by Sheridan Stancliff
In May, CulinArts Holding Group launched seasons.agency, adding another niche market to their impressive collections including StockFood and Living4Media. While at first glance, one might think this collection is similar to other model-centric themes, a closer look reveals a high caliber of European fashion and beauty talent that has previously been attainable only through custom shoots. This is not a bargain collection by any means, and it’s not meant to be. The ultra high-quality images represented in this collection will give media buyers access to models, fashion, and sets that might not be attainable to them otherwise.
This made me a bit curious about launching such a specialty agency and how it fits into the stock photo space. Shannon Mahoney, General Manager for seasons.agency, let me bend her ear a few moments to learn a bit more about this new collection.
Can you give me a little overview of season.agency?
The image agency presents an exclusive portfolio of European photo productions, syndications of the renowned publishing group JAHRESZEITEN VERLAG in Hamburg, Germany. The collections include elaborately-produced content about beauty, cover photography, food, home and travel. In addition to select photographers, we showcase pioneering lifestyle productions from leading European publishers, available for licensing only through our company.
What is the goal of offering such a collection and what sets it apart from other image collections?
There are millions of lifestyle images already available on the global picture market. Many models look interchangeable and cover images are often digitally enhanced. In the case of seasons.agency, all the models are distinctive professionals with strong character and boast an authentic, recognizable personality.
Do you consider seasons.agency to be more like a traditional stock site or another type of distribution model?
seasons.agency is a premium boutique stock agency focusing on the specific niche market of beauty and cover shots.
How does Seasons fit in with the other CulinArts brands?
We are already strong in the niche markets of “food” with www.stockfood.com and “home and living” with www.living4media.com. To now also have a premium brand in the specific market of “beauty and cover shots” is a perfect addition to our CulinArts group.
You note on your website “We grant you a license for the image rights, but not usually the rights of the pictured persons. You should request the model release separately, before using the photo. Of course, we would be happy to assist you in obtaining this release.” How have your customers responded to this? Do you find it has deterred any potential licensing because of the extra steps needed to acquire the releases on their end?
International clients who frequently license model images for wide-distribution cover use are familiar with this workflow in high-end beauty photography. For the most part, new clients understand that this is a tribute to the quality of the models used in these productions.
With regard to model releases, most agencies require those releases to be provided by the photographer when images are submitted for distribution – why the different route from Seasons.agency?
What may seem to be a disadvantage is an advantage to us: our images depict high-caliber, professional models. The models from these productions would not typically work under a standard model release. That we don’t have many images with a general model release within this collection speaks to the high class, boutique quality of these images.
Will seasons.agency remain European focused for contributing photographers or eventually branch out into other regions of the world?
For the moment we are focused on European photography to launch the new agency and
let it grow. Future steps will be discussed later, as we further develop.
Some of your seasons.agency collections cross over into the realm of other Culinart brands, are there any plans to expand exposure for those types of images with those other brands or will they remain exclusively with seasons.agency?
Our main focus is to stay strong with a specific theme for each agency. There is some cross-over, but we hope offering a few additional images from the other brands will help to round off the collection.
What is your target market for the collection?
Our target groups are editorial and commercial clients looking for premium beauty images.
In marketing seasons.agency, what have you found to be the best way to get your collection in front of the eyes of your potential clients?
A state-of-the-art, user-friendly website with specific filter options, smart functions and helpful tools – in a clear modern design; a worldwide network of professional partner agencies representing seasons.agency in their markets and being a local contact for clients; competent sales and service teams and a great newsletter series which will start soon.
How do you see the collection evolving in the next five or ten years?
Our aim is to become one of the core agencies in the field of beauty photography.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about this exciting new venture?
Come and visit our site (www.seasons.agency) and tell us what you think!
Sheridan Stancliff has spent more than 15 years in marketing and marketing communications, working in all aspects of the industry, from public relations photography and event management to advertising, direct mail and sales. She opened SheridanINK, a boutique marketing company specializing in helping fiction authors, in 2011 and Novel Expression in 2014.