New Approach Brings Down Picture Buying Costs
Posted by: Creativematch Graduate Recruitment
Date added: Thu 16 Jun 2005
Launched at the beginning of this year, fotoLibra has used new technology and a fresh approach to the picture business to build a database of images available at very competitive prices.
fotoLibra’s managing director Gwyn Headley explained the company’s philosophy. “Because we have spent a lot of time and money on getting the website right, it’s easy for contributors to upload their own images which we then proof for quality. We simply don’t have many of the overheads associated with a traditional picture library: no scanning, no image acquisition or initial cataloguing costs.
“The result is that we can pass on the savings to our customers. Picture buyers should come to us before any other library because they will struggle to find high quality images for a better price. We are a young and rapidly growing library we have more than 30,000 pictures to look at today with the archive growing by more than 1,500 a week. And if you can’t find the image you are looking for, then try our no-fee, no-obligation, no-hassle commissioning service.”
“To give you a recent example,” added Headley, “last month a magazine asked us to produce a specific image for their next edition cover. They gave us the brief on a Friday, we sent out the request to our database of photographers who set to work over the weekend to provide the desired image. By the Monday morning, the magazine had a selection of images that met their brief. This is just one way that fotoLibra is harnessing the power and speed of new technology.”
Penguin Books picture buyer Sophie Lazar has optioned nearly 100 images from fotoLibra after commissioning a successful Picture Call. “I have been incredibly impressed by the fotoLibra service – this project would have been completely impossible without you!” she said.
fotoLibra launched at the beginning of 2005 with a business model built entirely around the advantages of new technology. The fundamental difference is that fotoLibra is an open-access picture library. Anyone can join, and when they do, they are responsible for their own image uploading and keywording. To some this may sound like a reason to throw up hands in horror – but the archive is an exciting and eclectic treasure trove of professional and semi-professional photographers’ work, of interesting specialist archives, hidden treasures and one-offs from obsessive collectors and enthusiasts. New images are checked daily by the fotoLibra team to ensure caption and scan quality is kept high. The overheads saved on the initial scanning, image selection and cataloguing enable the archive to offer picture buyers extraordinarily competitive rates.
Headley said: “Our aim is to offer buyers the friendly face and flexibility you’d expect from the small business we are, along with all the advantages you’d expect from the biggest image libraries. Our team includes both photographers and technophiles, who just make sure things work without banging on about it.”
They have certainly put some things in place that would be the envy of many established libraries. Sponsored by printer and scanner giant EPSON and with the backing of the Welsh Development Agency they have their site running on an enviable 100mbps pipeline. The site will work as fast as your connection to the web will allow. Although fotoLibra only started trading properly in January, they already have over 3,300 photographers in 85 countries who have contributed material, as well as representing two significant UK archives specialising in ephemera and high-end illustrations. They are also about to sign a reciprocal agreement with a leading overseas library.
So what sort of material will you find at fotoLibra? There is a wide variety from travel and wildlife photography to unpublished holiday snaps of Fred Astaire and Hulton-esque social history vintage portraits. There are specialist collections from ephemera to follies. There is abstract and atmospheric imagery plus general stock. “Our inclusive philosophy is reflected in the diversity of the collection,” stressed Headley, “and if we don’t have what you are looking for today just ask and we will try to get it up there for you tomorrow. It’s really that simple.”
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