Understanding Alamy QC

Alamy do not edit the content of their catalogue - they only check for technical quality. Once you're an approved contributor, they don't check every image, just a random selection, which they assume is typical of your work.

All images which comply with their technical standards are accepted. However, you must realise that if even just one image in a submission is not up to scratch, ALL submissions which are currently awaiting Quality Control will be rejected.

So it's essential you take a moment to completely understand exactly how Alamy QC works. Please read this carefully. Here's what happens:

1. You submit an initial QC Test of just 4 images.

2. Each image is examined by QC staff. If even one image fails, you fail the test and have to resubmit. QC will tell you what the problem is. You can resubmit as often as you like, although persistent failures may be banned from uploading again for 30 days. This applies to regular submissions too.

3. Once you pass, it is then your sole responsibility to maintain or exceed the technical quality of your QC test.

4. Subsequent submissions are subject to a random QC check of a sample of your images. If even just one image is not up to scratch, ALL your submissions which are currently awaiting Quality Control will be rejected. Again, QC will tell you what they think the problem is. You should then re-check ALL images in those submissions before you resubmit.

5. If you pass, DO NOTassume that any particular image in a submission has actually been examined, no matter how small the submission is.A "QC pass" does not necessarily constitute approval of your technical standards. Your images may or may not have been examined - there is no way of knowing. Once you've passed the original QC test, you should know what the technical standards are. In other words, technical standards are your own responsibility - not Alamy's.I can't stress this enough.

6. Finally, please remember that while QC staff are all qualified photographers, deciding what is and what is not acceptable is,inevitably - and as you'd expect - subjective. This is especially the case with "borderline" decisions.QC do try very hard to be consistent, but my experience is that, in these cases, less experienced staff tend to be more strict, while the "old hands" are usually more lenient - more realistic.

There again, Alamy's submission guidelines are very clear - and not difficult to comply with. All you have to do is give Alamy what they want – so don't take chances with images of borderline technical quality, or use software you're not fully conversant with. Remember it only takes one mistake for ALL your images to be rejected.

You can download Alamy's submission guidelines as a printable pdf (479k)here

(Current as of January 2010)

You can check the most up-to-date guidelines here.

All text and photography copyright 2007-2016 Dave Pattison. All rights reserved.