Tag Archives: CEO James West

Meeting Alamy CEO James West, Brooklyn

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
January 2, 2014

In March 2011, I took the F train to Brooklyn to attend Alamy CEO James West’s meeting with a few dozen photographers at the stock agency’s Jay Street office, where we had a presentation and Q&A about Alamy’s past, present, and its plans for the future.

Bridal boutique front window on Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NYC, 2009 (Ann Parry)

Brooklyn, NY, USA. June 6, 2009. Bridal boutique front window on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill. (© 2009 Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

We seemed a diverse group with a wide range of portfolio sizes and experience in stock photography.


I joined Alamy as a contributor, not only because of its commission rates, but also because it donates the vast majority of its profits to medical research.

But I didn’t go to the Brooklyn meeting planning to cover it formally, since I don’t consider for-profit businesses the focus of my blog.

However, the more James West shared about Alamy, the more my respect grew for the man and the company. And though I didn’t take notes, photos, videos (sigh), here it is for you:

How Alamy Stands Out for Customers:

  • Library Size & Variety – Alamy’s encyclopedic library is edited for technical quality but not content – increasing one’s chance of finding that niche, obscure, just-perfect image needed.
  • Service – Alamy provides strong customer service, including speedy response time to customer calls and  requests for price quotes.

How Alamy Stands Out for Contributors:

  • Commissions – Alamy does not ask contributors for exclusivity, and pays 50% commission for sales through alamy.com, and 30% for sales through their distributors.
  • Control – Contributors may choose whether to make their files available in certain ways – such as in certain territories,  through distributors.
Brooklyn, New York, June 6, 2009. Artist selling his paintings and drawings outdoors during Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Brooklyn, NY June 6, 2009. Artist selling his paintings and drawings outdoors during Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk. (© 2009 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)


  • Quality Control (QC) –  Alamy determines which files are accepted in a different way from other agencies. Briefly, all of your files waiting for QC at the same time count as one batch, even if you submitted them at different times. Don’t expect each image to be checked, but if one image from that batch fails, the entire batch fails.
    • Sales: Images – Quantity is just part of the sales equation, so don’t expect great results from lots of average, similar images of over-represented subjects. Cover neglected niche subjects…  convey concepts in new, clear ways… take pictures that effectively tell a story.
    • Sales: Keywords – Keyword your images in an accurate and thorough way, making it as easy as possible for customers to find your images that fit their needs. | So, if you have an image of a girl holding a Singapura cat, and no other person or animal is in it, include relevant keywords, such as: girl, holding, cat, child, pet, happy, outdoors, young girl, pedigreed cat, Singapura, domestic cat, feline, one person, one animal — and avoid spamming, which is including irrelevant keywords, like: dog, bites, man.

 NOTE:  Above updated 2014 Post replaces my 2011 blogspot post