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The $100,000+ club (part 2!) – Alamy’s top earning photographers

London, UK. 9 March 2017. Long exposure photography. Aakash Odedra performs Echoes choreographed by Kathak icon Aditi Mangaldas. Echoes is the second part of a double bill with 'I Imagine' at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler's Wells theatre. Performance
Bettina Strenske / Alamy Stock Photo

Welcome to part 2 of our $100,000+ club series of blog posts, where we get some insight from those photographers who have made at least $100,000 (and in many cases several $100,000) worth of sales on Alamy alone. There are several hundred of you in the club, and for those of you who want to be a member, we hope you find the insights here useful. If you haven’t yet checked out part one, you can do so right here.

As before, I’ve asked some current members what they like about working with Alamy and what tips they’d be willing to give other photographers. This is what they had to say:

Mike Goldwater

Cavaia village, Chica district . Nampula Province, Mozambique, August 2015: Tominho Alberto, 8 years old. His parents are farmers. Photo by Mike Goldwater
Mike Goldwater / Alamy Stock Photo

>>Mike Goldwater’s Alamy collection<<

“I’ve been with Alamy for more than 10 years. I like many things about it, from providing contributors with information on their own sales in real time, and payment within the same month that Alamy receives funds, to their support for good causes. This sense of partnership is in stark contrast to some other major online libraries.”

“I was a founder member of Network Photographers and over two decades of the agency’s life, I shot a wide range of magazine stories plus aid agency and corporate assignments in over 80 countries, mostly on transparency. As well as uploading new digital material from current assignments to Alamy, I’m also scanning and uploading material from my archive as time allows.”

“Alamy’s recent upgrades to the contributor’s interface is a big improvement and makes uploading new material and tagging much quicker and easier than before.”

“As others have said, the key to making good sales with Alamy is to build a sizeble collection of good images and invest the time to tag them properly.”

Bettina Strenske

London, UK. 8th July, 2017. A "hot" dog in the 2017 Pride in London parade. Credit: Bettina Strenske/Alamy Live News
Bettina Strenske / Alamy Stock Photo

>>Bettina Strenske’s Alamy collection<<

“When the American screenwriter and novelist William Goldman coined the phrase ‘nobody knows anything’, he referred to Hollywood’s inability to predict next year’s sure-fire blockbuster. A “perfect” screenplay does not necessarily translate into box office success whereas a seemingly underrated one has the potential to outperform the rest and reap the greatest rewards.”

“The same could also be said for images. Sometimes your most beloved picture just won’t sell (eventually it will, hopefully), whilst a lesser one steadily flies off the shelf. Luckily, Alamy’s strategy on judging your images solely on technical merits rather than on composition, colour and subject matter helps you.”

“But therein lies a great danger to the photographer. Just because your image has gone “on sale”, it doesn’t mean it actually will sell. Don’t become complacent or blame the world for your woes when your masterpiece doesn’t get picked up within 24-hours of upload. Stock photography is a long-term business, not a casual hobby.”

“A first-time writer unlikely produces a bestseller. Why should a photographer? It takes years of commitment, study and practice. Not only will it help you to become more confident, hone your eye and to find your own style, but also get to know yourself as a photographer. Will I be God’s gift to fashion photography, if I find talking to models to be the most excruciating thing in the world? Should I concentrate on sweeping landscapes, if I loathe the British weather and the great outdoors? Maybe still lives’ are my cup of tea after all – if it just wasn’t that tedious. Above all, give everything a try. Find out what you like and what you’re good at. With Alamy, it is easy to compare your own efforts to others, research locations and find interesting new topics to get your teeth into. In this respect Alamy will help you to become a better (selling) photographer.”

Patti McConville

Giant Christmas Ornaments, Reflecting Pool, 1251 Avenue of the Americas, NYC. Image shot 2015. Exact date unknown.
Patti McConville / Alamy Stock Photo

>>Patti McConville’s Alamy collection<<

“New York City provides me with a never-ending source of images and Alamy’s business model and philosophy renews my excitement after shooting stock for over 35 years. I constantly search their request lists to focus my vision. ”

“My advice to artists who want to benefit from the Alamy experience is to research and shoot every day. Edit tightly and process each image. Keyword extensively and occasionally check your portfolio for balance of subject matter. In the world of stock, everything can sell.”

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Keep an eye out for future posts as we feature more members of the club – it’s open to new members of course, you just need the right images, fantastic tagging skills and lots of hard work to enter.

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