Getting your photographs onto an image library can be difficult. Most libraries have very strict technical guidelines and very tough editing procedures. However, following the 6 tips below to could increase your chances of getting accepted.
1. Decide which image library is right for you
Image libraries vary greatly with regards to the type of images they are looking for. Some image libraries desire more lifestyle photographs whereas others would prefer reportage style images. You should look at many different libraries and see which ones suit your style of work and also which ones you would prefer to work with.
2. Study their images
Image libraries generally want huge variety and therefore images that are different to what they already hold. For example, St Pauls Cathedral in London has been photographed thousands of times, but the image taken above uses the light streaks from the traffic to offer a slightly different view. Had the image not contained the streaks from the traffic it would have likely been rejected. So study what they already have and try to make your selection on what they are missing.
3. Be ruthless when you edit
Usually, in the first instance you need to send a small selection of low resolution images to image libraries for them to review. If they are happy with your selection they will ask to see more. So you need to ensure that you are ruthless when you edit your initial submission. Don’t choose images based on sentiment – just because you waited around for two hours to get the shot doesn’t make it a great photograph. Instead, try to detach yourself from the images and think like a picture editor who is looking at someone else’s photos.
4. Be a perfectionist
It might sound obvious, but all image libraries have very clear guidelines on how they want images supplied such as minimum file size, format, colour profile etc. If you are invited to send more after your initial submission, make sure you study the submission guidelines carefully to ensure your images are technically perfect. This means checking every single image you are sending at 100% view because image libraries will spot any errors. Make sure your images are sharp and be especially aware of chromatic aberration and excessive noise in your photos.
5. Work with them
The image libraries are there to promote your work. If you are accepted, try and build a relationship with them. Ask the library if they have any current picture needs or if they need photos from a specific location. For example if I’m away on a shoot I’ll send an email to the picture editor letting them know where I am and if there are any specific photos they need.
6. Look for opportunities
Once you have established yourself with a library you should start to plan your trips around destinations which have potential to be big tourist spots that year. As these will end up being destinations that clients will potentially require images for, you’ll have a better chance of getting a return on your investment. So read travel magazines, trade newsletters and newspapers to get a sense of up and coming destinations.