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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.

Yes!   This is an excellent point.   Also Microstock rules in regard to "intellectual" property are super strict & that makes lots of images simply not suitable.  I.e. I have photo of saddhu taken in Nepal.  If I'd want to upload this on SS, it would get rejected, requiring people release.  Travel back to Kathmandu and try to find them to sign you a paper? 

 

There is certain dose of negativity on this board towards microstock, which is understandable because that industry is perceived as competitor that takes away enormous slice of the cake.  But (as Bill says) there are some outstanding shots in microstock too, and there are ways to co-exist.  Larger problem in my view is sheer onslaught in terms of quantity regardless of channel  (which goes back to "smartphone photographer" syndrome).   I was surprised to learn how Alamy QA policy was not to edit for content, just technical side.

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Anyway, others can do what they like as far as microstock goes but personally I won't stoop to that level.

 

Geoff.

 

 

So whats your view on DACS? DACS is pennies per use.

 
I just received a nice cheque from the Canada Council Public Lending Rights program (PLR) for the use of of my 11 published books in Canadian public libraries. Each library only pays for a few copies, but lends them out many many times. The actual payment amounts to only pennies per use, but there are many libraries country wide, so it mounts up.
 
I have received a generous PLR cheque every year since I did my last book around 1981. That is a lot of money at pennies per use.
 
The wider the circulation for your work, the more often it is used, the more your income. Unfortunately higher priced RM hardly circulates at all.

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Anyway, others can do what they like as far as microstock goes but personally I won't stoop to that level.

 

Geoff.

 

 

So whats your view on DACS? DACS is pennies per use.

 
I just received a nice cheque from the Canada Council Public Lending Rights program (PLR) for the use of of my 11 published books in Canadian public libraries. Each library only pays for a few copies, but lends them out many many times. The actual payment amounts to only pennies per use, but there are many libraries country wide, so it mounts up.
 
I have received a generous PLR cheque every year since I did my last book around 1981. That is a lot of money at pennies per use.
 
The wider the circulation for your work, the more often it is used, the more your income. Unfortunately higher priced RM hardly circulates at all.

 

 

You cannot compare these two sorts of income, Bill. DACS and library dues are extra income for images you probably have sold personally or from macros sites...

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Would you agree to selling a lot of images at higher prices through Alamy then?

 

 

Of course. The issue was not how many at what price, but a straight comparison between selling 1x for y and selling 100x for y. The rip-off value is 100 times greater for the same income.

 

Alan

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Income is income and nothing more. It is all welcome, as long as you do not break any laws. There is no law, moral or otherwise, against increasing your volume by competing on price.

 
My DACS is all from Alamy sales. DACS is a pittance payment lower than microstock if you calculate each individual use. Presently I do not sell personally or from macros sites. Secondly the library money is from library holdings of my books. It is a pittance payment from the Canadian government when you calculate each reader of the books. However it becomes a large amount because there are so many libraries.
 
If you accept DACS you are accepting individual use payments lower than microstock.
 
Any successful endeavor needs volume, and volume does lead to a higher amount of rip off. Rip-off is risk, but you have to take a calculated risk.
 
How will emerging Blockchain technology effect our stock photo industry in the future?
 
Blockchain is probably the future, as the big banks are already trying to own the technology.
 
It is touted as a frictionless, cost effective way to make a very large number of micropayments for things like intellectual property.
 
The Blockchain payment technology lends itself to microstock. High volume of sales, for low individual amounts. It is a future game changer. Better you get your photo libraries and your minds ready.
 
Lots for your mind on this site. Lots about Alamy
 
 
I have said that photographers should have a foot in both microstock and conventional stock. I think there is probably a sweet spot between the two, neither microstock or conventional stock. Perhaps Alamy can move some of you into that spot. Maybe not
 
Blockchain here:
 
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Please guys, this thread is about answering newbie question in regard of specifics of image sales on Alamy, not micro-stock versus Alamy, etc.

 

I will mark thread answered, just waiting for some images that just passed QA to become available to ask 1 last question, mostly in terms of caption/discoverability which has been identified as my key problem.

 

Thanks

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Income is income and nothing more.

 

 

Bill, you are looking at this very one-dimensionally and completely missing my point. Yes, income is income, but only in isolation. If two forms of income produce equal amounts but one of them has more potential to impact on future income, then they are equal only at the point at which you receive them. I'm more concerned with the bigger picture of a consistent income stream over time.

 

Alan

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AS my grandmother used to say, give time some time. 

 

Keep uploading and trying to do your best.

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AS my grandmother used to say, give time some time. 

 

Keep uploading and trying to do your best.

Thanks Alessandra, I will.   It is encouraging that nobody criticized photos (which is a foundation really).

 

I have one last question for this thread that helped in more aspects than one.  Please consider this image I took just last week:

 

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-chinook-cloud-formations-over-canadian-rocky-mountains-in-banff-national-134020663.html

 

Could the Forum please answer:

 

1)  Is this wrong type of image for Alamy?  You can assume it is very sound technically, on pixel level

2)  Caption was identified as my only real shortcoming so far.  Is this better?   (As far as tags go, I am 50/10, so green - optimized, without spam).

 

Thanks again!

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Still a lot of tags which seem irrelevant. Perhaps you witnessed this scene while snowshoeing, but if there are no snowshoes in the frame I see no reason to add the tag "snowshoe". Why adding "castle", "rockbound lake"? 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

ah. because picture was taken on snowshoe trip  to Rockbound Lake, which is situated in Amphitheater behind Castle Mountain! It is well known area in Banff National Park;  and also anyone that hiked this trail, would probably recognize the skyline (Mt. Inglismaldie in lower part of the frame)

 

I do understand your point though;  to someone on the other side of the world it would seem absolutely irrelevant.   But to someone making the brochure about Banff National Park here in Canada, i.e. Brewster etc. it might.  So I am reasonably comfortable with choice of tags, even if might be relevant only to locals.  Or maybe I am wrong?

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I could for instance enter search string "Hiking Castle Mountain".or "Castle Mountain Trail".   I've done similar searches around on various sites for my own outdoor research purposes.  I was not interested in seeing XYZ Mountain, but scenes from the trail.   So it is a bit relative.  

 

Tagging is in my mind guesswork to what is going on in customer mind while he is looking for something, and what might be logical to 5 people might not be to the 6th.  This is my view anyways, again I could be wrong;  this is the whole point of this discussion I guess?

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I agree with Philippe.

 
Alamy once said the caption was the best place to find Keywords.
 
This image is about Chinook cloud formations, so I would keyword as follows:
 
SUPERTABS
chinook,chinook cloud,clouds,weather,chinook wind,föhn winds,föhn,foehn,föhn wind,foehn wind
 
and TABS
Alberta,Banff,Banff National Park,Rocky Mountains,mountain,weather system,weather prediction,wind,warm wind
 
Wickipedia is your friend
 
A keyword like “active lifestyle” will put the image in front of clients looking for someone hiking through Banff. The client rejection would be recorded by Alamy, and lower your page position. No more first page for you.
 
Try to keyword specifically, not generally.
 
I would write the caption as “Chinook cloud formations over Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park Alberta Canada, predict warmer weather” Awkward but it gets it all in. Remember the caption is searchable also, as well as the tabs.
 
The image is not about most of your keywords, so those keywords work against you.
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I agree with Philippe.

 
Alamy once said the caption was the best place to find Keywords.
 
This image is about Chinook cloud formations, so I would keyword as follows:
 
SUPERTABS
chinook,chinook cloud,clouds,weather,chinook wind,föhn winds,föhn,foehn,föhn wind,foehn wind
 
and TABS
Alberta,Banff,Banff National Park,Rocky Mountains,mountain,weather system,weather prediction,wind,warm wind
 
Wickipedia is your friend
 
A keyword like “active lifestyle” will put the image in front of clients looking for someone hiking through Banff. The client rejection would be recorded by Alamy, and lower your page position. No more first page for you.
 
Try to keyword specifically, not generally.
 
I would write the caption as “Chinook cloud formations over Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park Alberta Canada, predict warmer weather” Awkward but it gets it all in. Remember the caption is searchable also, as well as the tabs.
 
The image is not about most of your keywords, so those keywords work against you.

 

Are they even Chinook clouds? No such thing, just the wind called a Chinook.

I've seen many Chinook Arches, but these look more like regular Lenticular clouds.

I also notice that many of your very short captions are 'arty' rather than 'stocky'. ie, no such thing as a 'Cockatoo girl', it just looks like a girl who likes a cockatoo.

Edited by mickfly

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I also notice that many of your very short captions are 'arty' rather than 'stocky'. ie, no such thing as a 'Cockatoo girl', it just looks like a girl who likes a cockatoo.

 

Yes;  and this is EXACTLY why I am exposing my "work" in such a public fashion ... trying to learn how to do things in best possible way, that is consistent with what Alamy community expects.   So I am very grateful for this;   comments of type "oh, its great, blah blah" don't do anything;  it is criticism that helps.

 

Please, keep it coming!

Edited by Autumn Sky

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Your captions are way too detailed, and kind of vague at the same time.  If you have the traditional name of a mountain, also say it's a big snowy mountain in the Himalayas.  There's lots of space in the caption box, so include both details and loose descriptions.  The same with your keywords.  You want ones that are both simple, "Big Mountain" and detailed "Mt. Everest".  

 

Your photos are great, but all on the big tourist routes, so there are a lot of photos of that stuff around, and so many people dumping that on micro stock sites that the market is totally saturated.  I live in a major ski resort, but I hardly ever sell anything from here because the market is flooded.  I did some travelling though South Africa, and have never sold a Kruger Park shot, but my photos of bars in downtown Johannesburg, where not a lot of people go, sell all the time.  

 

All stock agencies are a numbers game.  You really need to have at least a 1,000 saleable images before you really start to see a lot of sales.

 

As for micro stock, why would you devalue your work so much that you would sell it for $.50?  The only other thing I can think of that you can buy for that is a hamburger (not even a cheeseburger) at McDonalds, so that's the value you're putting on your work, and you've gone to the Himalayas, Egypt, or the Rocky's to get those photos.  Doing a bit of math, I divided my total sales into the total value of sales and came up with an average of slightly less than $60 USD per Alamy sale, which is not too bad, considering that I don't really work at it that hard.  

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David, thanks for detailed comment.   Re captions, opinions differ -- as some consider my captions not detailed enough!  Some consider it artsy, some this, some that.  Clearly it is subjective;  but after the dust settles I'll be able to get true value out of it.   When I started this thread I was not even aware captions are indexed (searchable);  this is by far the biggest gain.

 

I'll stay away from Stock vs Alamy, as it is extremely polarizing;  I'll just repeat I am using stock to see 'what goes';  we are all subjective specially when it comes to our own work, but this is not necessarily what others see of look for.   (i.e. on SS I got most downloads from photo I didn't even consider uploading; while couple of outstanding shots --by my own criteria-- didn't get a single download).

 

You are dead on about saturation, and tons of images from 'common' places (i.e Whistler).    But when you are traveler outside of your country, this is where you go most of the times.  It still doesn't mean it won't sell;   my best seller on SS is motif from Valley of the Kings in Egypt where thousands walk every day.   I think first and foremost photo has to be unique and tell the story that 100s of 1000s of similar don't;  then it will get noticed.

 

 

Thanks again for super review;  much appreciated!

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Haha!  ironic! and funny!!  but your Alamy is constantly over at the MSG forum and recruiting micro-stock photographers!!! didnt you know that?  so of course they come here and why shouldnt they?... there is absolutely nothing in any RM/RF agency today that the major micros cant compete with. They can equal any concept and quality!  no problem.

 

The reason for lack of sales here is a completely different issue and have nothing at all to do with micro. This is an Alamy problem.

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As lovely as your photos are, 135 images isn't many in the big sea of pushing 100 million on Alamy now.  Also you captions may be cute, but they are not at all descriptive in many cases.  For travel photos, I always specify what the subject is and where it is.  I think I had over 1000 photos posted with Alamy before I made my first sale. 

 

In my 14 years as a pro-snapper, I have also never done and never will do microstock so if I have that special image, the buyer has to come to Alamy or another similar site to get it. :D

 

Keep posting images and good luck! ;):);)

Edited by Marmot

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 comments of type "oh, its great, blah blah" don't do anything

 

 

But they do, because your photos are good. Not only do they look appealing, they also tell a story, and that's the most important thing for a stock library. All you need now is for your captions to accurately describe the story in factual rather than artistic terms and you're home and dry.

 

Alan

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 comments of type "oh, its great, blah blah" don't do anything

 

 

But they do, because your photos are good. Not only do they look appealing, they also tell a story, and that's the most important thing for a stock library. All you need now is for your captions to accurately describe the story in factual rather than artistic terms and you're home and dry.

 

Alan

 

right;  I mean  praises don't help as much as criticism, pointing to what was wrong -- or at least what can be improved.    Obviously captions are key and its bit of skill to tune it right.   

 

It is also tagging that made me think a bit more.  Alamy officially recommends "Don't tag to please the search engine, rather to describe the image in most accurate way".  This is good advice I believe.   Key skill is how to best describe the image, in descriptive, but also concise manner.  

 

There is also bit of dilemma in area of "supertags" versus "ordinary tags"  (see other thread, where some people claim how supertags actually make image less searchable;  I find hard to believe it personally, as I have software background and know thing or two about these things).     There is also dilemma in composite (multi-word) tags versus  single word tags.  I.e. if I have mountain landscape, is it better to have  2  separate tags   "rocky"   "mountains"   or  single tag "rocky mountains".    Or   "national"  "park"  or "national park".    Right now, I don't know the answer as it clearly depends how particular details of search engine were implemented on server side.

 

On SS I have very nice tool that tells me how the image I sold got found.   For instance, consider this photo:

 

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-frozen-in-time-red-adirondack-chairs-seamlessly-blending-with-rugged-130438045.html

 

 

I got 6 sales of this one.  For illustration, here is breakdown of "downloads per keyword"

 

  • red                   14.3%
  • lake                 14.3%
  • alberta             14.3%
  • winter               14.3%
  • adirondacks     14.3%
  • minnewanka      14.3%
  • chairs                14.3%
I find this great help as I am trying to properly learn tools of the trade.
Edited by Autumn Sky

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Still a lot of tags which seem irrelevant. Perhaps you witnessed this scene while snowshoeing, but if there are no snowshoes in the frame I see no reason to add the tag "snowshoe". Why adding "castle", "rockbound lake"? 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

ah. because picture was taken on snowshoe trip  to Rockbound Lake, which is situated in Amphitheater behind Castle Mountain! It is well known area in Banff National Park;  and also anyone that hiked this trail, would probably recognize the skyline (Mt. Inglismaldie in lower part of the frame)

 

I do understand your point though;  to someone on the other side of the world it would seem absolutely irrelevant.   But to someone making the brochure about Banff National Park here in Canada, i.e. Brewster etc. it might.  So I am reasonably comfortable with choice of tags, even if might be relevant only to locals.  Or maybe I am wrong?

 

You shouldn't have snowshoe, hiking, active lifestyle, hike, ski tour etc, as none of these can be seen in the image. If you had been eating a banana at the time, would you keyword 'banana'?

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You shouldn't have snowshoe, hiking, active lifestyle, hike, ski tour etc, as none of these can be seen in the image. If you had been eating a banana at the time, would you keyword 'banana'?

 

I admire your wisdom. Thank you so much!

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Hi Autumn Sky,
I am a newbie on Alamy too; yet, I have been an architectural photographers for many years now.
My two cents. Your landscapes are really beautiful, I love them! Nevertheless, your architectural pictures have some little problems which possibly prevent them from being sold more consistently for editorial use.
As a common habit, art and architectural magazines usually do not like vertical convergent lines in architectural photos, especially when this is not perceived as intentional.
Take, for example, your HFF29N in Madras; IMHO I see no reason to have slightly falling vertical lines in it; therefore I would correct a bit its perspective in post-production;you don't have to cut off the beautiful cornice of the building, as long as you crop the image appropriately.

Good luck with Alamy!
 

 



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Hi Autumn Sky,

I am a newbie on Alamy too; yet, I have been an architectural photographers for many years now.

My two cents. Your landscapes are really beautiful, I love them! Nevertheless, your architectural pictures have some little problems which possibly prevent them from being sold more consistently for editorial use.

As a common habit, art and architectural magazines usually do not like vertical convergent lines in architectural photos, especially when this is not perceived as intentional.

Take, for example, your HFF29N in Madras; IMHO I see no reason to have slightly falling vertical lines in it; therefore I would correct a bit its perspective in post-production;you don't have to cut off the beautiful cornice of the building, as long as you crop the image appropriately.

Good luck with Alamy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are other buyers who like the sloping sides as a pictorial effect. You can see this in many publications not necessarily architectural editions.

 

Allan

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Hi Autumn Sky,

I am a newbie on Alamy too; yet, I have been an architectural photographers for many years now.

My two cents. Your landscapes are really beautiful, I love them! Nevertheless, your architectural pictures have some little problems which possibly prevent them from being sold more consistently for editorial use.

As a common habit, art and architectural magazines usually do not like vertical convergent lines in architectural photos, especially when this is not perceived as intentional.

Take, for example, your HFF29N in Madras; IMHO I see no reason to have slightly falling vertical lines in it; therefore I would correct a bit its perspective in post-production;you don't have to cut off the beautiful cornice of the building, as long as you crop the image appropriately.

Good luck with Alamy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are other buyers who like the sloping sides as a pictorial effect. You can see this in many publications not necessarily architectural editions.

 

Allan

 

I usually correct only partially.

I didn't do it at all until I tripped over the perspective tool in LR. Must have been there for ages.

+1 that most buyers aren't looking for architectural perfection.

That said, there are some buildings I wouldn't dream of distorting- modern or brutalist, for example. Professional courtesy.

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