Are photographers integrated marketers’ new best friends?


Copyright Joakim Blockstrom

Modern marketing requires much more content than ever before. In the old days a few ads a year, some POS, and your content provisions for the year were pretty much done. Now brands need to fill Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr, etc. (as well as the “normal” website and brochure and advertising images) with relevant and high quality content 24-7/365. Amidst the infinite tweets, hashtags, one-liners, brand names, and selling points, one of the quickest ways of effectively conveying a brand or a message is with an image.

The interesting infographic below by MDG Advertising shows the efficacy of great pictures in social media use: (Click on the infographic to see a larger version)

Photography infographic

However, many clients may find that using traditional agency processes to deliver these images would be very expensive and possibly too slow. Simply put, most agencies are not set up to deliver the “content factory” that many clients now need.

And, we have heard of some horror stories where clients have hired up to twenty different photographers a year, with very different styles, and had terrible ownership and image rights issues. According to Bodyshop (, small business owners are the usual offenders who trust web design companies to secure images for them. Unfortunately, permission for these images is not always obtained and these small businesses fall victim to costly copyright fines. In other cases, clients have bought images from image libraries only to find that a competitor also has, or that other divisions of their own company have also bought the same image (up to nine times in one instance!). The list of potential problems is endless.

We have had some interesting discussions with some of our friends recently – Joakim Blockstrom and Richard Beaven about the commercial future of photography.

Many photographers wish to pursue their own purely artistic projects, like Joakim’s “The Heirloom Project” and Richard’s “This country life”.

In the past many photographers would use magazine work to make money to support themselves, but in the digital age, with the demise of the paper based publishing business, this is becoming more of a challenge. With magazines in decline could client companies working directly with photographers be a life-line to photographers, and a god-send for clients?

It would seem like clients working directly with photographers should be a win-win for everyone. Why would client companies not hire their own in-house or permanently contracted photographers?

The benefits would be:

  • Always on, improved relevance
  • Direct learning from the responsiveness of images, in real time (what if photographers are paid for consumer engagement with their images)
  • Consistency
  • Quality control
  • No usage or rights issues
  • Price benefits
  • Images can be shared across the agency ecosystem more easily without creative ego being too bruised!

In summary, it seems like photographers should be integrated marketers’ new best friends. If you would like help keeping your business more relevant than a Polaroid, please get in touch here.


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