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dbooksta

How should I pick the license type?

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I don't understand why it is up to me as a contributor to determine the license type for my image.  In general I would like any prospective buyer to have the option to buy whatever license they want.

 

I assume that Royalty Free (RF) is the most expensive license.  When I have no interest in restricting usage I would like this to be an option.

 

I assume that Rights-Managed-Exclusive (RM-E) is less expensive than RF but more than RM.  If someone wants to pay for exclusivity I would like them to have that option.

 

Finally, if someone doesn't want to pay for either of the above, I would like them to have the option to buy a cheaper license with usage restrictions.

 

But when I load images I can only pick one of the above.  So is it the case that if I designate RF then Alamy will also make it available under the more restrictive terms?  If not, please help me understand this!

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RM - different pricing structures for editorial and commercial (property and model releases required for commercial usage).

RM exclusive - property and model releases required (if needed), different pricing structures for editorial and commercial

RF - property and model releases required (if needed), same pricing structure for editorial and commercial (IIRC) and images can be used repeatedly without further revenue. 

Edited by vpics

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My friend,

 

I've been in this business for many decades and I do not do RF.  My choice.

In my opinion RM or Rights Managed is the only proper way to license real images.

Keep in mind that I am not concerned with what I made today, I am concerned with

the usage of my images in the decades to come.

 

Just the way I do things.

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It's not just a case of what's the best Licence format, it's what's the best format for the image.

 

Some images I would only ever use RM for, hard to get / unique imagery. However, for something that is very easy to get a hold of or replicate, then I often use RF (provided I have MR & PR). 

 

The type of images you're supplying should dictate the type of licence to use. For instance, I produce a lot of images for micro market that are low to near zero cost to produce in high volumes (apart from time on the computer). I would never put these up as RM. An image taken at the top of a 6000m peak, no chance at all it would be anything other than RM. Horses for courses.

 

What you will now be gathering is that it isn't a simple yes/no answer. You have to assess each image you produce and more over, think about how the image will be used before you pull the trigger. We shouldn't sell images we take, we take images that will sell. It all takes time, practice and experience.

 

In terms of sale price, this month (as with others) an RF sale has been a three figure sale while some RM have only been two. Swings and roundabouts

Edited by Duncan_Andison
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It's up to you if you want to loose control over your work (RF) or keep it (RM).

 

I started years ago with RF only, because all friends did RF and I had no idea what I loose with this choice. After all these years of experience I've learnt that all I need is RM, and this is my goal to produce RM only.

About pricing, it's not that RM is cheaper. Some RM orders can give you xxxx $ for only one usage! Consider also that many clients don't want to use RF images in their projects to not meet the same picture everywhere... That's why they are ready to pay more for RM.

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It's up to you if you want to loose control over your work (RF) or keep it (RM).

 

I started years ago with RF only, because all friends did RF and I had no idea what I loose with this choice. After all these years of experience I've learnt that all I need is RM, and this is my goal to produce RM only.

About pricing, it's not that RM is cheaper. Some RM orders can give you xxxx $ for only one usage! Consider also that many clients don't want to use RF images in their projects to not meet the same picture everywhere... That's why they are ready to pay more for RM.

 

RF loosing control? Yes, you don't have the control as RM BUT, there are images that don't require that level of control. Shoot for the market your aiming for and choose the licence type accordingly.

 

I see a lot of black and white approaches but the reality is, there's a fair bit of grey in between. RM is barely 10% of my overall income, there's no way I'd want to chuck away several thousand $'s a month by discounting RF. At the same time, I want the option to put the right imagery as RM. I really don't get this "One Size Fits All" approach. It sometimes feels like it's a football game and you have to support one side or the other.

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My friend,

 

I've been in this business for many decades and I do not do RF.  My choice.

In my opinion RM or Rights Managed is the only proper way to license real images.

Keep in mind that I am not concerned with what I made today, I am concerned with

the usage of my images in the decades to come.

 

Just the way I do things.

 

What Alamy calls RM isn't RM by any stretch of the imagination.  I know, because I have work that is properly rights managed.

 

'RF' is something of a misnomer.  It just means that buyers pay for what they get, where what they get is a file of a specific size.  It means a lot of gross fees in the hundreds of pounds rather than tens of dollars.  There is no established relationship with longevity - that depends upon the image, not the licence.  Buyers usually still have the option of buying an ordinary  licence for editorial use.

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I'm still bewildered.  Part of it is apparently that I don't understand the implications of the licenses:

 

  • RF: Any number of clients can buy the same image and use it with no restrictions.  Any image with RF license is also available to clients under RM options.
  • RM: Image is only sold using Alamy's five RM license options, which can be cheaper than full-res RF.  What "control" do you have as a contributor by selecting this option, vs RF?
  • RM-E: What's exclusive?  Is the contributor asserting that no more than one client shall ever get to use the image?  I.e., after first sale it's not available for licensing?  And/or is it that the contributor is guaranteeing that he will never license the image to anyone else?  Does RM-E always command a higher price than both RM and RF?
Edited by dbooksta

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1) Yes. No. An image is either RM or RF, not both.

2) Other than individual restrictions, none.

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1) Yes. No. An image is either RM or RF, not both.

 

I'm just looking at the purchase options for test images I submitted under RF.  The first that appear are five RM options, then there is a link to also show RF options.  So is it not correct to state that if I designate my image RF then Alamy will still offer it as RM as well?

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1) Yes. No. An image is either RM or RF, not both.

 

I'm just looking at the purchase options for test images I submitted under RF.  The first that appear are five RM options, then there is a link to also show RF options.  So is it not correct to state that if I designate my image RF then Alamy will still offer it as RM as well?

The drop-downs on the sales page appear to be the same for RF and RM- they're actually not correct for RF. If you click 'options' you will see a price list for various file sizes, not a usage table as you do for RM.

Edited by spacecadet

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OK, here's what I see for my "RF" image.  What does an RM purchase screen look like?

 

2015-11-19_1209.png

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I'm still bewildered.  Part of it is apparently that I don't understand the implications of the licenses:

 

  •  
  • RM-E: What's exclusive?  Is the contributor asserting that no more than one client shall ever get to use the image?  I.e., after first sale it's not available for licensing?  And/or is it that the contributor is guaranteeing that he will never license the image to anyone else?  Does RM-E always command a higher price than both RM and RF?

 

My understanding is that RM-E means the image must be exclusive to Alamy so you can't send it anywhere else.  It could be sold to many different clients under different licenses though.

 

Pearl

Edited by Pearl

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I'm still bewildered.  Part of it is apparently that I don't understand the implications of the licenses:

 

  • RF: Any number of clients can buy the same image and use it with no restrictions.  Any image with RF license is also available to clients under RM options.
  • RM: Image is only sold using Alamy's five RM license options, which can be cheaper than full-res RF.  What "control" do you have as a contributor by selecting this option, vs RF?
  • RM-E: What's exclusive?  Is the contributor asserting that no more than one client shall ever get to use the image?  I.e., after first sale it's not available for licensing?  And/or is it that the contributor is guaranteeing that he will never license the image to anyone else?  Does RM-E always command a higher price than both RM and RF?

 

 

There can be any number of restrictions written into an RF licence.  It is simply pricing based on file size, rather than usage. 

 

With RM, you, the supplier, can apply specific usage restrictions.  For example, if you ever wanted to use an image in a limited print edition, then you place a restriction against display usage.  This is one very good feature of Alamy - you don't get such a comprehensive range of options in other places

 

With regard to RF being sold as RM:  I make a lot of 'RM' sales from RF images.  It just means that the buyer pays for a specified usage.  Since I don't have anything to do with Alamy RF (as a direct supplier) I'm not sure what happens here, but, as far as I can see, there is nothing to stop an image tagged 'RF' being sold under an ordinary usage licence.

Edited by Robert Brook

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OK, here's what I see for my "RF" image.  What does an RM purchase screen look like?

 

2015-11-19_1209.png

Sorry, cut and paste isn't allowed apparently.

You get a licence options template instead of file sizes.

Try  D37R54.

Edited by spacecadet

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I only used RF on pictures that are not special at all and are probably found in many portfolios (i.e. flowers, trees, ...). 

I believe that RF can be purchased and then re-sold, without me getting any further royalties - so I will use RF only on images where I do not care.

 

Anything else is RM - specially where I do not have property and model releases (which I rarely have or can provide) - but these need to be RM anyways. 

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I only used RF on pictures that are not special at all and are probably found in many portfolios (i.e. flowers, trees, ...). 

I believe that RF can be purchased and then re-sold, without me getting any further royalties - so I will use RF only on images where I do not care.

 

Anything else is RM - specially where I do not have property and model releases (which I rarely have or can provide) - but these need to be RM anyways. 

 

It doesn't matter what anyone believes, it's facts that matter. The fact, for instance, that most RF license agreements specifically forbid reselling, or enabling reselling to take place illicitly.

 

The crucial thing about RF is that it facilitates commercial sales, but also that it is increasingly the license of choice for serious editorial buyers.  It is now where the money is.  If photography is your hobby, then Alamy's version of RM (RM lite) is fine.  You'll earn enough to buy some equipment, maybe pay for a couple of holidays.  But anyone professionally involved in stock photography, with the exception of press togs perhaps, has to consider RF as the license of choice, and selling through a number of agencies, with RM reserved for personal work, or work aimed at the top end of the market.

 

See Duncan's post above - that's the reality

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I only used RF on pictures that are not special at all and are probably found in many portfolios (i.e. flowers, trees, ...). 

I believe that RF can be purchased and then re-sold, without me getting any further royalties - so I will use RF only on images where I do not care.

 

Anything else is RM - specially where I do not have property and model releases (which I rarely have or can provide) - but these need to be RM anyways. 

 

It doesn't matter what anyone believes, it's facts that matter. The fact, for instance, that most RF license agreements specifically forbid reselling, or enabling reselling to take place illicitly.

 

The crucial thing about RF is that it facilitates commercial sales, but also that it is increasingly the license of choice for serious editorial buyers.  It is now where the money is.  If photography is your hobby, then Alamy's version of RM (RM lite) is fine.  You'll earn enough to buy some equipment, maybe pay for a couple of holidays.  But anyone professionally involved in stock photography, with the exception of press togs perhaps, has to consider RF as the license of choice, and selling through a number of agencies, with RM reserved for personal work, or work aimed at the top end of the market.

 

See Duncan's post above - that's the reality

 

 

Stock is my ONLY income and I ONLY sell RM (and when I look in the mirror in the morning, I don't look too undernourished)

All the full-time pros I know personally, all sell ONLY RM and - as you know - many do here as well.

 

"See Duncan's post above - that's the reality"

See Duncan's port: it's all typical RF material and NOT the kind of pictures the vast majority submits here, at Alamy.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

?!?!?

 

I don't often disagree with you but, nearly 4,800 of my 7,600 are RM and probably only 2k are typical RF stuff that doesn't sell well here (but does still sell).

 

I have a feeling you just skipped the first couple of pages without looking deeper into my port. I think it would be wise to amend that statement as it does sound derogatory but is also inaccurate.

 

I have a standalone port of 4,500 RF images that are elsewhere as I don't believe they would sell very well here. They make nearly 7 times the income that 7,600 images make here. I'd need to make many $k's p/month here to replace it. But that is my point, we aren't supporting football teams here, we can support both sides and make plenty of money from both.

 

Edit. P.S. I did give you the greenie as I don't believe you meant anything bad by it. Sort of know what you are saying i.e. here at Alamy RM is king but it just sounds a little like you are applying it to everywhere when reality says RM is only one part of the system.

Edited by Duncan_Andison

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I believe each of us have different experience and expectations, as different images and style (different client at the end). In my photo sell experience I've noticed that it's better to sell RM (like Philippe's). Others will do better with selling RF. Why fight for the rights? ;)

 

Dbooksta (and all other newbies), test your ground, try both and make your conclusions after two years (one is nothing in macro sales).

Edited by Arletta
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I believe each of us have different experience and expectations, as different images and style (different client at the end). In my photo sell experience I've noticed that it's better to sell RM (like Philippe's). Others will do better with selling RF. Why fight for the rights? ;)

 

Dbooksta (and all other newbies), test your ground, try both and make your conclusions after two years (one is nothing in macro sales).

 

Exactly. There is no hard and fast rules. The images you take / create will dictate the licence you use as will cost of capturing the image. Don't set expensive imagery as RF if it isn't going to sell in high numbers. There are so many variables involved and unfortunately, there is a lot to learn with very few right / wrong yes/no answers.

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Sorry, indeed my mistake. I only did look at the first few pages of your port which are almost all RF and thus gave me that wrong impression.

I certainly didn't mean to be derogatory. I DON'T look down on RF, it's just not my cup of tea, I'm just sick and tired of people (and I don't mean you) who give the impression that RF is the way to go and preferably elsewhere.

 

Robert always implies that commercial RFs are the way to make money (elsewhere) and the rest is just for amateurs. THAT's derogatory! Sure, commercial photography will bring in more bucks than editorial, but not everybody is interested in this kind of shooting. There's more in life than money. But implying that editorial RM is just for amateurs trying to save enough for buying a new lens from time to time is absolute bullshit. 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

No worries, I thought that was the case :D .

 

Most know I do a lot of RF elsewhere and I enjoy that, it pays the bills and I have fun doing it but, Alamy is still an important part of my future business plan, I may not have submitted much over the last year (if you're reading, Sorry Alamy  ;) ) but that will change soon as I do love getting out from the studio capturing images for them. I wouldn't want to sacrifice one for the other as you say, the money just allows us to do the things we love. All I need is 48 hour day to fit everything in  :D

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I only used RF on pictures that are not special at all and are probably found in many portfolios (i.e. flowers, trees, ...). 

I believe that RF can be purchased and then re-sold, without me getting any further royalties - so I will use RF only on images where I do not care.

 

Anything else is RM - specially where I do not have property and model releases (which I rarely have or can provide) - but these need to be RM anyways. 

 

It doesn't matter what anyone believes, it's facts that matter. The fact, for instance, that most RF license agreements specifically forbid reselling, or enabling reselling to take place illicitly.

 

The crucial thing about RF is that it facilitates commercial sales, but also that it is increasingly the license of choice for serious editorial buyers.  It is now where the money is.  If photography is your hobby, then Alamy's version of RM (RM lite) is fine.  You'll earn enough to buy some equipment, maybe pay for a couple of holidays.  But anyone professionally involved in stock photography, with the exception of press togs perhaps, has to consider RF as the license of choice, and selling through a number of agencies, with RM reserved for personal work, or work aimed at the top end of the market.

 

See Duncan's post above - that's the reality

 

 

Stock is my ONLY income and I ONLY sell RM (and when I look in the mirror in the morning, I don't look too undernourished)

All the full-time pros I know personally, all sell ONLY RM and - as you know - many do here as well.

 

"See Duncan's post above - that's the reality"

See Duncan's port: it's all typical RF material and NOT the kind of pictures the vast majority submits here, at Alamy.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

This is the line I took a few years back.  I now realize that it was nonsense.  The reason is, that RF is just a license type.  It doesn't describe any type or genre of photography (it appeared to do in the days when the bulk of RF consisted mainly of very generic styles).  It can be either commercial or editorial - that depends much more on the agency than anything else.  But the fact is that increasingly editorial buyers want it and that's what they are going to get.  Agencies are slowly falling into line, or, like Alamy, dismantling the RM model to make it more flexible - but also a lot cheaper.  I think part of the confusion arises because people think that the need for releases is an essential ingredient.  Not at all - editorial RF is now with us, both of the cheap kind, and the expensive kind.  There is still going to be an important place for RM, but we don't need to turn it into a religion.

 

I have spent much of my career pursuing personal projects that make no commercial sense, but have to make a living as well.  In one way or another it's the fundamental problem that photographers have - how we balance what we want to do with what we have to do.  What I am saying shouldn't cause any offence to any established photographers here since obviously I am not addressing them (and suggesting they change their ways?!).  I think you Phillippe have stated how near impossible it is for anyone coming into stock photography now (or Alamy stock photography) so what do you think I should advise?  Do it in the old way? Well we can pretty well guarantee that isn't going to work.  Or suggest a different path that might lead somewhere?

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....

 

Well, the following isn't going to please the newcomers, but - as I said already numerous times before - those who want to start with editorial stock have missed the boat 7-8 years ago. Nowadays, I would never advice new photographers starting a professional career in the editorial stock business UNLESS they already have a great stock of a few ten thousand images (if they want to make a living of it NOT just covering their hobby costs).

Editorial images don't sell the same way as commercial ones. You won't sell an image of Heliconia stricta every day, not even every year, but tomorrow you'll sell an aerial view of a stream running through a tidal mudflat and the day after a picture of an M8 Greyhound light armored car of the Forces françaises libres. What I mean by all that, you need LOTS of images, LOTS of very different subjects to provide the customers' needs on a daily basis. 

Just my two cents, but most step into the stock business way too soon. It's like opening a clothes shop and all you have for sale is a few knickers and a sock. 

 

You want to make lots of money with far fewer images. Go ahead and shoot commercial RF images. Unfortunately, that sounds a lot easier than it is. You also need talent for that. 

Anyway, that's not what I want to do. I want to make a living from my nature and travel images and I succeed 'cause I'm lucky to have started in the good days, took the risk of setting up a tiny agency which can offer LOTS of images.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

Talent yes - but that isnt in short supply - at least the small amount needed to produce commercial, or any other kind of stock.  Young people now are lot more visually aware than previous generations - not surprising since we live in an ever increasing visual culture.  But what is equally important, if not more so, they need to understand the industry they hope to be a player in.

Edited by Robert Brook

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Stock is my ONLY income and I ONLY sell RM (and when I look in the mirror in the morning, I don't look too undernourished)

All the full-time pros I know personally, all sell ONLY RM and - as you know - many do here as well.

 

 

Back to the original question: Why sell RM?

 

I assume that everyone here wants to maximize their long-term income from their images.  If you believe RM does that better than RF can you please explain how?

 

Or do you sell RM for some purpose other than maximizing income?  If so, what is the purpose and how does RM as implemented at Alamy serve it?

 

If you think the answer is obvious please don't assume I know it!  Or, if your answer is just, "Well, all the other pros do, but I don't know why," that's fine (though not particularly informative).

Edited by dbooksta

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