ImageBrief Looks to the Future of Stock Photography

By Jacqui Palumbo

When Simon Moss launched the Beta version of ImageBrief in 2011, he wanted to “turn the stock library model on its head.” Moss, who has more than 15 years experience in fast growth software companies, felt the current stock photography market lacked human-to-human contact. He also understood that both photographers and image buyers deserved to be valued. “ImageBrief is about creative folk – the people who buy images and the people who make them – and a series of (mainly brief) beautiful relationships where everyone gets what they want,” the company’s manifesto states.

Idyllic? Yes, but not impractical for Moss and his colleagues. ImageBrief has, in less than two years, turned a utopian concept into a thriving site where over 4,000 pro photographers have opened their catalogs to prospective image buyers through a personalized, hands-on approach to sourcing images. 

Moss and his partner, Meg Moss, had been running a photography agency for nine years when they realized there should be a platform that incorporated a direct way to request images using natural language, much like the email requests they received from their clients. “We figured that it would be nice for buyers and photographers to connect directly using a platform like ImageBrief,” Moss explains. “But it wasn’t available, so we built it.”

While the other leading sites have static libraries searchable by keywords, ImageBrief has looked beyond basic searches through stored images that often times do not produce what the buyer has in mind. ImageBrief allows image buyers to initiate the process by posting a brief with a detailed description of what they are looking for visually as well as usages, budget limits and timeframe. Photographers are notified of relevant briefs via email and then hand-pick and upload images that meet that request. Photographers rein 100% control over the usage and pricing of their images and the initial transparency between photographer and image buyer streamlines the process into a simple conversation. There is no cost or obligation for a buyer unless they award the brief and complete the transaction, and photographers keep 70% of the image budget.

The editing staff at ImageBrief look for high quality professional work across a range of disciplines. They monitor the briefs and content continuously from offices in Sydney, Capetown, London and New York. The content is also exclusive to the site, so that over-circulation of imagery is avoided. “We help professional photographers monetize their extensive back catalogues of work that is currently not indexed and online.” Moss explains. “This means professional image buyers have access to fresh, high quality photography without searching through irrelevant stock library search results.” An active editing staff also allows a direct way to access the needs of image buyers so they can add photographers in different fields to their roster accordingly.

With 4,000 photographers on board and growing every day, with catalogues averaging at 5,000 images each, the company already has a virtual catalogue of more than 20 million images. Moss says, “We expect to have access to more images in the next 6-12 months than all of the major libraries put together simply because of the vast reach and depth of our fast growing network and this virtual catalogue.” 

As the site grows, ImageBrief continues to look for new photographers, and attracting clients from the world’s leading advertising and publishing companies such as JWT, Interbrand, Saatchi & Saatchi, Conde Nast and Euro RSCG encourages a high level of quality in every specialty.  Moss and his team see ImageBrief as a bridge between image libraries and hiring photographers for projects. Their manifesto states, “Between the luxury of the commission and the compromise of the generic stock shot, there’s ImageBrief.”

For more information on ImageBrief, visit their Web site. 


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