a bit short of the 4000 mark I had hoped for. However I'm going back to read all the comments again and see if I can work out a strategy for next year. If it means less images being uploaded next year then so be it. If I can't make more sales then better sales might be possible. Thanks for all the comments so far, I'm sure they will help others too.

 

Cheers

 

I would see that material as being helpful to anyone who wants to make their work more commercially relevant, Dougie.  For example, consider how RF licences are pretty much standard now.  Buyers don't want to be tied to a specific usage.  Many contributors avoid RF because of Alamy's very tight rules about releases, but, as long as you avoid all logos and brands, don't have a private building as a main subject, and make sure you do have signed model releases when you need them, releases aren't such a big hurdle.  A lot of commercial work is now done in CGI - harder to do, but no paperwork needed.  However, I would say, if you intend only to use Alamy, and intend to stick with RM, textbook sales are what you should be aiming for.  This does mean specialising more - in something that you find interesting relevant to that market.

 

 

Helpful links and good advice, Robert. Almost all of my Alamy images are RM and almost all of my sales are textbook, retail, book or magazine. However, I find that Alamy will extend RM licenses to include multiple uses when necessary with other types of sales, including commercial ones. So I'm not totally convinced that RF is the best way to go on Alamy given the higher costs (theoretically) of RF images and the possibility that Alamy customers are looking for an alternative to the RF sites. BTW, what is CGI?

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Computer-generated imaging.

 

Ah yes, course, my dumb. Thanks.

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"So I'm not totally convinced that RF is the best way to go on Alamy given the higher costs (theoretically) of RF images and the possibility that Alamy customers are looking for an alternative to the RF sites"  John

 

And prices for contributors are modest to say the least.  Agencies are allowed to set their own prices, which can be twice as much

 

"BTW, what is CGI?"

 

"But the most exciting aspect of imaging is the ability to create new, unimagined photos."  (quote from the paper in the third of the links I gave)

 

E.g, 

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You need lots of images AND a good, steady ranking.

Or - if you're name is wiskerke - just a good ranking ;) 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

I totally agree: just take and upload rubbish pictures. If you have a steady good ranking anything will sell.

NOT.

 

Take a good hard look at all the ones (images and photographers) that land in front of you when you do a search for your home town (or any other preferred subject).

Would you choose them over your own? Why would clients choose them? What are those contributors doing and how do they do it (different from what you are doing)?

 

If they are better, why upload yours?

 

Yes I play the lottery too. And no I have never won a serious prize.Despite being born on a Sunday, which in our part of the world means one's a lucky dog: a zondagskind.

Maybe the zondagskind bit only works on Alamy? ;-)

 

wim

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Zondagskind? I like that. It has a nice zing to it.  :)

 

One of the major things with stock is . . . access. 

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How to win Alamy (specifically) game? I am not sure there's an actionable recipe that many can follow. I've decided many years ago NOT to quite play it, but play elsewhere with non-Alamy images. If you want to play non-Alamy game, spend time on Geoff's links (as part of a bigger market study), choose a well-paying market segment and specialize. Non-Alamy images pay so much better than Alamy images. Moreover, non-Alamy images net 40x on G. than they net on Alamy (personal data - same set of images). The answer is clear to this contributor. Your mileage may vary.

GI

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Ya i HAD a dream years ago ito be a traveling photographer when i retired.. Well that fell through unless i want to foot the whole bill or most of it most of the time. Thats because millions of others had the same dream and i didnt know it.

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"PS: "Moreover, non-Alamy images net 40x on G. than they net on Alamy (personal data - same set of images)" I thought G was exclusive? "

 

For contributors, yes.  For agencies, mainly with RF collections, no.  I have sales every month there with less than 100 images, here, same set, occasionally.  C is beginning to look very good, with better terms.  Alamy roughly on a par with several smaller European agencies. 

 

------------------------------------

 

Edit:  fhought I would add, in case someone up there at HQ has an angry finger hovering over the delete button:  I also have an unreleased editorial agency collection there (social/environmental issues), the same here, and Alamy has been doing better as far as net earnings go.  G would be a very tough place for anyone doing typical Alamy work.

Edited by Robert Brook
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