We represent content on behalf of hundreds of talented photographers, videographers and writers - here's how it works
Who we work with - everyone
We make payments totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to contributors. From citizen journalists with a single picture to entire newspaper groups we have a team of journalists and editors ready to work with you. Thanks to a grant from the Google Digital News Initiative we have a platform where you can upload your pictures then see where it gets used in near real time.
Who we sell to - everyone
We are a UK news company so our main customers are news publishers. We have been building our client base for over 30 years and pride ourselves on our relationship with the publishers who use our content. You can see the byline 'SWNS' every day on websites like the Mirror, Daily Mail, Sun, Yahoo, ITV but we also sell to TV, magazine and book publishers. To reach the maximum market we also work with a network of agents and revenue share partners.
How does it work - easy
When you work with us you will be agreeing that you haven't broken the law to get the photo, video or story, and that you own the copyright. We are agreeing that you keep that copyright, that we'll pay you when your content gets used and that you'll get a credit or byline, where possible, if you want. Our full terms and conditions are available here.
You can register for an account on our new platform SWNS.rocks here and we'll send you your login details. You can then upload your pictures, copy or video, you can also send it by email to email@example.com or upload at swns.wetransfer.com. We'd like to receive your pictures at the highest resolution available, ideally at least 3000 pixels on their longest length.
We've got a team of journalists to process and verify your content, while we won't always be able to respond, every submission will be assessed. Then it's up to us to turn your content into a news story and find a publisher, if it gets published online you'll be able to see that on your SWNS.rocks account almost straight away. We'll then pay you (by BACS or Paypal) within days of each usage.
The amount you can earn from a photo, video or story varies depending on the publisher. Generally online usage earns a smaller fee than use in print. Sometimes we can negotiate an exclusive fee with one publisher, sometimes we'll make content available to several publishers at the same time for a lower fee. Not all publishers are willing to pay for content but we believe content creators deserve to be recognised and rewarded for their work. We use our experience to get the best fee in each case.
What type of pictures sell best - this is the multi million pound question
* Breaking news – Nearly every recent major news event has been covered with pictures and video from mobile phones and compact cameras. The key here is speed – the first good picture sent to a newspaper is almost always the one which gets used.
* Showbiz – When it comes to celebrities the best pictures are exclusive, recent pictures of ‘A’ list celebrities going about their daily lives. Although most celebrities are well used to being photographed, we cannot sell pictures that invade privacy, cause harassment or put anybody in harm’s way.
* Weather – British people and British newspapers love to talk about the weather, the more extreme the better. If you have been flooded, snowed in, blown away or baked to a crisp you may well be in a position to get a photo we can sell
* Quirky – The best pictures are the ones that amuse, amaze or take your breath away. If you are so pleased with a picture you have emailed it to all your friends, chances are we can sell it.
SWNS is one of the biggest providers of media content to publishers in the UK and abroad. We are grateful to everyone who brings us interesting content - here's answers to some of the questions we get asked about how syndication works.
Can I send you pictures or videos taken by other photographers?
We take other people's copyright very seriously. Please only send us pictures, video or stories for which you are the copyright holder. Being the copyright holder in almost all cases means being the person who took the picture or video.
Who owns copyright of my picture or video now I have sent it to SWNS?
Unless there is a contract to say otherwise your picture or video remains your copyright - by sending it to us you are giving us a licence to include the picture or video on our news service and license it on your behalf.
Will I get a byline if the picture is published?
We always keep your name with your picture or video and request that it is used where ever it is printed, we use the format 'Photographer / SWNS.com'. For technical and style reasons some publishers do not use a byline but this is out of our control.
I've seen my picture bylined to a different agency, have they stolen it?
SWNS runs a number of different agencies in different parts of the UK, we also work with agents in different countries. The UK agencies we run include Masons News Service, Ross Parry Agency, News Team International, Centre Press, Northscot and Capital Press. Our foreign agents include Abaca press, Scanpix, Bulls Press, Splash News and Northfoto.
When will SWNS know if my picture is going to be printed?
Often our pictures and video are used online within minutes of them being sent out, we never know about use in print until the paper is actually published.
Will I get paid for my photograph?
We aim to pay you a 50% share of revenue within 24 hours of publication. Sometimes there are reasons why we can't offer any payment, for example if it would be in breach of the Bribery Act or if it would against IPSO guidelines. If you are not sure please speak to your contact at SWNS.
How much will I get paid?
As a rule of thumb websites pay from £5-25 per photo and newspapers pay £50-150 but prices vary according to a number of factors.
I've been contacted by a journalist from another agency what should I do?
We would ask that you direct any queries to ourselves, partly to limit the number of enquiries you have to deal with, partly so we can help protect your best interests. If your pictures or video are being represented by more than one agency it may result in a delayed payment. In the worst case it may mean we are unable to make a payment at all.
I've seen my picture on dozens of websites - did they all get the picture from SWNS?
We work with all the major news websites and often have negotiated agreed fees so we can guarantee payment from them. However it is fair to say that the internet is a bit like the wild west when it comes to copyright. There are many websites which lift pictures or video from the major news publishers with no regard to copyright. We have previously worked to stop this abuse of IP but this is not possible in all cases. Please be assured we will seek payment for your pictures or video wherever we can.
Can you send me a breakdown of all the sales and a copy of the invoices?
You'll be able to see all the sales we have logged in your SWNS.rock account. In order to protect the confidentiality of others we make a firm rule that we don't send out copies of our invoices.
I'd like to contribute more pictures to SWNS, is that possible?
Yes, we are very grateful for the hard work of all the contributors to SWNS. We are always looking for interesting stories, pictures and video and will give an honest opinion on anything you send in. Our primary market is the main UK news publishers - the Sun, Daily Mail, Telegraph etc so we are after the type of pictures that they print. We have more information on becoming a regular contributor, if you are interested just let us know.
Can I end my dealings with SWNS?
Yes. Please write to us or email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm, you will still get paid for any sales that we have secured.