MilesbeforeIsleep

Old guy, new stock shooter

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In the last month I have submitted a couple dozen images to Alamy and 2 other agencies.  And just struggled through getting 2 dozen editorial photos to Alamy (with upload errors abounding), via their website upload portal. 

 

In the several uploads I've done previovusly, I've been fortunate not to have any rejections, so I don't really know how that works.  I know a single image rejection will reject the batch that it's in.  But is that image rejected forever or can it be fixed (if possible) and re-submitted?  And can the rest of the batch be re-submitted, or are they all rejected forever and ever, Amen?

 

I'm slightly embarrassed to post on this forum as I am a rank (though not smelly) amateur at this game full of old-time pros.  But I'm interested in improving my modest skills, so am willing to take the heat, when it comes.

 

Will appreciate answers to the above questions, and any other info/advice others have to offer.

 

Thanks,

     --Miles

 

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Posted (edited)

Certainly you can resubmit rejected images, depending on the reason for rejection. If its been rejected for dust spots then you can correct and resubmit. if its Soft or Lacking Definition then bin the image and move on. All the others in the batch should be rechecked before you resubmit. When I say check, I mean at 100% magnification. 

 

Remember that this is an agency for photos destined for professional use, so you have to be very critical of your  own work. If you are the harshest QC, then your images will go through Alamy QC easily. Put your camera on a tripod on a bright day and shoot something (anything) at 1/500 f8. Look at the image at 100% - that's what sharp looks like. Anything less sharp you should reject. Its hard when you have a great image that is a bit off to reject it, but reject it you must. Its tempting to think 'oooh, its so close, I'll send it in and see what happens'. Bad move - I can tell you what will happen - QC will spot it and reject the batch. 

 

Everyone's workflow differs, but here's mine. 

 

Go through RAW files with On1Photo 10 (a fast browser) and give a five star rating to everything that I want to keep.

 

Open my RAW converter (DxO Lab) and filter for five star images only. All my keepers are there. 

 

Go through each image, checking for sharpness, and applying curves for contrast, rescuing blown highlights or blocked shadows, etc. Export as TIFF. This step represents probably 90% of the time I spend on an image (not including keywording). 

 

In photoshop, make any colour corrections, remove dust spots, correct verticals and horizons, and check at 100%. All that are not sharp are rejected. Save as jpeg for submission. The jpegs are then copied to a "For Alamy" folder.

 

Then I wait for at least 2 days before the final check. I do this as I find that if I do anything sooner I remember what I did to that image (eg removed a dust spot) and just check what I did (ie look at where I deleted the dust spot) rather than check the image as a whole. After the couple of days all the images in the "For Alamy" folder are checked for histogram, horizons and vertical, and at 100% for sharpness, dust spots, etc. 

 

Just to be sure, before I upload I will check a random 10%, mostly from the images that were checked last when tiredness and boredom can lead to slips.

 

Upload confidently.

Edited by Colin Woods

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Good morning Miles.

 

I don't know what camera you use, or if you shoot jpg or RAW or both.

 

But first and foremost, shoot RAW.  I use PS, so do my RAW work in Adobe's Camera Program that comes with Photoshop.  Same as Colin, you get that image up to 100% and first check for sharpness.  If semi-borderline, I'll downsize the image from it's original size and see ow it looks then.  If still ever so slightly borderline, into the bin it goes, no matter how much I love it.

 

Once sharpness is defined, then I check for the evil Chromatic Aberration, those little purple and green lines that love to hang around the edges of items, especially tree branches against the sky.  Since I don't have very expensive lenses compared to many, CA can be an issue for me on long telephoto shots.  Most of the time I can get rid of them using the CA flter in Camera Raw.

 

Then same as Colin, check for the dust bunnies, even those birds in the sky that might look like a dust bunny to someone at QC.  Get rid of them.

 

I rarely save as a tiff.  If I do a lot of changes in PS, I will save as a PSD file before saving as a jpg.  But most of my changes are done in Camera Raw.

 

Jill

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Wow, Miles, very nice images.  I don’t know what camera you use, or if it’s just your post production. Whatever it is, keep doing it.

And, welcome to Alamy and the forums.

Good questions. Ones I were afraid to ask when I joined. I did have some failures, and tossed the whole submission when I did because I didn’t understand. I was afraid to ask questions then, some years ago, because the forum wasn’t friendly then. It is now, so fire away when you need to. I spun my wheels for a long time.

Things I did wrong:

As I said, tossing whole submissions 

Deleting all images with people in them, however important or incidental, unless I had releases. I didn’t understand submitting under RM I didn’t need releases. I didn’t understand editorial. At all! I tossed some good ones. Lots of them.

Poor tagging...called keywording then

Not understanding the importance of the caption...all important tags should be worked into the caption AND body of tags.

All in all, I was rather dumb. I did try. I bought a book on stock shooting and studied online. But at that time, the information was sadly lacking. You can’t get the answers if you don’t know the questions.

 

One tip. What’s in your collection right now is mostly from a vacation shoot, or one local attraction. The more diverse your collection becomes, the better. 

Plants, animals, people doing things, food, businesses, weather, travel destinations....the list goes on.

Oh, and you need a lot of images!

Betty

 

 

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On 5/10/2018 at 11:44, Colin Woods said:

Certainly you can resubmit rejected images, depending on the reason for rejection. If its been rejected for dust spots then you can correct and resubmit. if its Soft or Lacking Definition then bin the image and move on. All the others in the batch should be rechecked before you resubmit. When I say check, I mean at 100% magnification. 

 

Remember that this is an agency for photos destined for professional use, so you have to be very critical of your  own work. If you are the harshest QC, then your images will go through Alamy QC easily. Put your camera on a tripod on a bright day and shoot something (anything) at 1/500 f8. Look at the image at 100% - that's what sharp looks like. Anything less sharp you should reject. Its hard when you have a great image that is a bit off to reject it, but reject it you must. Its tempting to think 'oooh, its so close, I'll send it in and see what happens'. Bad move - I can tell you what will happen - QC will spot it and reject the batch. 

 

Everyone's workflow differs, but here's mine. 

 

Go through RAW files with On1Photo 10 (a fast browser) and give a five star rating to everything that I want to keep.

 

Open my RAW converter (DxO Lab) and filter for five star images only. All my keepers are there. 

 

Go through each image, checking for sharpness, and applying curves for contrast, rescuing blown highlights or blocked shadows, etc. Export as TIFF. This step represents probably 90% of the time I spend on an image (not including keywording). 

 

In photoshop, make any colour corrections, remove dust spots, correct verticals and horizons, and check at 100%. All that are not sharp are rejected. Save as jpeg for submission. The jpegs are then copied to a "For Alamy" folder.

 

Then I wait for at least 2 days before the final check. I do this as I find that if I do anything sooner I remember what I did to that image (eg removed a dust spot) and just check what I did (ie look at where I deleted the dust spot) rather than check the image as a whole. After the couple of days all the images in the "For Alamy" folder are checked for histogram, horizons and vertical, and at 100% for sharpness, dust spots, etc. 

 

Just to be sure, before I upload I will check a random 10%, mostly from the images that were checked last when tiredness and boredom can lead to slips.

 

Upload confidently.

Thanks so much for your detailed response, Colin.  Yes, an SOP is something I'm working on for editing.   I start in LightRoom, so most of it is done there.  Only been using PS for the past six weeks, so my skills are still pretty limited there, but can do some basic things.  I'm also still struggling a bit with Alamy's upload process.  I may try ftp uploads for the next round.

 

I feel both lucky and a little embarrassed that I've passed QC on all my submissions so far.   I know that many of the pics are not really very good--some might be OK.  Just starting to think about editorial images.  Looking at your impressive collection is both humbling and an incentive. 

 

Thanks again.   

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On 5/11/2018 at 08:17, Jill Morgan said:

Good morning Miles.

 

I don't know what camera you use, or if you shoot jpg or RAW or both.

 

But first and foremost, shoot RAW.  I use PS, so do my RAW work in Adobe's Camera Program that comes with Photoshop.  Same as Colin, you get that image up to 100% and first check for sharpness.  If semi-borderline, I'll downsize the image from it's original size and see ow it looks then.  If still ever so slightly borderline, into the bin it goes, no matter how much I love it.

 

Once sharpness is defined, then I check for the evil Chromatic Aberration, those little purple and green lines that love to hang around the edges of items, especially tree branches against the sky.  Since I don't have very expensive lenses compared to many, CA can be an issue for me on long telephoto shots.  Most of the time I can get rid of them using the CA flter in Camera Raw.

 

Then same as Colin, check for the dust bunnies, even those birds in the sky that might look like a dust bunny to someone at QC.  Get rid of them.

 

I rarely save as a tiff.  If I do a lot of changes in PS, I will save as a PSD file before saving as a jpg.  But most of my changes are done in Camera Raw.

 

Jill

Thanks, Jill.   I've only been using a DSLR for about 3 years, and not all that seriously for part of that.  But I think I've watched every photography video on YouTube at least twice, and have recently been working hard to build some basic skills.   You mentioned my gear: I use a Canon 7D Mk2,  and have two lenses--a 17-50 f2.8 Sigma, and a 70-200 f2.8 Canon L. 

 

Your comment about downsizing to improve sharpness is new to me.  I'll test it out and see what it will do.    Also, chromatic aberration is, as you mentioned, a big bugaboo.  I've struggled with it mostly on treetops in bright skies.   Opposite to you, I have a much better long lens than my standard zoom. 

 

Thanks again for your response.     I'm sure I'll have more questions to ask.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

Wow, Miles, very nice images.  I don’t know what camera you use, or if it’s just your post production. Whatever it is, keep doing it.

And, welcome to Alamy and the forums.

Good questions. Ones I were afraid to ask when I joined. I did have some failures, and tossed the whole submission when I did because I didn’t understand. I was afraid to ask questions then, some years ago, because the forum wasn’t friendly then. It is now, so fire away when you need to. I spun my wheels for a long time.

Things I did wrong:

As I said, tossing whole submissions 

Deleting all images with people in them, however important or incidental, unless I had releases. I didn’t understand submitting under RM I didn’t need releases. I didn’t understand editorial. At all! I tossed some good ones. Lots of them.

Poor tagging...called keywording then

Not understanding the importance of the caption...all important tags should be worked into the caption AND body of tags.

All in all, I was rather dumb. I did try. I bought a book on stock shooting and studied online. But at that time, the information was sadly lacking. You can’t get the answers if you don’t know the questions.

 

One tip. What’s in your collection right now is mostly from a vacation shoot, or one local attraction. The more diverse your collection becomes, the better. 

Plants, animals, people doing things, food, businesses, weather, travel destinations....the list goes on.

Oh, and you need a lot of images!

Betty

 

 

Thanks very much for the kind words about my pics (not ready to call them "images" yet). 

 

Understanding the rules and regulations of stock photography has been my biggest challenge to date, so I just had to ask some questions.   There seems to be a certain vagueness in those rules.   I'm sure that's intentional, but it sure doesn't make it easy for a novice to know what can and cannot be done.  

 

Yeah, my "collection" is just random images from the last 3 years--the only ones that I thought might pass muster.  As I said to Colin, I've just now started thinking about editorial shooting, and spending a couple of days in touristy-resort areas near where I live (North Carolina, US) trying to get some experience shooting around people. 

 

My wife and I do a bit of traveling by travel trailer in the US, and should have good opportunities for photography. 

Thanks for the response.   Talk again.

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11 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

 I didn’t understand submitting under RM I didn’t need releases.

 

 

Now I'm confused about rules for RM vs. RF.  My understanding is that these categories pertain to how the images are licensed.   How are the requirements for releases different for each of the two categories?    I can't find anything about this on the Alamy website.

 

Many thanks,

 

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Posted (edited)

You shouldn't list as RF unless you have releases, both property and model.

Edit: what's with the red arrow?? I tell the truth.

Edited by spacecadet
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6 hours ago, spacecadet said:

You shouldn't list as RF unless you have releases, both property and model.

 

Thank you for the advice.  I'm really looking for information, e.g. why some are saying you don't need releases to list as RM, but you do as RF.  I don't understand why contractual matters (RF vs. RM) can make a difference in potential liabilities (having or not  having releases).

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Posted (edited)

Royalty free can be used for advertising. All property, any people, parts of people, shadows of people need releases.  Yet if you have an image of a flower, tree, duck...in other words, a non identifiable as to ownership, generic image, it too can be RF.

Any of the above, even if released, can be listed as RF, RF editorial, or RM.

Many photographers here have released work but prefer everything sold as RM. if everything or everybody in the image is released, then you don’t have to list as RF, you can list as RM.

 

If you have an image of property, such as a car, phone, building (if it’s the subject and not just a distant part, or any people in it, then it must be sold as RM or RF editorial if you have NO releases. Since just plain RF can be used in advertising, you must not use that. Lawsuits happen when we make money on a company’s branded product without releases.

If you upload two images of the same rose, you can list it however you want. But Alamy prefers us to choose either RF or RM for both, not split them. If you take an image of a red rose and one of a yellow rose, then it’s not frowned upon to have one RF and one RM.

 

If you have a person holding an iPhone in her hand, and you have a release for the person but not the phone (from Apple), you must list it RM or RF editorial. You’re not going to get a release from Apple, so why bother to get one from the model? Now, if the phone is no longer in the picture, that model release works.

 

Confused? :D I agree in the beginning of one’s stock career it’s as clear as mud. But clarity over these issues soak in with time and forum reading.

At this point of your career, until you understand the nuances, I’d suggest listing everything RM. You won’t make mistakes that way.

Betty

Edited by Betty LaRue
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10 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

Royalty free can be used for advertising. All property, any people, parts of people, shadows of people need releases.  Yet if you have an image of a flower, tree, duck...in other words, a non identifiable as to ownership, generic image, it too can be RF.

Any of the above, even if released, can be listed as RF, RF editorial, or RM.

Many photographers here have released work but prefer everything sold as RM. if everything or everybody in the image is released, then you don’t have to list as RF, you can list as RM.

 

If you have an image of property, such as a car, phone, building (if it’s the subject and not just a distant part, or any people in it, then it must be sold as RM or RF editorial if you have NO releases. Since just plain RF can be used in advertising, you must not use that. Lawsuits happen when we make money on a company’s branded product without releases.

If you upload two images of the same rose, you can list it however you want. But Alamy prefers us to choose either RF or RM for both, not split them. If you take an image of a red rose and one of a yellow rose, then it’s not frowned upon to have one RF and one RM.

 

If you have a person holding an iPhone in her hand, and you have a release for the person but not the phone (from Apple), you must list it RM or RF editorial. You’re not going to get a release from Apple, so why bother to get one from the model? Now, if the phone is no longer in the picture, that model release works.

 

Confused? :D I agree in the beginning of one’s stock career it’s as clear as mud. But clarity over these issues soak in with time and forum reading.

At this point of your career, until you understand the nuances, I’d suggest listing everything RM. You won’t make mistakes that way.

Betty

Thanks Betty,

      I believe I understand the gist of the distinction between commercial and editorial.   But there seems to be no clear distinction made from one agency to the next with what counts as "recognizable".   In regards to people, I have this pic-maybe my best, which has some little, tiny people standing on the opposite shore of a lake. You can't possibly recognize these people--however if you were part of the group, you might remember the day, the color clothing you wore, etc., and be able to say that, in fact, it is you in the pic.   Would appreciate your and others' opinions on whether that has to go editorial in Alamy.    Here's a link to the pic:                      https://tinyurl.com/yaa7pykq                            

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Some here would say editorial only. Some would say RF. I tend to err on the cautious side.  It is done both ways by contributors here, but most would say editorial. I’m only saying this because of past threads I’ve seen with arguments from both sides. 

Myself, I never could quite agree that a shadow needs a model release, or a finger. If you list RM, all doubt is removed and you don’t have to wait for a shoe to drop.

How you handle it depends on whether you play the ponies! :lol:

One thing to think about. You mention people in your caption. If you are honest on the Optional page and count people, say yes there are people, then you must list RM or RF editorial.

Betty

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4 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

Some here would say editorial only. Some would say RF. I tend to err on the cautious side.  It is done both ways by contributors here, but most would say editorial. I’m only saying this because of past threads I’ve seen with arguments from both sides. 

Myself, I never could quite agree that a shadow needs a model release, or a finger. If you list RM, all doubt is removed and you don’t have to wait for a shoe to drop.

How you handle it depends on whether you play the ponies! :lol:

One thing to think about. You mention people in your caption. If you are honest on the Optional page and count people, say yes there are people, then you must list RM or RF editorial.

Betty

Thanks much, Betty.   There's a distinction that I don't understand.    Cannot both RF and RM be either commercial or editorial?    Does assigning a pic to RM automatically make it editorial?  In other words, does RM default to editorial, though it can be sold commercially with releases?

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Posted (edited)

RM, with releases, can be sold for everything. RM without releases can only be sold for editorial.

 

Uncle Henry mowing the lawn with a release....can be sold for editorial and advertising. List as RM or RF

Uncle Henry mowing with no release, can only be sold for editorial. List as RM or RF-editorial. Can only sell for editorial 

 

Chevy Silverado. Only list as RM or RF editorial. Can’t sell for advertising 

 

Fresh home-baked brownies on a plate, list as either RF or RM, sold for all uses. Editorial and/or advertising 

 

A cutout or tabletop-shot image of a pair of pliers even without a brand showing, must be listed RM because the manufacturer will recognize the design.  List as RM or RF editorial. Can’t sell for advertising 

 

The front of a restaurant, List as RM or RF editorial, can’t sell for advertising 

 

Sometimes a buyer might purchase something with people as small as in your picture and still use it for advertising. Any blowback is on them, you’ve covered your behind by choosing either RM or RF editorial and on the Optional page, you’ve said Yes for people and No for “Do you have releases?”

Betty

 

 

 

 

Edited by Betty LaRue
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1 hour ago, Colin Woods said:

With people that tiny you can always clone them out in PS. 

Yes.  Thanks, Colin.  I did that very thing.  Only had PS for about 6 weeks,  but at least can do that much.  Deleted the original pic and will resubmit in a few days.  Also deleted a couple of others and will resubmit as editorial. 

 

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6 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

RM, with releases, can be sold for everything. RM without releases can only be sold for editorial.

 

Uncle Henry mowing the lawn with a release....can be sold for editorial and advertising. List as RM or RF

Uncle Henry mowing with no release, can only be sold for editorial. List as RM or RF-editorial. Can only sell for editorial 

 

Chevy Silverado. Only list as RM or RF editorial. Can’t sell for advertising 

 

Fresh home-baked brownies on a plate, list as either RF or RM, sold for all uses. Editorial and/or advertising 

 

A cutout or tabletop-shot image of a pair of pliers even without a brand showing, must be listed RM because the manufacturer will recognize the design.  List as RM or RF editorial. Can’t sell for advertising 

 

The front of a restaurant, List as RM or RF editorial, can’t sell for advertising 

 

Sometimes a buyer might purchase something with people as small as in your picture and still use it for advertising. Any blowback is on them, you’ve covered your behind by choosing either RM or RF editorial and on the Optional page, you’ve said Yes for people and No for “Do you have releases?”

Betty

 

 

 

 

Thanks Betty.  I think I'll get things sorted out.  Been through Kansas a few times, mostly on a motorcycle.   It ain't fun in July/August. 

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On 13/05/2018 at 04:22, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

Also, chromatic aberration is, as you mentioned, a big bugaboo.

 

 

You can get rid of CA with just one click in Lightroom. Occasionally tree branches can show purple fringing against a bright pale sky which is not picked up by the automatic setting in LR, and in that case you need to adjust it manually but it's very simple to do.

 

Alan

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11 hours ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

Thanks Betty.  I think I'll get things sorted out.  Been through Kansas a few times, mostly on a motorcycle.   It ain't fun in July/August. 

I’m a transplanted Okie. Just moved to Kansas from Oklahoma City at the end of February this year.   Wichita is treating me well, though.

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On 5/9/2018 at 22:38, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

(with upload errors abounding), via their website upload portal...

 

 

Use Alamy's FTP instead.

Bid those upload issues adios...

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On 5/13/2018 at 11:10, spacecadet said:

what's with the red arrow...

 

Who can take a red one
Kick its arse goodbye
Soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie
The Greenie Man
The Greenie Man can
 

Edited by JeffGreenberg

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Thanks to all who have responded to my queries.  It's very encouraging to find a friendly forum where one can ask simpleton questions and get serious answers! 

 

I have one more: I'd like to start uploading objects extracted from their background.  

Are their potential customers out there who would use such images--depending, of course, on their needs?

If it is a reasonable strategy, should I put them on a solid color background, or no background (the screen door look)?

 

As always,

Thanks....

 

 

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My table-top photos are always cut out on a white (255,255,255) background. I have never tried a coloured background, on the basis that its easier for an editor to fill my pure white with his colour than to fill my colour that he doesn't like.

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