All things change, especially in the fast-moving world world of photo licensing. For some time, now, industry professionals have noted that PACA (Picture Archive Council of America) has evolved into the DMLA (Digital Media Licensing Association); but do they also know that PACA’s fantastic mega metasearch engine of licensable content has been updated into DMLASearch?

Simply put, DMLASearch is the kind of tool that puts a spring in your step. As a tool, it radically reduces the time spent searching for images. Aided by a predictive text menu and built-in disambiguation of homographs and capitonyms, researchers, photo buyers, creatives and licensers can now search dozens of still and motion archives in seconds.

So what’s the drawback? Well, there isn’t any. DMLASearch is free to use. That’s right. If you want to search a horde of agencies for exactly that right image, just dive into a photographic gene pool representing over 171 million images (and growing): pooled form agencies ranging from Shestock to Goodsalt, eStock Photo to Trevillion Images, Media Bakery to Venus Stock.

Christopher Bain, the Photography Director of Sterling Publishing Group, perhaps puts it most succinctly:

“If you use Google to search for everything else in your on-line life, you really should be using DMLAsearch to seek out the best images on earth. It continually reminds you of dozens of sources that might have the image you seek, helping you keep out of the rut of using the same old source day after day. The blindingly fast two-column search result shows two views, the raw count per agency and the results as a percentage of an agency’s collection. This helps you see who has the true depth in the subject matter you are looking for. I love it!”

The navigation protocols of DMLASearch don’t reinvent the wheel: buyers simply submit a keyword or term in the search box to locate the best choice of image to meet the need. And that’s about it for the hard stuff… The easy stuff is being rewarded – instantly – with a dizzying array of thumbnails to start scrolling through. Oh, and if you want video footage: there’s a separate “media type selecter” for that too!

DMLASearch first returns two columns of results. On the left is a list of agency libraries ranked in descending order for the total number of images found in each. On the right. a column of libraries is ranked by the relative percentage of images in relation to the total collection; thereby highlighting those archives that offer specialty content in a relevant subject (you may find that agencies highest ranked by relative percentage tend to specialize in that subject). The relative ranking helps buyers zero in on those collections that can yield surprising depth and selection on a particular subject while also maintain clear line of sight to those collections which offer the greatest breadth on the same topic. Contributing agencies do not pay to be included in index. It is a benefit of DMLA general membership.

The images are not free uses; but researchers can also take comfort that the  images are available for licensing. Once you’ve found the material that you require, you negotiate the transaction directly with the agency. You will find that licensing options vary by agency. The DMLA does not profit from that transaction.

To visit the DMLA search engine, visit:


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