Creating a company image library

Case Study:Port of London Authority

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The Port of London Authority (POLA) looks after the tidal river Thames. It oversees a huge amount of operations from the obvious container ship piloting to the more unusual island nature reserve management. Each year it publishes a handbook for people and companies who use the tidal Thames and that consumes a lot of hard to source imagery library. So they asked me to create an image library.

The advantage of using one or two photographers for this is a continuity of look and feel to the images. Every photographer shoots subjects differently and if POLA had used different photographers for each shoot it would have a mish mash of styles. The other advantage is trust. POLA trusted me to deliver the images no matter what the conditions or type of shoot.

POLA knew it could ask me to jump off a boat onto a muddy riverbed and photograph a group of guys shoring up an island in the middle of the Thames in the pouring rain and I'd get the best images possible. It also knew I would jump on a container ship after scaling a 100m tower and then climb down the side onto a small pilot boat while wearing 30kg of kit. Yet it's not just about the photography. POLA knew it could trust me to converse with everyone from Government ministers to the arborist cutting branches off a overhanging tree.

POLA trusted me to deliver the images no matter what the conditions

It was my versatility they wanted and grew to know I could deliver photographically and personally.

I had shot for them for several years when the London Olympics rolled around and the Thames played a key part of the opening day. I was trusted with photographing the Olympic Torch relay as it came down the Thames. The POLA launch shadowed the Queen's royal barge from Richmond to Tower bridge and then I had to wait around for several hours before, under a hail of fireworks, David Beckham screamed off towards the Olympic stadium in a speedboat. That day I worked from sunrise to well past sunset and got home around 2am that day. I'd edited and transferred images all day and was tired but proud to have been trusted with the job.

The Thames torch rely was perhaps the most high profile shoot for POLA, but I much prefer the more adventurous jobs such as motoring out from Ramsgate to a container ship waiting in the Thames approaches for a pilot to take it in to Tilbury docks. Or wandering around a nature reserve in the middle of the Thames that few people are allowed to walk on.

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It also feels good to be trusted to deliver high quality images that will be used for many years. Having an image library ensures the Port of London Authority will never run out of pictures for its handbook, website, social media feeds, company reports and marketing materials. All to its specification, showing its vessels, staff and business partners.

Using commercial image libraries is not cost effective and often produces boring images also used by competitors and that is if you can find something that fits your needs. If you are a shipping company for example, having your own ships in the images is preferable to a generic vessel. Sure getting the shot might cost a bit more, but it will be infinitely more useable. You could send employees out with a camera or ask for a phone shot, but do you really want to have a snap portraying your company to the world or potential investors or prospective clients?

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Maybe you don't know where to start. Well it's quite easy, all you need is a harddrive, a computer with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop) and me. I take care of all the image creation and post processing. You provide the means of storing the images and setting up the shoots for your specific needs.

You need to spend a bit of money and get the pictures done properly

It is that simple. So if you are interested in creating a company specific picture library for your organisation then just get in touch at It doesn't matter where in the world you happen to be. I can help you.