The Herald and Times publishing group has launched a new service giving access to the decades of experience of its picture desk staff.

The Herald Picture Agency will operate alongside the award-winning Herald and Glasgow Times brands, providing high-quality photography and video services to corporate and public relations clients. Headed by group multimedia editor Craig Alexander, the team includes his deputy Damian Shields, and staff photographers Colin Mearns and Gordon Terris.

Between them they have covered major events ranging from military conflicts to world sporting tournaments, Royal weddings, and major music and arts festivals.

"It is probably the first time that a newspaper has done something like this," Mr Alexander said. "With the changing times we are using our expertise in a new way that will allow clients to tell the best possible story about their products and services.

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"We offer the full package from capturing images through to picture editing along with our publishing knowledge. The Herald Picture Agency will also help clients explore new ways to promote their businesses and, where possible, offer editorial opportunities in our titles."

The team has captured key moments at major events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, COP26, and the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They also regularly cover large in-house functions like The Herald Law Awards, Scottish Politician of the Year, The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards, and The Herald Property Awards for Scotland.

"No job is too big for us," Mr Alexander said, "because our team has experience across all of these fields. Equally, we are happy to do staff portraits or photo-calls."

Corporate packages offer a wide range of imagery for use on a client's platform, publications and communications. These materials may be for marketing, public relations or internal communications, and all images will be provided with perpetuity copyright.

In the case of photo-calls and related media activity, the agency will provide a selection of imagery that can be issued to all media publications and can be used for three years. Advice will also be available on how to set up photo-shoots to maximise coverage, working alongside in-house communications teams or external public relations agencies.

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Mr Alexander said the agency has already completed a number of successful jobs following last month's soft launch, and is now up to full speed.

"The Herald is the world's longest-running national newspaper with a reputation for quality journalism, and within that we understand the power of images in telling a story," he said. 

"Images bring stories to life, whether that is a news story, a marketing campaign, a celebration of business achievements, or the recounting of corporate history. Whether in print or online, the right image ensures that a great story is seen by the largest possible audience."

The Herald reaches 2.3 million unique visitors each month online, along with a print readership of more than 18,000 a day.