I’ve just entered a joint venture with an international image library to sell my photography worldwide.

I’ve been with Getty Images for the past five years but, while I’ve enjoyed the royalty cheques, the process involved in uploading my images to their library is just too time consuming. There is also the strict model release conditions which, in many of the countries I photograph, is simply unrealistic (using an ‘X’ for a signature can only go so far, he says).

So Designpics – a Canadian company which acquired Axiom, First Light, Pacific Stock and a couple of specialist libraries – wants to build its profile on the South Pacific and got in touch. One of their editors subsequently flew over and we have just spent a week going through my entire library to select pictures for uploading. One of the conditions I had was that they include in their selection the best images from my film library (which hasn’t seen the light of day since the dawn of digital) and that they have the images scanned and distributed. As it turned out, they left with about 1,000 premium photos to start, 50% of which came from my film library, the balance was digital.

It’s been an interesting exercise learning more about what the market wants and understanding how such libraries work (and it wasn’t without its trauma, with me literally throwing away 90% of a film library I’ve spent 10 years amassing once we’d made the selection). But a more efficient system to distribute and add value to my work is emerging, with a plan to package the images up and circulate them to a plethora of image libraries and buyers worldwide. I did weigh up the option of building a dedicated library of the South Pacific under Kirklandphotos but the reality is, I was never going to make the time needed to process the pictures and set up the library properly and, if I did, it was unlikely to have the reach needed – particularly in the northern hemisphere – to do it justice. So my film library would have suffered the same fate as the film libraries of thousands of other photographers around the world and died quietly in my filing cabinets waiting for my attention.              

David’s personal blog

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A successful promotional photograph starts with knowing what you want it to say and who you want it to appeal to - before you even bring the camera to your eye.




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