Ashley Morrison's Blog

September 11, 2016

The Exchange.

I’ve talked about Licensing here: Base Usage Rate – which is basically where one agrees beforehand, to hire oneself to do the work first, and then you ask your client (or clients) to paid you (when you go to invoice them afterwards) for the Rights to use that work (that you obviously own, after you have created the images).

So in away, this is a bit like agreeing to sell them ‘Stock images’ afterwards – all be it ones which you knew before you took them or produced them or even created them, that they would want to use them… as well as what they wanted to use them for, how long, etc, etc.

And I’ve talked about agreeing to do work made for hire here: A ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement – which is basically where ones asks their client beforehand, to pay you for not only ‘your time’ to do whatever work it is that they wanted you to do for them, but also cover all of the other expenses too (like cameras, lights, lenses, computers, etc, etc) – so as you can then do whatever work it is, with that gear that they want you to use, during the time period that they have agreed to pay you for.

Both of these types of agreements can work well for both parties, as far as I’m concerned – as they are both pretty clear-cut and therefore easy to understand.

Today however I’m going to talk about The Exchange agreement – which is basically where one asks the client beforehand, to agree to pay you for your time to do the work (and possibly something towards your out-of-pocket expenses too) in exchange for the Rights to use any work that you do.
Which sounds straight forward enough – and is, so long as neither party asks to many questions and everyone just expects that once the invoice is paid, that’s it.
So the photographer gets what they want (which is to be paid for their time & expenses) and the client gets what they want (which is some images for them to use).

Which means everyone is happy smile

Happy that is, until like I said about, one or other parties starts to question what exactly the deal is or was here. For example, did the photographer agree to All Rights here (meaning the client would now own the Copyright) OR was it just for the Rights to use the work in All media for an Unlimited period of time throughout the World (meaning the photographer would still own the Copyright, but the client could use the images for as long as they liked, in anyway that they wanted to, etc, etc) Or was it for the Rights to use the work for less than this ?

And are we talking about Exclusive use here (meaning only this client can use the images) or are we talking about Non-exclusive use here (meaning others could also use these images too, including this clients competitors) ?

So what’s the deal ?

For example, the client agrees beforehand, to pay you £700 afterwards, for ‘your time & expenses’ to do have done the work – and exchange for that, you would agree to hire yourself to do the work first (which is why you would then naturally own it) and you would then grant them or give them what ??
Because it’s obviously not going to be ‘your time & expenses’ that you are going to be giving them here, even though that is what you have actually asked them to pay you for or what they have agreed to pay you for – so it’s what you are going to be giving them in exchange for paying you for this, that needs to be made clear here… before any work is done.

Or may be you don’t need to actually give them any images at all here – because if you were to pay a Musician for example, for their time & expenses, they wouldn’t automatically give you a copy of the music that they played, for you to use afterwards !!

Or if they where only prepared to pay you £400 here, instead of £700, then what would the deal be ?

Or if after seeing the final results, they said that they didn’t want to use any of the images (because they were all basically useless), then what would the deal be ?

Or what if they decided to use them for the next 10 years, rather than asking you back each year to shoot more – which you were banking on – then what would the deal be ?

Or which would you say is better: an image that only took you 5 minutes to produce that they wanted to use for the next 5 years in multiple media OR an image that took you 5 hours to produce that they only wanted to use for a few weeks in one media ?

And do you think the client would agree, i.e. the better image is always the one that they have to pay you more for, rather than the one that they would want to use more ??

In other words, does it actually matter what the images look like or how good they are or even if there are any images at all here !!

More questions than answers – many of which I would find hard to answer – which is why I wouldn’t recommend this type deal to anyone – even though I’m aware The Exchange deal is probably one of the most common type of deal that is use by photographer, especially by those who are just starting out – because at first it seems to be a very simply deal, which it is, so long as as neither party asks to many questions and everyone just expects that once the invoice is paid, that’s it wink

May 19, 2016

What happens if things go wrong ?

Sometimes other photographers would ask me – when I tell them that I only ask my clients beforehand, to pay me for the Rights to use my work, rather than for my time & expenses to do the work for them – what happens if after you spend a lot of time and money producing a set of images, the client then turns around and says that they do not want to use of them or pay for the use of them ?

Or what if are now not prepared to pay as much ?
Or what if they want a lot more done to the images first, etc, etc. ?

Well thankfully that doesn’t happen very often, mainly because I would usually try to put everything down in writing beforehand – as well as ask lots of questions about things like:

Who is your target market ?
What does the images need to say to your target market ?
Which media are you planning on using the images in ?
How long are you needing to use them in those media ?
Plus where in the World are you going to be advertising in those media ?

In other words, it’s a bit like the 5Ws.

Because their answers to those type of questions, would then help me understand what it is I need to do to meet their needs.

So it is therefore important that they tell me what they need upfront, and if there is anything specific that they require – be it a look or a style or some retouching done, etc, etc – then that would also need to be put in writing beforehand too.

Because the price that I would be quoting them beforehand…
Recce picture taken in the Atlantic View bedroom at the Galway Bay Hotel on the promenade at Salthill.
.. would be for the Rights to use the images that I had created afterwards, so naturally it would be based on that information.

But still I hear you say: “What happens if it all goes wrong” – for whatever reason – and they end up not wanting to pay or they don’t want to pay as much, etc, etc ?

Well first off, I’d probably want to find out why that was – for example, was it something that I did wrong or didn’t get right or misunderstood ?
Or are they now just trying to pull a fast one ?

As a rule of thumb, if someone has invested a lot of their own time and money in a shoot – then it’s highly unlikely that they wouldn’t then want to use the images afterwards.

So therefore I would say, that 99% of the time, if the client did say afterwards that they did not want to pay for the use the images, the fault would lie at my end.
Which I would then naturally want to learn from – as ‘The Goal’ beforehand would have been, to try and produce some images that they (and possibly others too) would actually want to use – and hopefully want to use a lot too – rather than just see if I could take some pictures… which I know I could probably do with my iPhone icon_wink

Anyway, if I was to say it has never happened or was to say that I have never failed to produce the type of images that a client would want to pay for the use of, that would be a lie – because it has happened and it did actually happen very recently too.

So the question I have to ask myself, is obviously “Why did it happen ?” – because that was not ‘The Goal’ beforehand.

Not always an easy one to answer, because there may in fact be a number of reasons as to why it happened – but the bottom-line is: There are no winners when it does happen.
Because they don’t get what they want and I naturally don’t get what I want neither icon_cry

And when that happens, then below you can see some examples of what that this lose-lose type of deal ends up looking like:

This is what this page currently looks like on their website…
What the Atlantic View bedroom at the Galway Bay Hotel on the promenade at Salthill does look like on their website.
.. of the Ocean View Double Room – verses what it could have looked like…
The Atlantic View bedroom at the Galway Bay Hotel on the promenade at Salthill.
.. if I had been prepared to remove the building outside the window, for the same price as I had quoted them before they asked for that.

Which obviously I wasn’t prepared to do, because to do that well – so as one could not tell that it had been retouched, even when viewed at billboard size or in any media at any size – that would probably doubled the amount of time that I would need to spend on creating the image.

And it was the same here…
Galway Bay Suite at the Galway Bay Hotel on the promenade at Salthill.
.. as a result, this is how that same Atlantic View Suite currently looks on their website…
Screen shot of the Atlantic View Suite Bedroom picture on the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill's website.
.. and this is how their Family room looks…
What the Family bedroom suite at the Galway Bay Hotel on the promenade at Salthill does look like on their website.
.. which once again, could have looked like this instead…
Family Bedroom at the Galway Bay Hotel on the promenade at Salthill.
.. had I been prepared to replace the view outside the window.

“Forest for the trees” springs to mind – but there you have it – there are no winners is the answer icon_cry

Still, we did all really enjoy our stay in their hotel for a few days – which I talk about here: A lot more to it – and I did end-up with some lovely images for my own portfolio icon_wink

Plus it has given me something to blog about here for a second time – so all is not lost, because I at least have been able to put my work to good use cool

December 17, 2015

A ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement.

A question that was recently asked on one the photography forums, in connection with coming-up with pricing to shoot for a Kitchen and Bath Designer, was this:

“What are your thoughts on setting an hourly rate for this type of interior shooting. Is there a downside to pricing it this way?”

My answer, since this is a question I have asked myself many times over the years too, (which I have now decided to post on my blog here, for others to read as well, who may be wondering the same thing) was this:

There are advantages and disadvantages to agreeing to do (what I would call) ‘Work Made For Hire’, verses just ask someone beforehand, to pay you for ‘the Rights to use the work’, that you are agreeing to hire yourself to do.

Understanding the difference and what one would actually charge for, if it was either one or the other, is (I believe) very important for an artist (like yourself) to understand.

One is basically where you would ask the client beforehand (when you are quoting a price), to agree to pay you (either before or afterwards) to do the work for them – and the other, is where you ask the client beforehand (when you are quoting a price), to agree to pay you afterwards, for the use of the work that you are agreeing (to hire yourself and possibly others as well) to do.

And then I went on to try and explain what my understanding of a ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement was, by saying:

If I was wanting someone to help me for a day, to create some images for others to use, (an assistant or a stylist for example) I would (usually just) simply agree to pay them beforehand, for their time and expenses. So if I (their client) was wanting to keep their expenses part down to a minimum, then I (the client) would obviously need to supply them with anything and everything that they were going to need to do the work that I (the client) wanted them to do for me.

So unless beforehand, I (the client) had specify asked them to bring something along that day, like a camera or some lights or a computer or some cushions or some flowers, etc, etc – then for the most part, they would just turn-up with their two hands in their pockets and expect me (the client) to supply them with everything that I (the client) wanted them to use or work with.

So that’s what I would call, a ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement.
(Please note: I do understand that in America, the term Works Made for Hire is a Legal Term; and so therefore, it may mean something slightly different as a result – but I believe it’s based along these same lines of thinking).

So what the actual work was used for (or even not used for), by me or anyone else, would therefore not come into it.
The assistant or stylist (or the person who was being hired) would still get paid for their time, plus for any expenses that they occurred during that day, irrespective of how much or how little the work was used or even by whom.

So that keeps it nice and simply, for both them (the person being hired) and me (their client) to understand, what the deal is and what they are going to be paid for or will be paid for afterwards.

So with this type of deal, in your case, it would therefore be all about: Expenses, Expenses, Expenses – as that would be the only real difference between one job and another, i.e. what camera they wanted you to use, lights they wanted you to use, lenses they wanted you to use, computers they wanted you to use, etc, etc… because you could even take the pictures with your iPhone, if all they wanted you to do, is turn-up and take some pictures.

So not a bad way to work as far as I’m concerned – as you may actually get to play with some really neat stuff, like a Phase One camera system for example or some Profoto lights – IF you fully understand how it works, and they are prepared to pay for all of those things as well, as for your time to do the work.

However, it would all really need to be agreed to beforehand – and ideally put in writing too (a signed agreement) – because after all the work is done, it’s that pre (written) agreement that would be the all important thing here… as far as a Judge would be concerned, should they not pay you afterwards and you ended up in court over that.

As for asking someone beforehand (when you are quoting a price), to agree to pay you afterwards, for the Rights to use the work that you are going to (agree to hire yourself and possibly others as well to) create – that’s a completely different deal and/or thing altogether – so should you want to know about that, you can read more about what I have already said about that type of deal here: Licence to use.

In other words, I believe both ways can work and both ways can work very well in your favour too, IF you fully understand the difference between the two and don’t start mixing them up or try to exchange one for the other – because that’s when things can often start to go pear-shape, based on my own experience over the past 30 years or so.
Double page spread advertisment for a National Trust kitchen by Mark Wilkinson in the August 2006 issue of Country Living magazine.

So I hope that helps this photographer, answer their own question here – because at the end of the day, it’s thier business, to run it as best as they see fit – as there is no Rule Book for self employed people (or people who agree to hire themselves or employ themselves), which is what I am assuming, is what this photographer is.

Anyway, your thoughts on all of this, as usual, are most welcome too – as it is, like I said at the start, a question that I have asked myself many times over the years too, i.e. each time before I quoted a price smile

Cheers,
Ashley
www.ampimage.com

August 28, 2014

Classic

Interesting request in last week from a PR agency in England, who was looking for someone to produce some images for them to use to help them promote their client, who it seems “makes very high quality doors for houses”… according to them.

Not sure how they came across my name, as they also asked to see my portfolio / website – but anyway, after sending them a link to it, I realised they probably wouldn’t see that many images on our website of just doors – which I assume is that they would want to see – so I quickly dug-out a few actually ‘door type images’ that I had on file, like this one…
Enterence hallway door
.. and this one…
Enterence hallway door
.. which I explained to them in an email, were images which were produced along with a set of other images those days, for mainly ‘editorial use’ in various home interior type magazines – both nationally as well as locally.

Which was basically the same market that they were hoping to target here too, with these images which they were asking me to produce and then provide them with for them and their client to use.

Also sent them this image…
Door by Hayburn Wood Products
.. which was produced almost 10 years ago, and is still being used by Hayburn Wood Products to promote the fact that they also produced beautiful doors too – to show a slightly different style, which is more ‘advertising’ like – being puncher, cleaner and eye catching – due to a number of factors.

So in other words, I wanted them to see that even something as simple as ‘an image of a door’, could be made to look very different – which it may need to here, to appeal to her target market and get them the desired results.
Which is at the end of the day, is what it’s all about. i.e. me helping them get results.

So anyway, that all when down well and they loved what they saw – so then came the big question: How much?

Well as always, the answer is “it depends” – as there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject.
And so the questions at my end often are: “How good do the images need to be ?” and “How much are you prepare to spend ?”.
However, I know there is no point in actually asking a client those questions, because I already know what they would say if I did, which would be: “We want them to look amazing but we don’t want to pay very much.” wink

So instead, I ask them what did they need to use the image for, as that will then help me to determine not only what they may be worth to them but also what I may have to do to ensure I get it right for them.

And in this case, they said they where needing them for PR use, as they would be sending them to the various home interest magazines (like the ones we would often submit our work to) for them to use in the “How to get the look” section – which you would often see at the end of a feature, etc.
Period of use – well forever naturally, especially if it doesn’t cost anymore – and the Territory of use would be Worldwide, especially if it didn’t cost anymore.
But it does – because producing an image which someone would actually want to use more, usually means it will need to be better and more timeless looking – which again I need to take into account – as well as, who their target market is, i.e. local people, national people or even international people – as what the style may need to be, to appeal to each of those could be very different.

So anyway, with this information on hand, I sent them through this quote…
Quote-00016856
.. to get the ball rolling here – as this is what I reckoned the minimum would need to be – both in terms of what I’d need to charge to cover my basic production costs; as well as, what they would actually be needing to use these images for too.

Which is based on what I would consider to be ‘Standard use’ – that is, for me to produce and then provide them with a number of images here, that would be good enough for them to want to use in this one media for at least the next two years in throughout the UK & Ireland.

To which they relied:

“Hi happy with that but we don’t want a restriction on use.
Please can you look at that and take that off and re-send the invoice?
Thanks so much”

Classic, I thought rolleyes

So now instead of me producing some images that she may want to use for more than 2 years PR use, she now wants what exactly ?

For me to produce some image here that she would want to use for in multiple media for the next 10+ years throughout the world, which would obviously cost a hell of a lot more OR for me to just take some quick pictures here that she could use if she wanted to… and stay within that budget ??

As it’s obviously the budget here, that will ultimately determine what I can or can not afford to do – which in turn will then determine how much she will actually want to use the images for afterwards.

So that could be like the difference between me providing her with something like this…
Preview use only
.. or this…
One time only editorial use
.. or even this…
Multiple media use for 10+ years
.. depending on how money I had to play with.

So, since I know I can take some quick shots for her – should she not want to spend much money – and I also know I can produce some images which she may want to use a bit more or even use a lot more (if I really ‘go for it’ and bring in a team to help me) – then what are we talking about here now !!

Or let me put it another way, for £510, for me to produce and then provide you with 4 images for you to use – which of the above 3 images do you think you would be getting from me at the end of the day, for you to use for whatever you liked ?
(keeping in mind that there is at least 2 or 3 hours travelling involved here too).

In other words, what would your exceptions be here ? – because I sure wouldn’t like to disappoint you and get this wrong !!

Now obviously if what they were simply just asking me to do here, was to take some pictures – and it was all sitting-up camera ready, and perfect to shoot – then no problems at all. However, after looking at the recce image that they sent me of what the door actually looked like ‘as is’ – it was very obviously to both of us, that for me to create some images here that they would actually want to use a lot, then a lot was going to be needed to be done. Otherwise, they would just end-up with some images which they could use a lot, but probably won’t want to use very much.

So the question for me is: What do they want me to produce and then provide them with here ? – and: How much would they be willing to pay for that ?

Well if they are only prepared to pay £510 and where wanting to use the images as much as they like, then obviously I’d need to say within my budget and keep my costs down to a minimum – especially if I was wanting to maximise my profits.
So naturally I’m not going to want to do anything more than I would absolutely need to – because this for me, is all about making as much money as possible at the end of the day – as opposed to me wanting some really great images here, because I personally needed to use them for something.

So really, the only reason why I’d want to go the extra mile here and produce some amazing images, is if either:
(a) I needed to use them for something.
OR
(b) If I felt that would increase the value of them, i.e. the amount that others would be prepared to pay me for the use of them – because then there would be a real incentive in place.

But obviously if you remove that incentive, by saying something like: it’s a fixed fee for unlimited use, then trying to produce better images that others would want to use a lot more, all becomes very counter productive – as this is like saying: it doesn’t really matter how good they are any more.

That’s obviously not really a great way to work, especially for a creative person, who will naturally always want to their best – but since I’m a ‘professional’ photographer (who is a person who takes photographs to make money, rather than an amateur, who may take photographs for pleasure and to record an event, emotion, place, without a monetary motivation) – then taking photographs to make money means, that the money side of things needs to come first – otherwise, what I’d be doing, would really be no difference to what an ‘amateur’ would do.

So the question for me is: If you want me to provide you with more, how much more are you willing to pay ?

Which in this cased turned-out to be a lot more, for the same amount of money that I had quoted here.

Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me – and so that was basically the end of it – as there is simply no way I’m going to provide something that is possibly worth thousands of pounds, for just a few hundred.

So would love to hear from others here, as to how you go about handling requests like this – whereby a client specifically asks you to give them a price for one thing, but then says they want you to provide them with something totally different afterwards… for the same price.

August 18, 2014

Our needs V’s Their needs.

Was over shooting at Marie’s the other day – and so while she was busy and very focused on doing her thing here…
Marie at work.
.. to create a series of lovely banner images like this…
Bed linen and cushions.
.. to show the new head board she is selling, as well as cushions and lamps, etc – which I must say all looked very well…
Bed linen and cushions.
.. as she mixed & matched them…
Bed linen and cushions.
… to show how simple changes could completely change the look.

I on the other hand, was busy thinking about a solution, to the new terms agreement which IPC Media have recently introduced.

This being the problem:-

IPC Media has updated its rights agreements to reflect our needs as a multi platform business. Our previous agreements were written when all content was produced for print, but now our customers expect to be able to access content on whichever platform they chose to experience it – in print, on tablet, on smartphones, online or through events and other experiences.
The rights we are buying are All Rights, in return for IPC’s agreement to pay the fees agreed for each commission.
All Rights means the assignment to IPC of all of your right, title and interest in, and to, the copyright and all other rights of every kind or description in the material(s) commissioned from you, throughout the World whether those rights are now known or are created in the future and in each case for the full period of existence of those rights.

This assignment to IPC is made with full title guarantee, which means that you guarantee to IPC that you have the right to pass to us the entire ownership of the rights in the material(s) i.e. you have not copied anyone else’s work, and only you have been involved in the preparation of the material(s).

And it is a problem on different levels too – as agreeing to this would not only mean the end of additional usage sale – which I personally do count on to cover the extra cost of hiring people like Marie here, to help me produce the type of images that these people would want to use – but it would also remover any & all incentives to do anything more than the bare minimum anymore.

Because producing ‘better images’ is clearly now not going to make us any more money – and so the last thing one would want to do, is give them some images that they would want to use that much – as the more they would use those images, the less they would need to use us.

So it’s all very counter productive in away, as it’s like ‘just about good enough’ will now become the norm – as the incentive to do more than that, has just been removed.
Because a quick snap-shot, which may be of little use to them or anyone – is now worth exactly the same to the photographer, as an amazing image which may be worth thousands to them or possibly other people – as they are now talking about a fixed fee for ‘All Rights’.

Which basically means it doesn’t really matter what the images look like anymore – as it’s not going to make any difference to what they are worth.
At least not as far as we (the photographers) will be concerned.

But it doesn’t just stop there – as agreeing to this would also mean we are no longer just talking about ‘Editorial use’ – and so we would now need to let the homeowners know that – as these images which we are about to take in their home, could now be use in almost any media for almost anything, including advertising.
And we would have no say in that – as IPC Media would own the Rights – to do as they please with the images.

And incase you’re thinking “No, surely not” – I can assure you it can and most likely will, as I’ve been down this road before and that’s exactly what started to happened.

So take this image that we produce in Marie’s house the other day…
Bed linen and cushions.
.. if we agreed to IPC Media’s terms here – then they would own All Rights to it – which means neither Marie (the homeowner in this case as well as being the stylist) or I would have any say in either how IPC Media used it or even who else they sold it to, for them to use.

So she could easily see pictures like this of her home, being used by not only other magazines in different parts of the world over the next few years, but also being used for advertising by others too – on Billboards, Posters, Ambient; Brochures, Direct Mail, Magazine ads, Newspaper ads, Point of sale, Television as well as on the Worldwide web – as we are no longer talking about just a one time only editorial feature anymore, in one magazine, in one country.

Because “All Rights means the assignment to IPC of all of your right, title and interest in, and to, the copyright and all other rights of every kind or description in the material(s) commissioned from you, throughout the World whether those rights are now known or are created in the future and in each case for the full period of existence of those rights.”

So that’s the problem – now what’s the solutions ??

Henry Ford once said:

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

So would love to hear from others, especially those who may also be directly effected by this new agreement – not to dwell on the problem, but to hear what you feel would be a good solution here – as that is what we need find, before this all ends in tears.

As that is exactly what is going to happen here, if we don’t – as this could very well be the end of ‘editorial work’ as we know it – for everyone… including them.

Cheers
Ashley
www.ampimage.com

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 up front 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 up front 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.

January 9, 2014

What difference does it make ?

Six months after Marie was pictured here smiling, in living room of a new property…
Marie standing in Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. which she & her husband Alan had just bought – she was once again pictured smiling, as she sat on the stairs…
Marie McMillen on the stairs in her 1950's cottage in Belfast on the 1st February 2010.
.. of this exact same room.

Wow, I hear you say, what a difference !!.

But what is the real difference here, between this image…
The living room in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and this one…
The living room in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950s cottage in Belfast on the 1st February 2010.
.. from a Professional photographer’s point of view ?

A photographer [the Greek φῶς (phos), meaning “light”, and γραφή (graphê), meaning “drawing, writing”, together meaning “drawing with light”] is a person who takes photographs. A professional photographer uses photography to earn money; amateur photographers take photographs for pleasure and to record an event, emotion, place, or person.

So why on the 29th July 2009, when I took this image…
The living room in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. did I as a Professional photographer, not think it was worth my while to use anything more than just a basic point & shoot camera system – whereas when I took this image of the exact same room…
The living room in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast
.. I felt I needed to spend a lot more time – use a medium format ’tilt & shift’ camera system, thousands of pounds worth of lights and shoot to a laptop – so as Marie could then tweak things and style it to within an inch of her life.

What difference does it make to a Professional photographer?

Because lets face it, from my point of view as a Professional photographer – what I’m looking at here…
The kitchen in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and what I’m seeing here…
The kitchen in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. is just two pictures of basically the same room.

Okay, so the first images doesn’t look that good – and the other one looks really nice – but besides what Marie had done here…
The dining area in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. over a six month period, to transform this space into something very different…
The dining area in 36 Ascot Park on the 1st February 2010.
.. what’s the real difference between these two pictures ?

Is this picture better…
The TV area in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. than this one…
The TV area in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. or could it be the other way around ?

For example, if someone wanted to use this image…
The master bedroom in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and was prepared to pay me for that – even thought I didn’t spend much time on shooting and just used a point & shoot camera system – and no-one wanted to use this image…
he master bedroom in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. even though Marie had spend 6 months working on it and we then spent hours shooting it with top-end camera gear, etc – would that mean the first image is actually better ?

Because you see, from my point of view – as a Professional photographer, rather than just someone who likes to take pictures in their spare time – the only real difference between this image…
The master bedroom in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and this image…
The bathroom in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. is to do with the amount that someone else may be prepared to pay me for use it – and that’s really about it.

Sure, I’d much prefer to take pretty pictures – but being a Professional photographer isn’t really about taking pretty pictures – it’s about making money or making a living – from producing images that others will want to use, and use enough that they will be prepared to pay you some money for.

So in theory, as crazy as it may seem – from a Professional photographer’s point of view, Marie didn’t do anything here – besides provide me with something, which I now felt was worth spending a lot more time on shooting.
The reason being, because I now felt others may want to use these images and would therefore be prepared to pay for that use – so that’s why I went the extra mile.

Take that incentive away, and all you are left with, is two pictures or two sets of images – that are worth the same to the guy behind the camera.

So to answer my own question here: What difference does it make ?
As a Professional photographer, the difference has to do with the use of the images and the amount that others are prepared to pay for that.

Little use = Little value.
Greater use = Greater value
… to both them & me.

Anyway, as a Professional photographer, I’d just like to say a big thanks to Marie & Allen for making a difference here – because I really don’t think that anyone would have wanted to use those first set of images – no matter what camera system I would have used or how much time I would have spent on the lighting them wink

Smiling from behind the camera smile
Ashley
www.ashleymorrison.com

December 31, 2013

To take a picture or to create an image !

That’s often a question I ask, because I need to know, which do they want me to give them a price for.

So what’s the difference ?

Well as we approach the end of another year, I like to look back on what all we have done and what all we have achieved – as I look forward to the year ahead.
So I’ve been updating some of my earlier 2010 Blogs, to show more of what we actually did and still do – by showing the original capture file and then the final image – so as to let people see that it just didn’t happen to look like that at the time, but was in fact created to look like that instead.

Because very often, all that anyone will ever see – including the client – is the final image. So one could therefore easily just assume, that all I did, was turn-up and take a picture of what was already there.

Which doesn’t sound that hard, if you’ve got a decent camera – right ?

Anyway, while looking back I came across this set of capture files…

.. from a shoot I did back in 2007, of a kitchen in Robinson Interior’s showroom.
So this frame show what it actually looked like, because all I had done here was set-up the camera and pressed the button, i.e. I took a picture.

And because they not only wanted to use the image on their website but in other media too – to promote and advertise their business – then I took a picture of the top as well…
Capture-073276
.. which when jointed together, ended up looking like this:
What the image of the high gloss white kitchen in Robinson Interior's Belfast showroom could have looked like.

So what do you think ?

Do you think they would they be happy with that and would therefore want to use it – and if so, how much do you think that image would be worth to them ?
Because that’s usually the very first question that a client will ask, i.e. How much would you charge to take some pictures for me ?

Anyway, personally I reckon it wouldn’t have been worth very much to them, as they probably wouldn’t have wanted to use it very much (if at all) – even if I’d said they could use it, as much as they liked for the price I’d quoted.

So rather than just take a picture of what was there, I decided to create an image instead…
Capture-073374
.. by lighting up, etc- and adding the top part…
Capture-073403
.. which when jointed together, ended up looking like this:
What the image of the high gloss white kitchen in Robinson Interior's Belfast showroom could have looked like.

So what do you think ?

Do you think they would they be happy with that and would therefore want to use it – and if so, how much do you think that image would be worth to them ?

Or what about this…
High gloss white kitchen in Robinson Interior's Belfast showroom.
.. which is actually the final image which I provided them with, to help them promote and advertise their business.

So what do you think ?

Do you think they would they be happy with that and would therefore want to use it – and if so, how much do you think that image would be worth to them ?

Well looking back – which as I said before, I tend to do at this time of year – I see that they used it quite a bit…
The cover plus an double page spread advertisement and an Advertorial feature for Robinson Interiors in the Irish Kitchens magazine showing the high gloss white kitchen in their Belfast showroom.
.. and it also made it onto the cover of the best of Irish kitchens magazine too.

And as we approach the year 2014, I see they are still using this image 7 years on…
Screen grab of Robinson Interior's website showing the high gloss white kitchen in their Belfast showroom.
.. as one of the main images on their website.

Anyway, hopefully that will help explain the difference between taking and creating – and also help explain why I charge for the use of my images, rather than just for my time to turn up and take some pictures – which unfortunately, is very often all that a client thinks they will need to pay for, when they first ask the question: How much would you charge to take some pictures for me ?

So to answer that question this coming year, I think I’ll simply reply: I don’t take, I give… by adding – so would you like me to give you a price, for me to create some images for you to use instead ?

In other words, I usually create images for others to use, rather than just turning-up and taking some pictures – so I charge for the use of my images, after I have created them.
Which means, I simply ask clients to pay me for the use of my work, rather than to do some work – as the amount of work involved in creating an image that they will want to use a lot, often goes way beyond just turning-up and taking some pictures of whatever happen to be there.

Which is the part that most people don’t ever see, but yet, it’s that creative part that could make a huge difference – as it’s that part that could make them want to use the images a lot or not at all – which in this example, has been to use this image for 7 years in multiple media so far.
So an image which someone wants to use for say 7 years in 4 different media, is obviously worth a lot more to them than an image that they only want to use for 1 month in 1 media – and so that’s what I go by, when trying to determine what the fee should be, for me to produce and then provide them with some images for them to use… which I’m saying I will create, rather than just take smile

And so on that note, I wish you all a very happy & prosperous New Year.

From Marie, me and the rest of the team @ ampimage.com

April 1, 2013

Who pays photographers?

Shakodo website

By Juergen Specht, on the Shakodo Blog a few days ago – where yours truly got a wee mention, for trying to answer this question about How best to charge for high end commercial architectural photography? 🙂

Juergen Specht wrote on the 29th March 2013:

Who pays photographers?

I just got tipped to a new site named “Who pays photographers?“, which collects anonymous contributions from photographers and how much they earned for a specific job from different outlets. Needless to say, its depressing to see these low rates collected together in one spot.
However, the more I look through it, the more I agree with some comments about the site, that “only dissatisfied [photographers] … working for niche websites or newspapers” report their income there. The main problems I see, based on what I read on Shakodo every single day, is that most photographers still don’t know how to charge properly and what they actually sell. And this is one of the core reasons why so many photographers have such a frustrating low income.

Lets take for example the concept of “work by the hour”. I really, really don’t understand why photographers do this to themselves. Imagine there are 2 photographers, a very experienced professional and a not that experienced semi-professional. They both get hired to take the portrait of a busy, high-end subject. The experienced photographer comes out of the session with a great portrait in 5 minutes, because of his experience to grasp the situation, the available light and the attention of his subject. The not so experienced semi-professional needs 20 minutes for the image. Now, who should earn more? The professional who didn’t waste much time of his subject? Or the semi-professional, who needed 4 times the time for a picture? And what happens if the semi-professional becomes more experienced? Shall he suddenly earn less, because he can get the results faster?

This is just one example why “work by the hour” is not such a great idea. To quote Jim Greipp again “You get paid for your talent and not your time”.
And in the end, it all boils down to one thing: The value of your images to the client.

Nobody can explain this concept better than Shakodo Member Ashley Morrison in his answer to this question.

So instead of complaining about low fees, educate yourself and learn from the people who are busy making money with photography. You probably will not find them on “Who pays photographers?“, because they actually have work to do.

Where I tried to explain to Steve, a London based photographer, the difference between giving a price to take some pictures that a client could use if they wanted to, and giving a price to produce some images that a client would actually want to use, to meet their usage requirements.

Where I included some images of the same buildings, to help illustrate my point …
The Carlton Atlantic Coast Hotel in Westport.
.. that all images are not the same……
The Carlton Atlantic Coast Hotel in Westport.
.. and so this is why it’s often very hard to put a price on what we are being asked to provide our clients with – especially beforehand.

Anyway, just though I’d post this on my own Blog here, as it’s nice to be mentioned – and to know that someone else out there in the world, thinks I’m not way of the mark on my thinking here, on how to go about putting a price on an assignment like this… before the actual images exist.

March 2, 2013

An analogy would be.

In a recent discussion on a photographer’s forum, about how one goes about putting a price on what ‘we’ do – this is the analogy I gave, in reference to a job I have recently been asked to quote for – whereby the client was wanting to know what my ‘day rate’ was, to take some pictures at a nearby hotel.

So to try and explain why I, like them (the hotel), quote the way I do, this is how I explained it – so as the hotel could see, that how I put a price on ‘my thing’ is very similar to how they put a price on ‘their thing’ – should someone ask for a quote.

There are basically 4 things that will determine the fee:

1. Number of images: 15 images – is like saying: 15 people.
2. Media use: Worldwide web & promotional emails only – is like saying: Bed & Breakfast only.
3. Period of use: 2 years use (ends 31/3/2015) – is like saying: 2 nights (ends the following day).
4. Territory of use: Internet only – is like saying: their hotel only.

So, just as the price that they would quote you, would also be based on the above information – so is mine…
Quote-00016764 by Ashley Morrison for producing and then providing 15 images of various rooms at a Hotel in County Down for them to use as stated.
.. which means, if I would like them to pay more than this, then it would then be up to me to try and produce some images that they would actually want to use for more than this…
Quote-00016764 by Ashley Morrison for producing and then providing 15 images of various rooms at a Hotel in County Down for them to use as stated.

.. if I was to expect them to pay me more than this afterwards (just as they will want their customers to use their hotel for more than the minimum amount too) – which is therefore my incentive (or their incentive) to go the extra mile for my clients (or in their case, their guests, who want to use their hotel).

So the more that other people want us to provide them with or the more that they get from us to use afterwards, then the more I would charge – which I believe is only fair.

And that’s basically how I go about it these days – as times have changed and most of my clients now just seem to want ‘some images to use’ – rather than specific images to use for a specific ad – which is how it would have been back in the days of film, when I would have quoted a ‘day rate’.

Anyway, just thought I’d share this analogy – which is based on a real example – of how I put a price on what ‘we’ do – before any images have been created or produced, for others to use these days.

ampimage.com… just for you!

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