Vaccine Passports

Vaccine passports are a concern to many in the community.

Vaccine passport protest
Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, 4 December 2021. Alliance Against Vaccine Passports rally starts in Corn Market and marches to City Hall for 2.00p.m

Vaccine passport protest
Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, 4 December 2021. Alliance Against Vaccine Passports rally starts in Corn Market and marches to City Hall for 2.00p.m

Contracts and Commissions

Sales on Alamy have nearly zeroed for me recently, although some others seem to be doing fairly well. I can’t be sure if it’s just normal ebb and flow or something I’m doing, or more probably something I’m not doing.

I haven’t submitted any images this year and a quick read at the Alamy forum reveals some people say you need to keep up a constant flow of photographs while others say it makes little difference. No wiser then. The problem with the Alamy forum is that the people there make up a very small percentage of contributors to the platform and their experiences may well bear little relevance to the overall situation. My image views are about normal so I decided to wait and see what happens.

While I was waiting Alamy had another contract review. They’ve increased their commission to 60% from 50% for images exclusively licenced through them. Strangely that’s the same rate as they take for non exclusive images so it may point to further commission increases in the future. They’ve also created commission tiers starting at a cool 80% to them when they licence your photographs although if you manage to licence $25000 they will take only 50% commission.

I’m in the fortunate position of not having to care. In the past I’ve made enough sales to keep me above having to pay them 80% and I’m so badly organised I couldn’t say positively whether many of the images I have on Alamy were not also licensed elsewhere so I kept them all marked as non exclusive. Commission rates will stay the same for me – for now anyway.

What does concern me however is the appearance that the new contract moves much of the liability for problems with licencing and the use of images by Alamy and their clients very much towards the contributor and away from them, although they get more money from licencing an image than the photographer who created it does.

Predictably the Alamy forum erupted in alarm and indignation. At time of writing it consisted of 60 pages. If you have a spare day or two, have a read.

My last three sales with Alamy have been for $3.75, $13.41 and $31.54. From these princely sums Alamy deducted their 60% commission. You can see that I’m unlikely to reach the $25000 threshold.

In between these sales was another for ‘Personal use’ at $13.02 but it was refunded. This ‘Personal Use’ which usually means someone buying the file to have it printed to hang on their wall, was a photograph of a box of 28 Aspirin tablets. These ‘personal use sales are an ongoing problem but that’s for another day.

The future of stock photography is looking bleak, for photographers anyway.

Swimmer, Ballyholme, Bangor
Swimmer, Ballyholme, Bangor

In case you’re wondering – the photographs are not connected with the contents of this post. They’re just of activities that grabbed my attention at Ballyholme today.

The end in sight

The vaccinations are rolling out as quickly as we could have hoped and in April it’s expected that up to 40000 people a week will be vaccinated. The infection rate is dropping with less people catching the virus and hospital admissions falling.

Our government has published a plan for exiting lockdown and getting back to normal. Anyone familiar with Northern Irish politics will know this should be taken as a positive sign for the future –  they have all managed to agree on something. We are critical of our leaders, often with good reason, but looking at the way some European politicians have acted during the pandemic we should probably try to complain yes in future. That’s as close as I come to commenting on politics.

I’m looking forward to being able to travel again, Not necessarily abroad but just around the country. I was in Carrickfergus recently and it’s the farthest from home I have been for two months or more. Sometimes I still have difficulty believing that this lockdown is actually happening. I know it has all been necessary but governments having power to tell us who we can spend time with and where we can go should always be a concern.

On the photography front my experiments with images from my iPhone continue. I’m not sure if I mentioned it previously but I’ve bought a Gopro so I’m experimenting with that as well. I said previously that I’ve been mostly using Hipstamatic and wouldn’t be distracted with the many other apps available. I should’ve known better. I’ve rediscovered Snapseed. I had installed it on my phone some time ago and forgotten it was there. I continue to send images off but no sales so far. I’m enjoying creating images on my phone so no pressure.

When things get back to normal I’ll probably start shooting some images for stock again but on a more casual basis than in the past.

Ballyholme, Bangor, Northern Ireland DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR0280.JPG

Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The Royal Hotel, Bangor, Northern Ireland DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR0308.JPG

Eisenhower Pier, Bangor, Northern IrelandDCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR0316.JPG

Anyway, for now

I’m still experimenting with my iPhone and Hipatamatic and having a great time. With no pressure to actually produce something it feels like a hobby, which I suppose it is. I always have my phone with me and when something presents itself that I think will make an image I snap it. Later I’ll spend a few minutes processing it in Hipstamatic, usually to make it look dramatic.

There’s an agency that specialises in licencing mobile phone images so if I produce something that I feel might work as stock off it goes. All done from my phone. I just need someone to buy some of them.

I’ve read the true, or expert, Hipstamatic user sets the app to produce the effect required before they take the picture. I’m not that skilled just yet. Maybe it’ll come.

With the pandemic and the free time it has brought I’ve been thinking about stock shooting. It hasn’t been financially viable to travel or put much effort into making images for stock for some time but I enjoyed it so I continued to produce images and submit them. There’s no avoiding the issue any longer however. If I continue to shoot for stock I’m subsidising multi million pound companies who in the past have reduced payments to photographers and will continue to do so in the future.

One company charges photographers up to 85% commission to licence their images. Often the photographer gets a mere 10 cents.

Anyway, for now I’m clicking away on my iPhone and I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops.

The Long Hole, Bangor, Northern Ireland
The Long Hole, Bangor

Pills in bubble pack

McKee Clock, Bangor, Northern Ireland
McKee Clock, Bangor

Eisenhower Pier, Bangor, Northern Ireland
Eisenhower Pier, Bangor

Empty bike dock
Park your bike

Entrance to Ward Park, Bangor, Northern Ireland
Ward Park, Bangor
Shirts hanging on a door handle

Placing a shirt into a washing machine

Old Boots
Old Boots