Interview with Hugo De Wolf – CEO of Core[pics]
Tell me a bit about yourself. I like your name – ‘Hugo de Wolf’ sounds like a 1940′s movie star to me.
A ’40′s movie star? Nah. I’d rather spent time behind the camera, than in front of it, although 40′s sounds about right, age wise. An Industrial Design Engineer by experience, and after a side step in New Business Development, I’ve spent the last 5 years as a full time photographer. I’m also a husband and father. I enjoy good food and wine, and I’m a workaholic in everything.
Tell me a bit about Core[pics]. I notice on your site it says ‘crossover’ photography – what exactly is that?
Corepics is about what we see as an innovative and enjoyable approach to stock photography and photography in general. The “Crossover” part is about combining our various networks, and expertise outside the scope of photography to optimize cost efficient photo shoots, My partners supply models, resources for postproduction, other contacts and ideas, and they take care of administration. I supply the gear, know-how and upload the images we produce. Most importantly, we have fun in organizing multi-model shoots in cool places. What we do best is creating realistic and relevant stock images in a wide variety of niches.
I see you submit photography to a number of stock sites. What do you like about the way we as an industry sell content for photographers and what would you change if you could wave a magic wand?
I think Microstock provides an affordable, easily accessible, and – in theory, sustainable – source of images, for every-day use, for its users, the photographers and their agents. To us, the recent differentiation of high selling images with different agents, provides an abundance of information about trends, style-movements and fads. Microstock is an ideal playing ground to test new ideas in imagery, organize and shoot the things I’ve always wanted to shoot, and challenge ourselves to continuously improve.
Waving the magic wand, I would first simplify the licensing conditions. There are just too many variants of license types around. This is confusing for both image buyers as well as for photographers. It also seems many agents are warping their minds to satisfy all parties involved, contributing even more to the confusion around. Too many license agreements contain parts are difficult to uphold or cannot be policed at all. And any clause in an agreement which cannot be controlled is not only useless, but costs money. I’d also wave that wand to make sure our agents’ marketing efforts are aimed at differentiation, and not diversification.
I think you do assignment photography as well as stock? How do you split your time, and what is the split in terms of your revenue?
Yes, we do also do assignment photography. That’s where my roots in photography lie. The typical assigned job we take on is generally about something specific, such as an event with specific people attending, a specific product, or process.
These type of images are usually miles away from the generic type of imagery which would be successful in Microstock. That’s why those two don’t bite each other. On the contrary. Many of my clients for assignment work are also users of stock imagery. Being able to provide those as well, works to both our benefit.
Stock photography currently generates a nice, steady base of income, and the added revenues from assigned work make a nice living. My drive, however, is the enjoyment and satisfaction I get being self employed. If my aspirations were to be rich, photography would still be a hobby.
I see you have a tear sheets section on your site of core[pics] work – what are your favourite 2 tear sheets that contain your work?
It’s always nice to see our images in use. The bigger, the better. Images – legally – used in a creative way, other than we anticipated, are the best finds!
What are your 3 best selling stock photos? Why do you think they sell so well?
A bit of an ambiguous question, as the top three will be different, depending if you look at sales, at profit, or a combination of both, combined with “time-online”. I’d go with these, as they are the few that sell equally well at all agents.
1. One of our older images, selling well ever since it was uploaded. For us, it’s the type of images that we shoot frequently, and which tend to sell quite nicely in general.
2. One image of our highlights. A lot of fun to stage an accident. And one of our better efforts in styling. A niche in Model released files, and definitely not lawless, and not my favorite from this series.
3. I like this image. Cool thing is, that it isn’t tricked. The camera was actually on the fender of the go-kart during a few laps on an indoor circuit.
What kit do you use to shoot with and why?
I’m a Nikon Guy. D3x, D3, D700, and occasionally, I rewake my D2x.
Lots of light, and even more types of fixtures.
Why? My first camera was a Pentax ME Super. When it was time to upgrade to something digital, their istD was just out, but it looked ugly and very plastic. So I decided to not only upgrade to digital, but also to an A-type brand. Nikon cameras just felt more natural and intuitive in handling than Canon. And that’s why I’m a Nikon guy. And a gear-head.
What are your 3 favourite bands?
Those vary per day. For now, I’ll say:
1. Queen – fairly firm in first position.
2. Pink Floyd – Next best, when I’m through with “We are he Champions”.
3. The Who – alternating places with Led Zep, and Golden Earring, Fish, and quite a few others.
Simon note: great selection – you are a man of sound taste and judgement
If the world was going to end in 1 hour – what would you do?
Sit back and relax. Take a break, get some sleep. It’s going to be a shitty day anyway.