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IanButty

Is it possible to make a living out of stock photography any more?

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The majority of my income comes from stock but, like Funkyworm above,  my outgoings are small. No kids, car, mortgage (smallest rented flat in northern Europe) and a seasonal job in the school where I used to work full time.

The kids I used to teach now ask me what being self-employed is like, imagining the life of a photographer must be cool, and I usually reply that I don't have to wear a tie or set the alarm clock, which is the upside. My Alamy income is slowly rising - after taking a huge dive the year I stopped working full-time at the school (great timing).

 

People here talk about submitting fewer images these days, or stopping altogether, due to the lack of returns - most of my recent sales have been of pics submitted in the last couple of years. My last sale yesterday was taken this April. Diminishing returns are a good reason to spend less on creating photos, but not to stop altogether.

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On 29/09/2017 at 14:03, Steviebuoy said:

National Trust Scotland let me take pictures in some properties but not others. National Trust England/Wales allow photo's. Does that mean they are copyright to me or NT? 

Have a read up on copyright. You can't lose your copyright unless you assign it in writing. The NTEW is relying on the misuse of a 1965 byelaw, meant to stop hawkers on the premises, to attempt prevent any commercial exploitation of images of its properties.

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On 29/09/2017 at 14:11, Matt Ashmore said:

 

I don't think NT have a problem with you taking pictures.. it's the selling of those pictures that they have a problem with. Stick them on your Facebook or Instagram pages and I'm sure they are fine with that. 

 

Mark (Spacecadet) and I tend to approach this from different sides. I am cautious by nature so tend to err on the side of safety.... Mark is bolder in his approach and waits to be challenged. Ultimately it's your decision as to which images you have up and how you keyword and caption them unless of course Alamy decide to take the decision out of your hands by making it for you.

That's quite right. That said I don't pay to enter NT properties and this is the major reason why- monopoly abuse challenging my livelihood.

One of the recent threats led to the removal of a number of images which were better than any of the NT's of the same properties placed here. So they are cutting off their nose to spite their face- the best images are not being used.

Safety first is fine but I don't see a practical downside to placing images. Now there are no PMs I'll put my reasoning on the other forum if anyone wants to know it.

 

Edited by spacecadet

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It certainly gets more difficult as time goes on as there are so many people out there who are happy to give away their images for free and plenty of publishers who are ready to take advantage of them !

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4947736/The-stunning-photos-new-Rough-Guides-book-Here.html

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Thanks for the advice. I am still uploading pics at a good rate. I am also being more careful with the wording. Unfortunately its going to take a while to go over them all to get the right words, the wife is helping to delete all the wrong descriptions. Im editing every day.

 

So far my views have increased by 150% and I am also getting zooms now. Hopefully sales will start soon.

 

Another question, as a hobby photographer (done the usual handful of weddings, does that make me a pro? Probably not). Im generally happy with my pics from a distance, but when I zoom in I can see the difference compared to top spec images. I use a Nikon D7100 and Fuji XE2s with mid range glass. My budget is limited as Im semi retired (hence posting images on here) and painful hands require lighter weight equipment. I would be open to a reasonable upgrade and trading in my old equipment. I also have no particular brand loyalty. What would you do in in terms of upgrading within a budget, whilst keeping weight down? My initial thoughts are to trade in both bodies and go for a higher spec Fuji compact system. 

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Please Steve, stop uploading and work on the images you already have up.

 

Views are meaningless if they aren't of the images the buyer was searching for.  Most of your images are improperly keyworded, so you will get more views for images that have nothing to do with the buyer's search than those that do.  Go through "your Images" section and look at the search and see what images the client saw with that search.  Were they relevant to the search?  In the long run, this is going to crash your CTR and push your rank way down the list.  With over 100 million images on Alamy, climbing back up will be a long chore.  Stop batch keywording images from a shoot.  You can start there, but then go in to each image individually and remove unnecessary words and add ones that are specific to that image.

 

Since you have all these images, do it right from the start and you will see sales a lot faster, as new members start with a median ranking.  You have way too many similars.  Cut back on those.  Way too many deer shots.  Pick the ones that say something to the buyer, wildlife is a very competitive field.  Yhere were I think 6 shots of a Golden Eagle that are almost identical except the bird's head is in a slightly different position, I assume rapid fire shooting.  Pick a couple (really only one will do) and keep that.  Getting 6 views for an image where one view will do is much better.

 

I know it's nice to see all those images under your name, but numbers mean nothing.

 

And try to master PS/ACR/LR.  They can take an average photo and make it much better.

 

Not trying to be harsh, but if you can start at Alamy with a large port, then doing it right to start with will reap you many more rewards.  You could do sales quite quickly.

 

Good luck.

 

Jill

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Regarding equipment, I haven't been happy with anything but full frame. I know others have had a different experience. Currently using Canon 6D (not heavy) with L lenses and a Sony RX100 (less and less).

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17 minutes ago, Jill Morgan said:

Please Steve, stop uploading and work on the images you already have up.

 

Views are meaningless if they aren't of the images the buyer was searching for.  Most of your images are improperly keyworded, so you will get more views for images that have nothing to do with the buyer's search than those that do.  Go through "your Images" section and look at the search and see what images the client saw with that search.  Were they relevant to the search?  In the long run, this is going to crash your CTR and push your rank way down the list.  With over 100 million images on Alamy, climbing back up will be a long chore.  Stop batch keywording images from a shoot.  You can start there, but then go in to each image individually and remove unnecessary words and add ones that are specific to that image.

 

Since you have all these images, do it right from the start and you will see sales a lot faster, as new members start with a median ranking.  You have way too many similars.  Cut back on those.  Way too many deer shots.  Pick the ones that say something to the buyer, wildlife is a very competitive field.  Yhere were I think 6 shots of a Golden Eagle that are almost identical except the bird's head is in a slightly different position, I assume rapid fire shooting.  Pick a couple (really only one will do) and keep that.  Getting 6 views for an image where one view will do is much better.

 

I know it's nice to see all those images under your name, but numbers mean nothing.

 

And try to master PS/ACR/LR.  They can take an average photo and make it much better.

 

Not trying to be harsh, but if you can start at Alamy with a large port, then doing it right to start with will reap you many more rewards.  You could do sales quite quickly.

 

Good luck.

 

Jill

Thanks, I can cope with constructive criticism. I am going through my images and deleting words, but will take a while. Next job is to weed a few pictures out. I have booked on a LR course which will hopefully make a difference. 

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1 hour ago, Jill Morgan said:

Please Steve, stop uploading and work on the images you already have up.

 

Views are meaningless if they aren't of the images the buyer was searching for.  Most of your images are improperly keyworded, so you will get more views for images that have nothing to do with the buyer's search than those that do.  Go through "your Images" section and look at the search and see what images the client saw with that search.  Were they relevant to the search?  In the long run, this is going to crash your CTR and push your rank way down the list.  With over 100 million images on Alamy, climbing back up will be a long chore.  Stop batch keywording images from a shoot.  You can start there, but then go in to each image individually and remove unnecessary words and add ones that are specific to that image.

 

Since you have all these images, do it right from the start and you will see sales a lot faster, as new members start with a median ranking.  You have way too many similars.  Cut back on those.  Way too many deer shots.  Pick the ones that say something to the buyer, wildlife is a very competitive field.  Yhere were I think 6 shots of a Golden Eagle that are almost identical except the bird's head is in a slightly different position, I assume rapid fire shooting.  Pick a couple (really only one will do) and keep that.  Getting 6 views for an image where one view will do is much better.

 

I know it's nice to see all those images under your name, but numbers mean nothing.

 

And try to master PS/ACR/LR.  They can take an average photo and make it much better.

 

Not trying to be harsh, but if you can start at Alamy with a large port, then doing it right to start with will reap you many more rewards.  You could do sales quite quickly.

 

Good luck.

 

Jill

 

Extremely good advice.

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On 26/09/2017 at 20:45, Brasilnut said:

Out of curiosity, how many on here:

 

1. Shoot stock footage?

2. Sell Print on Demand?

3. Have a drone or are considering purchasing one?

4. Work directly with clients?

 

Me it's, 1. Yes but still learning 2. Yes 3. Considering 4. No, but would like to. 

1) No, though I've considered it.

2) Still to explore this.

3) Perhaps, had two clients requesting this, but it has to cover it's cost PDQ at my age, as I'll probably retire in 18 months or so.

4) 95% of my income, stock being the 5% part.

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11 minutes ago, TeeCee said:

3) Perhaps, had two clients requesting this, but it has to cover it's cost PDQ at my age, as I'll probably retire in 18 months or so.

 

Does a photographer truly ever retire? ..... I bet you'll still see the pictures as you go through life and want to take the photographs as a result! But I guess you don't have to take commission work!

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17 minutes ago, Matt Ashmore said:

 

Does a photographer truly ever retire? 

 

Photographers never retire... they just loose focus!  (Sorry... I'll get me coat)

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Every 2 years or so my spectacles are made stronger and stronger.

 

Allan

 

 

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1 hour ago, Matt Ashmore said:

 

Does a photographer truly ever retire? ..... I bet you'll still see the pictures as you go through life and want to take the photographs as a result! But I guess you don't have to take commission work!

Good point! Plan at the moment is to whack the prices UP once I get my state pension.

Essentially, if they say no, well, that's fine. If they say yes, it'll be really worth doing.

And most of my stock is done either here in the garden, or wandering around town anyway.

 

Here's a question, how many folks here have a wife/husband/partner who have a phrase similiar to:

"Oh - I see you're bringing your camera ...."

:D

 

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After a recent day of Steenbeck work where OH took pictures when I was busy with the machine, I found that with one or two exceptions and barring the obvious (ie. I was in them) I couldn't tell which of us had taken which. Should I be proud....or worried?:huh:

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21 minutes ago, TeeCee said:

Good point! Plan at the moment is to whack the prices UP once I get my state pension.

Essentially, if they say no, well, that's fine. If they say yes, it'll be really worth doing.

And most of my stock is done either here in the garden, or wandering around town anyway.

 

Here's a question, how many folks here have a wife/husband/partner who have a phrase similiar to:

"Oh - I see you're bringing your camera ...."

:D

 

 

My hubby always says - Don't forget to bring your camera!  He likes the extra income and is always surprised at what sells.

 

Jill

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3 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

 

Does a photographer truly ever retire? ..... I bet you'll still see the pictures as you go through life and want to take the photographs as a result! But I guess you don't have to take commission work!

 

I'll be working until lunchtime on the day of my death! :lol:

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Steve, elaborating on Jill’s great advice, here’s an example.

Image KC1191

tags that should be deleted

bed

bush

flag

heat

hot

recline

recliner

riviera (isn’t that Europe?)

sun

sunbathing

sunbed

 

use these:

tropical (instead of hot, heat) you can’t see heat in the picture, but tropical describes the climate

tropical beach

tropics

sunset

evening

palapa, palapas (those umbrella things made of tree material or whatever)

dining tables

dining tables on the beach (phrase)

outdoors

nobody, two people only, or whatever fits the image

travel

tourism

These tags fit the image along with what’s left after you delete the ones suggested.

Betty

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

riviera (isn’t that Europe?)

 

 

The term "riviera" is used quite often in Mexico -- e.g. Mayan Riviera, Riviera Maya, Tulum Riviera, etc. -- for beach areas. It's a corny tourism marketing term, but a legitimate tag.

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1 hour ago, Colblimp said:

 

I'll be working until lunchtime on the day of my death! :lol:

Stick around for the funeral and wake - should be some good shots to be had. :)

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On 9/24/2017 at 12:11, IanButty said:

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone considering getting into selling their images as stock photography, what would it be?

 

Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

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Quote

Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

 

Hi Sean,

 

Welcome and good to see you here :)

 

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1 hour ago, seanlockephotography said:

 

Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

I there were no people getting into stock photography, then there would be no stock photography business so you wouldn't be here either. Likewise if it was just junk. A good quality industry is what keeps you selling images.

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"Riviera" means "Coast".

In Italy we have some of it for i.e. "Riviera Adriatica" which means "Adriatic coast".

It has nothing to do with the word "Europe", 'cause "Riviera" refers to all the towns, beaches and places that are near the sea.

Edited by KODAKovic

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5 hours ago, KODAKovic said:

"Riviera" means "Coast".

In Italy we have some of it for i.e. "Riviera Adriatica" which means "Adriatic coast".

It has nothing to do with the word "Europe", 'cause "Riviera" refers to all the towns, beaches and places that are near the sea.

 

In Italian yes, but not in Spanish, which is spoken in Mexico. The word for "coast" in Spanish is costa.

 

Mexican tourism developers like to stick "Riviera" in the names of places so that tourists will associate them with luxury. An example is the so-called "Mayan Riviera" along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's a beautiful, once-wild area now mostly spoiled by huge hotel complexes and cruise ship crowds.

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