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Pic agencies

irish 16 227 Ireland
26 Aug 2005 1:57PM
What stock agencies do you send your image to?
Bernie 17 2.2k
26 Aug 2005 2:07PM
grom 16 239
26 Aug 2005 2:07PM
alamy seems to be the best/they have pretty tough guidelines though .ie. no sharpening'tiffs only/ 50mb file size/hold on we've already been through this
UserRemoved 17 4.2k
26 Aug 2005 2:43PM
How many stock photo threads are you going to start?

Alamy arent the best, their guidelines also arent tough in the slightest. Their guidelines only apply to file format, naming etc etc and have nothing at all to do with content.

Try some of the more specialised stock agencies who take all this as read and actually have their QA based on content.

All these threads about file sizes and what level of sharpening etc etc - I mean come on. What part of 50Mb and NO ****ING sharpening do you not understand Wink
Like seriously, if you cant send images in with no spaces in the filenames, at least 50Mb, spotted at 100% and unsharpened then I would suggest stock photography isnt for you.
If it looks blocky or unsharp or just even plain sh*t then I would suggest you dont waste your time sending it in as a buyer will think the same.

To give you a clue - I sold an image today on Alamy.
Sold to an inflight magazine, 1/4 page, 100,000 print run, licensed for three months. Russian Federation based.
By the time the agent took its cut I earned - wait for it $21 thats 21 dollars, thats less than 13 quid!
I've over 2500 images with Alamy and that wouldnt even pay for the DVDs and the postage! Of course given that you have to earn 250 before you get paid by them...

OK Wink Rant over Wink
strawman 17 22.2k 16 United Kingdom
26 Aug 2005 2:55PM
Joe you have a crap agent at work there. I auctioned a photo for 50 2 months ago. For a small fee... ;-0

Seriously is the return as low as that? Is it worth doing stock photography?
UserRemoved 17 4.2k
26 Aug 2005 3:13PM
Depends John.
I had no intention of doing general stock but found myself sitting on my backside for 6 months with f all else to do so scanned edited and sent off about 1000 images to Alamy.

I also do not so general stock but usually they are requests or particular shots I already have. Then again that might not be classified as stock but as having a couple of agents who also store their request photos in a stock library. There is decent money in that - similar to filing the photos yourself.

On the likes of Alamy its estimated that you sell approx 1 per year with every 1000 you have with them. Commercial / high level editorial images do pay well on Alamy (as everywhere else) but they arent generally shot by the type of folk who have to ask what level of sharpening or if x camera is good enough...

If I hadnt had the time to do and prepare all those images then I wouldnt have bothered. As I say it certainly wouldnt be a good use of my time. At the minute I've only filed stock images up to the end of June and have about 1000 general stock images since then to do. That list gets bigger as time goes on and I do the odd number when I have a day or two spare but I dont think I'll catch up anytime soon. The important stuff in those images has already went out to the places they are likely to get a return from.

Its a numbers and a long term game and I'm sure someone will come on here and say they've sold x y and z but how many people have images online with say Alamy and have got nothing, or worse, have sold images yet dont meet the minimum account amount.
I've mentioned the numbers game so lets go to the long term game - say its a snowy christmas and you get loads of photos - it will be next sept/oct before anyone is looking for them - if any - so by the time you (and everyone else) files them....

Oh and dont forget Alamy may a ranking system as well! The more you sell or the higher quality your images, the higher in the ranking you will be.

There will come a time when the likes of Alamy start weeding out the chaff and they have to apply decent QA. There are times that it takes a month to get images through QA and these are images which may sell and they are wasting time wading though loads of sharpened, over interpolated, badly captioned photos.

I mentioned something in a different thread before, stock photography isnt about you sending photos in to an Agency, its about people _buying_ photos. No matter how good your photo is, if there are 1000 other similar photos up there then you dont have much of a chance.

Stock photography is like any other branch of photography - you have to know your market - blindly selling photos in on spec? You may as well do the lottery with the quid for the DVDs and postage.

To recap - if I didnt have the time, I wouldnt be bothered. The returns and the margins are too small.
If on the other hand you are in an occupation or do have access to material which the general public doesnt then you can definitely do well.
pj.morley 18 947 United Kingdom
26 Aug 2005 7:05PM
Hi Joe

1 picture sale per 1000 per year. I thought the average would be more than that. That's not good odds. I've had pics with Alamy for 2 years. Nowhere near 1000. I've sold 1 with them for $250.00 and my cut was $136.00. Unfortunately I need to sell another to make the $250.00 minimum amount so will probably have to wait another 2 years to get that.

No doubt I'll be shot down but I've made more than that in only 4 months(about $500.00) with microstock and with only 300 photos.

I'm not up for a debate over the evils of microstock but it's clear to me where the future of stock is. At least for the royalty free market. My take on things is that with the advent of digital technology and an exponential growth in digital camera usage and therefore exponetial growth in images for sale from anyone with even a modicum of talent.

Microstock has come about as result of this. Simply supply and demand.
User_Removed 19 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
26 Aug 2005 11:09PM
The problem with Microstock is not so much what it is but what it does.

It devalues photographers and their products to so many cut price tins of beans on a supermarket shelf and personally I think we warrant more than that. It might be fine for those who do not rely on photography for their income - they can afford to 'play' at being a professional (i.e. earning money from photography) but causes immense harm to the industry as a whole

It's the same issue as people who are part time photographers earning money 'on the side' as wedding or freelance photographers often accepting very low rates just to get the job (or even nothing just to see their name in print)

As Joe says, the time and effort involved in Stock is just too great for the returns - people don't generally do stock to make a living, it is something that is done to supplement income mainly derived elsewhere.

Again like Joe, I'd like to see the likes of Alamy being more discerning as to content (look at the sh*te on their site). This is going to start to happen, likewise I am pleased that they are being forced to follow the eBay route and declare details of sales etc to the Inland Revenue

GeoffP 16 130 Portugal
26 Aug 2005 11:21PM
The problem with Alamy is not Alamy - but the fact that having complied with their quality control standards - they then accept any image - so no control over quality of the image content - so while it may surfice the ego to say that one is with a picture agency - it's hardly going to pay unless you can deliver some decent stock images and there IMHO lies the problem -
User_Removed 16 279
27 Aug 2005 2:22AM
Joe's post is absolutely spot on.

A business plan that includes anything greater than 5% income from stock is unrealistic and should be ripped up. Think of it in real terms. Money! If you wanted to gross, say 100,000 a year as a full-time income then the sales from stock would need to be 5K to meet your forecasts. That's going some! It would equate to 50 images at an average of 100 each commission. Imagine trying to achieve 20% sales!?

These are forecast figures and part of a theoretical business plan.

Now, that is theoretically achievable but it's unlikely to happen with one agency and it's unlikely to happen with Alamy (there's an obsession with this agency on this site; don't really understand it). I have a list of over 160 potential agencies. Specialising is essential and working out what's worth the financial effort is vital too (and no, this is not about wishfull thinking its about proper market research). Investment of time and forecast return should be something any stock photographer ought to be thinking about.

Ok, add that to the scenario you've forecast that you need your full-time income to gross 100,000 pa and that you can only devote x amount of time to stock i.e. the 5% sales and it doesn't take a degree in math to realise that the 5K forecast return isn't going to keep you in business.

This doesn't mean that you should ignore the 5K. It'll be added to your gross and who know's, you may exceed forecast? And that's the key question. 'Who knows?'.

Not a good way to survive.

Agencies are cash cows, after a lot of work, planning and weeding out the best markets for your material. They can keep ticking over nicely in the background but they're unlikely to keep a full-time business afloat.

I'm not saying don't do it, but really think about why you're doing it and really think about using more than one agency if money is the prime driver.

Choosing an agency that'll give you the best chance of sales, return and meeting forecast is key. I would respectfully suggest Alamy isn't going to do this with its current business model and standards.

GlennH 16 1.9k 1 France
27 Aug 2005 6:15AM
I seem to recall that the main criticism of Alamy right from the outset was that they accepted virtually anything from anyone (in terms of content anyway). And yes, that is why they are mentioned far more than any other agency.

However, I don't think Joe's sales figures are neccessarily reflective of Alamy. They don't attract the people that they do (at the other end of the scale) for nothing - they have a large client base and they sell. If they hadn't sold well for me I wouldn't bother offering any praise.

All agencies are a numbers game, regardless of how good you are, regardless of how well you know the market. Those that haven't the patience or want to be 'professional' overnight, should look elsewhere. Those that haven't many images - try selling and promoting them yourself.

As for microstock - done that elsewhere. Pro photographers or just self-respecting ones don't give pictures away. The BBC are often ripped for exploiting amateurs and gaining rights over pictures for nowt, and this is much the same thing, just a little more devious.

The thing that I'll broadly agree with Simon and Joe on is that stock photography isn't for most people, and certainly not in terms of making a full-time living (even with my modest expectations). Digital does, however, allow pictures to be channelled more widely and more easily than ever was the case with transparencies, so it's more than possible to generate useful money.

grom 16 239
27 Aug 2005 6:27AM
you(most of you who know what ur on about) seem to mention lots of other agencies,a summary of these agencies and the specifics ie type of photo they are after would surely help on this topic?...understand if wish not to divulge such info
GlennH 16 1.9k 1 France
27 Aug 2005 10:24AM
Most decent agencies are under one roof at the BAPLA website, grom. You can access their website addresses, and subsequently their requirements, from there.

grom 16 239
27 Aug 2005 10:33AM
once again ,thanks glenn

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