Where can I find movie stills to publish in a newspaper?
June 30, 2006 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find movie stills to publish in a newspaper? ...And what images are fair game/fair use if I'm writing an article about a movie?
posted by stokast to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The studios send them to you. At least that's what they did when I worked at a college newspaper. I imagine you just need to get yourself on the mailing list.
posted by chrchr at 1:13 PM on June 30, 2006

Contact the studios' marketing/PR/publicity departments. They'll have images in any format you need and will be happy to send them to you.
posted by kelegraph at 1:13 PM on June 30, 2006

Most of the studios have separate media websites with downloadable high-res images for current releases... get in touch with media and publicity departments for access.

For Disney, for example, you can even apply for access directly on their site: BV Publicity.
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:19 PM on June 30, 2006

IMDB has a gallery for most movies.
posted by empath at 1:26 PM on June 30, 2006

You should be able to use any publicity materials and single stills probably won't be an issue (though if you capture them yourself they won't necessarily be the best quality).
posted by beerbajay at 2:36 PM on June 30, 2006

Having worked in the position of art-wrangler at a newspaper: Yes, studios send things to you if you're on their list (though smaller studios often won't). If you're not, or they don't, I've had luck with rottentomatoes (their high-res photos were usually just big enough to use or scale up slightly. YMMV.), less luck with official movie sites, some luck with production company/studio sites, and generally pretty good luck with Google image search. Search for the title of the movie and filter by image size — you'll often end up with big press images from film festivals or smaller movie sites that you might not check.

AFAIK, anything from the movie is fair game for reviews, and most anything you find online will be official press images anyway.
posted by drewbeck at 2:46 PM on June 30, 2006

Ditto to everyone who says call up the studio. There's a reason why they take all those promo stills. Give them half a chance and they will flood your inbox with juicy hi-res stills. Often (and especially with the larger studios) they'll also send a little legal notice explaining what restrictions are in place, but they usually distill down to crediting the proper photographer and/or the studios, and other stipulations like no cropping, retouching, etc. (though I imagine that most of those legal notices are more CYA than actual restrictions; in the process of putting out a magazine/newspaper it's inevitable that a photo gets cropped slightly or color corrected).

A lot of times studios will point you to online press sites they've set up specifically for this purpose. Some of them are a bit of a hassle; I think Universal uses a service called photo.net, for example, and there are a lot of hoops you have to jump through to get access to the right photos. But this is the exception rather than the norm, and if it's difficult to get photos it's never because someone doesn't want you to have them.

As an aside, if you're not already aware of this, it's amazing the kinds of stuff you can get, unsolicited, from the entertainment industry if you just preface all your phone calls with "Hi, I'm with (insert publication here)..."
posted by chrominance at 7:04 PM on June 30, 2006

you don't mention what kind of newspaper, but if you have a legalcritter around ask them about "fair use" which is what you are doing if you are using publicity photos to publicize their movie :)

posted by legotech at 12:54 AM on July 1, 2006

Yeah, just call the PR people. They want to help you.

I'd recommend always making the initial contact by phone, though, just because plenty of people are still bad at reading their emails or keeping their public email addresses correct and working. You can do everything by email after that if you want.
posted by reklaw at 10:27 AM on July 1, 2006

And what images are fair game/fair use if I'm writing an article about a movie?

All of them.

If you are commenting upon or critiquing a copyrighted work--for instance, writing a book review -- fair use principles allow you to reproduce some of the work to achieve your purposes. Some examples of commentary and criticism include:

* quoting a few lines from a Bob Dylan song in a music review
* summarizing and quoting from a medical article on prostate cancer in a news report
* copying a few paragraphs from a news article for use by a teacher or student in a lesson, or
* copying a portion of a Sports Illustrated magazine article for use in a related court case.

The underlying rationale of this rule is that the public benefits from your review, which is enhanced by including some of the copyrighted material.

posted by frogan at 11:41 PM on July 1, 2006

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