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Even though I've been on Alamy for quite some time, I've never really made much of an effort here. A change in strategy now as I have abandoned the microstock game and decided to focus my efforts here. I'd rather fight to get fewer sales with some form of value and accomplishment than falling microstock sales/rates while being buried deeper in garbage photos. Microstock quality continually declines in favor of quantity and I believe that will create an increasing demand for higher quality images in the future, regardless of the higher price. Alamy seems to be a more positive and professional environment as well. Moving forward.

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Good idea. I think I am emotionally incapable of doing microstock. The occasional low fee here HURTS my feelings. I hope you do well. There are good prices to be had.

 

Paulette

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Jed, tell us how it goes. Different photographers have wildly varying results.

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Well, it seems most sales here are celebrities, locations and movies judging by the stats. Likely content not easily covered by micro. My portfolio is super small but I try and shoot strategically with a purpose instead of just random quantity. In my experience, thats what sells regularly. Havent had luck here yet beyond a couple of sales. Not alot of traffic here which I expected. My thinking is that rare sales here will still amount to more than weekly quarters elsewhere.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/16/2018 at 19:40, JEDphoto said:

My portfolio is super small but I try and shoot strategically with a purpose instead of just random quantity.

 

I came at stock photography (over 30 years ago; and nearly 15 of those with Alamy) from a different starting point than you. That is; I avoided Microstock like the plague, since it's inception (I can remember the first adverts for FREE iStock images in US based digital imaging magazines).

 

It's only in the last year that I decided to test the waters of Microstock with less than 200 images. I have sold 77 images so far, and made a grand total of €22.80. With Alamy, In the last 6 months, I sold 58 images, with total sales of $1700. No contest.

 

The crunch came with the Microstock images when, only 2 weeks ago, a perfectly good, creative set of model released images (that I had gone to some lengths to take and have MR'd), were rejected on the grounds that the original artwork of the model's tattoos was not similarly "released". No furhter images of mine, of any kind, will be "released" to that library.

 

As far as Alamy goes; I have had years when I sold virtually nothing. But in the last 3 years, I have made more of an effort to contribute, sending at least 30 images a week as a minimum. I have seen my sales increase exponentially as a result. I have broken my all-time record for sales 2 years running (I'm currently 10 sales above the record set last year, with 5 months to go).

 

My revenue reached a peak in 2009, and I'm currently about 10 more sales short of breaking that too, so it seems that fees are climbing back up, slowly. It's certainly true that the more you (or at least, I) put into Alamy, the more I am getting out of it.

 

Unfortunately though, numbers count, and the right sort of images are very important. Your current set of images is more than 10% backgrounds and/or patterns, and I'm not sure that keeping up that balance will provide regular sales. To quote one of the most successful Alamy contributors, Keith Morris, what seems to work best (at least for him) is: OPDOT - one person, doing one thing. There are exceptions to this rule, of course and one of my biggest repeat sellers is an image of an Irish antiquity photographed in a museum (with permission).

 

However, this one is of OPDOT; and made a healthy $50 this morning. Good luck with your Alamy adventure.

 

bergin.jpg

 

 

 

 



 

Edited by Steve Valentia

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Steve, this is exactly what I mean by "wildly varying results." My own experience is roughly the same as yours, except that my revenues from microstock have been far higher than anything I've seen since the heyday of an unmentionable agency. I would love to see the sort of performance you report from Alamy but I have been unable to do so. Even so, I uploaded images to Alamy last night and have no intention of stopping. Every revenue stream is worthwhile and I find that I can't safely ignore anything.

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Great discussion. My port is very small as I'm still somewhat new to this compared to many. My income is horribly low and I'm stuck in a small town for now, so I wanted to build some other independent revenue sources doing what I I really enjoy. Variety of things to shoot here is limited and travel is too expensive for me which is very limiting. I was focused on building my port at SS as fishing where the fish are seemed the most logical. Stock was already devalued and wrecked by micro by the time I started. I was getting steady increases every month for over a year trying various niches. Then SS started self destructing too bad and I finally gave up with them. Other micro seemed not far behind for declining contributor sales. The volume of micro sales needed to be worth the effort is continually falling as the libraries get bigger and quality drops. Also I think consumers are shifting over to using free RF sites as many are popping up which kills sales even further. I'm hoping that focusing on niche topics here will help the odds of sparce sales with some sort of value. My first image sale here alone made me half of my total of 257 sales at SS. I've been trying different categories and topics here hoping to spread the net wider to read what sells in this environment. I find different agencies have different demands. 
I'm curious as to why Alamy customers actually buy from here given the cheaper alternatives elsewhere. Image content not covered in micro? Image quality difference?  Better search engine and easier to find desired images? Loyalty to Alamy because of service history? Competing with micro and free sites will be rough so we must do better.

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Jed, I'm pleased to see that you're at least exploring subject matter as a factor in stock photo sales. My experience is that subject matter makes more of a difference than anything else for me. What I can't find though is a subject that sells well for me on Alamy AND turns a profit. I'm always trying though.

 

It seems to me that in your final question, you are making an incorrect assumption - microstock almost always requires subscription fees from buyers. These fees aren't all that cheap. Alamy's biggest appeal to smaller buyers is that they don't have to subscribe. Yes, big clients get special treatment (as they do in any business) but there are no obligations. If you use one image every three months, you only pay then. You owe nothing when you use nothing. For a certain segment of the market, Alamy is much cheaper, even though the image prices are higher.

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True enough about subscriptions. Its cheaper per image that way but your locked into it. On SS, there was usually a spike in sales at the end of the month as I assumed purchases were being made for possible future use just to use up monthly subscription credits. Bigger payout for the agency but smaller scraps for the contributor who actually owns the property to begin with.
Subject matter is certainly key. Especially with less traffic here. Alexa webstats show a steady drop in traffic here since april. Likely a good indicator of sales trends.

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Jed, there are more factors at work here than you can imagine. Another example; Alamy has the best sales team in the business. There might be people selling at the micros - I sincerely don't know - but I have seen the Alamy sales team in NYC; they carry enough of the load that Alexa might not be a good indicator. I would suspect that a large portion (not the majority though) of Alamy sales aren't done by internet search. Instead, the sales team interacts with reps from major accounts.

 

BTW ... may I respectfully suggest that you don't mention the names of other agencies? It's something that Alamy has asked us not to do.

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Jed,

 

You might want to look at Keith Morris's  (RedSnapper) posts and portfolio.  He's done very well with photos not far removed from his town.  (Admittedly Great Britain and not Canada as I'm assuming you are).  You don't need photos of exotic, and expensive, locations to make a meaningful addition to a low income.

 

Also, every month in the last year or so there has been a thread on photos sold.  Look at all of them.  You'll get plenty of ideas.  Just remember that there's plenty of competition, and you will need several thousand images of a variety of subjects to make regular sales of common subjects.

 

Another thing to remember is that this is a business.  If you obsess over every image -- both taking and editing -- you'll run out of time before you get the required number and variety.  This doesn't mean taking photos of just anything or ignoring post processing, just don't try to make each image into a masterpiece.  Unless you're one of those who has a great understanding of what sells -- in which case a small portfolio of well edited images will work very well.  But then, if you are one of them, you wouldn't have asked your question.
 

Robert

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When I started here, I knew nothing about stock photography and even less about Alamy. In the beginning I had a few images like your background texture ones, but my advice would be to forget about that kind of subject and not to waste your time on them.

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On 16/07/2018 at 19:40, JEDphoto said:

 My thinking is that rare sales here will still amount to more than weekly quarters elsewhere.

Sadly, that hasn't been my experience, but YMMV. Good luck.

As Sally suggests, background textures etc are more 'micro' subjects. But you never can tell.

One thing I've noticed is that the rarity/ pictorial quality / difficulty of taking has no bearing on how much an image sells for.

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