Which Stock Photo Agency? Why This Reader Uses Alamy

Last week, BSC reader Rosanne Tackaberry told us how she's turning her photos of garbage into a surprisingly popular income-earning stock photo niche. If you missed that issue, read it here.

Since she mentioned that she makes up to over a hundred dollars per sale, today I've asked her to tell us about the agency she submits to most: Alamy.

Alamy is different from most of the agencies we talk about in this e-letter. You usually need a larger portfolio there before you start to see income... but it's easier to get photos accepted into the collection. You're not likely to make as MANY sales as you would on some other agencies... but you'll make a lot more per sale. Sometimes over $100.

If you'd like to supplement your current stock photo income with a different kind of agency, read on...

-- Bonnie

Bonnie Caton
Creator, Breakfast Stock Club

Why I Prefer Alamy
By Rosanne Tackaberry

One cold, dreary February day I flew from Canada to Ecuador for two weeks of sunny bliss photographing wildlife on the Galapagos Islands. As the plane took off, I snapped four quick shots of the bleak winter scene below.

Later, I uploaded one of them to Alamy.com and keyworded it with several weather-related terms.

In addition to my sales of Galapagos wildlife images, the winter snapshot was licensed twice for a total of over $300. Not a bad way to supplement my income for one minute of shooting time!

With most microstock agencies, you can expect to make a few cents per download. But at Alamy, my average license is over $80 per download.

One thing I like about being an Alamy contributor, besides the higher income per download, is that the agency does not deny submissions based on content (except for a few rules about lewd or abusive images).

Images are checked by Quality Control (QC) for normal issues such as noise and compression. But as long as the photos meet their technical requirements, you can upload as many photos as you like, and they will all be added to the catalog.

What's even better is that, as a contributor at Alamy, you make 50% of the sale. If you also sign up for representation by regional distributors around the world you are paid 30% of those sales. And additional income opportunities such as Alamy's "Novel Use” scheme are optional.

How much money can you make with Alamy?

This varies widely among contributors. My first sale on Alamy came after I had 74 images online. At that point, sales came about every two months, increasing as my portfolio size grew.

When I reached 1,000 images online, I started seeing two to five sales per month. Not bad, since my average sale (excluding novel use) is over $80.

If you're interested in giving Alamy a try, here are five tips that will help you get started on the right foot:

1. Concentrate on technical quality rather than subject matter for the initial submission. Check to make sure your camera is compatible with Alamy's requirements, avoid sharpening, and inspect your images at 100% before you submit them.

2. Once you've passed QC, you're up and running. What to submit? Your best photos of every subject. The key is variety. Avoid sending in a bunch of very similar photos, however, as it's likely to make your images appear farther down a list of search results.

3. Keyword your images with relevant, specific details. Include both American and British spellings to increase the number of views of your images, for example wildlife rescue "center” and "centre.”

4. Take advantage of AlamyMeasures -- a special statistics tool available to contributors -- to look at customer searches as well as views and zooms of your own images. This information is useful to fine tune your keywords for improved results.

5. Alamy requires model releases for royalty-free images that include people, even if they are unrecognizable. Images of people without a model release can be licensed for editorial use.

One thing I've learned is that you never know what someone will buy... after all, I never expected to sell my photos of trash. So don't be afraid to shoot and submit a little bit of everything.

But most of all, shoot what you love and have fun with it.

[Do you submit to Alamy? What's your experience? Share your thoughts on the Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page.]

Your Weekly Breakfast Dish
The Latest from Your Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page

October's Upload Challenge inspired readers to get new photos up on their sites! I LOVE to see motivation like this! Let's keep up the momentum through the New Year.

From Deidre McConnell: 8 photos uploaded to 4 agencies. Most accepted. Still too many pending. I will get 15 done by the deadline!

From Rosi Berry: Where did the month go!?! I had every intention of doing this challenge. Been taking lots of photos. Now I just have to sit down and get them stock-ready. In the meantime, I have a file on Fotolia which has been downloaded a number of times now. That should be my incentive to get more files on there.

From Theresa St John: I am doing great with the uploads! Had a lot of photo shoots for families and travel articles, so that surely helped me get what I needed. So much fun!!!

From Elizabeth Coughlan: 32 accepted so far this month. I'm now more focused on building my portfolios. Thank you Bonnie for giving me the motivation to get going!

From Michael Dyer: Last April I decided to get serious about my photography and traveled across the country to attend the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop in Miami, Fl. After that I moved a little slowly but eventually submitted photos to BigStock and Mostphotos stock photos agencies. Mostphotos (currently I have 20 images on that site) accepts almost everything and Bigstock has a much more stringent approval process. I have 14 of 27 images approved on Bigstock which is a 52% approval rating (that percentage is improving with each submission). This weekend I got an email that said I sold one of my images. First Sale - Top of the World!! This is the photo that sold.