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How to Find/Acquire Pictures a NF Picture Book

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I have an idea for a NF picture book but would like to include some actual photos for the Author Notes section.  Any advice on how to find and acquire pictures?

Any information would be appreciated.  Thanks.
#1 - September 13, 2019, 08:55 AM

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Are you talking for traditionally published PBs or self-publishing?

It really depends on your subject matter.  For historical pictures, many are in the public domain. The Library of Congress website has a lot.  For magazine articles I have used various organizations and museum photos that I was not charged for because they were being used for educational reasons. I think finding science/nature ones might be harder.  You can find free to use ones on Wikimedia Commons if you attribute the photo, I think.

And sometimes publishers will provide photo budgets for things like that. But not all.

If you are planning on the traditional route,  personally, I would write the story, write the back matter and note in parentheses that you envisioned photos being used. Once you have a publisher interested , then you can work out those details.

But I'm not expert on this subject so I hope others chime in!
#2 - September 13, 2019, 10:27 AM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids Spring 2021)

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Charles, I often do photo-research for my NF books and I use Google images to get a sense of what's out there but then go to Shutterstock or istock to see what's available for purchase. Note, it's the publisher who pays for the license to use the pictures. Good luck!

NB: Also, know that it's not necessary to supply photos when you submit a ms but you can even take some pictures yourself as a reference for them.
#3 - September 13, 2019, 10:27 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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I'll add that government photos are typically free to use with proper attribution, so when I'm sourcing photos, I also look at government agencies depending upon the subject matter. For example, NOAA, NASA, National Park Service, and many others have beautiful photos.
#4 - September 13, 2019, 12:09 PM
Kirsten W. Larson
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WOOD, WIRE, WINGS, illus. Tracy Subisak (Calkins Creek, 2020)
THE FIRE OF STARS, illus. Katherine Roy (Chronicle, 2021)

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Oooh yes, I love the pictures from NASA and NOAA!!!
#5 - September 13, 2019, 03:03 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Note, it's the publisher who pays for the license to use the pictures. Good luck!


Is that always true, Vijaya? The author pays for lyrics permissions for both poetry and music. When I did a NF PB last year, I was responsible for finding out about the photos--although that was just with my agent. We wanted it all lined up before we went on sub. I wonder if it makes a difference if it's WFH or for the educational market.
#6 - September 13, 2019, 06:11 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
Twitter: KatieWritesBks

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Not always true, Dews. Some companies want the author to pay for those, and it's amazing how quickly your advance can dwindle. So it's more correct to say that make sure the publisher is paying for those, esp. if it's WFH because you will have no future earnings.
#7 - September 14, 2019, 06:14 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Thanks, Vijaya. This business stays confusing no matter how long you're in it.
#8 - September 14, 2019, 06:18 AM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
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Thank you to everyone for the great feedback.
Charles
#9 - September 18, 2019, 08:43 AM

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