Alamy On Latest Visual Trends

Posted on 8/15/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Alamy reports that a current visual trend seems to take advantage of “instagram – like” filtering that pulls up the black point of the image and reduces the contrast.  

During a conference webinar that Getty Creative hosted back in about April there was a question regarding filtering. Should photographers be using filtering to get up to speed with what they often see promoted by agencies as top creative imagery, or is filtering overdone? And how to know the difference?

Getty suggested that a judicious use of filtering; i.e., not too much; but “just right” was the right approach. For the most part that recommendation seems to be a bit less than what Alamy is showing in its promotional pieces here.

One of the most exciting things about photography is that it’s constantly transforming and reinventing itself. Staying up to date with trends not only prompts the photographer to push his or her own boundaries, it also opens a fascinating perspective on the wider world, shining a light on the ways in which everything is connected.

In about 2005-ish, the visual trend was desaturation or taking away color from images. It was popular in the editorial realm of photography for portraits and the like, and naturally ended up in stock photo submissions. Now that trend appears to have left the industry in favor of instagram filtration which itself is already several years in the running.

Unfortunately, if agents have actual sales sales data for the proportion of straight images vs. those with filtration applied, they don’t seem to be sharing it with creators. Creators need to be shown a good cross section of the images that are actually selling.

iStock used to allow customers (and photographer if they were smart) to not only have search returns delivered based on the number of times the images were downloaded, but to actually see that number. Photographers could not only get a visual sense of what was popular, but how popular. Now, iStock has dropped that feature. They still allow you to search for “Most Popular” but you don’t know what else is involved in that algorithm, or how many times a popular image has been downloaded.

Other microstock sites have Most Popular search, but none of them tell you how that popularity is determined. Traditional agencies don’t give you any of this kind of information at all.

Probably, in the case of traditional agencies this is because so few of the images ever sell that it would be embarrassing to give out the information. But the end result is that creators are left to guess. For photographers trying to earn a living taking pictures time has become a much more critical factor that they can’t afford to waste.

Occasional trend reports that show a few examples of new ideas that seem to be catching on are better than nothing. But photographer need much more solid information about what is currently being purchased in order not to waste time producing images that no one wants to buy.

Copyright © 2016 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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