It was colorful, it was flurrying. Upstairs there were tables filling and emptying in a constant flow of meetings between agents and providers, downstairs there were talks of how to find all of the legal and illegal ways your images are being used on the web, confessions from buyers about what they really want (wonderful well-documented images with ever decreasing prices) advice on using social networks, stock photography mobile phone applications,  and the joys of wifi enabled cameras… to mention only a few of the many topics…

The PACA conference is a two day event that provides an opportunity to network with providers, agents, clients and figureheads in the stock industry, as well as featuring a full program of panel talks, discussions, words from the wise in the industry. Alfonso (CEO) and Julieanne (Content Manager) were in New York attending both events last week along with age fotostock USA head of sales Susan Jones, who charmingly chaired the PACA panels over the two days.

They were joined by age fotostock USA sales staff to greet current and potential clients with information about our collection, a bag full of goodies and some crispy apples at Visual Connections. Susan summarizes, "This year was a good year for Visual Connections. It really was a busy, productive day."

For more information about PACA and Visual Connections click here to check out one of our previous posts.


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Start spreading the news... age fotostock CEO Alfonso Gutiérrez and Content Manager Julieanne Eason will be leaving Barcelona this Friday to attend the 18th annual PACA conference "Opportunity In Change" on the 20th and 22nd of October, followed by the Visual Connections event on the 23rd, all taking place in central New York.

The PACA conference is a two day event that provides an opportunity to network with providers, agents, clients and figureheads in the stock industry, as well as featuring a full program of panel talks, discussions, words from the wise in the industry. These panels will be chaired by our age fotostock USA sales manager Susan Jones. Not be missed - Alfonso as CEPIC President will be speaking his opinion on Image Registries on Tuesday at 11am. We hope to be enlightened by the variety of talks in between meetings with our agents and providers.

Visual Connections is a one day event which brings together stock agencies and existing or potential clients. Our age fotostock USA team will be there representing the company - please feel welcome to drop in and visit us!

For more information about PACA, CEPIC and BAPLA click here to check out one of our previous posts.

 


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Aside from the camera, one of the most useful tools in stock photography is a small but very important scrawl. This signature on a Model Release form, which states that the subject of the photograph consents to being photographed, is extremely important - it can catapault your content from just the "editorial use only" sector into the full stock market of advertising, promotion, trade or product endorsement.

If you have the relevant releases your images can be used for commercial purposes, if not, what a pity! They may be licensed as editorial use only.

Understandably, at times this signature can be difficult to obtain. Sometimes it's difficult even just asking for it.  You may be shy, you may be busy, you may be in a foreign country where language barriers mean that you can barely ask for a glass of water let alone explain what it is you will happen to your images when you get home.  But we encourage you, & you´ll see it in your sales reports at the end of the month -  it's worth making the effort!

So how should you go about it?

A few weeks ago staff at age fotostock were impressed by a submission by our photographer Jorge Fernández Garcés, which included stunning images of people in Africa with complete model releases. Here follows some words from the wise:

Approaching the model:


"How I approach the signing of a model release depends on each situation and each model. My first concern when asking for a MR is if I will somehow create an unpleasant situation or mistrust, if so, I don’t try. Otherwise, if the subject is open to listening, I attempt to have someone there who speaks their language, to explain what they're really signing.

In distant countries and cultures so different to that of Western culture, I consider it essential to bring along a local guide and translator to help me to contact with people, as it is not always easy to convince someone to let you photograph, and much less for them to sign the MR. The most important thing here is undoubtedly find a guide who understands the needs of the photographer.

In my case I always ask the models to sign a paper rather than a electronic document. That’s firstly because I do not yet have a smartphone or ipad, and second because I think it is quite difficult to get anyone to sign a paper, let alone a electronic device. Although I am aware that in some cases it may arouse the curiosity of the person and facilitate the process."

Model reactions:


"There are people who are afraid to sign a paper and there are people who really do not care at all. I think it has much to do with the cultural environment. Westerners usually distrust anyone who asks them to sign a document. Other cultures that do not have so much contact with the bureaucracy do not give signing a paper very much importance.

In regards to these model released photos that I recently took in Africa,  I was traveling with my partner, along with a guide. In addition to helping with the preparation of the scene (flash illumination, etc..) she was responsible for identifying and organizing the signed MRs. For me this was very important, because sometimes we work with several models at once and things get busy - had I been alone, as I was taking the photos, probably many of the pictures would not be accompanied by MR."

Some advice?

"If you are in a foreign country, it is important to have an assistant who is in charge of organizing the MRs once obtained, especially if you are working in the street with several different subjects. And of course it may seem silly, but always carry spare MRs and a pen, as it is not always easy to find a pen when you need one!"

- Jorge Fernández Garcés

To all our photographers out there, what are your experiences of obtaining Model Releases? Any suggestions you´d like to share?


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New times, more features. age fotostock has launched a brand new Website

age fotostock, a stock photography agency based in Spain with offices in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, and Paris, launched a brand new customer-focused website this month. The site, http://www.agefotostock.com, has been especially designed by in-house age fotostock web designers and programmers in direct response to research of customer and client needs. The enhanced functionality and new search engine spearhead the beginning of many improvements to the age fotostock and THP platforms.


Moving hand in hand with developments in technology, the business model of the stock photography industry has been changing constantly and dramatically in the past years, both in regards to agencies’ administrative needs as well as the clients’ approach to licensing images. age fotostock has undertaken the development of a new website that recognizes and incorporates these changes.

Alfonso Gutiérrez, CEO of age fotostock, comments, "We have listened to our clients and have developed the new search engine and all collateral functionalities based on their advice, adapting it to today’s needs and client requirements and demands. Furthermore we needed to acknowledge that content is increasing nowadays in ways never expected many years ago, and video is also a key element that requires much storage and fast processing. For more than a year now we have been ready to service our clients with what we believe is a tool that will help them in the decision making process and the licensing of images."

The decision to develop the new website from scratch rather than improve the original website built in 2007 was made early on. Because of the largess of this mission, a modular approach was elected by age fotostock and bridges were developed to make both the old and the new codes functional, ensuring that the business would not be disrupted when the new modules started to be operative. age fotostock has now begun unveiling functional modules that will result in the complete metamorphosis of the new age fotostock website over the following months. These changes will also be applied to all THP (Technological Hosting Platform) member accounts.

Highlights of the current website include:


Drag and drop items
An item drag and drop function enables the smooth addition of items to both light boxes and shopping carts.


Permanent Search Box
The search box is always present no matter where you are in the website.


Enhanced item preview
The new “Item preview” window offers detailed information and the ability to navigate throughout items in the search results while maintaining the original search results in the background.


Extensive search engine filters
An expanded Search Engine section allows you to find results faster and more easily by applying filters from a range of terms and categories.


Julieanne Eason, the Content Manager and International Coordinator at age fotostock, comments, "We continue to make a strenuous effort to blend methods and procedures in this new website & the THP system.  Not only will we see improvements in the front end of the site such as the new search engine, but also in the back end, where the monitoring and control of exclusive sales in global and small markets makes use of the newly simplified and efficient THP licensing matrix."

ABOUT AGE FOTOSTOCK
age fotostock is a general photo agency with offices in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, and Paris, dedicated to the daily addition of quality images (Rights Managed, Royalty Free and Low Budget Royalty Free) and videos from an impressive range of subjects. age fotostock also produces its own collections, age fotostock (RM), Pixtal, (RF) and low budget Royalty Free easyFotostock (LBRF), which are all distributed through www.agefotostock.com, as well as through over 100 agencies worldwide.

ABOUT THP Photo & Video Services
The THP is the Technological Hosting Platform that connects image and video providers, distributors, and clients. The THP hosts an impressive database of more than 21 million high resolution image files and close to 400.000 video clips. THP Photo & Video Services also provides Photo Storage and High Resolution file access to over one hundred companies worldwide.

The THP was created and is managed single-handedly by age fotostock, and has evolved into a community of close to 60 companies worldwide that enjoy direct access to over 450 RM, RF and LBRF collections.


CONTACT INFORMATION
age fotostock / THP Photo & Video Services
Julieanne Eason
Content Manager and International Coordinator
Julieanne@agefotostock.com

tel.(+34) 93 300 25 52
www.agefotostock.com
www.thpphotoservices.com


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CEPIC, Center of the Picture Industry Europe, held its annual conference here in Barcelona June Tuesday 10th– Friday 14th .

Given that Barcelona is age fotostock’s home city and that age fotostock CEO Alfonso Gutierrez was elected the president of Cepic at the beginning of the week, it was an exciting and busy week for age fotostock staff. In fact, the hubbub and CEPIC aftermath has only just now started to simmer down.

Overall, the CEPIC congress is simply the best place to stay in touch with all our partners, listen to what is going on in the industry and learn about other countries experiences and ways of doing business.

More specifically, that means 30 minute meetings from 9am until 6.30pm for three days straight, dinners or lunches with business associates who have travelled across the world to attend and despite their jetlag will do all they can to take advantage of being on the Mediterranean, walking in many directions with much purpose and many pamphlets, excel sheets, laptop under the arm, intense cravings for coffees, the odd sit down to be enlightened or angered  in one of the conference sessions and a well deserved shake-it-loose party at the end of the week. In short, it’s a photography industry meeting marathon.

My personal experience as Content Manger for age fotostock was a fortification of our relationships with current providers and agents, closing business deals which include extending distribution contracts to new territories, meeting companies representing new collections, talking with current Providers about their new content available and comparing business experience and strategies with other companies. The age fotostock team also held a small meeting for the agents who use our THP network, where we were proud to demo the new age fotostock website which will be launched soon.

News from the floor is that the market is slightly decreasing in areas of economic struggle and remaining steady in others. Smaller companies tend to be retiring from the business and those who are growing are the ones who are promoting new business strategies which take advantage of the increasingly important and inescapable role that digital technology plays in our daily lives. Clients are accustomed to the microstock product and an image selling for $5,000 is a rare occurrence nowadays. Clients globally now ask for more images at a lesser price and with extended uses and extended dates, although there is a general consensus that clients are constantly returning to agents that can provide service, which doesn’t mean only personal sales care but a trustworthy product in which the releases, caption information and sales history of the item are valid and dependable.

There is also the ever present desire for those at Cepic to learn which new markets and products are developing, but although there are many companies out there taking many different approaches, no one seems to have sprung upon anything that can lift us high and dry out of the lull left in the wake of microstock pricing. Yet.


Many attendants said it was one of their favorite Cepic congresses, and although it could have been just the influence of smooth Spanish sun after a particularly bleak winter across Europe, I believe the feeling of camaraderie in the business comes from the inherent need to pull together to unite industry standards and to spread knowledge and expertise in order to make the industry stronger.


I’ll leave you with a quote from Sol, age fotostock International Accounts Manager:


“If I should define 2013 CEPIC, I would say that it made me think about one of my favourite books: Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Everyone was in the mood of gaining a victory by losing as little as possible. Everyone was keen to negotiate symbiotic synergies. There were no big parades or miracle solutions but instead, tones of persistence, resilience and the decisive goal to catch a business opportunity, wherever it is. This is the time for creative, energetic, and simple solutions – which curiously manifested in a dish included in the catering at the Cepic opening party; a culinary innovation encapsulating the famous Spanish cockle (berberechos) sauce and a lot of tasty inspiration in one shot.”


Are we ready to fight? Certainly, at age fotostock, we are.

 


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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