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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The New Face Of Stock Photography

Get an inside look at the business of stock and learn what you can do to take advantage of the current trends

This Article Features Photo Zoom

new face
Corbis: A client can go to our website or request research, which we do especially for longer projects or those with more complicated conceptual specs. We have expert researchers here. They’re more like consultants. They know the collection and the keywords that will get them to the appropriate images. In the case of clients searching on their own, when they go to our website, they have the choice of searching through everything without filters. The great thing about Corbis is that we’re as strong on authentic editorial content as we are on the commercial. Most people search with one word, and we have a list of the top words searched. But there are also options for someone to say, “I only want to see images that are of an editorial significance,” meaning of a historic moment or figure or a specific location. Some people just want to search creative or commercial images. They don’t want anything that has restrictions that would keep them from using an image in a commercial capacity. There are advanced searches by collection, black-and-white, vertical, horizontal, etc.

DPP: Getty Images’ system of uploading images, the Photographer Portal, has revolutionized the way photographers are submitting work. The system checks the images so that all the metadata and technical aspects are correct, which means that images are rarely turned down because of a technical issue. Image acceptance now comes down to whether the Getty Images editors deem the image marketable. In the past, photographers would get messages back saying that an image wasn’t accepted because of a technical mistake. They would then have to correct whatever the problem was and resubmit.

Getty Images:
That back-and-forth between editors and photographers was where so much of the time lag between an image being made and going to market was happening. Now, images are getting to market a lot more quickly.

We launched the Portal for photographers last June. It’s one of the things that the acquisition of iStockphoto really helped us with. From an internal operational perspective, we were quite envious of the tools they had that enabled photographers to quickly get imagery out to market. The Portal has also enabled photographers to have more input over how their images are keyworded, so they can add more of their vision as to what that image is all about. The Portal is now a vital part of our workflow. We want to eventually use that basic platform for the ingestion of footage and, possibly, music.

DPP: Once an image is uploaded and approved, what happens?

Getty Images: How customers perform searches has become increasingly important as the number of images in the market continues to expand. So we add keywords to bring it up to 25 or 30 from the five that the photographer has put in. A model-released image can either go into rights-managed or royalty-free. Then there’s an editorial image, which we categorize between news, sports and entertainment.

DPP: How do boutique agencies fit into the world of stock?

Corbis: I think there’s always a need for a niche business, or what we call boutique. There are companies that specialize in panoramas, illustration, etc. When I first got into the industry, there was a great company called ibid that specialized in black-and-white portraiture. I loved their style. People who buy photography often go to a specialist when they have a specialist requirement. Our challenge is to let our clients know that we have those specialties here in a variety of forms, from fine art to historical.

Getty Images: We have boutiques under the Getty Images umbrella—Contour being one for celebrity portraiture, Orchard is our assignment agency, and WireImage does entertainment event coverage.

DPP: How does a photographer approach your respective companies to have their work represented?

Getty Images: Getty Images is always looking for fresh, compelling and relevant content to provide visual communicators with what they need when they need it. We encourage photographers to visit our contributors’ websites to learn more about working with us at http://imagery.gettyimages.com/AboutGettyImages/contributors.

Corbis: Photographers interested in being represented by Corbis can e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We also have feature interviews on our photographers on the Creative Boutique link of our website, www.Corbis.com, that may interest your readers.


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