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19 tips for getting the most from your Alamy collection

helpful tips
Anna Berkut / Alamy Stock Photo

Whether you’re just starting out with Alamy or you’ve been shooting stock for a while, everyone wants to do their best and there are always things to learn or be refreshed on. With that in mind, I’ve asked all members of the Alamy Content team to share their top tips on getting the most from your Alamy collection…

  1. What images do Alamy need?
    With over 110 million images available on Alamy, it can be hard to know what to shoot to maximise your potential. So, if you want to know what Alamy ‘needs’ or perhaps you’re just looking for some general inspiration then take a look at our Stock Photo Requests blogs – these are real Alamy gaps from customers, searches that our customers have not been able to quite find what they’re looking for. Each month we’ll give you lots of shoot ideas based on a different category. You can also keep an eye on our Twitter hashtag (#AlamyPicNeeds) and follow us @AlamyContent.
  2. Shoot what you love
    If you’re into food then shoot that, your enthusiasm, passion and interest will shine though in your work. If you love the outdoors, don’t shut yourself in a studio.
  3. Check out the competition
    Do some searches on Alamy based on what you have in your archive or what you’re planning to shoot next. This way you can see what the competition is like (and improve upon it) – and even better – find gaps that you can fill.
  4. What sells?
    We often get asked what sells. There’s no magic formula but an easy way to see what’s selling is to pay attention to print advertising and marketing, as well as looking at published magazines, books, calendars and other print material. That way you can see what picture buyers are actually using and take that inspiration to shape your future shoots.
  5. Stay safe in the eyes of the law
    When you’re out on a shoot make sure you have then necessary permissions to photograph at the location you’re at. If you’re in a public place more often than not you’re fine to photograph providing you’re not trespassing or otherwise breaking the law. But if you’re on private property you might need extra permissions so make sure you check this to ensure your hard days work photographing doesn’t go to waste by being removed because of a potential legal issue.
  6. Keep a release form handy
    Download our model release form so you have it on hand when you need it. There are also some great apps available.
  7. Be creative with your camera angles
    When shooting a model or on location, try to get a variety of angles and be creative when it comes to this, sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between images when they have the same composition and setup. This can then help with captioning/tagging considering the work you’ll be making is much more personal and purposeful, it allows for some keyword variety within searches that can therefore help your images reach a larger audience.

    Creative Freedom typed on paper in typewriter surrounded by ivy
    RooM the Agency / Alamy Stock Photo
  8. Edit, edit, edit
    Edit your collection from a Stock photography point of view to increase customer interest.
  9. Pass Quality Control quickly
    Download our handy PDF on how to pass QC to get your images up on sale quicker.
  10. Captions as sentences
    Captions with one or two words, or that are a string of keywords, don’t perform well in the search engine. Make sure your captions are proper sentences – this will not only help them be found but also improve readability for the customer.
  11. Tagging is key
    Tagging is very important when it comes to getting your images seen. You could have the best images within a search result but if you haven’t tagged them well then they wont be seen. Check your spelling, add the location (not forgetting derivations, e.g. US, USA, America etc.) abbreviations, the time of day etc. All these can help get your images seen.
  12. Keep your tags up to date
    If you have older images in your collection, go back over and tweak the tags to include more ‘modern’ terminology e.g. ‘selfies’ didn’t exist before…

    Selfie of photographer reflected in puddle
    Lancashire Images / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo
  13. Think like a customer
    When it comes to captioning and tagging your images, think like a customer. Ask yourself why would a customer want to see this in their search results, what is it in this image they might be looking for?
  14. Don’t overthink tags
    Customers are humans and will search for “woman smiling on boat”, they generally don’t search for “human female facial expression of joy aboard water vehicle”. A thesaurus can be useful, but it can also be a waste of your valuable time.
  15. Annotate correctly
    You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste because of wrong annotations, so make sure they’re correct. If there are people in your photo, fill that info in, if it’s an illustration, make sure it’s annotated as an illustration, and if there are releases, then check that box. These all filter into customer searches, so the more info you fill in, the more likely your images will show up in the right searches.
  16. Be in it for the long run
    Consider stock photography as a long term investment. Yes, it does take time but you’ll benefit in the long run by spending time developing your collection on Alamy. Ideally submit as much of your archive as quickly as you can initially and then regularly add to your growing collection. This approach can accelerate how quickly you start making sales and increase the level of sales more effectively.
  17. Change your mind-set
    View stock photography as a fun thing to do!  Perfecting and editing your images and tagging them exercises both the left and right parts of the brain. It’s beneficial and we have good tools to help you.
  18. Find your niche
    If you have a particular style or speciality, cultivate it as much as you can and make a niche for yourself on Alamy.
  19. And finally…
    This might be a moot point… as if you’re reading this… you’re already doing it… but… read our blog posts! No one has all the answers, but we offer a variety of information on stock photography from both contributor and customer viewpoints. With general opinion pieces, more specific help and advice, insights and inspiration on a weekly basis, there’s bound to be something that interests you.

Do you have any Alamy top tips you’d like to share? We’d love to see them if you do… comment below or tweet us @AlamyContent.

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