If you've ever wanted to know about the people behind the pictures, this is the series for you. We'll be talking to some of our independent photographers from all corners of the globe as well as the people behind some of the best stock photo and illustration collections in the world.
Today we're talking to Patricio Welch, the creative director of PhotoAlto Agency. Founded by creatives for creatives, PhotoAlto is a stock photography agency producing contemporary stills with a European flair. The Paris-based stock library was originally started by a group of photographers and a graphic designer with a shared belief in the power of great images. The vast lifestyle collection is produced by a roster of international photographers along with international production teams, bringing independent styles and unique perspectives while maintaining high production quality. PhotoAlto showcases global culture and people in a wide range of subjects and themes, from lifestyle, food and beauty to education, medicine and business. While highlighting a diverse, European way of life, this collection of premium royalty-free images has universal appeal.
1. Describe your collection style.
For most of our lifestyle images we work in capturing true emotions and illustrating everyday moments with a contemporary stylistic approach. We also produce photos that capture specific concepts in a clean and graphic way.
2. What makes your collection unique?
With each production and every new shoot, we challenge our photographers to be creative. As an agency founded by photographers, there has always been a respect for the light in our photos and how it is used to enhance the subject at hand. We feel it is one of the biggest differentiators between the myriad collections out there. This mastery of light is a great separator when judging a collection's quality and expertise.
3. Where is your content created?
We’re a French founded agency, but our photographic and production teams are internationally based. We feel shooting in different continents with an international mix of photographers and assistants aids our collection in capturing globally relevant subjects with universal appeal.
4. How many photographers contribute to your collection? Do you produce your own shoots?
We are one of the few agencies remaining who control for all aspects of our imagery from inception to distribution. We’ve worked with hundreds of photographers for over 20 years, but today our core team is comprised of a group of 30 photographers that we collaborate on a regular basis for our collection.
5. Do you produce creative briefs specific to client needs for you photographers?
With the way our productions are organized we have the ability to mix both specific client briefs and explore new ideas from our creative team that may not have been specifically requested.
6. How often do you add new content?
We try to add new content to our distribution network every month, sometimes every two months depending on the time of year, production quantity, and the specific post-production needed for each submission.
7. What are your editing standards?
After being in the market for more than 20 years we can tell which pictures from the shoot to separate from the others. With the vast amount of photos being submitted daily, the market today is much harder. Therefore I think our editing has actually become more stringent to better differentiate our imagery from the multitudes.
8. Describe a favorite shoot that has been successful.
I will always remember a production in Argentina next to a river. We had a nice family to shoot, a beautiful park with trees and grass. Unfortunately the mosquitos were there too, making things a little bit difficult. But we shot the family in a hammock, having fun and laughing like never before. A few months later we saw those pictures sell like no others had.
9. Is your collection created specifically for the advertising market, editorial market or both?
It´s made for both. We think of specific concepts for editorial usage, and others themes for advertising. They are two very different markets and fortunately we have a creative team and group of photographers very comfortable working with both markets.
10. Are all your images model and property released?
Yes, all images with a model or shot in a specific location are released.
11. Do you have any great stories about some of your created content that you would like to share with us?
10 years ago, we rented a hotel to shoot people in the spa. It was a beautiful place and models where great too. By the time we needed to shoot the models in the water, the stylist realized she had forgotten the swimsuits for our male model. So I had to run to find one. 150 meters from the hotel there was this upscale men's clothing boutique that we were sure had what we needed. When I got there, I asked the older salesman, “Do you have swimsuits?” and the old man told me “Yes sir, we do. What size do you need?” I had no idea what size the model was… After 5 minutes of trying to describe the model´s body to the elder gentleman I saw a poster next to the dressing room. It was an advertisement for swimsuits, and the model wearing them was the same one we had booked! So I told the salesperson: “He will be wearing them! He´s our man!” When I went back to the hotel and told the story to the team, we had to take a break to stop laughing before shooting again.
12. How do you monitor the latest visual trends and how do they factor into your shoots?
We are always looking for visual trends, not only on advertising or editorial publications, but in the everyday usage of images. Lomo cameras, Instagram, Selfies, these all created new trends that came from real life and advertising appropriated them in their communications. It also helps to surround yourself with a highly gifted group of photographers and assistants who are constantly seeing new things, exploring new places, and sharing those new experiences from places across with world.