Alamy QC. How it works – updated for 2017

© Larry Lilac / Alamy

With the introduction of our new Alamy Image Manager we’ve made some changes to the way Quality Control (QC) works.

Our QC policy is still the same – you can still send us anything you want so long as it meets our technical criteria.

We have a three star ranking system that is based on your QC history and how often you pass or fail QC. The more stars you have the more quickly you pass QC.

  • If you’ve got three stars you’re doing really well and your submissions will be looked at as quickly as we possibly can.
  • A two star ranking and you’re nearly there, just be sure to take the time to really check those images to gain that extra star.
  • One star means you fail QC a lot and your work takes longer to be looked at. If you do fail, your account will be frozen for 10 days before you can upload images again. For more information on passing QC click here.

You can see your QC rank in your ‘Alamy dashboard’.

It’s easy to get 3 stars. All you need to do is make sure you‘ve read through and understand our guidelines on our Contributor Homepage.

  • North40

    Does Alamy understand how rude, discourteous, and unprofessional it is to hold submissions for six weeks before Alamy tells the submitter why it failed??

  • Rob Chambers

    Can someone help! How is it that some work I have dried to upload to Alamy and have been denied, that the photos are not good quality yet some have been published in 5 top magazines?

  • Rachit Gupta

    I had uploaded 6 images for the first time on 25th August, 2015. The status turned out to be a “fail”, reason being the number of images id submitted was exceeding the limit of 4. So on the next day (26/8/2015) i uploaded 4 images for reviewing. But I still have not got any results as of yet. Need some help with this..

  • AlamyAdmin

    If you’ve got any questions on how QC works please email and they’ll be happy to help. Sorry we can’t provide support in the blog comments.

    Many thanks!

  • Ekta Minocha

    I also submitted my photos on 28 August and i haven’t yet received response on QC check. Since it was my first time i submitted only 4 images and am waiting for responce from QC to upload further.

  • Tracy Collyer

    been waiting 13 days for QC 🙁

  • Kelli Scott



  • Chakib

    I am having the same problem as most. My first submission was more than 4 and was denied, then I uploaded 4 and its taking a while.

    • Apparantly you are placed on hold for 28 days if you fail a submission.

  • Oliver Lynton

    Hi. I am also new to Alamy and uploaded 4 images. As there is no upload confirmation I assumed something had gone wrong and so uploaded the same 4 again. Even though they were in different sets they were both rejected because of ‘number of images’. I’ve uploaded the 4 again but now read here it may take several weeks for the QC process.

  • Terri

    I uploaded four images for the first time about a week ago. Still have not heard anything. How long does this process take?

  • Bob Lock

    It has been 19 days since I uploaded my last batch of photographs and they are still awaiting QC. Is there a problem with them?

    • Terri

      There must be. I’ve been waiting over a week. What the hell takes so long?? Irritating.

  • George Huthart

    How long does QC take when you submit your first four pictures? I have joined 3 days ago and wondered how long I will be waiting?

  • AlamyAdmin

    For new contributors who have submitted their first QC test, it can take up to 24 hours (Mon – Fri UK office hours) to get your results. For existing contributors this can sometimes take a bit longer depending on our workload.

    If you’ve got questions on how QC works please email and they’ll be happy to help you.

  • Prateek Patodia

    My submissions got accepted a few days ago and needed the details of keywords etc completed. Now they have been complete and showing complete but not os sale for last 2 days, how long does this take?

  • Katja Heber

    Hi there, it really is annoying to have to wait for your QC failure notice. I submitted my latest batch on 19/01 and I’m still waiting – since I started using full frame lenses I haven’t failed any QC test – the last one i failed was in 2013. I think Alamy could improve their system – it is just not very encouraging for contributors. It’s not always a hundred percent clear why an image fails QC – sometimes I believe it’s a matter of taste, for example, where the right focus point should be or whether a slight out-of-focus take is adding to an image or not. To be honest in my latest upload I wasn’t sure about one or two images but decided in the end to risk it. But I believe Alamy may loose out on some really good images that way. And i also think it unnecessary to fail the whole batch just because of one image not being good enough. That’s my opinion anyhow.

  • Hurly Zee

    It is very irritating that Alamy fails the whole batch if one picture does not pass QC. Toughies, they will loose out on some great pictures.

    Has anyone tried submitting the pictures one by one? Or maybe only one per day?

    • Dr. P. Kumar

      Whether Alamy QC fails 1 or 1000, the concerned contributor has to wait for almost a month for his/her next upload. Of course one CAN upload before any pending QC result is communicated, but ALL uploaded image batches will fail if the image(s)-in-wait fail eventually. One-fail-all-fail pain is equally neutralized by one-pass-all-pass pleasure 😉 .

  • kasun

    usually how many days take for QC?

  • Hurly Zee

    Alamy should at least send you a notification email when they put you on the waiting list. I think I have failed QC but don’t know for sure. I have been waiting 36 days with all batches in pending status since my last batch was approved on the 30th of January. It is very frustrating to not know what is going on.

  • Alan D West

    I have four sets of images Waiting QC the earlisets being from 24th Feb submitted images on the 23rd and was notified of a failure on the 24th. Doesnt seem consitent.

  • Darek M

    Does trying to upload an image larger than 10MB count as a failed QC?

  • Alan D West

    “If you fail QC, your submissions will be stored in our batch fail queue where you’ll have to wait 28 working days for your failure reason.” So any subsequent submissions also go into the queue? So basically you submit one batch and have to wait for that to be QC’d and passed before submitting any more. Otherwise if you hit a snag they will all fail. The retaining of the status Awaiting QC for batches that have already failed is misleading.

  • I have failed QC a number of times with submitted image that I thought were very good. The reason for failure were very vague and I wish I could figure out why the failure. I don’t know if there has been a permanent target placed on my back. Wondering if and how I can remove that target. I find it staggering to see so many very poor images displayed on Alamy and mine fail. I am having a great deal of difficulty struggling with failure. Is there a pre QC where I can to see if any the images would pass? Or should I look for another agency?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Michelle Rook

      What a terrible website. Photo4me at least use real photographers to monitor submissions. No rubbish shots on there. Deal with a quality website.

  • Same Bs here…I have 2 submission batches waiting QC.

  • Mahul Milan Mukherjee

    I uploaded my photos on 8th June, next 21st and third one on 30th. All batch of photographs status showing “Awaiting QC”.Can’t understand why it took so much time weather my earlier photos pass QC test.

  • Phil Gough

    Some of mine have been denied, but when I have looked very closely, I can see why. This helps me to look closer at my work. I have just uploaded some and have realised that on one set, I have sent the same batch again. It can be upsetting to get your work denied, but it really does help me to look closer and when processing them, to make sure I have done everything possible to pass. Good luck in the furure.

    • Michelle Rook

      Look me up on photo4me and see my work. Exceptional is the word most used to describe my pics. Real photographers with real talent use this site.
      Negativity not welcome. lol!

    • Paul Dreiser Andrews

      I’m very critical when it comes to focusing on an image I wish to create. I’m learning very fast to see that Alamy’s QC is like, very picky in which is good but to find one photo that rejected and the remaining follow suit seems a bit peculiar, as though someone is just having a bad day and therefore your whole submission is rejected. Amazing. There has to be a better way to combat this problem as so the process is not overwhelmed by so many submissions each day.

  • Peter Wooton

    Rob. I wouldn’t worry too much. Only three out of my twelve submissions since joining circa June 2008 have ever passed QC despite the images having been published in magazines, online etc.. The last two submissions failed after several weeks of waiting with no explanation given. Usually only one image failed which meant the whole batch failed. I’ve never sold anything through Alamy and given Alamy holds something like 74 million stock images, the chances of actually making a sale are very limited to say the least. I’ve just deleted all my images from Alamy because it appears to be a futile. exercise to upload a batch of good images only to have them all fail QC because the automated QC system picks up on something that might not be visible. In addition to that I’ve worked with graphic designers who don’t use Alamy because the stock images are too US orientated.

    • Michelle Rook

      I totally agree. Will not be submitting as uses automated QC system. That is the silliest thing ever. lol!

    • John Santarossa

      Hi Peter,
      I too have suddenly hit the same Alamy buffers; weeks of waiting for QC and no explanation after a series of successful submissions!!
      What intrigues me is that I performed a Google search for “Pictures of a glass of water” for which the search engine returns 10.6 million hits. First page of results in second position was Shutterstock; after five pages of results, no sign of Alamy (and they do have pictures on the subject)…..
      You mentioned you deleted your pictures from Alamy, I tried and could not figure it out; how is it done?

  • Vasilisa PR

    please, could you tell, if only fingers of a person are seen and the rest in a
    complete shadow, do i need to indicate that there is a person?

  • Andrew Wells

    why is it taking more than a week for my photos to go through the QC process its been 9 days and still nothing.

  • Andrew Wells

    come on this is ridiculous 13 days i’ve been waiting for my photos to go through QC. i was under the impression that this was a good stock site, can someone explain why its taking so long

  • Roberto Nistri

    Good evening, the QC processing is it stopped? Are there some trouble? There are some pictures of mine submitted more than twenty days ago… Thanks.

  • Howza

    This might be a silly question but….. I am new here and have recently uploaded some images that passed QC and I keyworded. Now that is done but I no longer see any images anywhere in “My Alamy”.
    How do I see my images so that I know what I have uploaded and that I may sort them??

  • Mutasem Ayad

    I passed QC 9 photos … But, uploaded 2 more & still taking too long …

  • Paul Watts

    My first batch was approved in December and I sent 2 more batches at the begining of January. They are still showing as ‘Awaiting QC’. Other companies are approving in a few days. Something is wrong I think.

  • Luis Molina

    Hello Alamy,

    A suggestion. Instead of rejecting a whole batch of images; Wouldn`t it be better to just reject the image you consider doesnt meet the technical criteria, and allow the other images which does. I`m saying this because i have gotten a few submissions rejected based on one image that you say is not properly focused, and I lose my whole submission for only one image or two out of maybe a hundred…

    • Paul Dreiser Andrews

      As it seems someone in QC is just having a bad day.

  • Gordon Shoosmith

    The point Alamy is making “about one wrong one means the whole batch is rejected is ” that we the photographer should have checked EVERY photo BEFORE submitting .If they have to check EVERY 80.000 pics added daily ,the system would come to a grinding halt.I know its a pain when you get a batch rejected ,but its meant to help you check what the QC fault is and learn by your mistake> I think all of us when we first started made errors, but we learnt from them

    • Mark Azavedo

      But without properly pinpointing the reason, it doesn’t help in the slightest. To take my point elsewhere about “soft or lacking definition”, we don’t send in such pictures purposefully, and, above all, we’re not idiots or naughty children. It means that we’re working to different definitions. It is up to Alamy to define acceptability properly and not for us to guess. OK, one may regard it as all very subjective (but, again, not us as naughty children), but I’ve demonstrated elsewhere how you can begin to objectivise even “soft or lacking definition”. Over to Alamy to do so, and in general to try their level best to make guessing games unnecessary.

  • Mark Azavedo

    OK, over the years I’ve watched these blogs on quality control, people fishing around trying to find meaning, rather than the facts being articulated from Alamy. I’ve been having my doubts about quality control’s ability to deal with the output of the most sophisticated contemporary cameras. I investigated this. The image was failed. Failed under that ridiculous old catch-all of soft/lacking definition. The one where we all roll our eyes, with not a clue as to what it means. It could, indeed mean anything. Now, my “soft” image was taken using a miniscule focusing point (as possible with cameras now) and trust me the tiny bit in focus was ultra-sharp. Behind blurred, ahead a blurred lead-in to a painter. His two hands and slightly onto his chest pin-sharp. I assume 800 ISO very unlikely to produce concern overall. Now let’s put a perspective on what happened – Alamy got it wrong. Part was as sharp as a pin. But, could it be they were “saying” for our purposes X% must be as sharp as a pin. We’re not interested in all this creative play. In fact our algorithm has been programmed to detect that X%, or you fail. Not unreasonable. But what is unreasonable is not telling us. Beginning to define that ridiculous catch-all of soft/lacking definition would be simple and valuable to us. Something else I’ve just learned of (when my ranking collapsed) is that Alamy go back over old submissions and decide stuff shouldn’t have been passed, but leave it on file as it did pass, then reduce your ranking. So back to slapped wrist, stand in corner. Customer care can’t come into this, since the material is still available.Again, no communication. Just a manual intervention by a quality control agent. And one very angry Mark. Not the intervention. Alamy can do what they want. But the lack of communication. Along with the feeling that, whilst reducing pay-out figures, there is still no real understanding that there are limits to the amount of hassle one will entertain for the pennies now involved in an Alamy sale, or, indeed, several of them. As a start, Alamy could communicate that % to us, if there is one. I will then know, for instance, henceforward no clever tricks of just having the artists hands in focus!!

  • Ozone Anyasi

    perfection is a process, and we are perfect by learning.If you are not rejected, you can’t get acceptance.with quality control, you are on your way to perfection.rejection is not denial.the system is not against you, but against your poor it better, and the system will love you.

  • Tom Groenfeldt

    Photo District News Online recently reviewed 12 or 14 editing packages for still photographers and several provided an alternative to Adobe’s subscription model — but they made no recommendation and the comment section was nearly empty. So Alamy contributors have suggestions? One photog noted that a few hundred images filled Adobe’s cloud storage but the article offered no alternatives like Google, AWS, Azure and no mention at all of what’s happened to Aperture, which recently seems to have exported my images to an Apple photo program…Help!

  • Glyn Fletcher

    I have had two submissions fail due to “lack of definition” where the entire projects submitted was to capture the coastline of Northumberland and the North Sea. I had therefore spent a reasonable amount of time up to my knees in water to capture the sea cascading or flowing over rocks, creating a surreal atmospheric image. I know that photography is subjective but I’m sure I can’t be the only one who finds this type of image to be attractive,informative and narrative, so I need to know how to use my chosen photo library ” Alamy ” to sell this type of image. The quality rating Alamy awards, states that stars are offered based on the quality of images submitted, however if no specifics are offered the photographer has no idea what needs to change to improve submissions. I see no reason why the images submitted failed, everything static or stationary in the images is sharp and well defined, only the movement is blurred. So are these images checked my a machine or by a person? If its by machine there needs to be an override. If its by people they need to justify the decision so photographers can learn.

More from the author

More articles about...

For Contributors

Latest Imagery

With 100,000 new images added everyday there is always something new to see on Alamy. See our editor's pick of what's new...

See Latest Imagery