Tyson V. Rininger's Blog

TVRPhotography – If it moves, Shoot It!

When is Exclusivity Not a Good Idea?

A single image can have multiple uses from editorial to commercial. But, it has to be marketed just right.

Providing art directors with editable images will enable them to use a common photo that has been cropped or modified to create a different presentation.

There are some things that only happen once in our lifetime and sometimes there are only a few people present when that happens. Although there will always be that one publication that wants the “scoop”, can you really afford to market that coverage to just one entity?

Of course client loyalty is paramount, but so is communication. If you know you’re going to be covering an event that will yield massive coverage, be sure to communicate that with any potential clients beforehand.

Most publishers will be willing to work with you as long as they know what other publications will be bringing to market. Two competing magazines showcasing the same image on the cover would be a very bad idea, so be open with your clients as to what is going where.

Besides good communication, logistics are also vital to successfully distributing imagery to multiple clients. Know each client’s market. Not all aviation magazines are aimed at the same aviation market. Some magazines are aimed at warbird enthusiasts while others go for the modern military jet crowd, and still others are read solely by those fascinated with the luxury of aviation. In many cases those magazines are not considered competitors and similar images and accompanying stories can be run simultaneously.

Once the editorial coverage has taken its course, the images can then be used in marketing campaigns and for other commercial purposes.

An assortment of vertical photos from the same shoot will also provide publications the ability to choose photos more suited to their liking thus eliminating the risk of duplicating covers.

Even if you’ve done all your homework, this process can still backfire. While one magazine may not see another as a direct competitor, the other magazine may deem otherwise. In the interest of running the story first, a magazine may not be totally honest about their position, especially if it is a smaller publication. Often times you will be forced to make a choice as to who gets what even though two competing publications want to run the story. You’ve spent a lot of time building relationships, don’t ruin it with a competing story that will only yield a couple hundred bucks. Client relationships are worth much more than that.

But magazines aren’t all that’s fit to print. There are still other markets that may be interested in coverage of the event outside the magazine industry such as aircraft manufacturers, air shows, aviation parts manufacturers, and the list goes on. The key to understanding the timing for exposing your imagery is to understand the life cycle of an image. A magazine has a life span of approximately one to two months and a limited readership. An advertisement can be wide reaching and remain in the public eye for many months. Because of the publicity advertisements provide, it is usually best to let any potential magazines share the story and images first before marketing the photos for use as advertisement pieces.

A single historic event, if covered well and marketed properly can be distributed to various clients successfully for six to eight months or more. And with good communication and forward thinking, it can be a win-win for everyone.

[Images seen here are a result of the US Navy Tailhook Legacy Flight training program. Special thanks to Dr. Richard Sugden for the use of his aircraft along with Peter Kline for his excellent piloting skills. Additional thanks goes to Lt. Erin “Eeyore” Flint for putting the commemorative Hornets in the air and Captain Mark “Mutha” Hubbard for his incredible support for the program. Of course without the hospitality of VFA-122 and the cooperation of all the civilian Legacy Pilots, none of this imagery would be possible. It is also with deep regret the passing of Lt. Matt “11” Lowe and Lt. Nathan “Beefcake” Williams as their F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed at NAS Lemoore on April 6, 2011, shortly after the conclusion of the Legacy Training Program. Both aviators were to have taken part in the 2011 Airshow Season as demonstration and Legacy pilots. Moreso, they each served this country dutifully and honorably both locally and in hostile territory. May they fly on in our memories forever.]

A layout from Warbird Digest Magazine shows how even though they used a large number of images from the shoot, their audience is mainly relegated to warbird enthusiasts. Therefore the same images can be used in other publications marketed to different interests.

World Airshow News Magazine is aimed towards those with a fascination of airshows. Although similar images were used, combining two contributors will insure the contents are significantly different.

Often times, a single event can be covered in different ways. Here, coverage from the Legacy Training Program was satirically presented from the first person point of view for World Airshow News Magazine.

Aimed at the more adventurous pilot as well as luxury aircraft owners, PilotMag used the Legacy Training Flight piece as a human interest article enabling those with limited knowledge of military aviation to go behind the scenes.

Aircraft Illustrated Magazine printed in the UK has their own set of readers fascinated with older warbirds and civilian restorations. Both they and their sister publication, Combat Aircraft, printed variations of the Legacy Flight Training that best suited their readership.


One response to “When is Exclusivity Not a Good Idea?

  1. Gerald Voigt July 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Tyson your points are very valid. When something is hot, everyone wants to use it and as you point out it can be a problem too. When you serve several clients and they make the decision to mimic or take a similar theme, you need to exercise care so each doesn’t look like clones of the other especially in a small or niche market.

    Everyone tends to remember the flash of lightning, but rarely do they remember the thunder that accompanies it. When you give each one the same thing, who ever is first leads at making the first and more effective impression while those who follow are lost as echos of thunder, which all too soon passes.

    The challenge is…they not only need to remember the image but who published it. When a magazine loses its brand awareness among its audience, so too do the advertisers within. Advertisers are happiest when the periodical they advertise in are picked up and purchased. If the covers look the same, your client (including those of your client), might feel less than satisfied with you.

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