Picture This: Free Photography for Your Publication

Partnering with a group similar to your own can mean big savings overall.

What's the great idea? Collaborate with an organization with a similar audience to create a customized bank of stock photos.

Who's doing it? American Academy of Audiology

What's involved? Amy Miedema, CAE, senior director of communications for the Academy and executive editor for Audiology Today, realized she could save big on photography costs by collaborating with a partner in the same industry that also staffed its own photographer. The other organization provided clinical facilities, the photographer, and medical knowledge, while Miedema and the Academy's graphic designer brought editorial direction to the shoot for the benefit of both organizations' marketing and publications.

"It was sort of a combination of us bringing our expertise of what kinds of shots would be useful for marketing materials, for publications, for educational pieces like books and charts and posters," says Miedema. The other organization's staff of working audiologists volunteered their medical know-how as well as modeling skills. The Academy created a script of what shots it wanted and consulted an on-staff audiologist for subject-matter expertise, such as common equipment or routine tests. Once the script was finalized, the Academy suggested who should be included in the photos, such as children for particular tests, and even how subjects' clothing could be varied.

For a full day, audiologists were photographed in real-world scenarios, creating hundreds of photos that the Academy can now use for free with appropriate photo credits. A handful of members also participated in the photo shoot, and Miedema asked them for membership testimonials that day. Now she has their photos and testimonials for future marketing materials. Miedema was able to save the $8,000 in her photo budget and gained a catalog of stock photography that fits her audience.

What are people saying? With plenty of photos left to use, Miedema says the shared photography shoot was a great savings in both time and money for the Academy, adding, "It gave us such a nice variety of photos to use. I think we got a perfect amount of photos for a day's worth of work." And, she says, the audience-specific photographs are a plus: "It's real. It's people doing what they do every day."