footageMarketplace – A Report From Across The Pond

by Julian Jackson

footageMarketplace is a zesty expo held in London at the HQ of BAFTA. It’s similar to events held by Visual Connections, in that footage agencies and industry technology suppliers exhibit, while visitors network, meet old friends, and attend seminars. Last week’s event was the eighth, run annually by Robert Prior, who publishes Stock Footage and Stock Index Online, (which I write the news for).

It has evolved over the years. Last year seminars by key industry participants were added. That has become a major attraction. The panel discussion on “What Does it Take to be Successful at Footage Research?” was completely packed, and an added overflow room filled up too. The other two seminars were on Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, which were also strongly attended.

Robert Prior the organiser and James Buchanon at Footage Marketplace 2017 at BAPLA in London

This year several stills agencies exhibited: Ardea, Mary Evans, and TopFoto. That is, alongside suppliers like Science Photo Library, Robert Harding, who expanded their offering into footage a while ago, and companies such as Adobe Stock, who are more recent players on the scene. I take it from this that many agencies are taking on wider media content, including motion material to expand their reach. Art Library Bridgeman Footage has made a big success of its venture into film and video (see our previous article).

While the organizations present mostly come from Britain or neighboring European countries, several had made the journey from the USA, including Global ImageWorks – who have just added stills to their motion collection. Cathy Carapella, Vice President – Music & Media Clearances, said, “It was demand-led, we had acquired plenty of still photos combined with video archives, and when researchers found out about this they wanted access. So we have put 180,000 historic images online and we are adding to them regularly.”

Flora Nedelcu, Managing Partner of TopFoto (who runs the fotofringe expo) said that it was nice just to be exhibiting, without the pressure of organizing, and she was having fun talking to people. She thought that there was a whole group of potential clients she had met that didn’t cross over to fotofringe so it was a valuable event to attend.

There were 33 exhibitors in total, which is probably the full capacity of the David Lean Room. The prestigious and convenient central London location means that the organisers have no plans to move to a bigger venue: by reducing the refreshments area a bit you might accommodate one or two more tables at a squeeze, but that would be at the loss of a prime place to have private business meetings, not to mention gossip. I met Rich Remsburg, an Emmy Award-winning archival researcher based in Massachusetts who was nominated for Jane Mercer Footage Researcher of the Year Award, in the FOCAL International Awards Gala, which was to be held the next evening so Rich had come to London to participate in both events. He’s working on a documentary about Robert F Kennedy, and has just finished “Promised Land” about Elvis Presley, directed by Eugene Jarecki. The award went to Nina Krstic, for “OJ – Made in America”. However Rich found his visit valuable, “It’s always good to learn of new footage collections, and I also looked at new material at footage archives I already work with.” Rich outlined his methods and views on the industry, “I am constantly searching for new sources of material. Sometimes it’s to use immediately, sometimes it’s ten years before it becomes relevant.” He said that we were entering a new era of serious, well-made documentaries which made use of new outlets for distribution, including Netflix and Amazon, as well as theatrical distribution and online. Rich’s workflow includes downloading content, having it transferred to disk, and also, if it is still in film form, liaising with labs to get it digitized.

Important technical advances include: sprocketless film digitization from iMetafilm. Their process means that film can be digitized at a lower cost and higher speed, as well as being able to handle fragile material and metadata embedding effectively. VintageCloud took over the Steenbeck company, makers of one of the most renowned of film viewing and editing machines, and by using artificial intelligence are able to add metadata about the content of each frame automatically during the digitization process. The bottleneck in digitization for both stills and film, is the cataloging – without which it’s pointless as you can’t locate material without it. However it is expensive and very time-consuming to do this manually. AI offers a way out – it won’t completely replace human oversight but could take the donkey-work out of it, and allow researchers access to a lot of content that is languishing (not to mention deteriorating) in vaults currently.

You can view the exhibitors’ profiles here: http://footagemarketplace.com/profiles/

Robert Prior says, “The feedback from the exhibitors was outstanding – they all thought it was very well organized, with a lot of visitors – footageMarketplace has made itself a fixture in the industry calendar and we look forward to next year’s event.”

General View of footageMarketplace 2017 (c)Julian Jackson

www.footagemarketplace.com

Julian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His portfolio is here: https://julianj.journoportfolio.com/ He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course www.picture-research-courses.co.uk . Linked-in profile.

 

Stock Photo Sites from the POV of SEO

Recently, Jacky Chou, a digital marketing consultant and founder of Indexsy and Reputations.io reached out to share with us some of his struggles with sourcing great imagery and a few of his favs:

It is difficult to create online content. Many will take a look at the job description and make the determination that it must one of the easiest professions in the world; they would not be entirely wrong, but that would be underestimating some of the frustrations and difficulties that are involved.

One of these elements, for the longest time, has been finding suitable stock photography for posts. As the Internet has continued to advance, competition has formed and thrived, and there are some incredible resources for sourcing great stock photography.

1. EyeEm

There are only a few elements that are required for a good site: a solid interface, ease of navigation, and, more than anything… GREAT PHOTOS. www.eyeem.com

2. Gratisography

 

I would like to thank Ryan McGuire, for creating a solid stock photography website. He runs a company that is called Bells Design, and he created this site as an accessory, or a side project. The photos are all high resolution, and he seems to be selective regarding quality. I also appreciate the categories that allow you to sort through the photos and find what you are looking for in a faster and more efficient way. New photos are added to the site on a weekly basis, so the catalogue is always fresh. http://gratisography.com

3. MMT

MMT  is operated by Jeffrey Betts… Specifically, it is the perfect place to go if your articles are relating to office culture; but not limited to this niche. Like most top-tier sites, this website adds new photos every single week. http://mmtstock.com

 

4. Picography

Dave Meier’s “Picography” is one of the more reliable stock photography sites on the web.. As well as Dave, there are a whole bunch of great photographers who add the products of their labor to the pool of pictures. https://picography.co

5. Death to Stock

Previously, I mentioned that many of the stock photography websites are branching into all sorts of niches to separate from the pack and make themselves distinct. “Death to Stock” is less of a website, and more of a personalized service. Once a month, a collection of artfully curated “stock photos” is sent to each subscriber. This basic level of service is free, but a more comprehensive “premium” package is available for a small fee. http://deathtothestockphoto.com

6. Picjumbo

Picjumbo is easy to use, and full of good results, with new photos added to the collection every single day. https://picjumbo.com

 

Thanks to Jacky for the tips. What are some of your go-to sites? We would love to hear about where and why you look for images?

 

For more about Jacky, check out his site here: http://indexsy.com

What to Know About Media Licensing

Earlier this year, Pond5, in partnership with Association of Clearance and Research Professionals (CLEAR) hosted a panel in Los Angeles called “The Current and Future State of Media Licensing” for Media Professionals curious about how the swift evolution of media is changing the landscape for clearances and licensing.

A panel of experts was assembled to represent every part of the process — from artist to clearance lawyer. Panel moderator and CLEAR Co-Executive Director John Downey III, elaborated on the five most important things you need to know about media licensing today.

CLEAR Co-Executive Director Barbara Gregson introduces John Downey III

1. Technology may be changing, but copyright and trademark rules aren’t

We live in an age of new media channels like Netflix and YouTube and emerging mediums including virtual and augmented reality. But just because technology and media are evolving, doesn’t mean copyright and trademark rules don’t apply as they always have. For example, 360-degree cameras may be an exciting technological advancement that allow videographers to shoot everything — but “everything” also means capturing more things that may need clearance. If there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts in the background, or music on the radio, that’s all subject to regular rules – ones that aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. “The rules don’t change until the law changes,” says Downey. “It always goes back to the basic three questions: What does your lawyer say? What does your network say? What does Broadcast Standards and Practices say?”

Read the entire article here.

Many thanks to Pond5 for the reprint permissions and to writer Alexander Huls.

 

Rounding Up Ranching Culture – Part Two

Michael Masterson continues chatting this week with Seth and Charlie talking about technique and where Ranch Raised Kids is headed.

Michael: You are often shooting in remote locations in challenging conditions, Seth. What do you use to capture such natural imagery?

Seth: For me it’s all about environment, natural light and a Canon 35mm. F1.4 lens that creates an honest dialogue between my subject and me. Just keep it simple. I don’t want technique to get in the way of the picture. Shooting wide open with a gentle fill flash allows me to make intimate portraits spontaneously anywhere on the ranch. Our kids are such good sports. I’m always ready to shoot as soon as we arrive. Getting the kids to relax and feel comfortable in front of the lens seems to come naturally. I’m lucky that way. The average session goes on for an hour to ninety minutes.

It’s funny. During the discovery phase of Ranch Raised Kids we experimented with ring flash and heavy equipment but the day we tested this set up on location was very windy and we scrapped the idea immediately. It was the best test of all time.

 

Michael: I know most of the work has been done quite recently but do you plan to keep in touch with the kids and possibly shoot them again? I was particularly taken with Tallen’s story.

Charlie: We are not planning a “7 UP” type project. Right now Ranch Raised Kids is about kids on Arizona ranches but word is out and families in New Mexico have contacted us. So fingers crossed for Ranch Raised Kids, New Mexico! Yes, we will stay in touch with the families and I know we will always be welcome guests on many of these ranches. Our Ranch Raised Kids Facebook community is growing rapidly because the kids and their mothers are very active on social media. Tallen is a great example. He was 6 when he was severely injured in a horse accident and his mother Whitney was told he would never, eat, breathe or walk on his own again. Recently Whitney posted a video of Tallen, now 11, kicking a ball. You can imagine how many likes that post scored!

Tallen Simpson, 11, with his horse and custom made saddle, Williamson Valley, AZ

Michael: What is the end game for this project?

Charlie: Ironically, at Art Center I teach a course about marketing photography so this is a question I ask my students. Knowing what you should do has not made it any easier to do it! We have talked about making a documentary, or developing an episodic TV series, a tee shirt line and/or children’s books? But we come back to one thing: We want to find a partner to sponsor the publication of a book. Someone commented that our investment in the Ranch Raised Kids project is an investment in the future of ranching in the West. We would love to be associated with a company that supports the community too.

Ben Pat Kimball, 14, ready to feed horses, CV Ranch, Paulden, AZ

Michael: Finally, can you share a particularly moving or unexpected moment with one of the kids for us?

Seth: My moment was photographing Tallen Simpson, the 11-year-old who is working so hard to speak and walk properly again. When we arrived at the ranch I was hoping for 15 minutes with Tallen. As always I started shooting but something strange happened. Tallen’s gaze into the lens was so intense I could feel it inside my head. It’s hard to explain but we started to bond. Fifteen minutes became an hour. We did four, maybe five set-ups. He didn’t want to quit. It was incredible. His mom was amazed. I was deeply moved. Charlie was speechless.

Charlie: I am constantly reminded by the danger of ranch work. Ranch kids develop a sixth sense about livestock unlike photographers from LA whose lives need to be saved occasionally! At a branding last year a cowboy called Bernard was dragging a calf to the fire when his horse started to panic. Seth was in striking distance of Bernard’s rearing horse but he was completely lost in his “photo-zone” with his eye glued to the camera. Luckily Bernard had the skill to jerk the horse away and only then did Seth start running backwards and ended up on his butt inches from the branding fire. Close call!

Bernard Gravalex saving Seth at the branding for the J Bar S, Vallee, AZ

But talking about the kids – I will always remember a moment at the end of a long day of ranch work last summer. As Seth and I left after dinner Riley Rodgers, 8, said to me, “Thank you for your time, Ma’am.” That took my breath away – a good upbringing can happen anywhere but in this day and age, perfect manners are hard to find. Thank you, Riley.

Devyn Blackmore, 12, looking over the Blackmore Ranch, Hillside, AZ

All images (c) Ranch Raised Kids and reprinted with kind permission of owners.

For more, go to http://ranchraisedphoto.com

Follow:

https://www.instagram.com/sethjoelphoto/

Michael Masterson has a broad range of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, contact negotiations and recruiting in the photography, graphic design and publishing industries. In addition to his long experience at the Workbook and Workbookstock, Masterson owned and was creative director of his own graphic design firm for several years. Masterson has been a speaker or panelist at industry events such as Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, Visual Connections and the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) national conference. He is past national president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He currently heads Masterson Consulting, working on projects ranging from business development for creative companies and sourcing talent for them to promoting and marketing industry events as well as providing resume and professional profile services for job-seekers. He can be reached at michaeldmasterson@gmail.com.

 

Rounding Up Ranching Culture – Part One

Personal projects – necessary to the creative. Here we start what we hope is an ongoing series exploring what engages and drives one beyond the commercial world. This is part one of a two part conversation Michael Masterson had with respected industry leaders Charlie Holland and Seth Joel.

Charlie Holland and Seth Joel have shared a long marriage and successful careers in photography. Charlie was the director of photography at Getty Images for a decade and now works as a senior archivist for a photo collection at the Autry Museum of the West in Los Angeles as well as teaching at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Seth is a noted, award-winning portrait photographer based in Los Angeles who also works in San Francisco and New York. They work together in their studio and on their personal project and passion: Ranch Raised Kids.

Charlie Holland & Seth Joel

Michael Masterson: You’re both horse lovers. When you started shooting stock in Arizona about ten years ago you came into contact with the local cowboy culture. Tell us about that experience, how it informed Ranch Raised Kids and why you started this project.

Charlie Holland: Yes, we both ride and that’s important to Ranch Raised Kids because we can look at and talk about horses all day. We were introduced to the cowboy culture in 2009 on a location scout for a stock shoot. Molly Day, the owner of the Skull Valley Café suggested we shoot a local ranch manager, Kasey Looper and his three young children. They were shy, hesitant models but perfect little cowboys in dress, speech and manner. We met them again by chance five years later. This time all three were working at a roundup and Cole, now 13, was roping calves and dragging them to the branding fire. They implied that “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet” and invited us to see them compete at the annual Cowpunchers’ Reunion rodeo in Williams. We went and we were hooked.

Emma Westbrook, 11, helping at the branding at the Lazy B, Duncan AZ

Michael: What is so compelling about these kids for you? How do you find them?

Charlie: How can kids who tip their hats and call you Ma’am fail to impress you? We were awestruck by their cowboying skills, their fearlessness and their work ethic. We saw boys as young as 6 that could “make a hand.” Many lived on vast remote ranches and described a lifestyle that we “civilians” assumed had disappeared along with the singing cowboys!

Katherine Westlake, 14, in her bedroom on the Babbitt Ranches, Flagstaff, AZ

Finding the kids was a carefully planned yearlong process. When we applied to Art Center for a grant we had to verbalize our objectives and outline our plan of action. That was a hard but crucial process. With that grant in hand we built a website, www.ranchraisedphoto.com and printed 5×7 glossy picture cards. We pitched the project to the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association who got it immediately and put us on the cover of their magazine Cattlelog with a write-up. Then we started showing up at cattle auctions, rodeos, colt sales, county fairs, trade shows and roundups. We talked to everyone, asked questions, read books, and memorized ranch names, brands and family relationships. When one family agreed to be shot, they recommended us to another family – and that has been repeated over and over for the last 18 months.

Bailey Kimball, 17, working horses at home on the CV Ranch, Paulden, AZ

In late 2016 we self-published a 40-page soft cover “lookbook” to use as both a thank you and an introduction. We didn’t want to be another “shoot and run” photo team. This community, and it is a much smaller community than we imagined, is wary of photographers who are seduced by the “cowboy” and glamorize the ranching culture. We realized that we were asking people to trust us not only with their kids but also the image of the ranching culture.

Johnny Smallhouse, 10, in the adobe ranch house on the Carlink Ranch, Redington, AZ

Michael: Your subjects seem so open in the pictures. How do you build rapport with the kids and their parents for that matter?

Charlie: With the parents we are open and honest. It’s clear we are “not from round here” so we ask a lot of questions. Our friend Amber Morin at the Arizona Farm Bureau wrote a blog about us and she said, “… they unknowingly mirror the humility, tenacity, and stick-to-itiveness of the ranch raised kids they are still photographing.” Wow! I guess that is what makes this project work. Before I interview the kids, I always ask them casually to explain something to me. That gives them the chance to be the expert and gives them confidence. I learn a lot too. A six-year-old gave me the best riding lesson I have ever had – in two sentences.

Seth: Kids are kids. Some are shy while others are extremely focused. Rapport seems to happen quickly with our ranch kids. They know I have traveled long distances to be with them. They feel comfortable working along side the adults. On the ranch they have fun doing the work that must be done and like all kids, they love the magic of photography.

Cade Rodgers, 4, rounding up for the J Bar S, Vallee, AZ

All images (c)RanchraisedKids and reprinted with kind permission of the owners.

 

Next week part two, we explore process and the future of Ranch Raised Kids.

Michael Masterson has a broad range of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, contact negotiations and recruiting in the photography, graphic design and publishing industries. In addition to his long experience at the Workbook and Workbookstock, Masterson owned and was creative director of his own graphic design firm for several years. Masterson has been a speaker or panelist at industry events such as Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, Visual Connections and the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) national conference. He is past national president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He currently heads Masterson Consulting, working on projects ranging from business development for creative companies and sourcing talent for them to promoting and marketing industry events as well as providing resume and professional profile services for job-seekers. He can be reached at michaeldmasterson@gmail.com.

 

Are EMOJI Protected by Copyright?

We all wonder about the legalities of using Emojis in our projects. Attorney David Lizerbram tackled this in his blog, reprinted here with his kind permission.

 

Emoji. They are universally beloved. In fact, I’m wondering why I’m even bothering to write this blog post with the boring old English alphabet. But, as with any other digital asset, just because everyone uses emoji doesn’t mean there aren’t some rules to follow. Let’s answer some emoji copyright questions.

“Emoji” is a Japanese word (which is, apparently, why the plural is also “emoji,” not “emojis.”) From a useful article on emoji licensing:

The Japanese spelling is 絵文字: 絵 (e) means ‘picture’ and 文字 (moji) means ‘letter.’ Picture letters. Simple.

In the U.S., as in most countries, copyright applies automatically when a copyrightable “work” is created and fixed in some tangible form, including digital formats. Emoji are just graphic works by another name. If you create a drawing of a smiley face, it’s protected by copyright…declaring it an “emoji” doesn’t change that.

So the short answer is that yes, there is such thing as an “emoji copyright.” More accurately, emoji can be and are protected by copyright.

In one sense, a group of emoji are just a fonts: a series of images that, individually or together, communicate some information. Copyright protection for fonts (or typefaces) is a bit of a complex issue that probably merits its own blog post. For now, it will suffice to say that computerized fonts are protected by copyright (as they are, effectively, software.)

Apple and other producers of digital devices either create, buy, or license the fonts included in their software. So the emoji that appear on your iPhone or Android keyboard are used under that set of legal arrangements. This is why emoji may look different on different devices.

You can use those emoji to say or communicate whatever you want. What you can’t necessarily do, however, is reproduce those emoji on a product. For that, you’d need a license.

Let’s say you really love a the emoji of the poop with the eyeballs. Who doesn’t love that one? (Click here to read The Oral History of the Poop Emoji.) Maybe you want to stick that image on a t-shirt and sell it. Well, in order to do that you’d need a license. If you like Apple’s version of this image, you can start by contacting Apple’s legal department.

If Apple isn’t in a big rush to respond to your request, there may be alternatives. Here’s a link to a “completely free and open set of emoji. Good enough, right? Well, maybe not…if you read the fine print in the licensing section, it states “No emoji may be used in commercial printed, tangible or physical material.” Oops.

There are a variety of other emoji sets out there that have different levels of restriction. You may be able to find an image for free that suits your needs, but be sure to carefully read and follow the guidelines.

Alternatively, you can go to a stock photo site and pay to license an image. I’m going to say this again, though—read the rules before you use the image, even if you’ve paid for it. The license still may have some restrictions.

If you have any other emoji copyright questions, feel free to ask David. He promises to answer using regular old letters and not adorable cartoons.

David Lizerbram, Business Law Strategist and host of Products of the Mind, a #1 ranked podcast about the intersection of business + creativity. Now available on iTunes and at ProductsOfTheMind.net.
Twitter: Twitter.com/davidlizerbram
Facebook Page: Facebook.com/DavidLizerbramAndAssociates
Website: www.LizerbramLaw.com
Blog: www.LizerbramLaw.com/blog

Education the DMLA Way

The DMLA(Digital Media Licensing Association) has traditionally been seen as a trade organization for picture agencies and distributors. Important to note that for a few years now, their programming and offerings are becoming more and more inclusive of the entire visual communications community. Their annual conference in the fall(specifically from October 22 – 24) has expanded programming that is sure to attract and be useful for anyone working in and around the world of licensing, imagery and copyright.

One does not have to wait for the Autumn however. In the DMLA online library, there is a plethora of archived webinars and legal information videos led by industry experts, all  there for one’s viewing pleasure and edification. And most all, free of charge.

So grab a cuppa and peruse if you will…http://www.pacaoffice.org/video-library.shtml

A few highlights:

Interested in trends and influencers? Check out the impressive panel of Leslie Hughes, Stephanie Marchesi, Shawn Amos, and Robert Dowling talk about the art of storytelling and story sharing in The Future of Communications

No matter what part of the visual industry one is engaged in, at one time at least, you will have questions about sensitive subject releases. This hour and a bit is worth its weight in gold as legal and industry experts break it down. Sensitive Subject Releases.

Fair Use, Releases, Motions, and a specia presentation on web image search and potential issues everyone needs to be aware of.  There is so much information here for the Art Buyer, Photo Editor, Art Producer, Researcher, Student, Photographer and Instructor.

Look around a little more in the library(http://www.pacaoffice.org/education.shtml) for one of the best copyright powerpoint presentations out there. It will make you laugh and definitely school one in some best practices. Curious about Orphan Works and how to search for owners? It iss there too.

Coming up, check out ‘The Movement to Video &Mixed Media Marketing’ on May 17th. Contact Cathy Aron, DMLA Executive Director, cathy@digitalmedialicensing.org to sign up for this webinar. Take a minuet to find out more about the DMLA and how the organization can be an invaluable resource.

 

70 years of Magnum through the Female Lens

“Glass ceilings.”

“Level playing fields.”

And similar terms, that we’ve all heard many times before, when it comes to describing the push for women to be able to compete, professionally. One might think that Magnum – with its commitment to journalistic truths, its inherent desire to expose the true nature of the world; via more than six decades of realities captured by photographers who sometimes actually died in the process of recording those “truths” –  would be ahead of the curve in acknowledging women as equal arbiters of our stories.

Yet, even though Magnum was admitting women into its ranks two decades before New York Times did so, it’s clear that that in photography – like in life, and politics, and gender, and war – that context is everything.

 

The Guardian looks at the role women have played in the agency’s history:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/30/the-female-gaze-through-70-years-of-magnum

“3 of the 9 photographers now going through the process of acquiring membership are women … One of the nominees, Newsha Tavakolian, is the subject of a picture by another of the agency’s photographers, her fellow Iranian Abbas. It shows her at work in a press pack among a bunch of short-sleeved, bare-headed cameramen. Tavakolian is the one obliged to cover her head and arms. It is a reminder that in some places women struggle just to become professional photographers, making the idea of joining Magnum an almost impossible dream.”
There is still work to be done.

 

 

A New Generation of Images – Picfair

Daily we hear of customers seeking imagery that is anything but ‘stock’. Picfair took the challenge to heart. Here is their unfolding story.

Tell us about the genesis of Picfair and a bit about the background of the founders.

Picfair was founded by former Guardian & New York Times journalist Benji Lanyado. He was continually frustrated by the homogenous images that streamed onto his desk from all of the usual suspects, while social media and online platforms teemed with fascinating, modern imagery. He quit his job, learned how to code, and built Picfair as an open-to-all licensing marketplace, in the process reversing the traditional revenue split that sees the vast majority of royalties going to middlemen agencies. Almost three years later, Picfair now has over 4.5 million images, uploaded by 24,000 photographers in 130 countries. Having built the library and curation technology, we’re now introducing ourselves to buyers across the globe – The Guardian and various Time Inc titles are among some of the early adopters.

“A Saltador jumping over a huge bull in a ring during Magdalena Festival, Castellón de la Plana, Spain” Credit: Diana Gilbert / Picfair.com (https://www.picfair.com/pics/012866-saltador)

Uploading and licensing is streamlined so that it’s quite easy to  load images up and available for licensing easily. Tell us about your contributor base.

Broadly speaking, our photographers are 70% non-professional, and 30% professional, although the professionals have contributed just over 60% of the images in our library so far. Perhaps the biggest thing that has surprised us is the exponentially-improving quality of the “amateurs”. These aren’t just happy snappers dumping their holiday pics onto the site – they’ve often used high-end kit, and put hours and hours into composition and editing. The most exciting contributors are those whose day job gives them incredible insight and access – we’ve got art directors shooting incredible images in the slums of Nairobi; airline captains shooting from the cockpit; marine biologists taking their cameras underwater with them; security analysts in Kabul, Icelandic tour guides, diplomatic families travelling the globe … through their incredible images, we learn about their lives.

How do you address model/property release questions from customers?

We’re very clear about releases to all contributors during the upload process, and then add a two-stage moderation process thereafter: one automatic process looking for recognisable faces; and one manual process, in which we eyeball every image. If a recognisable person appears in an image and the photographer doesn’t have model release available on request, it can only be assigned an “Editorial & Personal” license. We’ve worked really hard to make a “mass upload” product that includes as much coverage on releases as possible, but if customers ever have any queries, we’re happy to help them dig deeper.
Photographers set their own licensing fees for a standard licensing agreement that precludes Paid for Advertising (OOH,Print ads, etc.) Should a customer be interested in such a license, how do you handle this?

We’re rolling out a license that covers advertising and merchandising very soon. It will take a little while to make the bulk of our collection available under this license, as we need the photographers themselves to opt their images in, but we should have a sizeable collection available for advertisers within a few months.

Fishing on the Bosphorus Credit: Colby Pan / Picfair.com (https://www.picfair.com/pics/020651-fishing-on-the-bosphorus)

Exciting to see a new offering in the market that brings new imagery to the forefront. What is your strategy to stay in front of and to stand out to the customer in a crowded(and some would say) saturated marketplace.

Our core strategy is to treat our photographers like royalty. We’ve grown from nothing to 4.5 million images through their advocacy (we’ve spent nothing on marketing to photographers) – this is the upside of giving new photographers access to a market they’ve been previously excluded from; and giving professionals photographers the best royalty split in the business. Over the next few years, we want our photographers to help us spread on the buying side of the market – incentivising them to market Picfair to their peer groups and creative circles. Image licensing is a fascinating industry in that both ends of the transaction – photographers and image buyers – are, broadly speaking, “creatives”. We believe a recommendation from a photographer to a buyer is infinitely more powerful than ploughing money into advertising. Watch this space.

A Typhoon fighter jet shot at an airshow at RAF Coningsby Credit: Viv Porteous / Picfair.com (https://www.picfair.com/pics/0306345-typhoon-sun)

Fun also to see engagement on Social Media from your contributors when they license an image. Can you share a couple interesting sales stories?

For the “amateurs”, their first sale can feel like a eureka moment – the realization that not only can they take good images, but they can make a little cash from them too! We’ve seen thousands of amazing sales examples – Iraqi photographers selling images to Scandinavian research institutes; a Nepalese IT support worker selling images to Rough Guides; a London-based PA having her images used in an Esquire travel feature … it’s amazing to think that we’ve made those connections. But I think my favourite use case was when a photographer started praising a very well-known global airline on Twitter for licensing a “fair trade image” from her … I don’t think the airline had realized how our royalty split worked, but after being initially perplexed, they went all in, engaging in a dialogue with the photographer about how important “fair trade imagery” was to them.

To check out all Picfair has to offer – www.picfair.com

From Across the Pond – Pictaday

by Julian Jackson

Pictaday is a German expo similar to Visual Connections. It takes place every year, alternating between Hamburg and Munich. This year it was at the Panoramadeck on top of the Emporio Tower in Hamburg, with a fine view of the city and harbour on a grey day. I went along to meet the 60 exhibitors – mostly photo agencies with a smattering of software, consulting, legal and other organisations present.

Pictaday (c) Julian Jackson

Firstly let me praise the catering – there was a buffet in each of the three rooms, with what I would say was a fine spread of food. On this evidence the German market is doing well!

The first people I spoke to were on the table of the organisers: the BVPA, which translates as the Federal Association of Professional Image Providers, who are the German equivalent of the DMLA or BAPLA. Interestingly, they have just started providing a course on how to set up and run a photo agency. On successful completion of the program, students receive a qualification, “BVPA Certified Licensor” which they can put on their website. The reasoning behind this was that many people in this digital age find it easy to start a photo agency, but they can quickly get into trouble and fail because they don’t know the basics. This short course, while voluntary, aims to give beginning stock agencies the expertise to succeed.

Overall, the industry picture was similar to the North American and UK markets: stagnating prices make trading difficult. That said, the event was buoyant. Organiser Matthias Jahn told me that with over 500 image professionals registered to visit, this was a good turnout. Pictaday has been so successful that they are considering holding the 2019 event in Berlin as there seem to be enough potential publishers and users there to make it viable.

Picket fence hanging rack (c)Flora Press/Melli Freudenberg

On the Panoramadeck was a full spectrum of German agencies, with a wide variety of subject specialisms, from royalty to cartoons. Some global agencies like Shutterstock, Alamy, Bridgeman and Science Photo Library also had a presence.

epa (european pressphoto agency) was formed in 1985 and is a partnership between nine agencies, with over 350 staff and stringers all over the world, licensing images outside Germany. They normally distribute over 1500 per day but that can double with big events like the soccer World Cup.

Dana Press concentrates on images of royal families, including the Scandinavian, Spanish, and UK royals, as well as other less well-known royals from around the world – they syndicate both text and images. They also have a lifestyle agency which concentrates on that genre of picture.

Mato is a food, travel, and general photography agency. They are also a publisher and produce lovely coffee-table books on food, which had me salivating.

Traditional Lombard Food from Italy – (c)Massimo Ripani/SIME/MATO

Illustration was represented by cartoon specialists catprint media, who are syndicated widely in German magazines and newspapers.

Lifestyle photography included Jump, 123RF, and imageBROKER.

Artothek covers art, mainly classic collections from German museums – which looks like a good source for hard-to-find art. Flora Press is about plants, gardens and agriculture. Vintage Germany does what it says on the tin: a source for historic images of Germany.

There were some other companies and organizations present, which included collections management, archival and exhibition printing, photo research, digital watermarking, copyright infringement, and DAM software. The atmosphere was lively, and friendly, with most people speaking good English. Did I mention the food? – I think I put on several pounds that day. There were plenty of places to hold meetings – either in the main rooms, or for more confidentiality there were a couple of small boardrooms which were available.

My only criticism of the expo would be that the event leaflet just listed each exhibitor and where their table was. Most similar events I have been to have a comprehensive listing with contact details, website and an image or two. This would have been useful as I wasn’t able to talk to every exhibitor: there just wasn’t enough time. Overall, a productive day with lots of new contacts made.

(c)Jump

 

Julian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. Julian also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course. View his portfolio, or connect with him on Linked-in.