The role of Art Buyer is to support the Creative Services, Content Studio, Creative Departments in producing new still images. They find and recommend the best e.g. photographers or illustrators.

Art Buyer

The role in brief...

The role of Art Buyer is to support the Creative Services, Content Studio, Creative Departments in producing new still images.  They find and recommend the best e.g. photographers or illustrators for the type and style of job. They source existing rights manage quotes for new images and content. They work with third party suppliers and manage quality, timings and costs.

Working with...

Internal: Creative teams; Creative Services; Content team; Project Managers.

External: Suppliers of images and content; photographers, image and film companies, post production houses, storage options, content libraries and archives.

The Art Buyer may report to the Creative Services Director or Creative Director and liaise with Account Management and Creative teams. 

Responsible for...

  • Attending creative service status meetings, and work in progress reviews,  and reviewing concepts to anticipate execution requirements. 
  • Sourcing suppliers – liaising with existing agency suppliers and sourcing third parties for the purchase of e.g. static imagery. Making supplier, casting and image recommendations and managing internal and client sign offs. Leading all conversations with external suppliers of moving or static images.
  • Managing the art buying timings – checking the suppliers, creative team and client availability for production and approvals, generating timings and monitoring progress
  • Negotiating rates and rights, generating internal estimates and purchase orders, monitoring budget utilisation to ensure profitability
  • Liaising with creative services to arrange briefing meetings with pre production, creative team, photographers etc. and clients.
  • Managing sign offs and approvals of images. Keeping the team informed on progress of projects in production.
  • Effectively negotiating rates, rights and timings internally and externally.
  • Creating, circulating and gaining internal and external approvals of all briefs, call sheets, approval forms and associated art buying administration.
  • Uploading all files to the job bag, managing version control of all raw and final images.
  • Maintaining the agency standards by partnering with market leading suppliers.
  • Sourcing and introducing new suppliers and providing inspiration to the creative department, ensuring creatives are up to date on current techniques, productions.

Those who succeed are...

  • Able to write comprehensive briefs to suppliers
  • Good with figures and financial control. Able to purchase, write internal estimates and manage budgets.
  • Proficient at time management; able to manage often very tight timings, manage dependencies and deliver on budget.
  • Highly organised with the ability to liaise with internal departments, external suppliers and clients
  • Excellent negotiators, able to negotiate terms, rights and budgets internally and externally.
  • Collaborative in their approach with strong communication skills, and able to find solutions to timing and budget issues. They clearly communicate all art buying dependencies.
  • Balanced, level headed, quick thinking team player, with can do attitude – which given tightness of timings is often needed.
  • Understanding of technologies, file formats, processes and techniques used to produce images.
  • Eye for detail and creativity with understanding of good v poor quality results.
  • Knowledgeable of market leading photographers, content and image libraries, moving image and film companies, post production houses, storage options and turn-around times.
  • Appreciative of the typical rates for production, post production and image supply/storage.
  • Appreciative of the Association of Photographers guidelines on usage rights and negotiating payment terms
  • Tenacity to solve problems and to build and maintain contacts and relationships.

Where they come from and where they go…

An art buyer may not need an artistic background, although a good eye and an interest and understanding of the art director’s vision is necessary. Strong administrative and negotiating skills are required and an interest in emerging trends and creative work. They may come via a photographic or design background or from creative services.  They may go onto represent a group of artists such as photographers or to a role in a bigger agency.


Last updated 21 January 2022