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Mirco Vacca

It is all a number/quality game

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Hello everyone,

 

After checking many portfolios and reported sales of the photographers the way to be succesful here in Alamy is having a huge portfolio. And i dont mean 5000 images. My goal is for now reach the first 10.000 in half year combined with quality of course.

 

I am qurious if somebody follows the same workflow like me. Since 1 year i am almost not touching anymore Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Only in cases when it is nescessary. My images are anyway like for in average 75% accepted by microstock agencies. It saves me a lot of time to not spend time with Photoshop or Lightroom after shooting. This makes me able to deliver high amount of images. What is the key? Electronic viewfinder of my mirrorless camera and years of experience with camera function. I shoot directly in JPEG from the camera and make sure that the image is right in camera. This is very easy since the new cameras have electronic viewfinder where you directly can see how the whitebalance, colors and brightness are. So when i come home with 100 images i only check them quickly for sharpness again on bigger screen and if ok i send them for approving. I have minimal rejectjons on Istockphoto or Shutterstock for example.

 

I am always trying to make my life easier :). You can check my portfolio. There are all for 90% shoot directlty from camera with almost no post processing after since i do it before i make the shot. The results are the same with the only difference that i do the settings before the shot and that i save much time.

 

I hope i could give some Alamy colleagues a tip.

 

 

 

 

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I think your workflow suits news photography well, but as general stock I think you may gain by doing some postproduction on at least some of your images.

Edited by Niels Quist
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Hi Niels,

 

In general you are absolutly right. I agree that without processing it will harm your quality. I learned a lot about it after spending almost 4 years with microstock and having 4000 images online. It is just about how i do the processing. I like to shoot authentic images. My processing is normally to adjust the contrast, white balance, colors and brightness. Instead of processing after i do it allready before since i can see the results directly. I take care that the settings for brightness, colors and white balance are correct what i can see through the viewer + good composition, i shoot and it is ready.

 

At the beginning you have of course to get used this constantly change setting for as example the sun goes behind a cloud and you need to adjust the white balance again. But once you are in the ritme it will go fast.

 

So again i understand post processing is nescessary because the camera is still not human. The only difference is that i do it allready before i shoot.

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Thanks for the adding Jeff! Impressive amount of images. I hope i ever will come there :).

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But Jeff,

 

What i was wondering..... do you think that description add something and is it worth to put it?

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I have often read stock is a numbers game and while I do agree to some extent, not sure that is the "end all, be all". If one has up 10K images of things not wanted by buyers than what good is it having that many? I think figuring out what is a good sellable stock image is and having it uniquely different for all the rest is more important. Then again I'm very new to all of this and could be all wet. ;)

 

At one of the microstocks I recently left, I averaged about 7 sales per month with less than 200 images up. Too bad I got peanuts for them, let me rephrase that I got grains of sand, but now on Alamy my hopes are I average at least the same sales yet for better $$$$. Had anyone told me the 3 images I sold the most would be that way, I would've called them a liar. So I obviously haven't figured out much of anything yet. lol

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I have to disagree with the original post.

 

In my opinion the licensing of images is not about numbers, it is about the images

and the information accompanying the image. Keep in mind that I have a degree in

journalism and come out of years of working on assignment for major magazines as

a number of others contributing to Alamy have.

 

Even though I go back to working with Tony Stone for stock, stock is something

fairly new to me (last ten years) and most of the images that I put on Alamy as well

as the other legacy libraries or agencies that I contribute to are scans

from 35 or 120 film. It is not uncommon for me to spend more than ten hours

preparing the scan of an image for upload and then the same amount of time researching

the information that will accompany the image on upload. When I shoot digital, I shoot

in RAW and create my 16bit TIFF files via Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) in CS5, even for NEWS.

On working NEWS shoots, I write my captions (IPTC) on scene, including keywords and

edit (select) my images ruthlessly before editing and downsizing before upload.

I ALWAYS save all of my RAW files with the IPTC info intact.

 

This is a workflow that I have followed for the last ten years and I will say that I am

seeing a good return from working this way. There are a growing number of images that

are making constant returns for me via Alamy. One more advantage to working this way is

that when a picture researcher contacts me directly for an image, 90% of the time I have

a finished 16bit 120MB TIFF ready to downsize to an 8bit JPEG for license with very

little effort. Currently I am also redoing my URL (after almost ten years...) and

it is easy to go into my hard drives to select TIFF files to downsize to JPEG's for my

web designer and I have all the IPTC information already with the image. I also shoot

and save all images in aRGB color.

 

I'm not looking for one time quick returns on any of my images, been there and done that

in the good old news days, I’m looking at long term income from the licensing of my images.

I also understand that many do not come from decades of doing film photography or a

background in journalism. I do not expect anyone to follow my “work flow” unless they

have a good reason to do so. And yes, I am concerned about the licensing fees paid for

an image and the long term viability of photography as a profession.

 

I guess in answer to the OP's original post, to me it is not about numbers. It is about

the returns from the licensing of each image and putting out the very best individual image.

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IF one's aim is to build most profitable portfolio possible:

  1. DETERMINE NEEDS of potential clients - the more the needs are yet to be filled, the better
  2. Take, upload, annotate a variety of technically & aesthetically proficient photos that fill those needs

Check out Chuck Nacke's work as example of bull's eye portfolio, as opposed to scattershot collection that aims to hit buyer's needs largely due to sheer volume.

 

10 such well-targeted, varied, technically proficient images likely generate more licensing fees than a 1000 varied, technically proficient images lacking such expert targeting.

 

(of course, advice is easier than execution)

 

- Ann

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Hi Chuck,

 

I am not so experienced like you but i put also with amount quality ;).

 

Thank you very much for your information. I appreciate any advice.

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I would probably lose about 50% of my shots if I stopped to make fine adjustments (contrast, white balance, etc.) in-camera. I find RAW shooting and post-processing, although time-consuming, to be a real godsend. But then, I'm slow and old-fashioned. Microstock, with its emphasis on quantity, definitely wouldn't work for me.

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John Mitchell,

 

I share the same feeling. It is not that i am not making adjustments. I am doing it like you say before and save lots of time. Looking on my or your images you can see that they all are lighted correctly.

 

Are you shooting with mirrorless?

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John Mitchell,

 

I share the same feeling. It is not that i am not making adjustments. I am doing it like you say before and save lots of time. Looking on my or your images you can see that they all are lighted correctly.

 

Are you shooting with mirrorless?

 

Yes, all of my recent shots were taken with the Sony NEX-3. I plan to upgrade to the NEX-6 when I can afford to. By that time, the NEX 8, 9, and 10 will probably be out. ^_^

Edited by John Mitchell

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I have to also disagree with the first post.

 

You are in business. The business of supply images that are needed, so will be purchased. You are not in the business of growing a portfolio on here.

 

What use will 10,000 plus images be if they are all the same, all poor quality (compared with other Alamy photographers), all poorly key worded, poorly or inaccurate captioned so they can not be found, of no interest to any purchaser and do not sell? Result: A big collection that does not sell and give you a return.

 

I sold my first Alamy images with less than 30 images on here and six weeks after uploading, so proof that big numbers are not essential - but time spent, reaching the subject, good photography, effective post processing, well researched key wording and captioning are vital if you want them to be found and make a sale.

 

I for one do not want a big collection on here; I want a collection that sells on here.

 

Rant over .............................................

Edited by Matt Limb
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Thank you all for your replies.

 

I wanted the opnions of some experienced alamy contributors and i get plenty of them :). I will try to experiment what sells and see what happens. You all have great portfolios so for sure you know what you are talking about.

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Thank you all for your replies.

 

I wanted the opnions of some experienced alamy contributors and i get plenty of them :). I will try to experiment what sells and see what happens. You all have great portfolios so for sure you know what you are talking about.

 

 

Mirco

 

One other point following my rant above - true stock photography is about the 'long game' that is images that can sit be search and sell for years to come; just this week I have had two zooms on images taken over 20 years ago.

 

If you are looking to build a quick collection to make a quick buck (to use our American friend phrase) you are in the wrong business!

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I realize I'm pretty new myself, but I would suggest you slow down and rethink your tactics....

 

This morning over coffee I looked over some of your images. Did you know that any image that has even a persons finger in it and doesn't have a model release needs to be under RM license? You have images with people as RF and in fact the majority of your images are under RF. Curious as to why that is exactly and why you didn't opt for RM? And if there are people in it w/o a model release they should be considered Editorial. Now I realize many don't follow this rule, but it's in place for a reason and in my humble opinion shows unprofessionalism when not followed, as many buyers are aware of the rules.

 

Also a goodly amount of your buildings are distorted. You may not think that is important, but as one that worked in the construction industry, when I see an image with architecture falling in on itself or the like: First I cringe, then I immediately think unprofessional. While fisheye lenses can add creativity to architecture, most can decipher when they are used, which is not the case for yours. Plus I know how easily buildings can be fixed in PP using most edit software. Captioning architecture correctly or near correct isn't easy in most cases, then you need to be sure you have the room to fix any distortion or risk cutting off part of it. Of course working with JPEGs adds a bit of a challenge because every time you work them and save you loose precious information.

 

As Matt stated, stock is the long game not thinking I'll put up 10K images in 6 months and make lots of money/sales when that will prolly not be the case. Images buyers are looking for that are quality with good keywording, etc. is the key to sales. And as I asked earlier, what good is having up 10K with little to no sales coming from them over the years to come?

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With 100K various quality images like Jeff for sure you will cover many clients needs. Of course i never tought about 10.000 of trees images.

@Arterra

 

Yes indeed i have full time job next to photography. But the way how i shoot let me produce like at least 250 images per week. I am just trying to be at many events and being outside with my small mirrorless camera to capture interesting subjects. For me it is working very good. Like i said before i have relative big portfolios on microstock sites and i think that my images dont look like low quality. Everybody is working in different way and on the way they fit more. The fact for me is that it is working. On Istockphoto i have for example a 93 percent acceptance rate. It is just about to respect the Alamy requirements and doesnt matter how you do it. As long the outcome is the same.

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@ Charly

 

All my RF images with people are released. I checked the Alamy requirements before i send images. If there is one without then somehow it went wrong. I will check quick :) . Thanks for your attention.

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Arterra,

I know that it is not personal ;). I will not wine :( . I like open comments. And i know that people from Belgium are very open people in a positive way. I lived for 20 years close to Belgium. My living place was in Maastricht.

But actually i like critics. Thats why i start this topics. And i have to say that it gives me much thinkings to read all your comments. There are things that i dont see but others can.

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Micro since it was over morning coffee, only image I can remember off hand is one at the Forum I believe it was with tourists in the image and marked RF. It should be RM Editorial, as it doesn't matter if you cannot make out who or how tiny they are, they still are there. ;)

 

And like Philippe......

.....

.......

............Back to keywording. Then readying for university to start on Monday, still haven't went for my 120 film. :(

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Hello everyone,

 

After checking many portfolios and reported sales of the photographers the way to be successful here in Alamy is having a huge portfolio. And I dont mean 5000 images. My goal is for now reach the first 10.000 in half year combined with quality of course.

 

I am qurious if somebody follows the same workflow like me. Since 1 year i am almost not touching anymore Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Only in cases when it is nescessary. My images are anyway like for in average 75% accepted by microstock agencies. It saves me a lot of time to not spend time with Photoshop or Lightroom after shooting. This makes me able to deliver high amount of images. What is the key? Electronic viewfinder of my mirrorless camera and years of experience with camera function. I shoot directly in JPEG from the camera and make sure that the image is right in camera. This is very easy since the new cameras have electronic viewfinder where you directly can see how the whitebalance, colors and brightness are. So when i come home with 100 images i only check them quickly for sharpness again on bigger screen and if ok i send them for approving. I have minimal rejectjons on Istockphoto or Shutterstock for example.

 

I am always trying to make my life easier :). You can check my portfolio. There are all for 90% shoot directlty from camera with almost no post processing after since i do it before i make the shot. The results are the same with the only difference that i do the settings before the shot and that i save much time.

 

I hope i could give some Alamy colleagues a tip.

 

As with most things in life, there is always more than one way to get the job done. I'm awed that you feel you can upload 10,000 images in less than a year while shooting part-time. I couldn't do it. 

 

In the forum now—this one is a relatively new forum—we have a lot of shooters who do targets of opportunity, which would include Street, Travel, Landscape, Flowers and such. But the contributors to Alamy include other types of shooters, too: Photo Illustrators, Food and PJ's to name a few. It's harder for these specialists to amass a large portfolio . . . that's okay, because if they are gifted in coming up with ideas, a smaller collection should sell better. 

 

And regarding quality, personally, I would feel very uncomfortable aiming for anything less than the maximum quality possible. So I always shoot RAW and do my Post by tapping into LR5, CS5 and Capture NX2. 

 

You have a lot of energy, young man (Wing Chun?) and I wish you success.

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Wow! I'm with Ed on that one. That's a serious amount of images in a year. I shoot in RAW and probably spend way too much time in LR4 messing around in post - production, or 'developing' the photos, if you like.

 

Why, only yesterday, I went to Dawlish air show and took 600 shots on a D300 using only one lens. Out of those photos I will probably wind up with not that many. How many photos of a Vulcan bomber can you put up in your Alamy portfolio?

 

Now, if the Vulcan had actually bombed Dawlish, then totally different story of course.  :D

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Hope you had a better sky than we did at Clacton. Grey and hazy till the Red Arrows.

Great show though. Never thought we'd see her again. I still have the XH558 t-shirt from Fairford in 1989. Worn on Friday of course.

Quite a screensaver, the Vulcan.

Edited by spacecadet

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Yes the sky was not too bad actually. The Vulcan was great but the bit I liked about it the most was its noise. But can't photograph noise. This will almost certainly be the last time for the Vulcan. The Lancaster and Hurricane were also good to see and hear. The Red Arrows were great but they are always more dramatic at Dartmouth because of the setting. They are there on Friday.

 

My favourites of the show though, were actually the Breitling Wingwalkers. Hopefully I took some good shots but it's difficult to get right I find. I used a 70 - 200 mm Nikon VR2 which is my maximum range and stuck it on a cropped frame to get an effective 300 mm.

Edited by Gervais Montacute

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