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I think we must assume that Alamy will always try and get the best deal for image sales , whether that includes loyalty discounts or simply competitive market prices. The fact that we are not privy to the intricacies of their price modelling may be frustrating but doesn't necessarily indicate a poor deal.

 

More importantly, do we think our percentage share of the sales revenue is sufficient? In this day and age the answer is probably yes, because as others have pointed out the myriad of images available to the customers means that we are competing in a very challenging marketplace and Alamy generates sales for me that I wouldn't otherwise get.. 

 

As one memorable economist said (I've forgotten his name!) "The market cannot be wrong."

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Not just micro stock sites are killing the business. Some of our fellow Alamy contributors are doing the same by signing up for NU and Newspaper scheme. Like we say here, cut your nose off to spit on your face. If that's way you want to go, don't complain low sale price.

 

I agree with you. I'm not on any Alamy schemes and have restrictions on all my images. Though I need to look over the restrictions again to see if others should be added. 

 

Before I found Alamy, I dreaded every sale from other sites. The mere pittance they gave was insane and an insult, but I regrettably thought something was better than nothing. Sure hope I sell none on the site I cannot get them to budge on deleting my account. Though I think I've thought of a way to help that along.

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John, even before rereading them I recognised your name! I see you were Features Editor in the one I picked up. It was probably the best magazine for photographs of its day and, arguably, since.

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John, even before rereading them I recognised your name! I see you were Features Editor in the one I picked up. It was probably the best magazine for photographs of its day and, arguably, since.

 

They were good times. I arrived in Peterborough (where EMAP was based) on the day that Italy won the World Cup. The town centre was full of jubilant Italians, driving round the square, waving flags and honking their horns. Peterborough seemed a wild and wacky place. Well, until the following morning.

 

Camera magazine was on the same corridor as Practical Photography (though we maintained an air of effortless superiority), some mag about steam trains (open  mockery) and Motor Cycle News (they used a Sinclair C5 to visit the typesetters). I nearly won EMAP's Journalist of the Year Award. I can't remember what I entered, but I can't forget the article that beat me into second place, which described a motor bike gear change as so smooth, it was like "pulling a greasy stick out of a dog's bottom". Yes, I know, a worthy winner... :)

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Hi John, It is good to see you are still involved with photography and that along with DK and very occasionally Ed Buziak are also active here; you have a lot knowledge and experience to share. Although not a full time journalist I did get stuff published in a wide range of magazines from Horse and Hound to Yachts and Yachting and occasionally in David and Sheila Kilpatrick's magazines. I remember actually getting worthwhile cheques from my local paper; and they kept prints on file, reused them and paid me without being chased. Oh how times have changed!"

 

Despite the difficult times I am seriously working at getting back into my photography and writing. I believe there is still a reasonable (define!) living to be made with the right approach and niche. Ask me aqain on a year's time!  :huh: I have even written several articles recently (on business matters) for Professional Photographer.

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I sympathise Sheila. I would have made the same decision.

You cannot be asked to agree to an unconditional sale without knowing the price.

 

I think there are some very interesting views in this topic that raise related issues too.

 

I am pretty new to stock photography but even I can see the industry is under extreme pressure because of an oversupply of images and I sometimes wonder how Alamy maintains sales in this super competitive market, but I hope they continue.

 

I have a small number or images on Shutterstock & iStockphoto that I put there to test whether I could indeed make money out of microstock like the books, articles and DVDs all said. For agencies that almost gave away the images I was astonished to find that they were awfully fussy - a lot more so than Alamy. The images I do have on those sites sell regularly but I only make peanuts.

I am told at least 6,000 images are needed to make an income from microstock - and many photographers who do have that many still carry out other work to make ends meet. So I don't see that as a good strategy, even for someone who is just trying to supplement their income. Getty has some of my images too, and despite only paying 20% commission still managed to pay me as much as Alamy in this year. But they insist on giving your images to them exclusively, and they are pretty fussy too, so they may not be the answer either.

 

I tell you all of this because I too am perplexed about how things are heading and often wonder whether all the effort will ever pay off.

 

These deals that Sheila describe are also concerning. As far as I can tell Alamy's job is to get the best possible price for us. They have a financial stake in each sale too. But Alamy can do deals that make sense to their business without considering whether it is fair on ours. Sweetening up a client with a good deal may help Alamy get more sales in the future, but the contributor(s) whose prices were sacrificed in that deal are not guaranteed to benefit from those clients in the future.

 

As has already been pointed out, it's the suppliers who get squeezed in this global economy, but that squeezing can only go on for so long. Things have to change.

I once worked for a television news service in which the cameramen (they were all men in those days) were disregarded and disrespected by the new Chief of Staff (fresh out of newspapers) who pointed at the tape/vision library and told reporters and producers that we had 25 years of video in there, just use that more. She misunderstood the 'new' bit in news service.

 

Despite the millions of images already in stock libraries, agencies and clients need new images to make their profits and I doubt that they'll find enough people in future to supply those images just for the fun of it.

 

Let's hope things turn around sooner rather than later.

 

Edited by Ray
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"Let's hope things turn around sooner rather than later."

 

Hate to sound pessimistic, but I don't think that image prices will ever turn around. If they were based on the price of gas/petrol it might be a different mater. It seems to go up and down like a yo-yo (at least where I live). All we can do IMO is soldier on and hope that the quantity of sales steadily increases and helps make up for falling prices and lower commissions. I'm approaching official "retirement" (it'll never happen) age, so I will soon be depending on my Alamy, etc. revenue mainly for extra -- but much-needed -- income. I feel sorry for younger people entering this business. It's going to be very tough for them. Not a good time to quit your day job. I never did entirely.

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There are plenty of agencies where you can set your pricing. Albeit they are micro agencies. 

 

But there is always the alternative, Symbiostock, complete control over everything, except buyers, but thats picking up as well. 

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