I’ve just entered a joint venture with an international image library to sell my photography worldwide.
I’ve been with Getty Images for the past five years but, while I’ve enjoyed the royalty cheques, the process involved in uploading my images to their library is just too time consuming. There is also the strict model release conditions which, in many of the countries I photograph, is simply unrealistic (using an ‘X’ for a signature can only go so far).
So Designpics – a Canadian company which acquired Axiom, First Light, Pacific Stock and a couple of specialist libraries – wants to build its profile on the South Pacific and got in touch. One of their editors subsequently flew over and we have just spent a week going through my entire library to select pictures for uploading. One of the conditions I had was that they include in their selection the best images from my film library (which hasn’t seen the light of day since the dawn of digital) and that they have the images scanned for uploading. As it turned out, they left with about 1,000 premium photos, 50% of which came from my film library, the balance in digital.
It’s been an interesting exercise learning what the market wants and understanding how such libraries work (and it was traumatic literally throwing away 90% of a film library I’ve spent 10 years amassing). But a more efficient system to distribute and add value to my work is emerging, with the plan now to package the images up and circulate them to a plethora of image libraries worldwide. I did weigh up the option of building a dedicated library of the South Pacific under Kirklandphotos.com but the reality is, I would never have had the time or the reach – particularly in the northern hemisphere – to do it justice.
I guess six months from now I’ll know if it was the right call.