Thursday, December 1, 2011

Art Buyer Jessica Mirolla Interview

Jessica Mirolla is a freelance Art Buyer with over a decade of  art production and art buying experience in the advertising industry for clients including Jenny Craig, Hyundai, and Southwest Airlines.

Can you share with us just how you came to be an Art Buyer and a little of your history in this profession?

I was always interested in advertising so I majored in it at college. I was leaning toward copywriting when I met the art buyer while interning at an advertising agency.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Fulfilling the creative vision.

What aspect of your work do you find the most onerous?

Getting vendors paid in a timely manner.

What is it about being an art buyer that you think photographers would be the most surprised to find out?

How dedicated to photography I am.

I really enjoyed your recent presentation at the Blend Images Creative meeting. You mentioned that you try not to search the web for images. Yet I just saw a statistic that 61% of art directors/buyers do search for images on Google. Could you share your take on that…and give us your perspective on the future of image search on the Internet?

I have a legal obligation to my client and agency and I cannot protect them from usage infractions if I do not know where the image originated from or cannot produce a contract for it. This alone helps deter creatives from even starting an initial web search.

Is there anything photographers can do to make it an easier process for those who do search on the web for images?

Offer more royalty free options.

How much of your time is spent searching on stock agency sites?


How deep are you willing to search…that is, how much time do you spend and how many pages deep are you willing to typically look?

I have gone as far as 70 pages deep on one quest – but I will usually only go 10 before I change my search wording.

How does your process normally work?

I change it all of the time – in order to keep it fresh.

Do you usually search only for descriptive attributes of an image, or do you also employ concepts such as “Risk”, “Freedom”, and “Success” (or some other conceptual term)?

I’ve used both.

When you search do you ever limit the search by agency, brand, or licensing model (RF or RM)?

Yes, most clients want to own an image and don’t want to worry about being bound by usage agreements.

How important is price in determining whether to license a given image?

I would say it was the most important to the client and the least to the creative.

Is Rights Managed becoming increasingly important, or more irrelevant in completing a license?

More irrelevant.

Getty has initiated a campaign to stress the value of RM images by listing the resources and efforts that go into given photos. Do you believe it is possible to influence the perception of the value of stock photos in an upward direction?

I think it’s a conversation that would need to take place with a client if an image is important enough to a project or campaign.

Where do you go first when you need a stock image?

I still rely on reps so I like to do business with people that I have a relationship with and who know how handle my needs.

What is your “go to” agency and why?

Usually Veer because the entire site is RF.

What are stock agencies doing wrong?

Living too much in the cyberworld by not forging relationships with their clients.

What is your pet peeve about stock photos?

See “what are agencies doing wrong”.

Can you see “branding” by a stock photographer as having any importance?

Possibly if I am interested in certain look I will change my search to only that photographer’s name/work.

Do you look at unsolicited emails from photographers?


What is the best way for a photographer to get their work in front of you?

Email or send promos.

Do you ever search for motion stock?


Any thoughts on the future of print?

I hope it’s long and prosperous.

Do you have any opinion on whether tablet computers will have an impact on stock photo use?


What is the one piece of advice that you would give photographers seeking assignment work?

Keep your photos fresh, if you don’t have assignment work, work on personal projects.

Any words you like to leave us with (or…what have I forgotten to ask?).

Long live photography!

Thanks Jessica!

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