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Stock photography

bentspace 17 31
14 Aug 2004 2:12AM
What is the minimum number of photo's a place like alamy will accept? Could you be honest and say if you think they will accept pics of the standard in my portfolio here? I am new here and only have four pics up... I have about 100 recent pics of this standard and thousands from the past...
phil beale 18 1.5k United Kingdom
14 Aug 2004 3:43AM
I'm in the same boat as you but looking at what you have posted I would say yes. If you have particular interest in a subject have a look on the Alamy site and judge the standard for yourself.

I believe I could equal the standard they require and often improve on some off what is on offer. But its not clear from the site what has sold well so it is very difficult to judge what sells well. I guess this comes from trial and error and may be the reason for slow sales at the start them some have talked about until you understand the market.

User_Removed 19 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2004 5:53AM
I have sold a lot of photos through Alamy even though I haven't refreshed my submission for a long time now.

One of the early questions on this thread was concerned with the time Alamy take before images are available for sale which believe me is actually one of the fastetest of any agency inthe busines (and I have been with a few). One of the later questions relates to the minimum number of photos they will accepet and about 'standards'.

In part, the second question addresses the first.

I have said this before, but other than file size and image quality (i.e. dust free and not sharpened), Alamy will accept anything - there is no content editing whatsoever and as a consequence, they are probably overwhelmed with a huge volume of submissions. This also has an affect on the way images are presented to buyers (I will use my well worn example of searching for a photo of a Fox). Put in 'Fox' as a keyword and uoi will get over 1600 images retuned. No picture buyer is going to wade through 1600 Fox photos to find the one they want so if your image doesn't appear near the beginning, you prooably won't get a look in.

Even if you narrow the search down to "Red Fox", you still get nearly 500 matches - again, far too many for all of them to be looked at and some of them bear little connection with a "Red Fox"

For this reason, your keyworking is of paramount importance and most of us who use Alamy extensively pay particular attention to this and I am glad to see that Alamy have just announced that they will remove images from people they suspect have 'lifted' keywords from other people's images.

Picking up on Phil's comment "I believe I could equal the standard they require and often improve on some of what is on offer. It's not just about 'quality' - what is this after all? The judgement is not for you as a photographer or Alamy as the agent to make - it is down to a picture buyer. One of my bigest selling photos (both in terms of revenue and number of sales) is an image I wouldn't dream of posting here or showing anywhere but it sells because it can be used in a nunber of contexts although as a standalone piece of 'art' is is nothing (in my opinion).

phil beale 18 1.5k United Kingdom
14 Aug 2004 7:44PM

Could you clarify the other points I raised I would be most grateful. I do understand your point that it is not necessarily the quality the picture buyer is looking for (probably more the subject). I would be interested to see the photo off yours that you are talking about, how about uploading?

How many Photos do you have on Alamy and do you stay to a particular subject (animals, landscape etc) or cover a variety of topics and themes.

User_Removed 19 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2004 9:31PM
Hi Phil

I have just over 250 photos on Alamy which is a small number (a bit of toe dipping really) and to be honest, I have been far too busy to go through the business of collating further submissions. I should do something about it but until they start bringing in 36 hour days it'll just have to be one of those thing's I'll get around to - eventually!

If you enter my name in the Alamy search box, you'll see everything I have uploaded which varies from wildlife to Red Cabbage cross-sections and guess which it is that has sold the most!

To be honest, I find the idea of having to submit 48Mb images a bit of a drag. First of all, not only is it really time consuming (particularly as the majority of buyers will not have a clue what to do with a 48Mb file!), but when you can only fit 14 or 15 on a CD, it also becomes comparatively expensive to make a decent submission.

In any case, if a client wants a big file, why can't they interpolate it as we are expected to do - they could then produce it at exactly the dimensions they require it.

I also asked Alamy some while ago to consider accepting submissions in a losslessly compressed format like PNG which is much smaller than TIFF so more submissions could be made on one CD.

Barrie Smile
phil beale 18 1.5k United Kingdom
14 Aug 2004 11:11PM

Thanks for the information. Also it's good to see what someone else has uploaded (bloody nice cabbage) out of these 250 shots how many have you made money on. I know I'm being a pain but could you clarify these points

What are the differences between licensed and royalty free and which is the best to chose for someone starting out? Someone has said they make more money with work that is licensed so why offer your work royalty free.

In the details on Alamy site it refers to property and model release. Looking at some of the shots on the site most people answer NO does this mean the photos are not as saleable I'm mainly thinking of places like Corfe castle and other famous landmarks. As would a company purchasing them not be able to use them without permission of the landowners.

Thanks for the help


User_Removed 19 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
15 Aug 2004 6:36AM
Hi again

With stock photography - a very general rule of thumb is to assume you will only ever sell about 1% of the photographs you have placed with an agency in any one year. As I say, this is a very loose rule of thumb and some will sell a lot more and others none at all!

Of this 250 or so, I have sold about 20 different images although some more than once. This is a very good rate of return which should encourage me to submit more but as I say, I just don't get the time at the moment. The price paid depends upon the type of licence (see below) and how it is used etc etc. Don't expect to get rich with stock photography and it's also a long term 'investment'. There are people who make a living shooting stock but they are literally churning out tens of thousands of images a year (assume an average sale is 100 and you sell just 1% of the images in your library collection) A collection of 10,000 could result in sales of 100 images in a year if you are lucky and with an average return of 100 (often much less), you could receive 10,000. Don't forget this is a gross amount and will be subject to taxation etc (and on this point, I know Alamy in line with other agencies has been "asked" to provide subscriber information to the Inland Revenue and I believe Agencies are being told to confirm the "Revenue Status" of subscribers. If payment is made to a subscriber nett of tax, and the person receiving this does not declare it, then the agency can become liable for the tax due and so for this reason many agencies and libraries are now asking for confirmation of a subscribers tax status be it as an individual or as a company).

With rgard to Licensing. Alamy have a pretty good section about this on their website but to summarise my personal feelings.

A Licensed image comes in two flavours. Traditional Licensing and Rights Protected. The former allows the purchaser to buy the use of your image for a specific purpose over a specific time frame. An example from my portfolio is one of my pics of a Scottish Wildcat which was used by a Sunday Newspaper for a specific wekend a month or so back (I never did find out where it was used!). Although they have bought the use of this image, it could also be used by any other picture buyer at the same time. The price paid will depend on the size it is being reproduced at, where it is being used (i.e. a newspaper with a huge circulation will pay more than a small magazine) and a cover will pay more than editorial inside)

A Rights Protected image means that the purchaser can buy the use of the image for a specific purpose (as before) but in the knowledge that no-one else can use that image during the period you own the rights to it. This covers any other agency that you have the image with so if you sell a RP Licensed image, you must ensure it is not sold or used elsewhere or else you could end up in serious legal trouble. As a consequence of having protect rights, the buyer pays substantially more for the use of the image and this tends to be the situation where buyers are looking for images for advertiusing products. A friend of mine sold an image for over 3000 to be used in an advert and I have heard of soemone earning over 30,000 for an image used as part of a national advertising campaign over several months.

Royalty Free images are commonly offered. The buyer pays a one off fee for the use of an image. They specify the file size they want and pay accordingly. Once they have this image, they can use it as often as they like in perpetuity but so can anyone else who buys the image.

What you go for is often a difficult decision. I personally prefer the Licensed image approach and tend towards Traditional Licensing at the moment although my next submission will contain images that I will list as RP Licensed.

Model/Property releases. This is a difficult area in that there is a lot of confusion in amongst those who are supposed to know all about it (i.e. buyers and agencies). In theory, you need a model / property release for any image where a person/propery is identifiable and that image is being used for commercial puposes (i.e. the situation with images placed at Alamy and other agencies). In practice, thi sis often not adhered to and celebrities/sportsman etc are gernerally considered to be outside of this.

Corfe Castle is private property and you would need a model release to have images of this property on sale. If in doubt, get a release. In the real world, whilst there may be few 'legal actions' undertaken because of model releases, it may well prevent a buyer from purchasing a photograph if he/she sees that there is not a release available. Everyone seems to feel the need to cover their backsides these days and so a buyer will err on the side of caution and not buy an image with a suitable release.

Hope this helps

Barrie Smile
bentspace 17 31
15 Aug 2004 9:29AM
Wow. Thanks for that Barry. Very enlightning. So I take it I could place the same image with many different stock agencies?
User_Removed 19 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
15 Aug 2004 9:44AM
Absolutely although I would think carefully before doing so particularly, if you give anybody exclusive rights to the image (as explained above). If you intend marketing an image with 'exclusive rights' (Rights Protected) then you are better off keeping it at one agency (for your own sake really).

Mixpix 17 1.1k England
15 Aug 2004 11:22AM
God how complicated this all sounds. I don't think I'd ever bother if I got up to an acceptable standard. Take care.
agoreira 18 6.0k Wales
15 Aug 2004 2:08PM
God how complicated this all sounds.

Indeed! As Barrie has said, it can be quite time consuming initially, and with no guarantee that you will sell something. For Barrie, as a professional, it's quite different, but a lot of amateurs think they can join up and make a nice bit on the side. I think if you sign up with nil expectations, that's fine, if you sell anything it's a bonus. Apart from the postage and CD's, which is next to nothing, it's not going to cost you anything, so it could be worth uploading a pile and just forgetting them, they might sell, who knows.

phil beale 18 1.5k United Kingdom
15 Aug 2004 3:30PM
Thanks barrie for the information and the time taken to type it in. I will definately look at supplying photos to Alamy as it would be good to do more with my work other than have them on a disk in a draw.

As others have said I don't expect to give up work but it would be good to get some income in from paying out for the camera equipment. And it feels like the next step to progress to.

Thanks for your help Barrie

bentspace 17 31
15 Aug 2004 10:00PM
Im with you Phil! Dissapointment is always preceded by expectation... So I will expect never to sell any. I'll give it a go.

Thankx Barrie
Mixpix 17 1.1k England
16 Aug 2004 8:25AM
Whats confused me reading all this is interpolation. What is it? My biggest files are around 11MB once I have converted from RAW to TIFF so I'm totally lost.
UserDeleted 18 3.6k
16 Aug 2004 8:38AM
The act of upsizing or upresing your images using either Photoshop bi-cubic interpolation or a separate software product such as genuine fractals is known as interpolation.

Basically using a mixture of scientific algorithm, chaos theory and guesswork the software creates "extra" pixels to increase the area of the image.

This also increases the filesize - necessary to get to a 48MB image from a digital camera, unless you are using a medium format digital back.


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