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Picture research and rights clearance

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Finding and licensing pictures for publication can be a long, sometimes awkward process. Knowing where to find that image is a great start, but it is just the start. After the search is over and the perfect image is found, there follows the nitty-gritty of form-filling, negotiating price, ensuring the licence is fit for purpose and that local and international laws are adhered to, and then chasing and rechasing. Using an experienced picture researcher goes a long way to streamlining this process. 


I source images for all types of publishing worldwide but specialise in academic publishing, where the picture requirements are exact and require specialist knowledge. After over 15 years in this sector, I have built up a long list of international contacts and invaluable knowledge about how to deal with these sometimes very difficult sources. Historical and fine art imagery often exists only in one place – and this is where many years of experience pay off.


Increasingly, I am working directly for authors who have been asked by publishers to source and licence all their images. I can follow your publishers' guidelines and ensure that your picture list is delivered in perfect order and ready to hand over to your editor. 

Kitty Bocking
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Tiberius - sourced by Kitty Bocking

Picture Research

Picture research for all types of publications, but specialising in academic books. Working either from your specific picture list, or providing selections from your brief, I will find you the pictures you want at the best possible rates for your budget. I have good relationships and a long working history with many major image libraries as well as many years’ experience in working with the more obscure libraries, archives and collections worldwide. I will find that elusive picture! While working hard to keep authors happy, I keep the publisher’s concerns in mind by sticking to budgets and deadlines. All image information, costs, captions and credits will be delivered to the publisher at the end of the research process.

Wasted Lives Zygmunt Bauman

Copyright & Legal

You can be confident you will not be infringing copyright when you publish. As well as licensing through established picture sources, I work with artists’ estates and other copyright holding organisations to clear all necessary copyrights and obtain the correct rights and licences for your planned use. I am assiduous at making sure captions, and especially picture credits, are thorough and correct. Wanting to use “free” images? It can work to stretch your picture budget, but there are pitfalls and risks. What appears to be free use may have hidden copyright or intellectual property issues. Let me assess the risk to find out whether “free” actually means “free from ©”. 

Christianity an Introduction Alister E McGrath

Fee Negotiation

In contrast to most purchasing transactions, buying pictures is not a case of using a simple tariff. Negotiation is key. Whether you need wide rights or narrow rights, sources’ fees must be examined and negotiated in order to avoid paying over the odds. At the same time, it’s important to be sure that you have bought enough rights for your intended use. Some image sources are now offering "author rates". I will pursue these rates for authors paying their own image costs - you won’t pay less for that image!


Project Budgeting

Often, clients like to know picture costs upfront and I am happy to get costs in before committing to usage with sources. I can deliver this information by spreadsheet, or by whatever technologies a client is currently using. I enjoy the challenge of stretching a picture budget to include as many images as possible, making use of free or inexpensive sources when the subject matter permits, while not compromising on quality.

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Simon Eckley
Simon Eckley, Senior Manager 
Permissions & Support Services
Wiley Logo

"Kitty is professional and persistent with a deep understanding of content sources – all key attributes that have made her a highly valued photo researcher for Wiley."

Joel Allen
Joel Allen 
History Department
Queens College, CUNY

"When it comes to picture research for publication, Kitty Bocking is both a consummate professional and a delightful interlocutor.  I was stumped by the research spreadsheet for sources... copyrights... costs, and so on, which was assigned to me by my editor.  From day-one, Kitty told me in clear, non-spreadsheet terms what she needed for getting started.  She checked in regularly for clarification, and when problems arose, her experience kicked in-with solutions that were innovative and effective.  She knew which museums charged most or least, which picture services were easy to deal with, and otherwise.  She negotiated deals that will extend to both print and electronic editions.  All the while she was fun to banter with.  My book would have taken another six months, at least, to press if not for Kitty's assistance."

Justin Baron
Justin Baron
Managing Director
SAM Learning
SAM Learning Logo

"Pixlink helped us with our re-brand, sourcing images for our website and marketing materials. What really made the difference was the care Kitty took to understand the brief. This meant that the images she found exactly fitted the bill first time around and came in under budget saving us time and money." 

Frank Escher
Frank Escher
Escher-GuneWardena Architecture
Escher GuneWardena Architecture

"Pixlink sourced images for our exhibition, Folly: the View from Nowhere, at MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art), Los Angeles.  Kitty Bocking, as always, took the effort to understand the exhibition concept in order to make the most appropriate image recommendations from the right lending institutions tailored to our project budget, securing copyrights in a timely manner.  We highly recommend her, especially for projects involving critical thinking about image research in the arts, culture and history contexts".

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Kitty Bocking
Kitty Bocking
+44 (0)1986 872670
+44 (0)7984 832948

Nat Bocking can be reached at:

+44 (0)7939 226313


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