Saturday, 12 November 2011

Alamy, and why they should change their rules . . . .

Okay, this post's title is a tad misleading. I don't think Alamy should change their rules . . . . but a few Alamy contributors certainly do.

What is Alamy? Well, Alamy is a huge UK-based stock photo library that I and about 25,000 other photographers use to get our images out there in front of buyers, perchance to sell a license or three. And a bloody good library it is too: it pays the contributor 60% of what the image license sells for, and it has no interest in how "good" anyone thinks your image are--Alamy only have one concern, and that is the technical quality of each image submitted.

According to Alamy, 95% of all submissions pass their quality control. So when you consider that they add an average of 15,000 new images a day, that's a bloody lot of people who manage to pass Alamy's quality control.

However, there are a handful of contributors who, for whatever reason, cannot consistently meet Alamy's technical quality requirement. And because they cannot consistently meet Alamy's technical quality requirement, a small number of this tiny percentage of Alamy contributors clog up Alamy's contributor forum with complaints and suggestions (in many cases outright demands) that Alamy change their requirements.

It ain't going to happen of course: Alamy have a pretty successful business model, and I hardly think they're going to change it to cater for the incompetence of a few contributors (or wannabe contributors). But some of this handful of folk who struggle to produce images that are in focus, sharp where (and if) the image dictates they should be sharp, with a "good" histogram and meeting minimum size requirements, this tiny percentage of contributors continuously try to shift responsibility for their not meeting Alamy quality control back on to Alamy. In other words, it isn't their (the contributors) fault, it's Alamy.

Makes a change I guess from blaming your camera.

Perhaps the greatest thing about digital imaging is the fact you can rattle off a series of pics, changing different parameters for each one, allowing comparison and analysis and adjustment and . . . . imrovement. Learning. Increasing skills. Experimenting. Evolving technique.

Add to this the access the internet gives to information/advice/critique/discussion, and any photographer has no excuse for not being able to improve whatever aspect of his/her images he/she chooses to improve. In the case in point, no Alamy contributor or wannabe contributor has an excuse for not being able to improve their images to remedy whatever shortcomings (from an Alamy quality control perpective) they currently have.

Unfortunately, it seems for some it's easier to just keep complaining and blaming Alamy.

(if you are thinking about submitting to Alamy and have any questions not answered from the Alamy website, drop me a line and I'll see if I can help. With nearly 2,000 submissions, I've never had a quality control fail :-)

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