Tips for Image Banks
No matter what items will form your branded communication suite, establishing and maintaining an image bank is essential for effective design and evoking the desired emotional response from your target markets. The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is still relevant today in marketing communications regardless of the type of media used.
Compile a combination of low-resolution images for Internet and E-newsletter use, high-resolution images for print media and B-roll for broadcast media.
Ongoing maintenance of the image bank will be required. A combination of both professional and amateur sources will be adequate to maintain the image bank over time. Through the efficiency of digital cameras, high-resolution quality images, low-resolution standard images and video clips (suitable for website use) can be captured more readily.
In addition to the logo artwork, key photographic images will be used consistently to illustrate visually the attributes that make up the image for your community. The image bank of photography will be used for all types of media: website, print media (posters, postcards, visitor guide, brochures, advertising), travel show booth equipment displays, visitor services, wall displays, media relations, merchandise, slide shows, signage and many other purposes. B-roll will be used for media, web clips and in support of marketing and/or community projects. The regional destination marketing organizations typically have B-roll for their media programs to support community partnerships.
Copyright restrictions vary depending on the source of the images, so a usage guide for all images is recommended. Ensure any images that include people have a model release; for those under 19 years old, a parent or guardian release is required. High-resolution scans of images in digital format make for ease of distribution via the Internet or by CD/DVD. Professional photography, whether supplied or contracted to a photographer to capture images, requires high-resolution digital format, minimum 300 pixels per inch, which is now industry standard. Low-resolution scans or digital format images are suitable for the website.
Compile your image bank in consult with your designer, as the designer will be looking for certain types of images as part of the creative process to produce your branding suite.
Produce a Usage Guide. A soft copy (PDF) thumbnail list of your “signature” series of images is required with copyright and usage guidelines. An inventory of the image bank that can be viewed quickly is important for media to scan through images and for the organization to be able to communicate effectively what images are available. This format will avoid any misuse of images, as the size and resolution are too small for actual use. The PDF is convenient for website use.
How to Compile an Image Bank
a. List categories for images. To establish the image bank, the first step is to review the tourism products and area features of your community to provide a starting point for developing an image list by category.
b. Compile an inventory of existing images. Compiling existing images from various sources will reduce costs and duplication of effort. Various groups, organizations and businesses will have images that they will share, sometimes at no cost. Identify the gaps from the initial inventory to determine next steps.
c. Purchase usage rights of existing images. Additional images can be compiled by purchasing usage rights of existing images from professional sources (for high-resolution needs and the signature series) and archival images purchased through Royal BC Museum and Archives. When collecting images from secondary sources, confirm who owns the copyright and establish usage guidelines.
d. Access free images. Contact local operators for use of their copyrighted images and review images from regional, provincial (Tourism BC, Picture BC ) and national sources such as the Canadian Tourism Commission.
e. Contract professional photographer(s) to shoot images. After compiling secondary sources, new image acquisitions can be contracted out to professional photographers to complete the image bank. Ensure all copyrights remain with your organization whenever possible.
f. Maintain an online image inventory and retrieval system. Access to images can be accomplished through your website with integrated or third-party software that can house, sort and display images. Ensure areas for both public viewing of low-resolution images and secure areas for restricted viewing of the full image library (for media). We recommend http://www.smugmug.com.
g. Purchase a combination digital still and video camera with high-resolution capability to supplement the image bank. The maintenance of the image bank will be through an ongoing process of third-party photography supplemented by images taken by your organization. Digital technology allows high-resolution quality images to be captured for use in print media (magazines for media use or posters, etc.). All-in-one cameras now double as video recorders. The website will require fresh images by season, and as new products are developed. Capture images of industry events, community events and FAM tours, which is ideal for the industry newsletter, open house and presentations. In addition to marketing purposes, the camera would be an asset to the tourism community and could be loaned to businesses/organizations to take images for their websites or for promotional use.
Digital cameras with a minimum 5 megapixel capability set to the highest resolution capture the required high-resolution images needed for quality print media. With digital cameras now being manufactured at minimum 10 megapixels this requirement is no longer an issue, but for those with older cameras be sure to check for minimum 5 megapixels. A minimum 300 pixels per inch data resolution is required, based on the final size of the image when output. Often people refer to DPI (dots per inch), however, this refers to the output of the final printed material not the input of gathering high-resolution digital data. Technology has advanced to where 10 megapixel capability is becoming minimum standard for cameras.