Sunday, 2 September 2007

The changing shape of photography

A sizeable proportion of a traditional publisher's magazine content budget goes on photography - a combination of stock images and photographs commissioned from professional photographers. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The former are generally outrageously over-priced and the second are a lot of trouble as photographers are - in my experience - ridiculously precious over the rights they will assign. If you think publishers have been slow to get their heads round the new publishing landscape, spend half an hour on the phone to a photographer re-negotiating usage rights.

One of my hobby horses is that as a business we are missing major opportunities to lessen our images bill. Sites such as flickr are full of decent enough - sometimes excellent - images that are available for free if you go about it the right way. Many amateur photographers are flattered to have their photography recognised and will willingly consent to having their images used for no more of a consideration than a credit and a link. And I should know, because I'm one of them.

Even though I know it's cheap content for the publisher, I'm still proud that this picture I took at Helsinki's Linnanmäki fairground (I'm the one on the left, by the way) has been used used in the Schmapp!! online guide to the city.

along with this one.

The downside for a publisher is the amount of time it takes to find a suitable photograph and get permission from the photographer (if at all) but if time and resources permit, it's got to be cheaper than the alternatives.

Presumably what they do is identify a whole bunch of possibles to increase the chances of getting a "yes" because it's pitched as a shortlist.

Here is the first Flickr Mail I received...

:: Schmap: Helsinki Photo Shortlist

Hi Andrew,

I am writing to let you know that two of your photos have
been short-listed for inclusion in the third edition of our
Schmap Helsinki Guide, to be published early September 2007.

Clicking this link will take you to a page where you can:
i) See which of your photos have been short-listed.
ii) Submit or withdraw your photos from our final selection
iii) Learn how we credit photos in our Schmap Guides.
iv) Browse online or download the second edition of our
Schmap Helsinki Guide.

While we offer no payment for publication, many
photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap
Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and
are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a
maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and
link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

Our submission deadline is Sunday, August 26. If you happen
to be reading this message after this date, please still
click on the link above (our Schmap Guides are updated
frequently - photos submitted after this deadline will be
considered for later releases).

Best regards,

Luke Ritchie,
Managing Editor, Schmap Guides
And here's the second. (I wonder what happened to Luke, by the way)?

:: Schmap Helsinki Third Edition: Photo Inclusion

Hi Andrew,

I am delighted to let you know that your two submitted
photos have been selected for inclusion in the newly
released third edition of our Schmap Helsinki Guide:



If you like the guide and have a website, blog or personal
page, then please also check out our schmapplets -
customizable widgetized versions of our Schmap Helsinki
Guide, complete with your published photos:

Thanks so much for letting us include your photos - please
enjoy the guide!

Best regards,

Emma Williams,
Managing Editor, Schmap Guides

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