A margarita, please! She is our scout for new talents and looks after almost 2,000 photographers who already work with Image Professionals. She motivates & inspires them to put out new topics and images, ensures an active exchange of content, and, together with Klaus Wandner, gives the Photographers Department soul: Margarita Semadeni does Artist Relations.
Margarita, you’ve been with Image Professionals for 14 years, don’t you ever feel like doing something new?
Margarita: I get something new here all the time! A lot has changed since I joined, both technically and in terms of content. I came to StockFood in 2008 to help build the footage collection. It was a perfect fit, since I had previously worked in film. Over the years, my focus has shifted to interiors. I was passionate about the founding of living4media, both in terms of content and organization.
3 years ago, House of Pictures expanded the interior offering for our clients. It was very exciting to build a personal relationship with these 250+ top photographers and stylists.
The successful model of very close collaboration between Content and Sales from our Interior division was extended to all of our agencies last year.
Together, Klaus and I are the face and soul of the Photo Department. Klaus operates from the Content team, and I, from the Sales team. Together we support the photographers of all Image Professionals agencies.
How do Klaus and you work, what are your main focuses?
Margarita: Klaus is the first point of contact for all photographers and their daily questions. When customers have urgent clearance requests and text orders, or need different versions of an image, for example, Klaus has direct contact with our photographers. Both photographers and customers really appreciate this service.
I take care of the strategic part. I look for new talents for all collections, conduct and handle contract negotiations, and work with our existing photographers to optimize their portfolios. In doing so, I try to motivate them to make new deliveries, try out trending themes or visual languages, and always work on the timeliness and relevance of their content.
Klaus and I are in constant exchange, as sometimes the communication with some photographers is a mix of both our fields. Our ultimate common goal is that clients find what they need at Image Professionals. And, that photographers are happy with the sales Image Professionals makes for them.
Does Image Professionals as an umbrella for the individual agencies benefit from your work?
Margarita: Absolutely! Often our artists work across food, interior, garden, beauty, and travel. It makes total sense to have all agencies in mind. Many photographers are excited about the new opportunities that the other Image Professionals collections open up for them. Right now, for example, we are building a feature collection at Look with exclusive travel stories that have never been published before. We’ve received a lot of unexpected content from photographers in the other collections who have felt inspired and motivated by my Image Calls.
What makes a perfect workday for you?
Margarita: A day in my home office because there I have my peace and full concentration on the photographers. I often have very long and personal conversations with them. Some of us have known each other for many years and they are close to my heart. I also get to build a bond with new photographers via video calls and I share my screen with them in a very practical way. I am very grateful for this intensive exchange.
But a perfect day can also be in the office in Munich, where I sit next to my sales colleagues and we exchange ideas. It gives me great pleasure to experience the feedback from customers up close.
How do you advise photographers?
Margarita: I want to motivate my photographers to keep on the ball. I research new topics, trends, and visual languages and am in close contact with the other departments. That way, I get a lot of ideas and can advise the photographers on why some images aren’t doing so well, what’s in demand right now, and how to keep their portfolios diverse and up-to-date.
And where do you get your input?
Margarita: A lot of ideas come from working closely with the brand managers at our agencies. They talk to all kinds of clients every day and tell me where the content gaps are and what topics are needed for the next season.
I also get input from flipping through magazines, books, and quite a lot on Instagram. I’m a passionate Instagram scout and love discovering talent from all over the world there.
Trade shows, photo awards, and blogs are also a source. And it helps if I just keep my eyes open in everyday life!
What topic are you currently looking at for images?
Margarita: We are currently intensively strengthening the garden area for House of Pictures and living4media because the demand is very high. I expect many new garden photographers or garden pictures in the next few months.
Apart from that, we are currently in the middle of the Christmas and winter business. In the meantime, the corresponding food, interior, and travel material for winter have arrived and sales can begin!