Ashley Morrison's Blog

February 16, 2014

Pay as you go.

Recently on Facebook, another Irish photographer said he was doing a little research on the hospitality side of things and I was wondering what people thought of this work?

Well naturally I had a look at this photographer’s website and noted under the photographer’s Services section, he said:

“Often hospitality photographers will discount the upfront shooting rate only to charge a licensing fee in the following years after the shoot.
We issue a copyright license for the client to use the photographs for any media for an indefinite period. This is built into our initial costs so the client pays once and once only.”

This made me smile, because in other words, what he is basically saying here is: some photographers give Hotels an option on how to pay for the use of their work, whereas he doesn’t.

So it would appear that his clients have to either agree to pay him the full amount up front, for him to provide them with images that would be ‘good enough’ for them to want to use in all media for the next 10+ years or else he’s simply not interested in taking the assignment on.

Whereas other photographers will be happy to take the assignment on and provide their clients with images that would be ‘good enough’ for them to want to use in all media for the next 10+ years – and then help their clients out, by offering them a ‘pay as you go’ type payment plan.

Which is what I do when asked to produce images like this…
The swimming pool with a view of the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in the County Down town of Newcastle.
.. which the client by the way – before they saw the final result – didn’t want to pay much for. Because not every client can afford or will want to have to pay for what it costs to produce such an image, out of their current year’s marketing budget. So to help them spread the cost, without me having to drop the standard of my work to stay within their current year’s marketing budget, I offer them a ‘Pay as you go’ type payment plan – whereby they only need to pay for 1 years use at a time, for example.

Note: Hotels don’t ask their guests to buy the room of them, they just ask their guests to pay for the use of the room – be it for 1 night, 2 nights, a week or however long their customers need to use it for, i.e. ‘Pay as you go’ and see how it goes.

Same thing here.

So licensing my images this way, is simply a way to help my clients spread the cost of what those type of images may have cost me to produce, as producing images like the one above of the pool with a view at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel – that this client then did actually wanted to use for years to come in various media, like on this double size billboard…
Billboard showing the swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Hotel.
.. after seeing the final results – will usually have cost me a lot more to produce, than an image like this…
The swimming pool at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in the County Down town of Newcastle.
.. which not surprisingly, they didn’t want to use at all wink

In other words, I do not ‘discount the upfront shooting rate’, I simply ask my clients to pay for the amount of use that they require of my work, AFTER have I have produced it – just as they would, if I were to ask them for a price.



  1. “We issue a copyright license for the client to use….” Does this mean he is signing over all copyrights to the images? Or just an unlimited licence to use the images? And if it is the second one…then would it also be considered “exclusive use”? I don’t think the guy knows what he is talking about. Sure am glad I’m following/listening to you instead of him!

    Comment by kebern — February 16, 2014 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

    • I believe it’s the second one: a licence to use his images in All Media for an Unlimited period of time, throughout the world.
      Which I would have no problems agreeing to too, IF the client was prepared to pay me the full amount I’d want to be paid for that – which was my point here – as most aren’t or at least not before they see the end results, i.e. when I’m quoting – and so we usually end-up agreeing on a lesser amount of money, for a lesser amount of use at that stage – which to me is only fair.

      So if I get less (£), they get less (use).
      If I get more (£), they get more (use).

      As for it being ‘exclusive use’ – yes I would assume it would be – as most clients like this and don’t want to see someone else using the same images as them – especially if they themselves have worked hard on helping to creating the image too or bought the flowers or dressed the tables or hired models, etc, etc.

      By the way, I do believe he does know what he’s doing here and he is actually very good photographer in my opinion – but I think he just hasn’t quite thought this all through yet – so maybe in time the penny will drop, as he tries to find a way forward.

      Comment by Ashley Morrison — February 16, 2014 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

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