Sharing Isle photos with the world
A company in Minnesota planning a Hawai'i convention is looking for a scenic Maui photo for its Web site to inspire its employees through the winter.
A textbook company needs a shot of a native plant or a happy face spider.
A hotel wants to include a photo of people snorkeling in an ad.
These are the people who call or e-mail Photo Resource Hawaii to tap the island company's vast library of digital images.
Founder and president Tami Kauakea Winston started the business in 1985 after the birth of her daughter inspired her to start her own business. She represents more than 60 of Hawai'i's top photographers including Brad Lewis, Ann Cecil, David Boynton and many more.
The company specializes in marketing images locally and internationally, through sub-agents in Asia and Europe. Photo Resource Hawaii's extensive library includes images of Hawaiian culture and environment, outdoor activities, health and wellness, Island living and other travel-related themes.
"Stock photography has come a long way in 25 years and Photo Resource Hawaii owes its success to keeping up with the digital revolution," Winston said.
When she first got into the stock photo business, she worked with slides. That lasted until 1997. Today, online customers want immediate access to large digital files that can be downloaded in seconds, Winston said.
Over the years, some of the requests have shifted from one-time use charges for books or ads to very specific requests for Web sites.
Because she has worked with Hawai'i-based photographers who have shot a wide variety of images, she also gets the call for images with people of many ethnicities.
Recently a bank requested an Asian woman with a dog, something that's harder to find from some Mainland sources.
Other common requests come from guidebooks. While in the past, the request might be for surfing shots or people hiking in Hawai'i, now it will be for hikers on a trail on Haleakalā, close-ups of caterpillars or native plants.
"We have a huge collection of native birds and plants," Winston said.
Both a photographer and a hula dancer, Winston strives to portray Hawai'i in a real authentic sense.
"I really try to keep girls in coconut bras to a minimum," she says. The photographers she represents include Franco Salmoiraghi and Wayne Levin. "They're great photographers and their work represents their integrity and their values. And they all love Hawai'i," she said.
Winston went digital in a big way in 1998 with hundreds of scanned images on a CD catalog called Tropical Mixed Plate.
Turning the whole catalog digital was a big job. "I called it climbing Mount Pixel," she said.
By 2003, she had a Web site up where people find and purchase images.
"It's no longer just publishers and ad agencies that purchase photography. Everyone is now buying images for Web use and other visual projects," Winston says.
"Customers need help in understanding the terms relating to photo usage and licensing rights. It's important to always remember that commercial images are copyrighted and along with that go licensing rights," she said.
Although violations can be common, especially on the Internet, she said software helps monitor problems.
There are two basic licensing models within the stock photo industry: Rights Managed and Royalty Free. "Photo Resource Hawaii has always offered Rights Managed photography, where licensing of an image is defined by size, press run and time period. Images are tracked so that clients can obtain a complete history of use, if needed," Winston said.
Royalty Free stock photography, an alternative licensing model, allows for unlimited use of a copyrighted photo for an unlimited period of time.
Registered customers now can purchase photos online with a credit card and download their images within seconds. Pricing is based on the megabyte file size and ranges from $95 to $495.
Winston says she is always on the lookout for large collections of photos to add to her resource library.
"It's important," Winston said. "It's our history."