LETTER - full text online

Reply to ‘Battle of Alamy’

In response to Stefano Cagnoni (letter, October issue) I would like to say that when my talk to the LFB on the subject of online distribution was reported in the previous issue of the Freelance, too much emphasis was given to my mention of Alamy as one of the outlets for my stock photography.

I have been a contributor to the environmental picture agency Still Pictures and also to Panos Pictures for much longer than to Alamy. Though I did mention that on my talk, it was not reported in your article.

I was actually introduced to Alamy by a fellow NUJ member and a veteran photographer and campaigner, and there are many members of our union who contribute to that agency.

I for one have been a member of the NUJ for thirty years. I joined the Bristol Branch in 1982 and later the LFB when I came to live and work back in London in 1987. As most of you know, I have been active in various committees of the LFB for almost twenty years, and have always campaigned for proper fees and working conditions for freelances.

There are many reasons why I decided to place some of my photographic stock for sale with Alamy.

1 Unlike what Stefano suggested in his letter, I think that the rates Alamy negotiates for its contributors are more or less in line with NUJ guidelines. I will give you a couple of examples from a recent sales report I received:

  • Territory: UK rights
  • Usage: editorial
  • Media: textbook
  • placement: inside
  • size: double page
my share of the fee: £125.00; that is 60 per cent of the total rate of £208 they received. The NUJ suggested rate for that is £200. Please see: the the Freelance Fees Guide.

So Alamy got £8 MORE than our recommended rate.

Another example:

  • Territory: Worldwide
  • Usage: editorial
  • Media: textbook
  • placement: inside
  • size: full page
my share of the fee: £160.00; that is 60 per cent of the total rate of £266 they received. The NUJ suggested rate for that is £230. So Alamy got £36 MORE than our recommended rate.

2 It is not just about rates, which are of course important, but percentages and transparency in dealing with contributors.

  1. Alamy takes a commission of only 40 per cent, giving the photographer the other 60 per cent of every sale, unlike the usual 50-50 deal common with most agencies.
  2. You can access your accounts online 24/7, and sales reports are uploaded constantly, after EVERY sale.
  3. Contributors get paid on the first day of every month if their sales are above £125. (if less, they accumulate till you reach that minimum amount).The payments are prompt and go directly to your bank account.
  4. There is also a blogging area for contributors to make comments, air their views and complaints and make suggestions, and replies from the office are sent back promptly.

In the light of all the above evidence, I genuinely believe that I have been dealing with a fair organisation that has given me a regular and quite reliable source of income in my golden years. I am now 62 and don't have a private pension, so I am sure most of you would agree that I need to put to good use the photographic stock I have accumulated during the younger and more agile years of my long life.

Last modified: 7 Nov 2012 - © 2012 contributors
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