7BLEND SEEKS PHOTOGRAPHERS
September 20, 2005
Blend is looking for a few good men and women. Blend, you will recall is a RF production company founded about a year ago by a group of 22 leading stock photographers each of whom is a partner in the company. (See story 667.)
Unlike most other agencies that market images directly to customers, Blend makes no attempt at direct marketing but focuses entirely on producing and preparing images for marketing through other portals. By the end of 2005 they will have a very tightly edited 15,000 images in their archive. These images are being marketed through more than 320 portals around the world including Getty and Corbis.
Of the 22 owners most are production companies so in fact there are over 50 photographers producing images for the Blend offering at the present time. Also, in nearly all cases these production companies continue to produce images for other RM and RF outlets and it is believed that none are totally dependent on Blend for their income at this time.
The company was originally founded to develop a "very targeted collection of multi-ethnic people in business and lifestyle situations". Now they want to expand beyond this rather narrow focus to create additional niche collections that are needed by their sales partners in 2006. Blend's goal for 2006 is to add at least 30,000 images to its archive. To accomplish this they are looking for additional photographers for representation. "We are looking primarily for lifestyle shooters that have the ability to create quality and quantity. A certain level of commitment and financial investment is required to produce this type of work," said Sarah Fix, Director of Photography for the company. They may also accept shooters with a concentration of work in other subject areas depending on the niche collections developed.
It is the company's intention to offer a base royalty that is higher than the industry standard of 20%. "This figure can be negotiated depending on the talent and experience the photographer brings to the table, the commitment the photographer is prepared to make to produce for Blend and the capital the photographer is prepared to spend to support that production," Fix continued.
They are looking for experienced stock shooters as well as new, creative, digitally savvy, driven photographers that will be the next generation of stock producers. The focus may end up being more on experienced shooters who can produce competitive work on a consistent basis. It seems likely that the experienced will be the only ones with the capital necessary to produce expensive lifestyle shoots, and enough confidence in their work to keep producing while they patiently wait for the imagery start generating revenue.
One of the advantages of being part of Blend is that there is a great deal of communication and sharing among the partners of ideas, techniques, creative research and general information about what is in demand. As an agency owned and run by photographers it has a "photographer friendly" culture.
Blend photographers are expected to do at least one high quality stock shoot a month and more are desirable. Photographers are expected to tightly edit their submissions and in general 17% to 20% of the images submitted are selected for distribution. Blend's general expectations are that a photographer's submissions will generate a minimum of 250 accepted images per year.
Interested photographers should be aware that because Blend does not make any sales directly there is a double cut on every sale. Thus, if the photographer's contract gives him 30% of "net" the actual percentage of the gross sale may be much less given the percentage of the gross sale the selling agent takes before remitting the balance to Blend. However, this can still be a better deal than most agencies. Blend is already showing one of the largest RPI's (return per image) in the industry.
Photographers interested in being considered should contact Sarah Fix at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 310-770-5527 and be prepared to show a tightly edited selection of 30 to 100 digital images on either a web gallery, CD or DVD.