Photojournalism - Package Deal
Published by Writelink

It's a proven fact that you are more likely to sell your non-fiction magazine articles if
you can also supply the editor with accompanying pictures. You may consider
yourself a writer rather than a photographer, but if you want to sell more work you
must 'think pictures'.

Editors need pictures but many magazines, even the well-known ones, are run with a
very small staff, sometimes as few as two or three. Traditionally, it was the
responsibility of an in-house picture researcher to source the images found in books
and magazines from press agencies, picture libraries, museums and so on. But for
most magazines the days of employing a picture researcher have long gone.

Sourcing editorial pictures is time consuming; many publications just don't have the
resources, which is why so many otherwise interesting and well-written articles are
rejected. A lot of editors now prefer to accept complete packages of words and
pictures. So, provide the editor with what he (or she) wants - become an editor's

Of course if you have a half-decent camera and can take your own photos to illustrate
your feature then so much the better. You could be laughing all the way to the bank,
having doubled your fee. Naturally this should be the first choice of any sane writer.

There are occasions though when it just isn't feasible to take your own pictures -
when you want to illustrate a historic or specialist piece for example. This is when
picture libraries are useful. But beware!

Recently, I did some research on a Victorian bridge for a local government
department. They needed pictures for a presentation, and these I located in
'Heritage'. The fee for using four pictures from their library was 400 - waived in the
end because it was another local government department.

There are dozens of picture libraries, a good number of which have a web presence.
Thousands of images are available on these libraries and they range from the work of
one individual covering a specific area or theme to vast miscellaneous collections.

Online picture libraries are often 'rights managed'. This means a fee is paid each time
an image is used, usually the photographer and the library each have 50 per cent of
the fee charged.

Picture library charges might include:

Service fee - this is a flat fee that covers the library's time if you need them to
research a picture on your behalf, postage and packaging if the pictures are sent by
mail and various other admin charges.

Reproduction fee - this is for the use of the image. This charge varies according to
how the picture will be used, its size, a magazine's publication figures and its
commercial value.

Hire fee - this is based on the normal loan time of between 4-6 weeks.

The costs for one-time usage of these stock images start at around 50 but can run
into many hundreds, so limiting the use by any magazines with a small budget.

So you can see that while it is certainly a good idea to source pictures to accompany
your writing - thereby saving your editor valuable time and earning you some extra
Brownie points - it is unwise to pay for these yourself. Instead, you should supply your
editor with the relevant source details, reference numbers and so on and let him or
her negotiate the fee with the picture library.

Sometimes libraries offer collections of 'royalty free' images on CD Rom. These
collections can be bought for a moderate sum and are useful for writers who can use
general images to accompany their work. A photographer will usually receive a one-
off payment for each image though they sometimes hold limited rights.

Pictures for free!
Another way to supply your editor with a 'words and pictures' package is to contact
the Public Relations departments of various organisations and businesses. Many of
these organisations are eager for free publicity and will gladly supply you with

Some of the PR departments that might be helpful include tourist boards,
conservation groups, charities, tourist attractions, auctioneers, travel companies, re-
enactment groups, animal-aid societies and sports organisations. Any of these may
be willing to supply you with pictures in exchange for editorial exposure.

Next time you write a non-fiction magazine article offer a 'package deal' - make it as
easy as you
can for the editor to say "yes"!

Maureen Vincent-Northam 2004

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