Jump to content

Recommended Posts

A perennial -- and probably naive -- question from me...

 

Why would a customer license a generic RF (or RM for that matter) image such as a background or abstract from Alamy when they can be bought for peanuts on microstock sites?

 

The only reason that I can think of is that RF buyers don't have to purchase a subscription on Alamy -- i.e. they can just license a single image.

 

Are there other possible reasons that anyone can think of?

Edited by John Mitchell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They might be after a very specific type of image and it happens to be available only on Alamy.

 

Or they might be used to dealing with Alamy, perhaps for editorial images, so when the need for a generic RF image comes up they don't bother looking elsewhere. 

 

Or perhaps they believe they can get better quality images from Alamy.

 

Or maybe they want images that are less likely to have been widely used before and they're willing to pay extra for this.

 

This is all speculation, of course. If only we could get feedback from buyers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Kukkudrill said:

They might be after a very specific type of image and it happens to be available only on Alamy.

 

Or they might be used to dealing with Alamy, perhaps for editorial images, so when the need for a generic RF image comes up they don't bother looking elsewhere. 

 

Or perhaps they believe they can get better quality images from Alamy.

 

Or maybe they want images that are less likely to have been widely used before and they're willing to pay extra for this.

 

This is all speculation, of course. If only we could get feedback from buyers.

 

A couple of those sound like good arguments for switching generic RF images to RM on Alamy. No?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

The only reason that I can think of is that RF buyers don't have to purchase a subscription on Alamy -- i.e. they can just license a single image.

 

 

MS agencies allow customers to purchase images without a subscription at a premium. Shutterstock call these "On Demand" purchases. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

 

MS agencies allow customers to purchase images without a subscription at a premium. Shutterstock call these "On Demand" purchases. 

 

There goes that theory, I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Why would a customer license a generic RF (or RM for that matter) image such as a background or abstract from Alamy when they can be bought for peanuts on microstock sites?

 

My theory is that many of the corporate Alamy customers have a set budget to spend on Alamy, in the absence of a similar budget at MS.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, while the lack of need for a subscription is the biggest reason, there are others too. It's a really big marketplace out there. Remember, the fact that it is possible to buy a single image from the major micros, it doesn't mean that every customer will go there. My own theory is that they go to Alamy when they need customer service. 

 

And don't forget that there are many more customers than theories. 

 

 

Edited by Brian Yarvin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

A perennial -- and probably naive -- question from me...

 

Why would a customer license a generic RF (or RM for that matter) image such as a background or abstract from Alamy when they can be bought for peanuts on microstock sites?

 

The only reason that I can think of is that RF buyers don't have to purchase a subscription on Alamy -- i.e. they can just license a single image.

 

Are there other possible reasons that anyone can think of?

 

I've often asked myself the same question when browsing through images for inspiration, guidance, etc.  I keep reading in many threads about the great customer service Alamy provides its buyers.  I can tell you that if they are as fast with their buyers as they are with contributors, answering concerns that is, that could be a major reason.  Why go somewhere else with sketchy service?

 

I may be different than most, but I will aways pay more for great customer service over paying less and being treated poorly.

 

Rick 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rick, I think you're right on the money, but I suspect there's another factor too. Many buyers have the choice between paying for customer service and bringing in somebody - probably a freelancer who would require paperwork and a desk, and a workstation, and a coffee pot, and ... well, you get the idea.

 

And let's not forget ... when you go for service, you can describe what you want in natural language instead of keywords and wind up with something much better than you thought was available. This sort of service has a real following.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Say a designer just wants a generic image of a brick wall background or the like. Won't they just download one from a micro site? Are they likely to care enough about customer service to pay a much larger fee on Alamy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most micros have some kind of restriction on use. So, depending on use required, it can be cheaper to buy the file from Alamy rather than a micro. On the rare occasion that I get a commission of >$100 on a micro, I wonder why the buyer didn't look for the cheaper option, if it is one of the files I also offer via Alamy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

Say a designer just wants a generic image of a brick wall background or the like. Won't they just download one from a micro site? Are they likely to care enough about customer service to pay a much larger fee on Alamy?

John, things aren't always that simple. (Although, if I was shooting buildings and construction, I'd make sure I had some good brick wall images in micro just to make sure.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Brian Yarvin said:

John, things aren't always that simple.

 

Can you elaborate a bit?

 

Buying and downloading a brick wall background from a micro must be fairly straightforward. No?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fascinating answer Richard! 

 

And John? What about needing the correct paperwork? Using your one subscription for certain clients, but not others? (perhaps because you're moonlighting?) Clients who require a separate bill for each element in a project? We are just scratching the surface.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just Googled 'brick wall background' 49,700,000, so lots of choice but can any of us be bothered to search all. Busy researchers go first to a safe reliable supplier and hope to find what they want, if not try the next option. The more choice there is here the better, more chance of offering our valued customers what they need. A one-stop shop. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some fascinating responses. Not really what I expected. Given the high number of searches showing in Alamy Measures for microstock-type subjects, it seems that buyers do come here shopping for brick walls, etc. despite the higher prices. As they say on social media, "it's complicated".

 

It seems that no one wants my brick walls, though. Of course they're almost impossible to find at this point. It's getting tougher and tougher to see the walls for all the bricks. :D

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, I often find that people will have a single, simplified idea of how the stock photo business works and it's always wrong in some way. Why? Because there is no single way the stock photo business - or the media business it's part of - works. Every possibility in this thread has almost certainly happened at one time or another and I doubt that they cover ten percent of what could happen. 

 

We live in a society that is defined by photos and everything we see has used stock photography at one time or another. Here in Pennsylvania, real estate brokers use them and hospitals do too. You see them in supermarkets and big box stores, and investment advisers offices. Every magazine and newspaper has at least a few, and sometimes books do too. Stock photos are constants in our lives. No matter what some people might think, one or two sales methods can't cover more than a small percentage of the possibilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

A couple of those sound like good arguments for switching generic RF images to RM on Alamy. No?

 

Depends on what suits the buyer most, which I suspect depends most of all on the cost. I did an experiment using the Alamy price calculator. Front cover for a book, circulation 25,000 world English language for five years, comes to €580. RF large size (24.8 x 16.5 cm, big enough for a book cover) comes to €450. Whether RM or RF wins out depends on the specific use. In this case, if I were a publisher paying calculator prices and I had a choice of RF and RM images, I would go with the RF. Of course the question is how many publishers actually pay these prices.

 

But another question has occurred to me. Who says that customers actually do licence generic images such as backgrounds or abstracts from Alamy instead of getting them for peanuts from microstock? Have people on this forum actually sold such images? I can't say I have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Kukkudrill said:

But another question has occurred to me. Who says that customers actually do licence generic images such as backgrounds or abstracts from Alamy instead of getting them for peanuts from microstock? Have people on this forum actually sold such images? I can't say I have.

 

We don't know and can't know. The members of this group represent only a tiny sliver of Alamy contributors, who in turn, represent only a tiny sliver of stock photographers. Even our entire collective experience isn't one percent of the business. We may be a perfect cross-section, or we may all be outliers. Or maybe neither.

 

****

 

And we've forgotten a whole other category: the specialist building and engineering agency that sells their photo of a brick wall for five hundred bucks a use because they can accurately describe the type of brick, the mixture of mortar, and the architectural era it fits into. There are people who's needs are so demanding that they need a second opinion when it comes to keywords.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Kukkudrill said:

But another question has occurred to me. Who says that customers actually do licence generic images such as backgrounds or abstracts from Alamy instead of getting them for peanuts from microstock? Have people on this forum actually sold such images? I can't say I have.

 

Exactly.  That's the big question. The one that was lurking in the back of my head.

 

I've got a fair number of backgrounds and abstracts (RF and RM) on Alamy and none has ever licensed.

 

P.S. It would be great to hear from someone who specializes in this type of imagery and has a lot of images here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, even this can't be answered from our group. What I find most interesting though is a comparison of results for "brick wall" on Alamy and on the leading micro site. Alamy has twenty times more results. Twenty. 

 

****

 

I too, would love it if there were more specialties represented here. I know that food is one of the most competitive subjects, but I'm the only one here. Science and medicine are huge, but do we ever have any of those photographers stopping by? Lifestyle is the backbone of the industry, but lifestyle photographers almost never post outside their own private groups.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Brian Yarvin said:

And we've forgotten a whole other category: the specialist building and engineering agency that sells their photo of a brick wall for five hundred bucks a use because they can accurately describe the type of brick, the mixture of mortar, and the architectural era it fits into. There are people who's needs are so demanding that they need a second opinion when it comes to keywords.

 

Who would buy that brick wall photo? A specialist architectural textbook publisher perhaps - not a market that will generate a lot of sales.

 

I specialise in aviation and I like to think I can offer that sort of knowledge in my field. But as far as I can tell I haven't sold any photos to specialist aviation publishers through Alamy. There is a specialised aviation stock photo agency (can't mention its name here of course) that I'm not part of and that seems to monopolise image sales to aviation magazines in the UK. No questioning the talent and the expertise at the disposal of this agency, but I very much doubt whether it makes the sort of money you're suggesting. Aviation publishers are small outfits that aren't flush with cash. And if I were an aviation publisher, and a photographer offered to sell me photos for 500 bucks per image because he could accurately describe his subjects, I'd say b****r off because I'm perfectly capable of identifying aviation subjects for myself. I'd rather negotiate a deal with Alamy for editorial images at discounted rates or even get images from micros.

 

So I'm not sure specialist publishers would even need such expertise from photographers, let alone be willing to pay that sort of money for it. If I were a publisher, the only reason I would go to a specialised agency and be willing to pay a premium rate is if it can supply images others can't, such as rare subjects or air to air photos.

Edited by Kukkudrill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really interesting points being made here. Among the best prices (if not the best) I've received here was a licence for a trade building magazine cover. Now I'm no expert in the field - at all!  - but I tagged the image as best I could and it was picked up. Clearly, the buyer knew full well what they were looking at and decided that it suited their purposes. I think that the trick is to make your images as accessible as possible with tags/captions and let the client take it from there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an interesting combination Alamy and microstock sale.

5a257728150000499385b5a8.jpg?ops=scalefi

It is the cover of Dan Brown’s new book Origin.

The circle on the cover is an Alamy image of a circular staircase. The background on the cover is a microstock image of a pattern.

 

It is my contention that Alamy could have sold both images if the client came to Alamy first for the staircase image. Alamy should be going after both image sales, and I intend to help Alamy and benefit myself. That is why I recently uploaded a bunch of background images that have been sitting on my various hard drives and locked into PSD files as backgrounds for over 20 years. Click on my image number beside my avatar to see them.

I also intend to shoot new pattern images when out shooting. Today shot some trees really disappearing into a fog. Distant blue on blue trees almost not there. That is needed for a background on a book cover. Can’t have detail interfering with the book title and Author’s name.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, funkyworm said:

Where specialisms are concerned I have the feeling that they have been hit by market changes in different ways. Aviation is interesting because it has been swamped more than others. Photo enthusiasts like to take photos of aircraft and aircraft enthusiasts like to take photos. Not all of which end up on the market with a pricetag.

 

A lot of them - well, some of them, given high rejection rates - end up on a couple of well known aviation enthusiast websites where the photo screening is far more stringent than Alamy. One of these sites has 2.9 million photos, the other has 3.6 million. Indeed lots of aviation enthusiasts out there :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.