Setting up an archive to market your images

I had a contact from an old friend now retired,who worked as a top level car photographer for the magazines in the 1980’s and 1990’s and has 1000’s of un-archived images,mostly transparencies in his attic office.

I’ve been banging on about him sorting his  archive for years so it was good to hear he was making a start. He asked for some advice on how to go about it .

Goodwood Revival start with Stirling Moss
Goodwood Revival start with Stirling Moss 1998

Here is what I said to him .

Most important thing to add value to you archive is to catalogue it….ie do a searchable low res’ spreadsheet that you can email to potential clients…i.e. mags,publishers,picture libraries etc with make,model,year, colour,specific history ,search for software that may be worth investing in to do this where you can embed thumbnails of a few images for each car.I need to find good software for  this too so if you find it let me know…!

Try to think what might sell as well as what you like……don’t scan everything ,prioritise a couple of examples of each shoot ,with themes…I do F1 Cars,Le Mans Car,Super Cars etc….those you do scan need to cleaned up and scanned to at least 60MB.jpeg is best to be sent via wetransfer or Tiff for long term storage.

Ford Edsel in a junk yard
Ford Edsel in a junk yard

If you have Photoshop or similar photo managing software , add the metadata into the image info’ files under the images drop down top menu.As well as copyrighting your images you can add a few details here.There is a pre-formatted schedule that you can fill in with your contact info’ so you don’t have to write it out each time.

Buy a couple of external hard drives…these Western Digital drives are good value and don’t need their own power.

You can now buy up to 3TB but I go for the 2TB and double up with 1 kept away from home. Also these are cheap enough to replace every 5-8 years before they fail which you will have to do. You could consider getting a more expensive but stable solid state hard drive 1TB =£300.

Mercedes stand at Essen car show
Mercedes stand at Essen car show 2014

As well as thinking about finding an agent….look at lodging images with Alamy or other online image library…..I have images with them and they can do well. Most important thing with any online archive are the tags you add so that folk can find your work….follow their guidelines and look at other peoples work.Otherwise try the large picture agencies,Rex,Getty,LAT etc.Any agency will take at least 50% of any earnings so be prepared for this.

Finally…..If you get any good tips on where to sell work I’d like to hear about them.I could spend 23hrs a day archiving my work and probably will do when I retire …it’s addictive  !

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