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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get equal rights?

Why have a contract?

Why only originals?

Holding time for images?

How many images can I submit?

What criteria for selected images?

Do I need model or property releases?

Why do you prefer transparencies over negatives?

What if I want to terminate my contract?

Do you need world-wide exclusive rights?

Why should I join Marine Themes?

How soon and how often will I get paid?

Sperm Whale

 

How do I know that my work will be given equal promotion when a client makes a request?


Your work is given equal promotion because the client has access to all of the images in our files, including yours, at all times. It is understandable that a person may be worried about some agents promoting their own personal work ahead of their contracted photographers or give preferential treatment to “big name” or “big selling” photographers. With some agents that definitely is a problem.

With a traditional agency dealing with transparencies you have absolutely no control over which images are submitted to clients. However with the Marine Themes system every image in our digital files is placed in the web database where absolutely every photographers work without question has an equal opportunity to be seen and selected by the client. It is impossible to have a system more fair than that. Images on the web database are displayed according to a predetermined selection made by the client or, when viewed without any specific searches, according to our system of arranging images based on species and orientation of the subject. No cheating, no stacking, no preferences, no bull. Just good honest exposure for your images.

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Why do I need to sign a contract with you?


Primarily it is to protect yourself. A reputable stock library should always consider that their prime objective is to care for their photographers as any agent (such as an estate agent, an insurance broker, lawyer, etc.) should.

Their second objective is to care for the clients needs as the clients are the ones that purchase the rights to the images and therefore allow the agent to fulfil their prime objective. A contract, agreed upon by both the photographer and the agent, should clearly state and protect this relationship. By signing the contract the agent is then able to negotiate fees for the photographer as their legal representative and thereby protect and defend the photographers rights.

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Why do I need to supply originals for selected images?


Just a few short years ago most libraries supplied 35 mm duplicate slides to prospective clients. In today's world the quality of such dupes is fast becoming unacceptable, especially in the important and more profitable area of advertising. However with wildlife photography it is usually the case that when photographing animals only one definitive image is captured, and that at great cost and effort. To submit that to a client who may then damage, lose or destroy the original is unacceptable, even if they were to pay some sort of compensation.

The perfect compromise is to supply them with a digital file or scan off the original. After all, that is exactly what the client needs to reproduce the image via a traditional printing press. The original transparency or slide is the means by which that digital file is produced. The client then gets the digital file they need at the highest possible quality without the risk that they, their courier, printer or designer will be held accountable for damage to valuable originals.

It also saves them the cost of the scan and, much more importantly, the time needed to send the photograph out to have a scan made.

Yet another advantage is that instead of a photograph being bundled in at a commercial film house with 20 or more other images for a generic colour correction and zero spotting or fine tuning they receive a scan that has been custom tuned, cleaned and optimised for perfect reproduction. Since you keep the originals in your files at all times there is zero risk for all concerned but with the highest possible quality result.

Remember also that you do not necessarily have to supply originals. You can supply commercially produced drum scans but they must be of an acceptably high quality. If you feel that you would prefer to go this way then please feel free to email us for specific suggestions and specifications regarding drum scans. Due to the high cost of drum scans (ours are free, another reason to supply originals) we suggest that you supply two or three scans initially to have us check the quality prior to scanning large batches.

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How long will you keep my originals?


For as little time as possible. To be realistic it does take time to make high quality scans. However once the raw scan is made the cleaning and optimising can be done without the original present. Therefore, depending on how many images are accepted, we would intend to have originals returned either same day (for just a few images) or within a week (for large submissions).

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How many images can I submit?


From 1 to 1 million, the sky is the limit. Most other stock agents want a minimum of 250 top quality originals to start a contract and then want at least 2, usually 4, submissions of similar work each year. However we realise that not everyone has the ability or desire to work full time as a wildlife photographer but that the passion, enthusiasm and dedication of many individuals produces commercially viable images. So if you have just one great image (or a million) then go ahead, submit your shots. If we feel that some of your images are not usable we can tell you why and provide you with suggestions as to how to improve your photography.

All contracted photographers will receive regular “wants” lists and suggestions for additional images based on your last submission. Submissions should be sent to our offices suitably packaged as noted in the Photographers Info.

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What criteria do you set for images?


Every photograph accepted into our files must be perfectly exposed, focused and composed. In short it must be of a high enough technical standard to be used by any and all of our commercial clients. However of even more importance is the content. A technically perfect image that is boring is totally useless. It must, at the least, be descriptive and, at best, communicate a strong message or emotion. Also keep in mind that deliberate “breaking the rules” in regard to exposure, focus and composition sometimes produces images that are just what the client wants, so go ahead and experiment.

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Do I Need To Supply Model Releases?


Yes. If your image has an identifiable person as part of your image or if it features a person’s identifiable property then a model or property release must be provided. These forms should be included with your submissions. Please email us if you need model/property release forms.

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Why do you prefer transparencies (slides) instead of negative film?

Transparencies are preferred because the entire printing world is set up to utilise transparency film. Scanners and printing presses are optimised to use the colour palette and contrast properties of transparencies. Colour negative film is intended for a different purpose, namely to produce colour prints, so that the film base and the colour information is rendered in a different way. Yes, you can reproduce from negative film but, despite the assurance of some “experts”, the results are definitely better from a transparency. However, a photograph of a rare animal or unusual event is better on negative film than no film at all.

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What if I want to terminate my contract?


No problem. Give us notice in writing (by signed letter, not email) and your images will be deleted from our files in the next web update. Unlike most other agencies you keep your originals so there is zero delay in slide returns, zero damage, zero lost slides and no unwanted stickers or labels to remove from slide mounts. Many photographers have had absolute nightmares with requests for returned slides, some having to wait many months, even years for returns or losing entire collections. Please note that while you will always own your original photographs as well as the copyright to those photographs and any scans supplied by yourself, the scans made by Marine Themes will remain the property of Marine Themes and, unless other arrangements are made, will be destroyed on termination of your contract.

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Do I have to give you exclusive world wide rights to my images?


No. You set the terms. However if you do give us exclusive world wide rights you will have a much broader potential use for your images.

The onus is on you. If you supply images that you want displayed in our web database you automatically promote them to any person in any country with an internet connection. So if you have given others rights to your images that are in the Marine Themes database (whether a client or another agent) you need to make sure that those rights given to them are non exclusive.

If you or another agent of yours grants exclusive rights for one of your images that is in the Marine Themes database you need to let us know immediately so that we can restrict sales of that particular photograph.

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I have my own web site/library/stock agent(s) so why should I join Marine Themes?


Because the more exposure your shots have the more money you will make.

In the stock industry the fact is that providing one agent (whether that be yourself or another stock agent) with all of your images means that the only people who will buy your images are clients of that agent. Humans are creatures of habit and, without being insulting, are inherently lazy. If one agent has supplied all the images for a project then that client will tend to ask that agent again to provide all the images for their next project. So you can have two agents in one city with the same specialisation's but with two almost unique client bases. Having your work with both agents potentially doubles your income. Lets face it, with Marine Themes you not only get world-wide exposure for your work but you get to keep the originals with zero cost to you. There is no down side to the Marine Themes digital system.

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How soon and how often will I get paid?


You get paid when we get paid. No waiting. No restrictive quarterly payments. No ganging up and paying you once a year. No phone calls needed on your part asking “when will I be paid for that sale you made a year ago”.

How soon you start making money is another matter. Sales are based purely on the demands of the marketplace. To be honest there is no absolute answer to this part of the question and anyone saying otherwise is being less than truthful. What is true is that you will definitely have fewer sales if you do not have your images with Marine Themes because less exposure of your work means fewer sales.

With traditional stock libraries delays in submissions, cataloguing, distribution and collection of funds meant that at least 12 months was needed to get any sort of return. With the Marine Themes system we can have your work out in the marketplace within a few days.

What dictates your first payment is the marketplace. If you have a photograph whose subject can be found on every Royalty Free collection or in every stock agency on the planet then you may never get a return. On the other hand a high quality image that is in demand may produce a return within a few weeks or months. In the past some images have even been sold before they have been added to the database. However to be realistic most images will take longer to sell.


Fees charged to clients will be based on a fair and reasonable rate. However unique or rare images or those that have very high costs involved in obtaining them will be quoted at an appropriately higher rate. Marine Themes will not undersell or provide cut rate fees as this not only damages the industry but is not fair for you, the photographer.


If you have any further questions please feel free to email or contact us.

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Do I get equal rights?

Why have a contract?

Why only originals?

Holding time for images?

How many images can I submit?

What criteria for selected images?

Do I need model or property releases?

Why do you prefer transparencies over negatives?

What if I want to terminate my contract?

Do you need world-wide exclusive rights?

Why should I join Marine Themes?

How soon and how often will I get paid?

 

Contact Details:

Marine Themes Pty Ltd
marinethemes.com
info@marinethemes.com
142 Keon Street
Thornbury Victoria
Australia 3071
Ph (61-3) 9480 4451
Fax (61-3) 9480 4452

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