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Author Topic: Image licenses  (Read 7948 times)
Morgan_Moore
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« on: May 16, 2010, 01:37:06 AM »
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For years I have licensed my images quite strictly

I feel this has created an impression amongst clients that I am some sort of control freak and affected my business in a negative manner - many of my competition do no rules shooting - and not just the people a year out of college

The client pays me for the time and the images are still not 'thiers' - even though they 'paid' me for them

--

I think the backstory that such restrictions didnt really mess up the client in the past

say an image for a book - I just sold them a licence to publish it (for that print run)

now we have the web most clients (brochures, photocall) will not be making the single use of the images but wanting it on the web too

so a one year license (my old standard) can mess them up causing them to need to pull it from their website which can cost them and create a need for them to have some kind of internal licening structure

also they can now distribute by the hundred at no cost to themselves

--

Back to long ago my images were issued as prints with press releases (!) by upping the print cost I was effectively licencing the distribution, a release sent to 200 magazines cost the client a heap more than a release sent to 5 magazines

--

How do I not get exploited but still offer a 'usable offer' for low to middle end commercial clients - hotels - small companies etc


Basically my thinking is you can use this image for five years 'unrestricted' given that..

-no distribution to third parties (ie the company that supplied the hotel with flooring/furniture whatever)
-Should your company double its employees ie expand massively the license should be renegotiated

Should I forget restricted licenses and just up my dayrate?


S
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 01:44:58 AM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 05:20:55 AM »
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Dont worry - that is not my wording !

I understand the rules - 'their images' it is the clients perception/expectation not mine or in the eye of the law

My paperwork does not make the images 'theirs' either

It often before we have even got to the paper work stage

In regional Cornwall here whole design agencies wont touch me because of my basic T+Cs - im talking the 'top five' here - not spare bedroom operators

'SMM is the kid with the funny rules that no-one else has'

A lot of quango stuff is basically a buy out too (Region Development Agency whose mission is to promote sustainable business development - ha - ha - they just bring on the low ballers and bugger it up for everyone)

This leads me on occasion just to say 'no can do' - is there a better way?

Wish I had some 12 grand web only clients !

S
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 05:38:41 AM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 07:47:57 AM »
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Quote from: Yelhsa
It's always easy to blame others and / or point fingers; however, the real question is: are you producing images for others to use - that they can clearly see the value in.
Because if they can see the value in being able to use your images, to meet their needs, then you shouldn't have a problem negotiating a decent fee.

These are your images after all, that we are talking about here - not 'their images'... unless you are agreeing to work for hire - whereby you bill them for your time & expense, to do a Job for them.

So it's really up to you to produce images that people will want to use and use a lot, if you want to be paid a decent fee, for what you can provide them with.

Be better that is a fair point

Im already good enough that the main tourism brochure in the county, tourism is the biggest industry, has a brochure, 80% is an annual buy out commission that I dont pitch for, regularly the cover of that brochure is stock purchased from.. me

Maybe you want to give some pointers on becoming better

I note that most of my 'good' images have little to do with the camera operator, and a lot to do with the jobs where the client will stump up for stylist, flowers, food lady- whatever - something I always suggest to the client

Do i stump up for that myself in the first instance?
Do I refuse to work on any picture that I dont feel is being put together with suitable content ?
Do I fund a pile of test shoots to my standard ?

(edit) I have even pointed people to the BTS on your site to show clients how much goes into a proper photo )

Advice..

« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 09:30:29 AM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 11:24:39 AM »
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I hate to say it, but the limited licensing model is falling apart and will be gone sooner rather than later.  Few images have value beyond their original use now a days.  Gone are the pre-microstock days when you could shoot an ad or an editorial, then flip those images to a stock house, giving the images a profitable second life.  

As of today only sophisticated clients understand usage, and even they are looking to push as far as they can and grab some additional rights for no additional compensation.  

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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 11:26:36 AM »
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Quote from: TMARK
I hate to say it, but the limited licensing model is falling apart and will be gone sooner rather than later.  Few images have value beyond their original use now a days.  Gone are the pre-microstock days when you could shoot an ad or an editorial, then flip those images to a stock house, giving the images a profitable second life.  

As of today only sophisticated clients understand usage, and even they are looking to push as far as they can and grab some additional rights for no additional compensation.

So how do you handle that?

hike the initial fee

only work for the most sophisticated customers?

what?

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 12:34:09 PM »
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Now you shoot your images a lot in hotels

Logic says you fund the production yourself means..

So you pay for the hotel rooms ?

You compensatate the hotels for loss of trade while occupying their bar and staff ?

You are happy when they decide they dont want any of your images ?

Truth is (for me at least) yes they are my images - but they are built with a collaboration from the client (generally a pretty minimal one - which often make my images look 'bad' - no flowers, poor ironing)

I am a big fan of licensing - usually putting the argument forward

do you want to use this in TV advertising - no - well why pay for that then

I certainly like to overshoot and reap rewards

Im on board with your mode of operation

Seems like the circle of clientelle I have are not so sophisticated

which brings us back to getting better and then accessing that sophisticated clientelle

And the route to getting better is.. ?

-Bumping up my shoots at a loss (bringing in the flowers/food sylist out of my pocket)
-Doing self funded tests - pay for everything - maybe recoupe cost with a sale at the end

How did you break the circle ?

S







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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 01:21:34 PM »
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I don't think you will break the circle, as you put it.

Frankly, I don't really believe that the problem is you, but that the clients and contemporary laws are the problem.

I come from a time well before the copyright act changes (UK) during the 80s or whenever all that current way of looking at work began. In those days, you were commissioned to shoot pictures and that was that: the client owned copyright and you handed over your shots and forgot about them. Then, the influence of the new act and the methods of licensing that stock agencies (used to be called picture libraries - now ain't that quaint?) employ crept into the photographer's mind and caused confusion. Much of it stems from greed - or at the very least the hope of getting paid more than once for the same work. I can understand perfectly that clients think they own work they have commissioned; these finessings of description simply smack of the charlatan, however legally correct they may actually be. It's all about peception, and in that sense, if the client perceives differently to you, you are always going to be wrong, even if you are legally right.  Business is about relationships - unless you are selling ice cream to tourists, and even then it can matter if you want repeat business!

Basically, TMARK is right, and in addition, I think that the sooner it returns to the old, easily understood system, the better. You will then be able to charge a one-off fee based on the value to you of the work done.

It is only confusing to mix the concepts of commissioned with those of stock.

Charge once and charge well.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 01:23:13 PM »
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Sorry, double post.

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 01:23:56 PM by Rob C » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 01:27:44 PM »
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Quote from: TMARK
I hate to say it, but the limited licensing model is falling apart and will be gone sooner rather than later.  Few images have value beyond their original use now a days.  Gone are the pre-microstock days when you could shoot an ad or an editorial, then flip those images to a stock house, giving the images a profitable second life.  



Exactly, and that's how I financed my stock from the overshoots on calendar assignments.

Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 01:31:38 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I don't think you will break the circle, as you put it.

Frankly, I don't really believe that the problem is you, but that the clients and contemporary laws are the problem.

I come from a time well before the copyright act changes (UK) during the 80s or whenever all that current way of looking at work began. In those days, you were commissioned to shoot pictures and that was that: the client owned copyright and you handed over your shots and forgot about them. Then, the influence of the new act and the methods of licensing that stock agencies (used to be called picture libraries - now ain't that quaint?) employ crept into the photographer's mind and caused confusion. Much of it stems from greed - or at the very least the hope of getting paid more than once for the same work. I can understand perfectly that clients think they own work they have commissioned; these finessings of description simply smack of the charlatan, however legally correct they may actually be. It's all about peception, and in that sense, if the client perceives differently to you, you are always going to be wrong, even if you are legally right.  Business is about relationships - unless you are selling ice cream to tourists, and even then it can matter if you want repeat business!

Basically, TMARK is right, and in addition, I think that the sooner it returns to the old, easily understood system, the better. You will then be able to charge a one-off fee based on the value to you of the work done.

It is only confusing to mix the concepts of commissioned with those of stock.

Charge once and charge well.

Rob C
I do beleive in TMARK and Rob's posts.

I think it will be always better accepted as a "fair" trade (don't know how to say in english) that you charge a lot but gives the rights instead of the opposite.
It is true that in business the sensation matters more than the reality.
Also, the current situation makes another politics almost impossible.

Maybe, photographers should group themselves into small power associations instead of competing against each others.




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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2010, 03:43:02 PM »
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Ashley,

I notice that you ask if the images are to be exclusive or not.  Do you insist on them signing a release always?  Because if not they could just say non-exclusive and then not give you a release.  Since you need a property release to sell the images, it is basically the same as getting exclusive.  

How do you handle this?

Also, I have just started to branch off into hospitality photography and am finding it a little different that architecture and interior design.  First most architects and designers respect the idea of licensing and good photography, hospitality professionals not so much.  So most of the local hotels and restaurants would never hire me.  Do you find this too.  And how to you get your name out there?  With architects and designers it is fairly straight forwards since there are so few (relative) architects and designers out there but there are so many hotels and restaurants.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 04:00:52 PM by JoeKitchen » Logged

Joe Kitchen
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2010, 06:51:20 PM »
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Ash

I dont actually think we are too far apart

My start in this game was editorial news, I always got paid per use, say foot and mouth cow burning I got a shot which I still get paid for every time is it used by multiple publications

Being paid per use was critical because of one off pisspoor rates

Now I work for the county magazine - my bread and butter

I have a re-use 'deal' and stock 'deal' in place with the magazine that works for both parties - should that deal end the images are mine

The magazine has exclusive first use and I then offer the images to other parties - say it was a feature on a business - that business

That business then buys a license  

All cool so far

----

Now, hotels holiday parks whatever approach me either direct or through an agency

They then commission me to shoot images 'for them' and get the hump when I try and apply license restrictions and future fees, most of the agencies have the hump so bad they steer clear of me (at cost to my business)

My current compromise is bascially this..
Fixed Fee covers work done and license to use web/press release/local advertising/own material
Higher fee for including national advertising
Duration 5 years

Images are still mine

I emphasise to the client that they cannot pass to third parties - say the carpet company who did the big re-fit

Should the carpet company want my images they come to me and buy a license

This approach is way slacker than yours but still gets the hump off the designers and some clients - in a climate where many others (many ok photographers) are just giving an unlimited license or the copyright to the client

Maybe I should double my dayrate and forget the license - ing

Maybe I should halve my dayrate - or even make it zero - and up the licencing

Comments ??

S
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 06:59:49 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 10:43:25 PM »
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Quote from: Yelhsa
Interesting - because I am finding the opposite to be true.

Clients today seem to want to use our images more than they did 10 years ago, when we shot film.
Not only do they want to use them in more types of media but they also want to use them for much longer too.
In fact, some are still using our images in their current ads, which we produced some 7 or 8 years ago - and if I failed to take that into account, then I could easily put myself out of business, for doing to-good-a-job.

So to me, the media use, period of use and territory of use, are the 3 keys things to stay focused on - when negotiating the fee - because it's those 3 things that are of 'value to them'.

Little Use = Little Value.
Greater Use = Greater Value
... to them.

I absolutely agree with the licensing model, but my clients want more for less.  This is why its falling apart in the high end.  More rights for the same money, not only because they see opportunities to get more for less, but also because they often times can't predict where or how they may want to use an image in two years time, and the legal departments are pushing for longer and longer licenses.  I end up making the money back n the front end, but it still irks me.
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2010, 02:09:52 AM »
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----often times can't predict where or how they may want to use an image in two years time,-----

simple solution charge them a reasonable usage fee when they decide to use the image outside of the original contract and let them know that you will be reasonable beforehand.

you have to charge usage fees, because if you don't you might as well stop shooting altogether.... it is like making a movie and not getting any money from the theaters that are showing your movie and charging 12 bucks a head.

You got to be smart about it and give clients a couple of months head start before you start charging them usage fees.... I invoice them separately for usage and tell them in the original job confirmation that I will invoice them in 3-6 months so they can start generating money from the sales...it is taking a risk , but that comes with the new economy and digital age.. (i guess)
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David Eichler
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2010, 12:53:09 PM »
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Quote from: Yelhsa
Good negotiating skills are critical to the success of any independent photographer...

No-one can predict the future or even how good the images are going to be - especially before they have been produced.
And as there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject, then quoting a fee based on Usage, is the only way to go i.m.o.

So if a client is unsure about the future Use of the images - which is understandable, especially before they have even been produced - then I'd suggest they only agree to pay for what they actually need right now.
Once the images have been produced and presented, then we can talk more about what all they want to use the images for.
Additional Media use/ Period of use/ Territory of use.

And that's where the AOP's BUR system comes into play.

So I fully understand clients not being able to see into the future - that's why we just charge them a Licence fee for the Usage they require.

So it's like 'Pay as you go'.

I am relatively new to the business and specialize in architecture and interiors. It seems to me that architects are more knowledgeable about usage/license fees than interior designers. I haven't dealt with builders yet, but I would guess it is all over the place, with smaller builders not being very knowledgeable and the large ones being pretty astute. In any case, my question is how do you police your client's usage of your photos to ensure that they are not get used beyond what you licensed them for? I would imagine that larger firms have the staff and organization to monitor their usage of the images. However, it seems to me that smaller firms, especially one- or two-person interior-design shops, are often simply not going to pay attention to what they agreed to two or more years after the fact, no matter how ominous the warnings one puts in the license agreement. It is hard enough just trying to get these kinds of clients to understand what usage and licensing is in the first place. Furthermore, these kinds of clients tend to have very small budgets for this sort of thing, so just trying to charge for some sort of blanket one-time license at any sensible rate seems to be out of the question. True, most of these kinds of clients are local firms that will just be using the photos on their websites and brochures, and maybe in some small local ads, but what if someone gets lucky and wants to use the photos for national advertising or in a national or international publication? Since I am relatively new at this and dealing with a very soft market, I am inclined to be rather loose with this sort of thing. However, I don't want to neglect it and I want to always be trying to educate my clients and try for the best deals I can get, as well as to prepare for when I (I hope) become more established.




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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2010, 02:48:52 PM »
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ZAZ

That's why I originally suggested that people charge well and once. What does well mean? You have two guide lines: how big do you think you are right now, at the time of writing the invoice; how big do you think your client is at the same moment in time?

Be reasonable and forget being greedy and, as importantly, be aware you are not in the charity business.

It is madness to worry about future use when you have no real idea about where the client is or might even be heading - it could as easily be to the knackers yard as to Fifth Avenue. The client himself probably hasn't the least idea and for all you know is hanging on in there by his fingertips too. I have a gut feeling that the bigtime recognizes the bigtime; I imagine all these fears are pretty pointless if you know each other's standing.

Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2010, 03:57:38 PM »
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Charging well and once is not something you should fall into and how you charge should change with different industries.  

Architects and interior designers are a low exposure market.  They need good photography but use it in a low volume, because of this licensing time limits are not that much of an issue.  And any way, architects and ID tend to keep their most recent projects at the foreground of their marketing.  But that does not mean they should have free reign with our images.  Doing so would either lead you to making less than you can & should, or you will overcharge your clients.  Are either of those smart business practices?  

I have two different licensing agreements for Architects and ID.  The basic one is my Standard Licensing (listed below) and is what most architects need.  I charge based on where they are located, because NYC firms will have greater image exposure then rural firms.  The exposure is what makes an image valuable.  
Standard licensing covers use in (1) portfolio, both in print and on one static company website, (2) private wall display, (3) in print and/or digital duplications for use in client’s own promotional materials, direct mailers and e-mail marketing campaigns, and (4) submission to professional competitions.  Client may submit images for editorial review but does not have the license to publish any image; editorial/client must contact photographer if images are wanted for either in print or digital publication.  
   The life of this licensing is indefinite.  This licensing is granted to the buyer only, is non-transferable, and non-exclusive.  Licensing is not granted unto the buyer until photographer is paid in full; photographer retains all copyrights.  
   Additional licensing, including use on social media platforms and paid space advertising, will be negotiated separately.


I then have a social media add on which I charge based off of firm size; the amount of contributors to social media outlets will determine the number of followers and image exposure.  
Social media licensing includes use in any and all social media outlets that the client has direct ownership of; examples could be the firm’s blog, Facebook Fanpage, Twitter background, etc.  Also, employees, while employed, involved in the project may use the images on their Twitter page or blog.  Use on outlets outside of the firm’s control can vary upon each outlet and must be approved first.   Joseph M Kitchen must be printed under every image when being used in any outlet; the only exception is when the image(s) is being used in a background.  

When working with Hospitalities I work completely different and put time limits on use.  

Why is this important?  Because the more exposure an image receives the greater the return the user will get, increasing the image's value.  And since needs vary, the value an image will have to a specific firm will also vary.  In order to be fair, you need to take into account the exposure that that firm will have or you will end up over charging most firms, not business professional.  

In terms of publications, your images are business supplies to the editorials they are printed in.  They only have a magazine because they have images to print in that magazine.  They are making money off of your images because they can sell magazines to the public and sell ad space in the magazine.  You need to at least try to charge the magazine, although it is better to concede then alienate your client.  

Last, if you charge once and well, do you also give the right to your client to allow other parties to use the images?  This is also not fair for them; your clients should only pay for their licensing not others.  And if your clients charge others to use your images, that is not fair to you.  It is not uncommon for me to sell licensing to others involved in the project weeks or months after the images have already been delivered to the commissioning party and paid for.  And if more than one firm commissions me, I still charge an extra 30% for the extra licensing because the image will gain more exposure.  Also, I only apply this to my standard licensing with professionals in the design and building industry.

I have found that most clients are reasonable with licensing once explained in a way they can relate to.  If they insist on not being reasonable then they probably have little respect for photography and/or are cheap.  Do you really want to work with people like that?  Are you going to get anything from them like worthy recommendations or leads?  You need to have the guts to say no and walk away if they are unreasonable.  If they respect your work, they will come back to you; I know this from experience.

P.S. You should also be charging for your post production time.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2010, 04:00:27 PM by JoeKitchen » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2010, 06:16:43 AM »
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Quote from: ZAZ
In any case, my question is how do you police your client's usage of your photos to ensure that they are not get used beyond what you licensed them for?
They're your clients - you know who they all are - so you simple stay in touch with them, to see if they require any new images or more use from the images you have already provided them with.

Quote from: ZAZ
It is hard enough just trying to get these kinds of clients to understand what usage and licensing is in the first place.
I have found the Key is to keep it silly simple for them to understand.
So when Quoting a fee, simply stick to the facts. e.g.


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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2010, 04:03:02 AM »
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Quote from: JoeKitchen
P.S. You should also be charging for your post production time.
That is a given.
Who ever does not do that on regular basis, should be banned from the profession.
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2010, 11:57:20 PM »
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Quote from: Yelhsa
It's interesting that you should say this Morgan - because according to Leslie Burns - who is a "Creative/Marketing Consultant" and considers herself to be "a top expert in the industry", who "helped write the ASMP Business Practices book, which included sections on negotiating, etc." - I was "seriously underpaid for that project".
 

According to Leslie: "2 years web & email usage license alone are worth more than that for that many images. The per image rate is too low for the usage value alone ".
 

So there you go, according to Leslie Burns, being paid 12,960.00 for 36 images, for 2 years web use, would mean you are being "seriously underpaid"... no matter what your production costs are or what was involved or how long it took you ... or even what the project was !!
 

Not sure my family run business clients would totally agree with her ... but I thought you and others here may find it interesting to know this.

Well is leslie a working photographer or what ?

he/she compares your work to getty stock prices - are they a profitable business ?

Also in terms of a proper client (nike) - that would be under charging IMO - but we are not talking nike here

Interesting you talk about family run businesses

My experience is those who have inherited it seem to be some of the worst payers - because they have never experienced earning it - not because they are poor

S








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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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