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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Stock Photography...I've recently started to put some photographs on the stock photography site alamy in order to sell some pictures. However ...
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Old 08-08-2008, 18:58   #1 (permalink)
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Stock Photography

I've recently started to put some photographs on the stock photography site alamy in order to sell some pictures. However it's dawning on me that it's really not worth the effort. The return seems to be quite low.

If I manage to sell a photo I'll get around £200 but the likelihood that someone picks my photo over 12 million others is low. So I'll have to prepare quite a few to achieve any kind of success.

The downside of this is that they want only want very technically correct photos (low noise even on the background, no aberrations, no softness etc). This limits the number of photos that can be displayed for sale and increases the preprocessing time needed.

Does anyone else have a view of this type of photography commercialisation?
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Old 08-08-2008, 21:11   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Stock Photography

Image libraries are a long-term thing, not for making a 'quick buck'. The image libraries display/market thousands of images for buyers to select. There are thousands of photographers trying to sell their work in this way. But there are thousands of buyers too Yes the competition is high + you need to have a lot of images up for sale to get anywhere.

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... The downside of this is that they want only want very technically correct photos (low noise even on the background, no aberrations, no softness etc). This limits the number of photos that can be displayed for sale and increases the preprocessing time needed.
You consider that to be a downside? Photo libraries would quickly go out of business if they sold low quality snapshots. I think it's a good thing for all concerned that they only stock good quality images
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Old 08-08-2008, 22:02   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Stock Photography

It's a numbers game, plus a knowledgeof what sells in the marketplace helps. The more shots you have listed, with correct keywords, the better the chance of selling. It's almost like a pension ....a lot of investment up front, then hopefully a consistent form of income later on
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Old 08-08-2008, 23:28   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Stock Photography

Charlotte - point taken.
However I've had some technically good (not perfect), artistically interesting shots rejected and some technically perfect, artistically boring shots accepted. I guess I'll put the technically perfect shots (boring or not) on alamy for sale and the more artistically interesting shots on pixalo for all to enjoy.

Dave - Building a large, salable portfolio is something I'll have to work at over the coming months / years to get anywhere. I suspect I'll need thousands.

Next is to find out what stuff sells best
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Old 09-08-2008, 00:58   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Stock Photography

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I've had some technically good (not perfect), artistically interesting shots rejected and some technically perfect, artistically boring shots accepted.
That's because of the markets that image libraries are selling to, which largely include: advertising, corporate, etc. Arty-but-not-so-good-technically shots are best sold via your personal website, i.e. geared toward casual buyers who are after a "nice picture". It has to be remembered that image libraries are businesses + that they are in the serious business of selling images to serious buyers who usually want them for business purposes.

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I guess I'll put the technically perfect shots (boring or not) on alamy for sale and the more artistically interesting shots on pixalo for all to enjoy.
Good idea

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Next is to find out what stuff sells best
As Dave said, you will need to study the market.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:21   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Stock Photography

As has been said, stock photography is a numbers game and it's about quantity not quality. I don't mean lack of technical quality but artistic quality tends to be much less of an issue - many's the shot that looks boring but makes a good stock shot!
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