Commercial Photo Use for Non-Profit
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bipock
Registered: Jul 27, 2009
Total Posts: 1310
Country: United States

I have been approached by a friend of mine who is a regional director for Ducks Unlimited about using 3-4 of my waterfowl pictures for covers on their banquet invitations/emails/reminders. The region is pretty large and use would be fairly extensive. Pictures would stay in his possession, never turned over to the comittee members, so printing for personal use would not be an issue. He would rotate the pictures every year. Also, they would not be used nationally.

I've had some say give them to him, some say charge minimally and some say charge commercial use prices.

So, I turn the pros at FM - how would you handle this?



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 13037
Country: United States

Depends on how good a friend he is.

I have friends that we "barter" our wares with each other ... never a dime passing hands ... ever. We typically argue that the other gave us too much value, which gets reciprocated the "next time" ... always giving "freely". We each feel that we've been valued and not exploited or taken advantage of and it has been this way for decades, each refusing to accept the others money ... even when it has business underpinnings.

The fact that it is for "non-profit" has little bearing on it. If you want to give it to your friend ... if he's that good of a friend ... your call. But, I would think that if he is that good of a friend ... well, you might not feel the need to be asking.

Take "Ducks Unlimited" out of the question and re-ask it. My friend wants to use my pics ...





chris.bersbach
Registered: Feb 07, 2010
Total Posts: 285
Country: United States

My personal philosophy is "free or full price." I have no problem making photographic "donations," for causes that I feel strongly about, for *very* good friends, or for access to subjects I wouldn't usually get to shoot. However, I've never liked the feel of "discount" photography. To me, the "discount" path cheapens the work far more than simply giving it away. Again, this is my personal philosophy on free/discount work. Others will have their own views/preferences.

If you do decide to donate, I would still include an invoice for your standard rates, which then reflects no charge. This is useful for both your financial records as well as your credibility as the artist.

Edited to add one important piece: you seem to understand this, but it's a common misperception that "non-profit" automatically means "no budget," and nothing could be further from the truth. There are big and small non-profits, with big and small budgets, just like any other business. The non-profit nature of the business should be irrelevant (except for your tax purposes, should you decide to donate your work).



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 13037
Country: United States

+1 @ don't let "non-profit" fool you.



bipock
Registered: Jul 27, 2009
Total Posts: 1310
Country: United States

No doubt on the non-profit deal - I work for one and am very well aware of DU's cash position as I am a supporter and volunteer.

He is a good friend and is really trying to help me get my photography going - actually was my first big client.

I donated 2 prints in exchange for a booth at the local event tomorrow night. I'll see how that goes and weigh that in. Being that his region is pretty big, that could be more valuable to me long-term than $XX per picture.



pdp123
Registered: Mar 10, 2005
Total Posts: 150
Country: United States

Good job. That sounds like a perfect compromise. Staying focused on the long term goal is smart in the long run.



RDKirk
Registered: Apr 11, 2004
Total Posts: 8976
Country: United States

My personal philosophy is "free or full price." I have no problem making photographic "donations," for causes that I feel strongly about, for *very* good friends, or for access to subjects I wouldn't usually get to shoot. However, I've never liked the feel of "discount" photography. To me, the "discount" path cheapens the work far more than simply giving it away. Again, this is my personal philosophy on free/discount work. Others will have their own views/preferences.

I totally echo this. There are a variety of good reasons to work without charge. But the problem with giving discounts is that most clients do not understand the value of photography. Discounting a $500 photograph to $100 is not a $400 gift from their perspective--they just think $100 is all it was worth. Worse, they will still expect to make all the demands of a client paying full price.

If you believe in the cause, or it will pay a definite business benefit, or they're just a relative or a friend you like that much, then make it free. That way they know it's a gift and you're fully free to give as little or as much as you want without undue expectations.

If you don't like them well enough to make your photography a free gift, then send them a toaster and a Hallmark and call it done.