“I strongly believe that photography is not a commodity but an art and for me as well as my team, it’s all about creative satisfaction - nothing more or less than that. ” Says Sandeep Maheshwari, Founder & CEO imagesbazaar.
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In this interview with Sandeep, MediAvataar finds out that his company is not just another B2B portal but a lot more than that.
1. Your images bring smile on everybody’s face, was that the motive of your business?
That is the ultimate goal off course but the motive of our business is that few years down the line the whole world would see India through our eyes. India is not a word; it’s an image and we are creating an image of India like never before.
2. imagesbazaar is a well known name now. What is your consumer base and does that include foreign traffic as well?
At present we have more than 7000 brands in over 45 countries using our images. The countries include India, Pakistan, Srilanka, UAE, US, Canada, UK, Germany, China, Singapore, Australia, etc.
3. ‘Realism is the key to a brilliant picture. ’ What is your take on it?
Absolutely, pictures are about capturing reality. At times, a photographer puts in a lot of effort, which actually ruins the picture. ‘Minimalism’ is the key and we always strive to make an image as real as it could get. At the end of the day it’s about capturing the moment, not creating a moment. So while selecting the models, stylists, make-up artists and locations, we keep in mind to make it look as if it’s a part of our life. That’s why you would notice that there are lots of shoots on our site with real people (not models) at a real location (not studio).
4. How do you decide your images, the creative process you follow?
There are multiple ways that we adopt. Firstly, we have an in-house team of creative researchers on board who study the forthcoming market trends, which could be festivals like Diwali, large sports events such as world cup, market outlook – positive or negative, for instance, an year back everybody was talking about recession, people’s behavior like social networking, etc. In simple words, our objective is to keep pace with the changes in lifestyle, business or market trends. At the end of the day, an image must connect with the end user for whom we are creating it.
Secondly, we study our huge database of search logs. On an average, more than 30 million searches takes place on our site every year and the creative researcher’s job is to consolidate and analyze the data to come up with logical ideas on what the users are searching for at any given point in time.
5. Was it difficult to cultivate the customers you have now? What is the growth trend?
Yes, when we launched five year back it was very difficult as he had just 8000 images and that too of not very good quality. But now with nearly a million images in our database, we are the largest collection of creative images with Indian faces and thousands of new clients are joining us every year from all over the world. The growth rate has far exceeded our expectations and our business has grown by more than 4000% in last four years. The best part is that our clients don’t just like us; they simple love us!
6. On an average how much money do you spend creating your images every year and what is the ROI?
The money spent on the images is huge; we spend millions of dollars every year on making these images. We have around 10700 registered photographers with us who share the revenue, and then we have our in house team of photographers who create these pictures.
ROI has been good so far but the irony is that almost 80% of the images remain in the archives and they never get sold. And that’s the case with almost all stock photography companies worldwide. It is an extremely risky business because many times we produce content as per our judgment based upon very strong analysis done by our creative research team but even then in 80% of the cases, it never translates into revenues.
7. 3D is the word of today and the future, how do you plan to approach it?
We already have started a 3D wing on ImagesBazaar and we are the only company to offer 3D stock images internationally. This genre is doing pretty good, lot of people are buying these images for their brochures and catalogues. You may use the link given below to know more about it:
8. What’s new coming from the bazaar?
Video is the next big thing. Now with the increase in Internet bandwidth, the screening of high quality video content across various digital platforms such as mobile, laptops, display screens, HD TV, etc. is becoming easier. So we are looking forward to fill up this immense need of High Definition video content that’s apt for use in these new-age HD digital mediums.
9. Photographer or Entrepreneur, which role are you more comfortable in?
Without a second thought, a Photographer! In the last few years, lot of entrepreneurs have tried to replicate our business model but failed miserably, as they know a lot about doing business but have a very little or no idea of this art. I strongly believe that photography is not a commodity but an art and for me as well as my team, it’s all about creative satisfaction - nothing more or less than that.