Ashley Morrison's Blog

March 4, 2017

Interested in this project.

One of the most commonly asked questions on the forums by other photographers these days is: “How much should I charge?”.

Never an easy one to answer, because there is no Rule Book to say: “This is how much you should charge” – and since you don’t actually need to charge anything, then you could say: “Just pick a number that you think is fair”.

The client would then say: “Is that your best price”, to which you would reply: “No, a better price would be twice that amount” wink.

Seriously though – trying to put a price on something that doesn’t even yet exist (except possibly in your client’s mind) isn’t easy.
Especially as there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – from quick snap-shots using just a basic camera system, through to full production staged shots using larger format camera systems, lights, models, stylists, etc, etc.

Anyway, today I’m going to talk about one which I recently quoting on, just to let you see why the above question about “How much should I charge?”, isn’t an easy one to answer – even for someone like me, after 30 years of trying to answer that question, each time a new client asks for a price.

The original email from the client basically informed me, that they were currently redesigning their website and were therefore in need of some new photography, of all areas of their hotel – and they wanted to know if I would be interested in this project.
To which I replied:

“Good to hear from you – and yes we would be very interested in helping you with this project.

So as a first step, if you could let me know the number of images that you would like us to produce and then provide you with afterwards, I could send you through a quote based on that information.”

And so they sent me through their ‘wish list of shots’ – with a note to say that it would be great to get a price this, which they could then “review and revise if necessary”.

And so based on that information, I sent them this quote:
To produce and then provide 30 images of various rooms & areas for exclusive use for:- Worldwide web & promotional emails. Period of use: 2 years. Territory of use: Internet.

Which as you can see, is for the use of these images (which don’t yet exist) in 1 media for 2 years in 1 region – i.e. it’s the amount that I’d like to be paid, should I produce & then provide them with 30 images here, that they would then want to use for ‘standard use’ – which I would refer to as my Base Usage Rate (BUR).

So 30 x my BUR = the Total.
Which would be my usual starting point when it comes to negotiating the fee beforehand, as this would be like the minimum amount that I’d like to be paid, rather than the maximum amount that I’d like to be paid wink.

To which they thanked me for – and then asked “would it be possible to revise this quote to cover 70 images” – and also asked “if I offered a price for full rights without an annual licensing fee.”

Which naturally made me smile, as that would be a bit like asking them what the fee would be for 1 nights B&B for 30 people – and then saying how much would it be for 70 people to stay for as long as they liked and use all of the hotel’s other facilities too as much as they liked wink.

Anyway, based on that information, I sent these 2 Quotes to let them see what the fee would be for 70 images first – for 2 years web use…
To produce and then provide 70 images of various rooms & areas for exclusive use for:- Worldwide web & promotional emails. Period of use: 2 years. Territory of use: Internet.
.. and for unlimited years web use…
To produce and then provide 70 images of various rooms & areas for exclusive use for:- Media use: Worldwide web & promotional emails. Period of use: 10+ year. Territory of use: Internet.
.. which as you can see is: 70 x my BUR+% for the additional use = the Total.

So the overall price naturally increased due to them wanting me to not only provide them with more images here but also because they would want to able to use the image for a lot longer too.
(In other words, I’m also taking into account here, that these images would need to be better than just good enough for them to want to use for a few years here – hence the +% to cover what that may cost me, as producing better images will obviously cost me more.)

I also then sent them 3 more Quotes – this one was for me to provide them with 70 images, for 1 years use in All media…
To produce and then provide 70 images of various rooms & areas for exclusive use for:- Media use: Ambient, Billboards, Brochures, Magazine ads, Newspaper ads, Point of sale, Television, Poster, Press, Direct Mail, Worldwide web & promotional emails. Period of use: 1 year. Territory of use: UK & Ireland plus on the Internet.
.. plus this one for 3 years use in All media…
To produce and then provide 70 images of various rooms & areas for exclusive use for:- Media use: Ambient, Billboards, Brochures, Magazine ads, Newspaper ads, Point of sale, Television, Poster, Press, Direct Mail, Worldwide web & promotional emails. Period of use: 3 years. Territory of use: UK & Ireland plus on the Internet.
.. and this one is for 10+ years use in All media…
To produce and then provide 70 images of various rooms & areas for exclusive use for:- Media use: Ambient, Billboards, Brochures, Magazine ads, Newspaper ads, Point of sale, Television, Poster, Press, Direct Mail, Worldwide web & promotional emails. Period of use: 10+ years. Territory of use: UK & Ireland plus on the Internet.
.. throughout the UK & Ireland plus on the Internet.

Where once again as you can see, the overall price has increased quite a bit from the original Quote – as I’m now talking about the maximum amount, rather than the minimum amount, that I’d like to be paid here smile.

And so now I wait to hear what they have to say – because this is the part that will actually determine what I can afford to do or even think of doing here – as I know there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject.

So in a way, this is me simply trying to find out from them at this stage, ‘how good’ do these images actually need to be!

In other words:

Do these images just need to be ‘good enough’ for them to want to use on their website for a few years OR do they need to be ‘good enough’ for them to want to use them for the next 10 years in various printed media as well as on their website too?

Because producing some images that would be fine to use on their website for a few years, wouldn’t cost as much to produce as the sort of images that they would still be wanting to use in 10 years time, in various printed media as well as on their website – and so it’s this information that I would be taking into account at this stage – as I want to be sure that I’m able to afford to do what I’m possibly going to need to do here, to enable me to provide them with what they are saying they need at the end of the day.

Because instead of it just being 3 or 4 days job here (my BUR), it could in fact now be weeks of work – especially if they are wanting these images to be very good, rather than just good enough for now. And on top of the extra time that I may have to spend on this project, I may also need to hire a team of people to help me here – and so it would be the +% part on top of my Base Usage Rate figure here, that I would then be using to pay for all of these additional things that I may need, hence the BUR+% figure.

And so there you have it – that is the ‘first step’ as far as I’m concerned – because I am interested in this project; however like I said before, I know there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject. So before we go any further, I first need to know if they would be willing to pay the amount that I would like to be paid here, should I successfully manage to provide them with what they would like.

Which will hopefully help answer the question that many ask, i.e. “How much should I charge?” – because as you can see, a lot depends on what the client is actually asking you to provide them with afterwards – as it’s that information that you need to take into account beforehand – which could actually change at any point on time, like it did here – after I had first quoted them a price for me to produce and then provide them with some images, for them to use for 2 years on their website, as opposed to some images for them to use for 10+ years in All media.

And which after seeing the final results, could actually change again – because remember, these images that we are talking about here, don’t yet exist – which means they could look amazing or they may not – and so it’s like I’m saying to them here: “Well if they do look amazing, then the fee would be more than if they don’t.”.

So in summary:

If the images that I produced here, were of no use to man or beast, then I wouldn’t expect them to pay me anything. However, if the images that I produced here, were the sort of images that they would want to use a lot, then I would expect to be paid accordingly.

Which I’d see as being the only fair way to do this – especially since these images don’t yet exist and may never exist unless we can first reach an agreement over what the fee would be for the Rights to use them afterwards.

Thereby putting the horse in front of the cart, rather than the other way around – because I know there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject smile.

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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 afterward, 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!

June 4, 2012

Usage calculator.

By the Association of Photographers, which one can use to help determine what the fee would be for the ‘Additional use’ of one’s work.

So if you start by letting the client know what the fee would be for ‘Standard use’ first – which would be the amount that you would want to be paid for the use of your work in either 2 media for 1 year or 1 media for 2 years, in 1 country, i.e. your Base Usage Rate (BUR) – then should they want you to provide them with more than that, you can use this Usage Calculator here…
AOP-BUR
.. to help you determine what the additional (+%) fee would be, for that amount of ‘Additional use’ of your work.

Very useful – so a big thanks to the Association of Photographers for this.

March 23, 2011

All Media

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 7:17 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recently a photographer asked what he should charge for ‘All Media’ use, in the UK for 1 year.
He knew the AOP’s guidelines recommended +750% for ‘All Media’ use; however, he felt that was totally wrong.

He claimed his BUR was £2000 (“my basic day rate for advertising is £2000.00, which gets them ONE yr UK, 2 media”) – but reckoned for ‘All Media’ use, £2,500 would be about right i.e. an additional £500.

So is the AOP’s BUR system wrong !!
Your BUR+750% = All Media.

Well, let’s look at it the other way around:
All Media-750% = your Base Usage Rate (BUR).

So if one says £2,500 is for ‘All Media’, then £2,500-750% would suggest one’s BUR is only £333.33 i.e. your basic rate for ‘standard use’.

Garbage In, Garbage Out – as they say.
If the figures don’t stack-up, then obviously your BUR figure must not be right – is the way I would see it.
The figure you are referring to may be based on something, but it should be obvious it’s not your Base Usage Rate – and if it is not your BUR, then naturally the AOP’s pricing guidelines will not make any sense.

So if you are wanting to use their pricing system, to help you work out what the fee should be, then obviously you need to get this bit right first.

Now let’s look at what ‘All Media’ actually covers.
Media use is broken down into the following sections and the recommended percentage figures for each media can be found in the AOP’s book Beyond the Lens:-

. Ambient (includes: garage forecourt, airport and rail station screens and all public areas where advertising is screened).
. Billboards / Posters (includes: 96/48/16/12/4 sheet, superlites, escalator panels, bus sides & panels, taxis wraps & seats, bus backs, tube, underground).
. Brochure / Catalogue.
. Direct Mail (includes: door drop leaflets & postcards).
. Inserts / Prints.
. Marketing Aids (includes: umbrellas, ashtrays, beer mats, exhibition panels, trolley panels).
. Magazine ads (includes: advertorial features, ads & PR).
. Magazine editorial.
. Newspaper (includes: advertorial features, ads & PR).
. Packaging.
. Point of sale.
. PR (includes: images used to promote within a press editorial/advertorial or trade handout).
. Press (includes: trade, consummer, local, national, magazine & newspapers).
. Television / Cinema (includes: interactive TV, Video, mobiles, CD ads).
. Worldwide web ( includes: email ads & internet use).

So if a client says they need to use the images in ‘All Media’, then this is all the things they are saying they need to use the images for. Which would indicate they are about to spend a lot of money here, over the next 12 months. Naturally that needs to be taken into account when you are quoting a fee, because clearly these images are hugely important to them.
Hence the +750% figure.
Which is there to help you meet their needs.

A useful link to terms used by Ad agencies and information on usage: A PhotoEditor.

July 29, 2010

Base Usage Rate.

In their book, Beyond the Lens, the Association of Photographers give Photographers (in the UK), guidelines as to what they should be taking into account, when negotiating the fee for the use of their images. They talk briefly about the Base Usage Rate (BUR) and then go to great lengths to give us percentage figures, so as we can calculate what the Licence fee should be, for the use of the images that we produce and/or create, for others to use.
Most Photographers know that they own the Copyright of the images that they create; however, calculating their value and/or determining what they should charge, often causes them lots of problems.

So, here is my take on the Association of Photographer’s BUR pricing system and how it works – which I hope others will find of value:

As a commercial photographer, I simply produce & provide images for others to use.

So my goal is to try and produce the best images possible so that others will want to use them… and use them a lot hopefully.
Simple.

However, putting a price on those images is not quite so simple, especially before they have actually been produced or created.
Why ?

Because there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – from quick snap-shots using just a basic camera…
George V dining room at Ashford Castle
.. through to full production staged shots using larger camera systems, lights, models, stylists, etc, etc…
The George V dining room at Ashford Castle in County Mayo.
.. which means all images are not equal or the same.

So depending on which way I choose to shoot it, that will, in some way or another affect the value to me… which will ultimately affect the fee and/or the minimum amount I would need to charge to cover my costs.

However, because the images are being produced for others to use, then the value to them or what the images are worth to them, also needs to be taken into account here. The ‘Media use’, the ‘Period of use’ and the ‘Territory of use’ being the 3 main things that will determine the value to them – which is obviously a totally different thing to the value to me.

So both of these values need to be taken into account beforehand – and this is were the Association of Photographer’s BUR pricing system comes into play – to help me determine the value of the images and what the fee ‘should be’ to ensure I get it right. So as I don’t either overestimate​ or undervalue what I am being asked to provide my clients with, to meet their needs here.

The BUR figure is therefore like my starting point.

That is the amount I would normally charge to produce images that would be ‘good enough’ for standard use. (Standard use being​ either: 2 media for 1 years use or 1 media for 2 years use, in 1 country).

So I start by working-out what my basic production costs would be, to produce images that would be up to that level first, by taking the following things into account:

Pre production time:
Photography time:
Post production time:
Travel time:
Retouching time:
Crew / Assistant:
Stylist / Hair / Make-up:
DVD & back-up:
Prints / Contact sheets:
Insurance:
Location / Studio fee:
Props, Wardrobe:
Rentals:
Sets / Expendable:
Courier / P&P:
Actors / Models:
Travel / Fuel:
Miscellaneous:

(Please note: some of these things may not apply – it’s simply a check-list to help me work-out what my basic costs would be, to take some pictures here, that would be ‘good enough’ for normal standard use).

So that’s my base rate or BUR figure.

(Added note: The AOP in their book, Beyond the Lens, suggest this figure should not be less than one’s negotiated daily fee – which doesn’t really make sense to me, unless it takes you a full day to produce every image – so I normally prefer to calculate it on a ‘per image’ basis, so each image or ‘set of images’ has its own value – by including my basic production costs in that figure, so as I know where I stand before I quote a fee.)

(Also note: my ‘hourly rate’ doesn’t change here just because of the job title – so this figure is calculated out using my standard ‘hourly rate’ figure – not an ‘hourly rate’ figure which has already taken the client’s usage into account – because the client’s actual usage requirements may change once they see the final results. So this is my base rate figure for normal standard use, which is my starting point when negotiating the fee beforehand, for the use of ‘some images’ which I am about to produce… because we are still basically talking about the unknown here, as the images have not yet been created, taken or produced.)

Then using the Association of Photographer’s online​ usage calculator – which can be found on their website here: Usage Calculator – I can work out what the fee should be, for me to have the budget in place to meet their usage requirements, based on what all they have said they need to use the images for.

(Please note: when using the AOP’s usage calculator here, remember this is just for the additional use part – as your BUR figure has already taken into account the amount you would charge for the first 2 media, for 1 years use in 1 country).

So the quoted fee or Licence fee would be based on the client’s actual usage requirements – as opposed to what it would cost me, to just turn-up and take some basic pictures here.

Example:
If the client says they only want to use the images for Web use only (1 media) or for Magazine ads & Brochures (2 media), then the Licence fee would be similar to my BUR figure – as it would be based on either 1 media for 2 years use on the Internet or 2 Media for 1 years use in 1 country i.e. standard use.

If however, the client said they required more use of the images than this, then I would negotiate the fee starting with the BUR figure and add (+%) to that figure – or if they said they required less use of the images than this, then I would negotiate the fee by giving them a discount (-%).

So the Media use, Period of use & Territory of use, are the 3 key things that I would take into account, as well as the number of images they want to use, when quoting a fee for the use of my images.

(As it’s the client’s usage requirements that will usually determine the value of the images to them – which this system helps me put a figure on – so as I have the budget in place to ensure​ I get it right.)

Because there are more than 100 different ways…
Bedroom in one of the Courtyard cottages at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort
.. to shoot…
Bedroom in one of the Courtyard cottages at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort
.. any…
Bedroom in one of the Courtyard cottages at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort
.. subject.

So it’s actually based around this very simple formula:-

Little use = Little value.
Greater use = Greater value.
.. to them.

When Quoting a fee, I try to keep it simple for my clients to understand; as well as, make the deal as clear as possible, so as to avoid any misunderstandings down the road.

Example:
The Quote below is based on a client (Ace Company Ltd) asking me to produce & then provide them with 6 images, for them to use in 3 media, for 3 years. (As you can see, I have estimated my Base Rate for standard use to be £210.00 per image).
So to help me meet this client’s planned usage requirements, the fee – based on that information and using the AOP’s guidelines – would be calculated​ out like so:
BUR +100% for the additional media, plus for 3 years use (in those 3 media) we would add 100%, which would then equal the total amount required.

This is known as the Licence fee… which if approved, would then become my budget to meet this client’s needs:
Quote
Please note: Licence fee based on the above … meaning the information above, which is based on my understanding of the facts, which I have simply listed. Should that information change, then naturally the Licence fee would change too – so a new Quote, based on that new information, would, therefore, ​need to be submitted.

(Added note: it’s the +% amount that I use, to help me raise the bar, to meet their additional usage requirements.)

So I use the BUR figure to work out​ the Licence fee – and it’s that fee that I then use to determine what I can ultimately do – to achieve my goal.

Which is to produce & provide the best images possible, so that others will want to use them… and use them a lot..

A win, win situation for everyone, should I succeed.

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