Tim Paton – Magnum Workshop

Tim Paton Global Head of Commercial Assignments, Magnum Photos

Tim Paton is Global Head of Commercial Assignments, based out of Magnum Photos London office and is responsible for generating commercial opportunities for the agency’s photographic membership. Tim has spent his whole career in the photography business. He started out as a photographer himself working for the legendary music Magazine the NME. He then went on to set up his own commercial photo agency called Balcony Jump, which quickly became established as one of the best agencies in London. Tim has worked with many of the worldwide leading brands including Nike, Gucci, Guess, Ford, Volvo and IBM and in doing so has helped nurture the careers of many well established photographers and produced both large and small shoots all over the world. 

Tim started his talk by explaining the different commercial activities undertaken by Magnum. Magnum has a large back catalogue of images that is sells for advertising purposes. Unfortunately many of the images do not have the required model releases and that impacts Magnum’s ability to generate revenue from those images (Reflection: If there are people in the images and you are looking to sell the images commercially then it is important to get a model release.)

In addition to the Magnum back catalogue Magnum photographers undertake commercial shoots clients of Magnum include Nike, Burberry and HSBC.

Afghan Girl, National Geographic, Steve McCurry, 1984


Images from the Magnum library that have generated significant income are images such as the Steve McCurry image of the Afghan Girl.

Magnum have been involved in shooting all of the USA Presidents since the 2nd World War when Magnum was formed.

Tim referenced the work by Jonas on the HSBC campaign and Land Rover. In the case of the HSBC campaign they has a team of 3 production assistants on location in Shanghai to scout out suitable locations as the campaign had to be shoot over a short period of time.

The Land Rover campaign required the creation of still and video assets as the campaign was intended for publication across multiple media formats. This included segments of the photographer talking to video as part of the road trip.

Magnum has a large social media following circa 1.1 million on Twitter which is a useful tool for brands and Magnum sometimes allows takeovers of the feed as to support a campaign.

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