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Occupation Details

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Picture Researcher

Job Zone

These occupations usually require a Leaving Certificate or equivalent.

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Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees.

Job Zone Examples
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€25k > 42
Picture Researcher
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€25 - 42
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Picture researchers find and select photographs and illustrations which are used in a wide range of publications, such as books, magazines, newspapers and the internet.

Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

A Picture Researcher is a person hired to find and licence suitable photographic images for a client. They must find the best images to illustrate and enhance their client's brief, using their knowledge of the picture library's (or libraries) archive systems, technical research skills, the operation of search engines, as well as their capacity for tangential thought.

Picture Researchers are either employed by a picture library to meet client's requests from their in-house material, or by a publisher, advertiser or picture agency who gives the Picture Researcher overall responsibility for putting together the photographic images for a project. In the latter case, the final selection of images is likely to come from many different picture libraries.

Thanks to advances in digital technology, Picture Researchers mainly source images online, although some smaller specialist picture libraries may still supply transparencies or CD-ROM's. The Picture Researcher takes a brief from the client about the type of images required.

Sometimes this request may relate to finding images of a person, place or event. However, the brief can also be more cryptic or emotive. For instance, a Picture Researcher might be asked to find humorous pictures of dogs and their owners, or images that communicate a sense of freedom. Researchers must consider whether the pictures will be reproduced in black & white or colour; how much space they will take up; whether landscape or portrait format is required; what audience they are aimed at; the budget available; the anticipated size of reproduction; and the countries and media where the pictures will be published or distributed.

Once the brief has been discussed and agreed - and a fee negotiated, Picture Researchers set about sourcing relevant images using the different libraries' keyword search systems. With so many images available to choose from, they must use their experience to determine the appropriate search words and to select the best pictures, in the appropriate quantity, for their client. It is also the researcher's responsibility to make the client aware of any licensing and copyright restrictions attached to the various images they have selected.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Picture Researchers need to be methodical and creative, with excellent IT skills. They should have good administration and organisational skills, as well as excellent visual literacy and visual memory. They must have keen research skills, good communication and negotiation skills, as well as the ability to accurately interpret and interrogate a brief. Good general knowledge, an understanding the history of photography, and interest in the specific area to be researched are also a big plus.

Picture Researchers must be able to multitask, and require detailed knowledge of copyright law and licensing issues. They should also keep records of their search paths and search parameters to enable them to retrace their steps where required.

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Contactsheader image


Organisation: London School of Publishing
Address: David Game House, 69 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JS, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7221 3399
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Publishing Training Centre
Address: 45 East Hill, Wandsworth, London SW18 2QZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 8874 2718
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Media & Publishing

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