Visiting Lecturer – Vanessa Miles

Posted on November 7, 2012


“Working in Picture Libraries & Agencies”

Today’s visiting lecturer was Vanessa Mile’s, she talked about picture library agencies and her personal involvement with them as well as advice if we wanted or were thinking about using a picture library in the future.

Vanessa Mile’s has a photographic education and it was within this education that she had created her first work based connection to the subject, this being with a company named, ‘Network’. Network was a picture library company. She had also worked with Greenpeace and was employed to work on one of their ships as a photographer. After this she applied for different allowances and grants which enabled her to start her very own picture library business in a small office within London. Using her old contact within the educational institute she attended and those from Greenpeace she was able to start her collection and with this she further expanded to collecting others work too. She described the experience as ‘a buzz’ being able to see her own work and the work of others that she had taken on used within the media companies that had approached her. However as she feared the digital age had fast approached and unfortunately she did not continue her business.

So about picture libraries:

“A collection of pictures that get ‘borrowed’ with payment of use and then effectively given back”

These agency’s in a footnote basically hold your photographs and them sell them to the media that approach them with a certain criteria, with this sale the photographer will receive a ‘royalty’

The first ever picture library company to exist was Magnum, founded by Henri Carter Bresson, Robert Capa & David Seymour however the current two top picture library agencies are ‘Getty Images’ & ‘Corbis’ (Owned by Bill Gates) These two agencies took over many other smaller agencies in order to expand their own collection of photographs. The company tends to ask the submitter (aka the photographer) to meet a certain criteria for upload and then sell the image based on the buyers requirements. However you should never upload two of the same photos to different agencies and you must be able to caption your images effectively to be easily found.

Royalty’s & Right’s

Rights Managed: Can use it but what for must be discussed

Royalty Free: Use it for anything and can keep it forever

Exclusive Rights: A person or company buy off the photo for exclusivity

There are several jobs within each agency, these include:

  • Photographer
  • Picture Researcher
  • Picture Editor
  • Web Designer
  • IT Operations
  • Database Developer
  • Catalouges
  • Account Executives

So what is popular in a picture library?

Mostly the latest trends sell well, things such as celebrities, things that relate to news, seasonal and fashionable styles. These are the things that the media look out for most however that should never stop you from uploading your odd bob photos and seeing if they become a hit!

At the end of the lecture I decided to ask my own questions, these are as follows:

1) Once you submit your work to a library who then owns the copyright?

– The photographer is still the primary owner of that photograph and therefore the copyright still belongs to them.

2) Would you recommend we start submitting our work to an agency?

– You can however the business is very hit and miss so don’t get your hopes up too much that you’ll make a sale immediately!

3) What agency would be best to sign up with?

– Any of the given examples would be good, however people have been setting up their own way of selling their work which has recently become the more favored direction.

Posted in: University Work