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Picture researchers or picture editors are those responsible for finding appropriate images to accompany text in newspapers, magazines, books and online.
In print media publishers, the picture researcher will be given a brief by an editor, stating exactly the kind of image needed to accompany an article or feature and will include information regarding the target audience, the budget and the deadline. They will then have to explore all available sources, such as image banks and online photo libraries.
In the event that the picture researcher cannot find an appropriate image from existing sources, they might hire a photographer to supply a new image according to requirements. The picture researcher would need to commission the best available photographer and negotiate a contract, copyright details and a budget. They would also need to keep records of all images that come into their possession.
As with many jobs which involve tight working deadlines and budgetary restrictions, the nature of the work can often be stressful and may demand working long and unsociable hours.
Many picture researchers work freelance with client lists spanning across multiple media industries, such as book, magazine and newspaper publishing, television, advertising and online. Permanent in-house positions are hard to come by.
In smaller companies the role of a picture researcher may be undertaken by another member of staff, such as a creative or art director.