Image-sales-executive-copyright-racorn_bannerImage Sales Executive © racorn

Image Sales Executive

Photo Imaging
Personality type:
Picture libraries

The lowdown

  • Increasing the sales of the images owned or managed by a picture library, picture agency or publication
  • Handling the sale from the original phone call right through to delivery, invoicing and follow-up

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have strong sales skills and the ability to ‘close’ sales and meet sales targets
  • have a good understanding of visual composition, colour and the end uses of the images
  • be positive, self-disciplined and highly motivated
  • be able to predict and meet the needs of a varied customer base
  • have good IT skills and a good understanding of databasing, presentation and imaging software
  • have experience in image cataloguing and searching
  • have strong verbal and written communication skills, and be able to build rapport with a wide variety of people
  • have a good understanding of copyright and ownership of stock imagery
  • be able to communicate clearly and concisely via phone and email

What does an Image Sales Executive do?

It is the job of the Image Sales Executives to increase the sales of the images owned or managed by a picture library, picture agency or publication. They license images to a variety of buyers, including newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, designers, broadcasters and websites.

Companies that sell images come in all sizes, from global picture agencies that sell tens of thousands of stock images each day, to individual collections that provide access to a specialised range of images. Whatever the size and focus of the agency or collection, the role of the Image Sales Executive is to sell images and to meet or exceed predefined sales targets.

To achieve this they will be expected to fulfil the needs of existing clients and actively seek out new buyers. This can involve actively seeking out new images in response to customer requirements, and suggesting relevant products and services to customers, determining and in some cases predicting their needs.

The Image Sales Executive will negotiate rates for the images with customers and handle the sale from the original phone call right through to delivery, invoicing and follow-up. They may help the company develop its image sales strategy and marketing plan by working with the Business Development Manager to spot trends and identify new niche markets and promotional strategies.

In larger picture libraries and agencies, the image sales functions may be split into a variety of grades from telesales staff, through Image Sales Executives, Senior Image Sales Executives, to Account Managers. Responsibilities for different types of clients may also be split, with separate Sales Executives serving different market sectors such as publishing, corporate, digital and broadcasting.

What might I earn?

Sales Executives normally work a regular working week, though they may be required to work shifts to serve international markets in different time zones. Pay is generally good, with performance-related incentives and bonuses.

Will I need a qualification?

You don’t need a prior qualification to work as an Image Sales Executive. Experience will in many cases count over academic qualifications, though a background and qualifications in photography, art and design, or English would be useful.

For senior sales positions, you’ll find that some employers will specify that they are looking for graduates. Also, if the picture agency or picture library provides a highly specialised range of images, you may need to have a qualification in that specialist field.

What’s the best route in?

Starting off as a telesales representative or Picture Library Assistant would stand you in good stead for a role as an Image Sales Executive.

The British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA)endorses picture research courses and regularly lists job vacancies on its website. Many individual library websites (e.g. Getty Images) also publish information on training and job vacancies.

Where might the role take me?

If you’re successful as an Image Sales Executive, you could move further up the sales ladder to positions that may include (depending on the size of the agency): Senior Sales Executive, Account Manager, Sales Manager, Business Development Executive, Clearances Manager and National Accounts Manager.

You could also transfer your skills from picture agencies to picture libraries and previous experience within the commercial sector can help staff secure a more senior position within the picture library of a museum, gallery or specialist picture library, as a specialised Picture Researcher, or at the picture desk of a publication or photographic agency. Your sales skills would also be transferable to other areas of photo imaging, such as manufacturing, and to other industries.


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