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photo library

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by jmcquaid, Nov 20, 2000.

  1. jmcquaid

    jmcquaid Member

    Does anyone know of any good photo library's or agencies contactable via email or their website.

    I am searching for a good reputable agency preferably in London.

    Advice on what to look out for and experiences with agencies from anyone would be appreciated.

  2. Sarah Jackson

    Sarah Jackson Member

    It may be worth your while buying a copy of the BAPLA Handbook. All picture libraries who are members of the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies have to adhere to a code of conduct. The Handbook probably doesn't contain e-mail details but it does contain addresses, details of what subjects each library specialises in, and much more useful information. Once you had shortlisted particular libraries you could then search for them on the Web. The phone number I have for BAPLA (who are based in London) is 020 7713 1780. I hope this number is still current as I haven't needed to ring them for a year or so.
  3. Pecheur

    Pecheur Member

    James, my advice is to choose an agency with extreme care, based on the type of work you are producing and your rate of work. The bigger London agencies are unlikely to take you on unless you are producing work that is different to the hundreds of photographers they already have on their books. If you are producing a high standard of work, but either in a style or a subject that they have well covered, they will turn you down. If you are accepted by a bigger agency, there are other things to consider - your work will be immediately competing with a larger amount of pictures than with a smaller library. The plus side is that the big agencies get the most business !

    The large agencies often demand a constant flow of pictures, so be careful not to overstretch yourself. With any agency, you must look to build a large collection of images if you want a regular income from it, and here I am talking of literally thousands of pictures. It must be looked upon as an investment, with some pocket money along the way !

    I would recommend that you visit the BAPLA website, which houses links to all of it's affiliated libraries: www.bapla.org.uk/index.asp

    I originally had a contract with a well established Natural History agency, but came to realise that although I loved Natural History photography, I just didn't have enough time on my hands to produce a profitable amount of work. This is an example of why you must choose carefully. I eventually had to write to the agency in question to end my contract, which was best for both parties.

    I now have two contracts with agencies for whom I can produce a reasonable amount of work.

    Hope that helps a bit - feel free to contact me for any further advice.
  4. Raz

    Raz Well-Known Member

    you say you have 2 contracts now, Is that your sole source of income?
    or do you work on comission as well?

    always looking for new work
  5. Pecheur

    Pecheur Member

    It's barely a source of income at all. I'm still at the pocket money stage !

    One of the two contracts is very recent, and with a very well established agency housing over a million images. As they are very prolific sellers worldwide, I am optimistic that I'm heading in the right direction.

    Personal circumstances must also be taken into account when choosing agencies.
    Don't choose a travel library if you can't afford a holiday. Nature photography takes a lot of commitment and time, and I didn't have enough money to buy the time. If you are willing to diversify and produce photography in areas which you might not have ideally chosen yourself, your chances of success are greatly increased.

    I am a working class photographer without a great deal of spare time, so the agencies I'm with deal in subjects that are easily accessible to me. That's a point I've reached by adapting and evolving my photography so that I might succeed.

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