Back in the Seventies and Eighties I founded and ran several Fleet Street photo agencies specialising in stock images of celebrities from pop stars to politicians. These were syndicated to the National and International press and Television. These days I am active in the Microstock world and this blog charts my journey as well as, hopefully, providing inspiration and ideas to others. Image buyers should also find this blog useful with links to my portfolios and regular updates on new uploads. Unless otherwise stated all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Comments are very welcome but will be reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A is for.......Alamy:

Passed -Flora the Singleton Giant
I have recently started to upload some images to British agency Alamy. More premium priced than microstock they are probaly best described as a Midstock agency. Though they take any kind of stock subjects they are probaly best known for travel and editorial images -with frequent credits in the British national newspapers.

Now, this is not a new sign up for me. I opened my account at Alamy in January 2008 back when my only other agencies were Snap Village (deceased) and Picture Nation (deceased). They were British, took editorial and anybody could upload on line. It all looked good until I started to see their frankly Byzantine upload requirements. You couldn't just upload your images as you could with other agencies. Instead a curious upsizing was required for which you had to buy special software (Genuine Fractals was their recommended one). Cue lots of instructions about compressed/uncompressed sizes which I didn't really understand then (and still don't!). Alamy went on hold before it even began for me. Anyway, years passed and all that kerfuffle was eventually scrapped. Now you just need a 6 megapixel (or more) camera and you're good to go. Provided your camera is on their "Approved Camera List" that is. My Nikon D80 is, I'm pleased to say.

So, start uploading then David? Well, no because about that time microsite Yaymicro announced a
Failed - chromatic aberration
partnership deal with Alamy - I was happy for them to take their cut for saving me all that time uploading and keywording. This would have been a sound plan if they had ever actually put any of my images on Alamy. After a year or so I emailed them and they assured me they would get there eventually but it would take time. I'm guessing they were cherry picking best images for Alamy and not just mirroring their whole library there. More time passed and still no Alamy action and in the meanwhile Yay have virtually sunk into oblivion (for me) so I'm not sure how much longer I'll even be uploading to them.

Right, time to upload direct. Start with uploading four images as a test. Just upload (you only have to add captions/keywords after approval). My test came a cropper when one of the Eiffel Tower failed their Quality Control (QC) for chromatic aberration (fringing). It had been approved at every other site I belong to. However, there was no wait period and I was free to upload another four images. I just re-uploaded the passed ones from the first batch and added another hopeful. These passed and I was in. Once in you can upload as many images as you want at any time. At this point you can add your data and wait for the next server update for them to go on sale.

Now for the important bit: Alamy rules do not allow you to set a different license type (for the same image) to what you are selling elsewhere. If those images are Royalty Free on microstock then you must set a Royalty Free license on Alamy. This throws up another problem because Alamy require editorial images to be Rights Managed - ruling out a large chunk of my portfolio which are Royalty Free on the micros. You could, of course, shoot some editorial just for Alamy and that would be fine.****
Passed - Pigs head with apple

The second important thing is their Quality Control (review) system. They do not check every image but if they do reject just one they also reject every other in that batch AND in all other batches awaiting approval. Harsh, but there it is. My strategy for now is to literally upload one image and await the outcome. Reviews are usually a day or less. Once I get a feel for their standards I'll up my
numbers. Be aware that if you get a sufficient number of QC fails you will be suspended from uploading for a while or ultimately face account closure.

My image choice strategy, for now, is to choose a few images from each area of my port (e.g. each Greek island etc). I'll report back how it all goes. Regards, David.

****EDIT: RF Licensing is coming. See my post here Alamy update


Paul Smith said...

Hello David
Interesting read. I'm curious to know where you read that Alamy don't want you to sell the same image on another stock site with a different License type (IE RM or RF). Can't find it in the terms myself.

Regards Paul

Paul Smith said...

Nevermind I found it.

"The licence type on Alamy for an image must be the same as the licence type for that image and similar images which you have on other agency websites"

Bit of a problem if you have submitted RM to Alamy first then want to submit the same images to Microstock.



David Fowler said...

Hi Paul,
Thank you for your comment. The issue of licence types is dealt with in section 2.2 of the Contributors Contract (which you can find under Legal at the bottom of Alamy pages). ".....the licence type on Alamy for an image must be the same as the licence type for that image and similar images which you have on other agency websites". Not sure if I can post a working link in comments here but this is it:

Kind regards,

David Fowler said...

Our posts crossed there but I'll leave them both in for information for others!