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Fantastic advice Gen, and thanks bunches!    It is very encouraging getting such a friendly feedback across the Forum; as at the end we are direct competition.

 

Re "Smells Good";    I just couldn't help myself I will change it   (Can  you picture scene standing in a jeep with roof of & watching that 5 meters away?).

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Regarding landscapes:

 

My portfolio on Alamy is still very small, but I get weekly sales. Maybe a third of them are landscapes, but usually landscapes with a foreground subject. Like hikers in nature, or train in the Alps, or, most recently, church in the mountains. So, landscapes do sell, at least for me.

 

 

Regarding microstock:

 

I repeatedly sold a trivial RF picture (inanimate object isolated on bright background) here for good amounts, even though exactly the same picture is available on microstock (not by me; I'd never participate in microstock). Apparently, not every customer compares prices.

 

I really don't understand why people want to participate in microstock, unless they have a portfolio of a few ten thousand images. If not, what benefit does it give to them? It can't be the financial aspect because with a small portfolio, even with a high number of downloads, they will never make a considerable amount of money. So, what's left? Does it increase their self-confidence seeing their pictures getting sold? If yes, then why not join a photo club or post on Facebook/Instagram/Flickr/... instead? Skip the 10 cents profit per download but instead get comments, upvots and likes on your images.

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And I'm another one who will tell you to get away from micros - don't waste your work and time for cents.

 

Why?

 

1. I've been there. I joined micros almost 10 years ago and left it few years ago when things started going down for all of us + there was growing lack of respect for authors on many fields. Some micro agencies do very dirty things like for example Depositphotos partners case (read on microstock forum). I'm still observing closely the situation with my friends who stay there. I know people who used to earn 1-3k $/ month and now barely get 100-500$. It can tell it's getting worse and worse every year in micro world.

After I joined macro sites, self pricing and PODs my income doubled in first 6 months (!) so yes, it was a good (best) choice I could make!

 

2. Micros pay less and less for photographers and the trend is much more serious and touchable than with macros.

 

3. Your work is valuable, unique, worth the respect and normal money. And that's the part of secret key to have sales:

quality + quantity + uniqueness+ perfect description and keywords (tags) + patience

 

 

Edited typo.

Edited by Arletta
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You have some beautiful photographs, I think you will eventually get sales here. A bigger portfolio, descriptive and accurate captions, and time will help.  It may takes months for a sale to be reported. Personally  I would not sell stunning and hard to get images on microstock; why devalue them by selling them for pennies?

 

Maria

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1 more question:   I read somewhere "it is better to sell a photo 100 times for 50 cents, than 1 time for 50 bucks".

 

 

I don't follow that philosophy, largely because if you sell a photo 100 times then there are 100 times more opportunities for it to get ripped off, with no extra financial benefit to you. Also my photos are worth more than 50c.

 

I echo other people's comments about your captions, about microstock, about the size of your portfolio. But your photographs are really good, every single one of them. You will make sales if you're patient.

 

Alan

Edited by Inchiquin
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Beautiful images. One thing I noticed, but this doesn't have anything to do with views unless images are being searched with keywords of copyspace, copy space.

You have almost no copyspace in your images.

I agree that the features look imposing taken or cropped tightly, but there's not much room for a buyer to crop the image to fit their publication without losing features.

For instance, your panoramas. Are you shooting panoramas in camera or cropping them to pano?

The sky is often the perfect place for copyspace but you've got very little of that.

Sometimes while I develop one of my images, I think, darn, I didn't leave enough copyspace.

By the way, if you do have copyspace, be sure those words are in your tags.

 

Just a thought.

 

Betty

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Well you have asked some fantastic questions, and received some fantastic advice from your competition.

 
The only Alamy forum advice I would differ with, is the 
advice on microstock.
 
Microstock is a volume business, with a low per sale return. The volume part is why you make quick sales on microstock. Alamy, and other libraries like Alamy, are a lower volume businesses with a higher return per sale. That is why it takes time on Alamy. The return for an identical portfolio on the two sales channels could be roughly the same. There are very successful photographers exclusive to either channel. As to successful photographers, do not believe everything you hear on any forum, about sales.
 
You should not care about high or low prices, or return per image. The important thing is the size of your annual sales, commensurate with the effort you are putting into the particular sales channel.
 
I think you are best to have a foothold in both sales channels.
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One of the reasons the prices on Alamy have dropped is because of people are willing to give their images away for $0.10 at microstock.  Alamy has to compete so they drop prices.  The less people supply microstock the better off everyone will be.

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Keep in mind I've only looked at three of your photos but feel you need better captions. What am I looking at and where is it? Currently captions (not super tags) are the words that Alamy's search engine use to place your photos in order and you want to get your photos on the first page if you want sales. If you really want sales but have a small portfolio, you need to take photos of subject matters that no one else has on Alamy. My best sellers that sell every month are the ones that no one else has. Try to take photos of anything that is hip and trendy, taken in POV (personal point of view), meaning have a hand or foot or fork in the frame. 

 

Some videos you might be interested in on YouTube...

 

My Highest Selling Photos:

 

My Best Selling Photos:

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I'd rather sell one license for $100 than 1000 for $0.10 each, as I believe I deserve a higher degree of reward for the work I put into my images. 

 

Geoff.

 

 

Why claim a higher reward, when the financial reward is the same?

 
If the higher reward is to receive a higher per image price than the microstock competition, but the same money overall, then it’s an emotional reward. It is not a business reward.
 
My emotional reward is not about price paid per sale. It is about creating the image. My business reward is the amount of money earned, regardless of price or sales channel.
 
Total money, microstock or Alamy stock, finances the image creation that yields the emotional rewards. 10 cents or 100 dollars per sale, I do not care as long as the total money is the same.

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Why claim a higher reward, when the financial reward is the same?

 

 

 

Because:

 

( a ) as I said earlier it multiplies the possibilities of your images being ripped off, thus potentially reducing your revenue in the future;

 

( b ) it encourages buyers to undervalue photography generally, thus in the long term driving all revenue down.

 

Ah, but of course people these days only think about their own short-term gain.

 

Alan

Edited by Inchiquin
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Coming back to the original post, 2 months and a small number of submissions is too early to make any judgements.  More images and more time are needed.  I got 1000 images up in my first eight months (September 2014) and started making regular sales from that point (only 1 month, January 2015, without a sale).  So nothing unusual about what appears to be a lack of interest by buyers.

 

Other points have been raised about the difference between macro and microstock.  From a business point of view - and let's face it, it is a business however attached we may be to our babies - income and cashflow are critical.  Oh, it's nice to see our images used - but nicer still to be paid.  Ideally as much as possible per image/time period, whether via 1 macro sale at $50 or 200 micro sales at 25c.  The difficulty is in knowing which market to go for individual images.  In my own case it was a fairly easy decision given my major specialisation in botanical/horticultural photography.  The market, though buoyant, is limited.  I'm not going to sell to masses of small businesses but to a relatively few gardening magazines, book and calendar publishers, and gardening supplements in newspapers / web papers.  Down the microstock route I might have sold a few more photos - but I'd have got far lower prices.  In my opinion my rewards would have been lower.  That was the basis on which I went with Alamy when I entered the stock photography market 3 years ago.  

 

For me, I think it was the right choice.  For other shooters it may not be.  But look at it with a business head on.  Which route or routes will maximise income?  Choose those.

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Why claim a higher reward, when the financial reward is the same?

 

 

Because:

 

( a ) as I said earlier it multiplies the possibilities of your images being ripped off, thus potentially reducing your revenue in the future;

 

( b ) it encourages buyers to undervalue photography generally, thus in the long term driving all revenue down.

 

Ah, but of course people these days only think about their own short-term gain.

 

Alan

 

 

 

Would you agree to selling a lot of images at higher prices through Alamy then? The rip off effect would be the same. If you are successful at distributing your work at any level, then being ripped off on copyright comes with the territory.

 
Stock photography is undervalued, but hold out for better prices to raise the value of stock photography? That train left the station 20 years ago.
 
If the world is tending towards lower prices, and you are willing to lower prices to ensure your financial future, isn’t that thinking in the long term? Today anyone trying to sell RM stock for higher prices is thinking in the short term. Like it or not, the price of a stock photo will go down.
 
I think John Richmond makes good points regarding the two sales channels.
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Captions + Keywords. Make all of your images green. ) Add location, category, power tags etc.

Please don't strive to make all your images green. Not all images need 50 keywords, and getting views for irrelevant keywords will not help you sell any more files, and will put buyers off the site if they get poor search results.

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Fantastic discussion guys, and thanks again.  Obviously I will improve certain things like captions & copy space.

 

# of images is different issue though.  While it is more than obvious it is numbers game, I  don't like  having multiple images showing the same thing, just from slightly different angle;  personal preference.  So it will take time to build at least moderately sized portfolio.   For this calendar year I have set target of 500;  

 

Microstock vs alamy is different topic.  I agree with most what's been said, but not all.   I think largest problem really is ease of photography that digital era has brought;  today just about anyone with smartphone in the back of his pocket is photographer.   Getting accepted to SS or Getty Images is dead easy (not so at Alamy);   then  you simply dump your memory stick and there you go.   As curiosity, the other day I did search for "Lake Louise" on SS;   12000 images returned!   It is virtually impossible to swim out. 

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.

The big problem nowadays is that agencies are seen as photography clubs where - if you are very lucky - you may as well earn a buck or two. I notice it more and more in the Introductions forum that people don't have a care in the world whether their images sell or not. Then why are they here?  :rolleyes: This business isn't taken seriously anymore. 

 

That is just how stuff work in this world Philippe;  things change and nothing is static.  To compare with different industry: Nowdays with Internet, You Tube, digital downloads etc music is almost expected to be free.   So artists (I like to think good, quality photography is type of art as well)  need to adopt and find new ways to survive. 

 

I think 1 thing that remains constant is quality.  It was mentioned in this thread by someone.  Good, quality stuff will always be in demand;  you just have to find new ways in order to get noticed (which brings us back to  captions, sort of :)

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That's a bit of a moot point. The difference really between the two is fairly obvious.

 

You can take photos for about 10 minutes of your life and immediately start contributing them to say for example, Alamy. Providing they're in focus, they will be accepted and out on sale.

 

It's a lot more difficult to get accepted by say, Warner Chappell after a couple of hours noodling on a musical instrument. :)

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( a ) as I said earlier it multiplies the possibilities of your images being ripped off, thus potentially reducing your revenue in the future;

 

( b ) it encourages buyers to undervalue photography generally, thus in the long term driving all revenue down.

 

Ah, but of course people these days only think about their own short-term gain.

I am retired and can well afford to go into micros's,  however i won't because i have respect for my work and others who try to do the rite thing in staying away from micro's, i also have nothing to prove by being published.

 

Plus + + + to Phillipe for speaking out.

 

Cheers,

 

Paul.

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There are some very intelligent stock photographers in the microstock channel.

 
Would anyone consider microstocker Yuri Arcurs a moron? I would consider him a very smart game changer.
 
 
The future 5 years down the road is very important for anyone considering retirement or about to retire or retired. How else can you plan your retirement or sustain your retirement lifestyle, except to try to envision a future 5 years from now?
 
There are two sales channels, conventional stock and microstock. I think stock photographers should have a foot in both channels.
 
At Alamy we can almost be in both channels. At Alamy we have the choice of shooting what we want, of RM or RF, personal use or not, novel use or not, international system or not, news and entertainment or not, historical or not, illustrations or not. We can individually position our unique businesses for 5 years down the road.
 
As an aside, all the comments about doing the right thing are familiar to me. As a stock photographer, I heard them from assignment photographers, when stock photographers were driving them out of business. There was a time when clients would assign photographers to travel the country and shoot scenics. Some scenic assignment photographers adapted and started to shoot stock.

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"If everybody DID care about prices when microstock popped up, we'd ALL still be receiving reasonable prices for our work. The reason why the whole photography business has been blown to smithereens is because absolute morons just wanted to see their images sold in huge numbers. No matter what they were paid because those amateurs didn't need the money. The vast majority of these utter idiots just kick on sales' volume which most probably boost their ego enormously. Oh, they are soooo successful. B)

Have you no pride AT ALL in your work? Aren't you ashamed to sell work in which you invested lots of time (including the years to perfect your craft) AND money (fuel, camera equipment, computer software, ...) for less than a bloody peanut? Do those who publish your 20-cents-masterpieces also work for peanuts?"

 

 

 

If you want to blame anything for the current situation then blame the DIGITAL CAMERA which has resulted in almost anybody being able to produce a saleable picture and even those who can not do occasionally get lucky.

 

In the days of film the major agencies controlled the prices and also to a certain extent controlled what was available for publishing by only selecting the best photographers in their particular field and kept prices high whilst still returning around 50% to the photographer. I wish I had a pound for every time I was asked by a photographer wannabe how to get accepted by agencies.

 

Then along came the micros and the likes of Alamy who opened the flood gates and gave millions the chance to see their work in print. They also opened the floodgates to the original agencies so that the photographer now gets 50% of 50% most of the time.

 

As Bill says prior to that all the commission togs were moaning about the stock togs under cutting them- unfortunately its known as progress and either one sucks it up or moves on to greater things in a different field.

 

Regen

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So, all the crap photo's go on the micro sites and all the good photo's go on Alamy. Is that how it works :D

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So, all the crap photo's go on the micro sites and all the good photo's go on Alamy. Is that how it works :D

 

Well, not really. Some people submit the same images to both.

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The problem with that is the customer will look on both sites see your image for pennies on the micro site and buy it there, no?

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The problem with that is the customer will look on both sites see your image for pennies on the micro site and buy it there, no?

 

Yes, that's the problem.

 

I was making a bad attempt at humour BTW. B)

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