Contribute to SWNS – Frequently asked questions

SWNS is one of the biggest providers of media content to publishers in the UK and abroad. Freelance submissions are accepted subject to a contract which we can provide.

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.

Your safety, and the safety of those around you, is important, you must not put yourself, or anyone else, at risk while taking a photograph to send to SWNS.

What is the correct format for sending pictures to SWNS?

We can receive pictures in most formats but ideally we are looking for a JPEG which is at least 3000 pixels on its longest length. You can email pictures to, you can also upload pictures or video to SWNS on this link

Can I send you pictures or videos taken by other photographers?

We take other people’s copyright very seriously. If you are not the copyright holder of the picture or video you are sending please tell us so we can find them and get their permission to use their picture or video. 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 wire.

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 /’. 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?

In some situations we offer a syndication deal where you get paid 50% of any sales we can make of your picture or video, sometimes we’ll buy syndication rights to a photograph for a set fee. 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

When will I get paid and how much will it be?

To put you on our contributors system we will need your details – your address if you wish to be paid by cheque plus your bank account number and sort code if you wish to be paid by BACS. We try to complete all payments within a few days of publication but in some cases it will be longer. We can’t offer any guarantee as to how long your payment will be, we are often in the hands of the publishers, but we aim to have 95% of all payments completed within 28 days. As a rule of thumb websites pay from £10-25 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?

We manage and bill for hundreds of pictures and videos every day on a number of different systems – as dictated by the publishers we work for. Because of the time involved in collating the data and 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 to confirm, subject to the 28 day notice period. You will still get paid for any sales that we have secured.

SWNS is a Limited Company with it’s head office at Media Centre, Emma Chris Way, Filton, Bristol, BS34 7JU


many thanks for agreeing to work with SWNS.