Design Pics Acquires Axiom Photographic Agency

Posted on 11/6/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Axiom Photographic Agency Limited ceased trading on September 20, 2012, and was subsequently placed into Voluntary Liquidation at a meeting of the shareholders on October 23, 2012 due to its inability to meet its obligations to creditors.
The Liquidator subsequently accepted an offer presented by Design Pics Inc., to purchase the assets of Axiom Photographic, which became effective October 25, 2012.  The business of Axiom Photographic will continue under the management of Tim Hook in Axiom’s London office as a division of Design Pics Inc. All web related activity will carry on using the existing URL of

Design Pics has offered new contracts to Axiom Contributors which include a voluntary offer by Design Pics for the contributors to recover any unpaid amounts owed by the original Axiom Photographic Agency Limited.

Axiom owes contributors in excess of £100,000.00 (roughly $160,000) in royalties on past sales which it is unable to pay. On future sales contributors will receive a slightly higher commission percentage than their existing contracts specify until that time when they have recovered all the monies owed. At that point their royalty percentage will revert to what it was under the original Axiom agreement.

Design Pics is not willing to specify what the new percentages are (and it is certainly possible that they will vary from contributor to contributor), but here is an example of how the system will work. Assume that a contributor’s royalty share with Axiom was 50% of sales and the contributor is owed $1,000. Under the new agreement the contributor will receive a 70% royalty on new sales. The additional 20% will go to paying off the $1,000 debt. Thus, in this case the gross new sales of the contributor’s work would have to total $5,000 before the total debt would be paid in full. At that point the contributor’s royalty share would revert to 50% for all future sales.

Under this plan the contributor runs the risk that new sales will never total enough to make a full recovery. In the above example $1,000 was owed on a gross license fee of $2,000. Now, the contributor’s images will have to be licensed for two-and-a-half times that much in order to recover the total owed. On the other hand, with the company in liquidation and no assets, contributors stand to get nothing.  

In addition, now Axiom will have a much broader selection of images to offer its customers (the entire Design Pics library) and the odds that an Axiom contributor’s image will be chosen by an Axiom customer will be reduced. On the positive side, images of Axiom contributors will now be available through Design Pics extensive distribution network and sales may be made to customers who would never have had an opportunity to see the Axiom contributor’s images before. This might facilitate a quicker recovery.

Design Pics offers its photographers a unique online facility where they can login to its management website and view their monthly sales and payment activities at any time.

One of Design Pics first acquisitions was the Irish Image Collection which occurred in 2007. Since then direct sales of this collection in the UK were largely handled by Axiom under the direction of Tim Hook. Rick Carlson, President of Design Pics, says, “the Irish Image Collection remains one of our leading selling brands, both for direct and distribution sales.”

During the prior twelve months, Design Pics has acquired First Light, a Canadian photo agency, Pacific Stock, an agency based in Hawaii, and most recently, Alaska Stock, a photo agency headquartered in Alaska.  In each instance, the Staff was retained and the sales people in each office are now able to offer their respective clients the Axiom imagery as well as all Design Pics’ RM and RF brands. "We look forward to working closely with Axiom photographers and clients to maintain and develop the Axiom brand as a continuing source of premium creative travel photography." says Rick Carlson, President of Design Pics.

DesignPics Inc. is a leading provider and distributor of rights managed and royalty free creative imagery. Design Pics’ brands include: Alaska Stock, First Light, Pacific Stock, The Irish Image Collection, Axiom Photographic and Design Pics’ house RM and RF collections.

Copyright © 2012 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Gary Elsner Posted Nov 6, 2012

    I'm responding on behalf of Design Pics to clarify and correct some of your conclusions and comments

    1. All Photographers will receive the same additional percentage - without exception
    2. we will only add a very select group of travel related imagery to the Axiom site to supplement subject areas that are not adequately covered. We believe this will help attract more clients to the site and therefore enhance Axiom photographer sales.

    3. We disagree with your conclusion that photographers might not recover their losses as, based on the amounts lost by each photographer, we believe that ultimately, the participating and active photographers will in fact recover those revenues. You also have to consider that along with the recovery of their losses, they are also earning their normal commissions on those sales without interruption.

    Gary Elsner, VP, Operations

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff