An Experiment in Success: The Incubator Program

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Petri Oeschger
Claudia Marks
Dec 1, 2020
The creative team at Getty Images and iStock all know we have thousands of talented creators. It’s impossible to work with everyone individually so we are always evolving strategies to communicate how to be successful in creating the content our customers need. Last year the team discussed how we could better support and incentivize some of the best talent we’ve spotted in our huge exclusive contributor community and we came up with the Incubator Program – a time‑limited, mentoring project.  
In March we launched the first iteration to give a group of our most talented creators some one‑on‑one guidance and support and help them to become more successful. Over 350 iStock and Getty Images Creators from around the world submitted their applications and it was hard to narrow it down, taking the team several weeks to review. We selected creators who were naturally talented, had clearly been trying their best to shoot towards our content needs and briefs, and had the potential to really benefit from learning some insider lessons.
Our twenty‑five very talented Incubators were located all over the world: from Canada to South Dakota to Florida in North America, from Ireland to Germany to Serbia in Europe, and from Japan to Malaysia to Australia in the Pacific region.  The education program focused on production tactics and moving contributors outside their comfort zone to really push their imagery beyond what’s easiest to shoot so they could expand their portfolio’s relevance to customers.

We knew it would be hard to communicate but the staff and the creators were really dedicated to making it work. We had hoped to be able to meet in person at some point, but we had to contend with the global pandemic which ultimately forced all of us to be flexible in how things got done.  We created a private workspace where we could connect the group with experts from different departments to help them improve their workflows and practices. We chatted with the group in real time regularly to exchange feedback on shoots and methodology and share insider information with the cohort.  We also arranged live check‑ins and webinars with only this small group to review work and talk about any issues they were having and also hosted special presentations about creating successful content.  Most importantly, we specifically briefed in demand content needs like imagery of 50+ people, concepts of wellness, and regional celebrations ‑ working closely to help create their shoot plans.  
While many people were unable to shoot to their fullest potential due to the virus, we feel strongly that most learned some important ways to evolve their practice and workflow.  I hope you will dive into the galleries here to explore some of the amazing imagery that was created by everyone and hopefully discover some new talent to follow!
Visualizing the Future