Upload & Sell: Off
| p.1 #7 · Commercial photography question |
This has certainly becoming the norm, however, it's definitely something that has really hurt the photography industry and not because of what you might think. Usage is an extremely useful tool that has been painted as photographers being greedy (love the socialist indoctrination today ;-) when in reality it's a very useful tool to gage how much is a fair rate to pay for your photography for a company to make money with it. I get more companies calling me up who want a full rights buy-out (or better yet: usage for credit). This is the same for most photo reps I talk to. If a company like Nike is going to call me up and use my image on thousands of billboards world wide, magazines, etc etc, they are going to need to pay for that because it becomes the brand and the brand is used to make millions and millions of dollars for the company. They CAN pay for that, and they're willing to (for now). Conversely, if it's a mom and pop shop who will use the image for their store window, it is absolutely in their benefit to deal with certain usage because it will end up being cheaper for them.
Of course this may be nothing more than semantics, but improper semantics have done a world of hurt to the photography industry.
That's not saying timed usage is a bad thing, either. Why would a company want to pay through the nose for unlimited use, rather paying for 2 years, because the brand might be completely different in 2 years (heck, in 2 months). If a company comes to me and says "we want copyright." No, you don't get that. "But other photographers will do that." That's fine, go with them. The photography industry has become unsustainable simply because of what photographers are doing. The attitude has become the norm that if a company wants to use your image, it's become a favor to the photographer because that's what photographers have taught the industry because too many photographers = desperation.
But wait, why not just charge for 2 years use and then call it unlimited just to book the client? Because you just devalued yourself and your craft and that will most certainly come back to haunt you (and in reality, it already is in a very big way to the industry health as a whole).
Here's an example of a client I didn't book years ago. They came to me and wanted a quote. They would not accept a quote that included any usage, the usage was to be considered unlimited in all perpetuity. I told them that the quote would be extremely high because of that, and it didn't sound like they needed to pay for that, that it would be to their benefit to take a bid with specific usage spelled out. They wouldn't hear it for whatever reason and their lack of communication with me kinda turned me off to the job. So I sent them over a bid that was extremely high and I didn't book it and I'm perfectly okay with that. I'd like to know that the person's jaw that I was dealing with dropped so hard they spilled their coffee on their desk ;-).
Another example is my wedding clients. I very specifically state in my contracts that the client gets unlimited personal usage, that the images cannot under any circumstance be sold or even given for free to any commercial use. Most photographers today would look at their bride giving their photo to someone for commercial use for free as a good thing. "Just think of how much credit will do for me!" Wrong. Credit does absolutely nothing in today's world except tell the world you'll work for credit and all this process did was devalue your photographs, and photographs in general, to the company who used them. They will never want to pay for a photograph again because they really won't have to because photographers today allow for free use. Thus, word gets around to the next company that they can just use photos for credit, and the next company, when suddenly the entire market has become one that you can only work for credit. See the issue with this? Some photographers say "well, the couple already paid us so it's all good." So the couple is paying you for another company to use your image to make money with? Doesn't make sense. But not much makes sense today in a world where appearing busy on social media means you're successful. Success is paying your bills, taking some vacations, and retiring someday. When photographers start charging for proper use of their images, you'll suddenly stop seeing so many photographers turning into teachers.
Booking clients in today's world has become a very frustrating fight against misinformation. Your quote that charging will actually cause you to lose work is precisely true and it's doing bad things to the photography industry.
I don't know how many people charge for usages anymore. It used to be normal, but with the digital age I think its disappearing.
How do you photograph yourself out of the market if you don't charge? With more and more people not charging you might be actually losing work if you do charge.
It might be totally different in the US, and I am in the UK so can only speak for my experiences here. Here I think its common to charge accordingly for the job and give the client copyright to do what they like with the images for as...Show more →