March 2013

Viewing posts from March , 2013

Pricing and Negotiating Based on Usage Rights of Commercial Photography

It is important to negotiate the rights and rates for use of your commercial photographs. Negotiating applies to both commissioned and non-commissioned work. When you shoot photographs, it is only fair that you are compensated for your efforts by people who want to use the photographs that you took at your own expense.

As you think about negotiating the usage rights, there are some things you should keep in mind:

1. A commercial photographer is the legal owner of his/her works

You hold the copyright and can do anything with a photograph you have taken. It is important for the client to understand this he/she can come to a worthwhile agreement on using the photography work. Once the photographer and the client are clear on how business is done, the photographer can then issue licenses to the client to reproduce his work after a mutual agreement.

2. The terms of agreement of the license should be put in writing for future reference

This is very important to clearly indicate which rights are being offered. Documentation may seem a little obvious and sometimes disregarded but it becomes essential when misunderstandings arise. Regardless of whether you have standard terms and conditions, put the sale agreement in writing.

3. Go for a favorable rate

A favorable rate is one that covers all costs incurred and caters for professional income. Think of usage fees in terms of the amount of exposure the image is likely to get. A higher exposure definitely means a higher license fee.

A commercial photographer can determine usage by the following:

a) Time period: The length of time the image will be used.

b) Exclusivity: This is important to prevent resale of the images. You should however have the right to sell the image to another client before the period expires. Exclusivity can apply in three ways:
Exclusive where the image cannot be sold to another person during the period of purchase
Non exclusive where the image can be sold to any other person at any time
Exclusive to industry where the image cannot be sold to another person within the same industry

c) Quantity: The number of times the image will be used within the time period that has been specified. The rights can be limited, unlimited or completely sold out.

d) Geographic region: The area where the image is going to be used. It can be within Birmingham, within the state, nationally or internationally.

e) Market: This will give you a clue about how exposed the images will be. Editorials are cheap, trade is not expensive and advertising usually generates a lot of income.

A commercial photographer can opt to grant the client limited rights with immediate use. This may however be in return of almost all the markup they get for single use. Such a deal means both the photographer and the client gain something from the agreement. In some cases, clients may demand additional rights without the right compensation. In such a case, both the photographer and the client lose.

The best way for a commercial photographer to negotiate for both rates and rights is setting a particular fee for any limited license. This way, you can charge an extra fee for additional rights that a client may want. However, the rates should be flexible for the variety of extra rights that clients demand e.g. reuse of photographs for commercial purposes in an editorial magazine.

The trick to signing a good deal is to clearly understand how the photography market operates. The clients should know that they are renting and not buying the work unless otherwise stated.

See below two examples of how our images were used for advertising purposes:


What to look for in a good advertising photographer?

See more of our advertising photography here.

Every photographer has unique qualities that showcase their expertise in their work. Finding a good advertising photographer is not easy. You want photographs that will easily and quickly capture the attention of your customers, inform them about your product or service, and compel them to purchase. It is important to research carefully before you sign a contract with a photographer.

Magazines, brochures and food menus have one thing in common: they grab attention with their images accompanying the text. A good advertising photographer must be able to come up with breathtaking photos that will make an impact on your audience.

The following are some of things you should look for in an advertising photographer:

1) Experience

Advertising is aimed at increasing sales. Therefore, you want a photographer with extensive experience in the advertising industry. Experience in taking both colored and black and white photos is a must for an advertising photographer. These photographs may determine how the advertisement will influence customers. The photographer should also be experienced in taking photos used for commercial purposes. Ask for references of good photographers from friends, family and work colleagues and also check recommendations on photography forums.

2) Personality

A good photographer should advise, listen and cooperate with to you to achieve what you need. The photographer should be accommodative and should not dismiss your opinions and ideas in the pretext that he or she knows it all. Although your photographer can give you ideas, the final decision of how you want the resulting work to be should rest with you.

3) Fees

In photography advertising, you have to use money to get money. Before you sign a contract with a photographer, find upfront the fees and charges you will have to pay. The charges should not be so high such that they will drain your finances. Some photographers may trap you with low prices for taking photos but very high for post processing. If you think the initial charges are too low, ask whether there are other charges fees you may have to shoulder later on.

4) Digital or film

Many photographers use digital cameras but there are some that still use the traditional film. Depending on your needs and quality of photos you desire, you can choose between film and digital photography. Keep in mind that using a film is expensive and you cannot make any changes on the photographs. On the other hand, digital stills may be edited to improve different elements. Moreover, you can also take many shots until you get the best.

5) Qualification

You should look for a professional with a number of recognized photography qualifications. There are many amateurs in the photography industry who look to make big money but do substandard work. It is arguably true that photography is more of passion that professionalism and some amateurs are as good as professionals. However, checking qualifications or past work can help you know what to expect from a photographer. Look for an experienced professional who will take quality photographs for you company. The last thing you want is to be displeased with the end product and have to hire someone else to reshoot your job.

The images that you will use for your advertising can make or break your sales. Using the above tips, you can get a good advertising photographer who will produce high impact photos that will improve your product or service sales. One thing to remember is that the advertising photographer should be creative to produce photos that will speak to your customers. You cannot negotiate for creativity. The only way to ascertain the creativity of a good photographer is to check the past works he or she has been involved in.

For example, take a look at the advertising images on this post. These images were shot for a local sign company to showcase their work and how it looks when installed. These images help their company attract new customers that are looking for quality signage weather it be way finding or directional.

All images are ©copyrighted by kp studios. No images may be reproduced without written permission.