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Commercial photography question
  
 
dckiteboards
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p.1 #1 · Commercial photography question


I am relatively new to commercial photography. I came from a video background. I've since given up a lot of the video and editing, just shooting now. However my photography business has since taken off and I am starting to get a grasp on how to charge , however I am still having a few issues and would love some advice

How I have been doing it all summer is if a bussines contacts me for photography I charge
Full day 1200 half day 600
And then for every half day or full day I charge the same for editing

I've also gotten better at calling it a creative fee, as well as working on quoting per photo.

However here's where I'm confused
After I do all the work and there's say 15 awesome images I simply write up a usage contract licensing the images for two years exclusive uses (print/web) and then after that they have to return to me and purchase rights again.

Or should I be charging extra as well for the usages
147 web rights two years
And then I typically use a calculator for print but people lately were very freaked out at my last quote for three of my last stock images.

I quoted them 147 /per image for web only or 280 print /web /per image for one year?

I'm dealing with a real crappy dood that does a lot of marketing /advertising for my area and he tells me I cannot charge for usages for year two terms..because it's too much work for him. I'm about to tell him to $&@? Off. If I don't charge usages I photograph myself right out of the market?

Any way enough rambling , am I sorta on the right path? I'm booking jobs left and right but I need to get my pricing scheme consistent ASAP

Thank you!



Oct 22, 2013 at 05:32 AM
pr4photos
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p.1 #2 · Commercial photography question


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 long as they want.



Oct 22, 2013 at 01:23 PM
JoshI
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p.1 #3 · Commercial photography question


I think it is fine to license your images for usage, but you should be offering the licensing based on the client's need, not an arbitrary time limit you choose. When I set up a quote for a job, I ask the client how and for how long they intend to use the image. If they say they intend to use the image for one year, I set the initial license at 1 year with the option to renew at 50% of the original rate. If they say they want to use it for four years, I set the initial license at 4 years with the option to renew at 50% of the original rate. Your pricing should be scaling with the type of usage, exposure, time needed, etc. One usage fee doesn't fit all and that is probably why some of your clients are balking at your pricing structure.

Josh



Oct 22, 2013 at 04:22 PM
dckiteboards
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p.1 #4 · Commercial photography question


Perfect thanks for the replys . I dig your method josh!

Ok how about if a Client wants 5 photos currently that I took on my own time?




Oct 22, 2013 at 05:08 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · Commercial photography question


dckiteboards wrote:
Ok how about if a Client wants 5 photos currently that I took on my own time?

How is this different from an image you make tomorrow on your "own time" for the client?

There are two primary sides to the equation of a marketplace transaction: 1) cost to produce, and 2) value to your client.

The fact that you've already invested the time, energy, money, training and effort into producing that image is relatively unchanged whether you shot it yesterday or tomorrow. You could look at it from the standpoint as if you had to go shoot it tomorrow, what would it cost you to produce. The fact that it is currently sitting in your inventory, does not mean it didn't cost you to produce it.

Being "in stock" is not the same thing as "cost less to produce". I shot some Leatherback Turtle images laying eggs while I was in Trinidad. They are in my inventory. It cost me plenty to get those shots and it would cost me even more to go shoot them tomorrow. How much should I charge for them ... largely will depend on the value of them to the client, but I'm not going to forget my costs past, present or future.

That being said, something is better than nothing, and you don't necessarily recoup everything from your existing stock from one client alone. But, if you have to go incur those costs newly specific to the client, then you would likely need to recoup those costs in entirety (or you're taking a known loss) lacking a certainty for another future market transaction with them ... if that makes any sense. Figuring out what the "market will bear" can be a challenge to generating your price point ... particularly if you aren't that familiar with a given market/client/competition/client options.

What the market will bear is going to depend on your cost to produce compared to the value it (the image, not necessarily your cost to produce) that the client places on it. Price it above what the client values it at and the transaction doesn't occur, unless you can create value in the client's mind that matches what you are asking for it. Price it at "it cost little to produce because it's already in stock" ... and you are selling yourself short on the cost to produce.

The art of pricing isn't always an exact science, but all transactions are predicated on those two premises to some degree. You don't know how much it actually cost to produce your camera, yet you purchased it for a price based on the value it meant to you in a retail based system. Commercial is frequently more negotiable (on both sides) than retail. Your client doesn't know what your actual costs to produce is/was ... they largely are valuing it relative to their needs vs. you keeping an eye to your costs and profit margins. The more value you bring to their needs with your images, the more value you can charge.




Oct 22, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #6 · Commercial photography question


Here are two highly recommended resources for learning more about pricing, licensing, and contract negotiation.

1. John Harrington's business book - real life examples of customer interactions are priceless.
http://www.amazon.com/Business-Practices-Photographers-Second-Edition/dp/1435454294

2. The APE Pricing and Negotiating articles archived here: http://www.aphotoeditor.com/category/pricing-negotiating/
A real treasure trove of real numbers, negotiations, advice, and lessons learned.



Oct 22, 2013 at 07:47 PM
cineski
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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.

pr4photos wrote:
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



Nov 17, 2013 at 03:32 PM
 

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colinm
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p.1 #8 · Commercial photography question


cineski wrote:
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.


On the other hand, many clients are learning (the hard way) that "produce" and "produce on demand" are two very different things.

It's been a constant topic of conversation in the local community lately; potential clients walk because the quality shooter is too expensive and then suddenly show back up for the next job. Occasionally, at great cost and embarrassment, they come back for same job, which has suddenly turned into a rush job with the commensurate increase in fees. (On top of what they paid the "cheap guy" for unusable images.)



Nov 22, 2013 at 07:09 PM
markd61
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p.1 #9 · Commercial photography question


Many good points made here.

The real issue in the usage conversation is that the usual client one gets is unsophisticated as to the "way things used to be" and will walk when quoted licensing fees.
It is all well and good to say that Nike will have to pay the appropriate usage fees for your super shot of a shoe that will be on billboards and in print ads all year. It is another thing entirely when quoting a small restaurant for a food shoot. Nike deals in the rareified atmosphere of agencies and giant budgets; the small business is used to going to a provider, paying a fee and getting the product without any complications to its use.

I have some clients that understand those issues but most would drop me if I started talking about licensing usage.
My solution is to analyze how they will use the image and fold the usage fee into the photography fee.

I don't talk to my clients about concepts or philosophies of business. I give them a price and they can buy or not. Over the years I have found that explaining to people why something costs soooo much is a waste of time. They had a dumb number in their head and my number didn't come close to their fantasy. They are generally wedded to their fantasy and are not going to get it fulfilled except in generally the crudest of fashion. If they like crude and cheap, hooray; but that is not my client.



Nov 22, 2013 at 10:40 PM
J___
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p.1 #10 · Commercial photography question


It really depends on what your are shooting and for what client.

For me when I shoot ad campaigns for agencies dealing with clients, I have a set shoot day rate, and then depending on the usage, geographical location for the ad, and term, I set a usage rate. This rate has been averaged to about 35% of the day rate per final photo per year.

That being said, it depends on the client. I'll charge usage if I'm shooting a campaign for big brands like Pepsi or Nike, but if I'm shooting something for a smaller regional brand, I don't even bother with usage as their demographics is much smaller, and they won't even bother with the concept of usage. In this case I just make the shoot day rate and be onto the next job.



Jan 12, 2014 at 07:17 PM
leethecam
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p.1 #11 · Commercial photography question


It's only normal to give away copyright (assuming you're even allowed to according to some parts of the world,) if we all do it...

Licencing is a standard way of earning a living. I explain to clients that rather than trying to fleece them for extra , I'm actually charging them an appropriate amount for the intended project.

I explain that whilst Coke may have to pay 10's of thousand 's for a billboard international campaign on a one day shoot, (go on Mr Coke, you know you want me...) the smaller clients who only want an image to be used in a small-run magazine from a one-day shoot can be charged less.

Essentially, the big monster clients are helping fund the smaller clients.

(The big multi nationals with huge ad buys are used to the licence model and the photographers who shoot for these aren't giving up their licence fees anytime soon - so no worries there...)

For small companies I try to keep any licence structure simple. The difference between wanting and needing unlimited use forever anywhere can often be discovered with the price attached.

I do offer an unlimited, exclusive licence. All the client has to decide is whether that coupled with my day rate is what they truly need. I've one client who does and so the quote just has a single project price with the arrangement that they can do what they want for as long as they want with any pics.



Jan 12, 2014 at 08:19 PM
James L
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p.1 #12 · Commercial photography question


J___ wrote:
It really depends on what your are shooting and for what client.

For me when I shoot ad campaigns for agencies dealing with clients, I have a set shoot day rate, and then depending on the usage, geographical location for the ad, and term, I set a usage rate. This rate has been averaged to about 35% of the day rate per final photo per year.

That being said, it depends on the client. I'll charge usage if I'm shooting a campaign for big brands like Pepsi or Nike, but if I'm shooting something for a smaller regional brand, I don't even
...Show more

Thanks for this reply. Ive had a personal debate with myself lately about this topic and this reply helps clarify what I've done as well. From a business standpoint it just didnt make sense to muddy the water with the smaller clients/demographic like you said here.



Jan 27, 2014 at 02:37 PM
zephoto
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p.1 #13 · Commercial photography question


This thread has answered some questions I had buzzing in my head today. Thanks for the posts!


Mar 13, 2014 at 12:40 AM





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