Since Feature Shoot started working with Offset six months ago, we’ve had a lot of inquires from photographers who are curious about selling their work through the agency. We thought it was a good time to speak with Keren Sachs, Director, Content Development in order to gain some insight into their process, what types of images (and photographers) they are looking for, and what images are most likely to sell well.
Tell us a little about your background in photography and what brought you to Offset.
“Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked in multiple aspects of the photography industry. From editorial at National Geographic to commercial at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and then I joined Shutterstock three years ago. Taking the role at Shutterstock allowed me to bridge all aspects of imagery and work with photographers from around the world.
“Shortly after joining Shutterstock, we started talking about Offset which launched just over a year ago. Offset represents a breakthrough in pre-shot imagery because it combines modern, exceptionally curated, assignment-quality images with the simplicity of a royalty-free license.”
Offset is a relatively new venture. What are the goals of the agency?
“We launched Offset to meet the needs of clients who were searching for high-end imagery at affordable price points. We often hear about the friction involved with licensing imagery and our goal with Offset was to do away with all of that – to simplify the market. We strive to work with talented photographers and get their work to buyers who are desperate for high quality, authentic and unique imagery.
“Shutterstock approaches solutions as a tech company. We devote hours to research and interviews with clients across the globe. We aim to come to the market with a product that is useful and inspiring.”
You have a lot of amazing photographers in the collection (many of which we’ve run on Feature Shoot in the past). What makes joining Offset an attractive prospect to photographers?
“Offset provides artists an opportunity to showcase their work to clients globally. I always say to photographers, dust off your archive and breathe new air into your work – let’s monetize your archive by showcasing it.
“Photographers spend thousands of dollars creating portfolios and promo cards to reach their intended audience. We can help by directly discussing their work with our clients during our regular visits. A number of our photographers like Anna Williams have received assignments based on those meetings. For other photographers like Melanie Acevedo, Offset provides a new opportunity to showcase a personal project. And, for artists like Martin Bailey in Japan – Offset helps him reach a whole new audience. Martin already has a tremendous following through his podcasts and his travels – by teaming up with us, he’s able to reach an even larger, targeted audience of image buyers.”
What types of photographers is Offset looking to represent?
“We work with all types of photographers from food to beauty to interior to lifestyle. We are always on the search for talented photographers who have a unique perspective on the world around them.
“Each artist brings something new to the collection. The majority of Offset artists have shot for major advertising clients and editorial publications. But, we also work with up and coming artists who are just starting to branch out.”
What types of photos do really well in the Offset collection? Are there certain ingredients that make an image stand out to buyers?
“Interesting images that tell a story either alone or with multiple images. Offset images are authentic by nature. While many are highly produced, they are also well-composed and well-lit and can serve as hero images.”
You’ve worked with stock agencies for awhile now. Are you able to predict when a certain photographer (or image) will sell well?
“Well, I like to think yes. Realistically, because we work with clients that are at the forefront of their fields – we like when they surprise us. That said, we work really hard to stay ahead by utilizing our data, creating original research and constantly meeting with clients to better understand their needs – which led us to create Offset in the first place.
“It always makes me happy to see work from talented artists get downloaded. We have an incredible collection of over 45 million images and more than two million video clips and music tracks on Shutterstock.
“In creating Offset, we look for images that strike a different cord with the viewer. They are often emotional and we see these types of images work well for advertisers speaking directly to consumers.”
Offset is royalty-free. Can you explain how this works?
“Royalty-free refers to a licensing method under which image rights are sold at a flat rate for almost all purposes, although there are some restrictions. This is in contrast to rights-managed licensing – which means an image license is priced based how the image will be used and creates a lot of hurdles on usage – geography, image size, length of time and more.
What we’ve learned is rights managed isn’t really built for our modern communication channels. As an example, often a client would license a rights-managed image for print and then find a need to use it in a social campaign or a brochure. Each time, the client would need to go back to the stock agency and renegotiate for the same image utilized in a different way.
“We’ve taken that headache away for clients by providing high-end imagery royalty-free with Offset and created a new market for photographers. There are still times when clients come to us for exclusive licenses and we will work with the photographer to negotiate a deal.”
What types of work are photographers giving you to sell through Offset? Is it mainly personal work or outtakes from editorial/commercial shoots?
“Every photographer is different and it often depends on what they shoot. Some photographers send us their entire archive. Others will send us images as they come out of embargo from various clients. Many will send personal work in addition to client work. We love to see it all. We’ll work with you to create a portfolio on Offset that best represents who you are as an artist.”
Do you think selling work through a stock agency such as Offset should be a part of every photographer’s career plan? If so, why?
“Absolutely. It is a great way to monetize your archive and add diversity to your income, while getting your name out there as we market our artists through our social channels, marketing campaigns, events and global client meetings.
“While assignment work is great and the goal of many working photographers, we all know assignments can ebb and flow. By being part of Offset, we will be calling on clients daily that could buy your work.”
How does the process work from submission to photographers seeing their work in the collection?
“An interested photographer can come directly to our site and apply to join the collection. We will work with them to make the submission process easy and our team of highly-trained editors will comb through their submission to select the gems that fit within our collection. We work together with the photographer to get their images up on the site and in front of our clients as quickly as possible.”
Interested in becoming a photographer represented by Offset? Apply here.
All photos featured in this post can be found on Offset, a new curated collection of high-end commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Offset is an exclusive category partner on Feature Shoot.