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 pay​ you (when you go to invoice them afterward) for the Rights to use that work (that you obviously own, after you have created the images).

So in a way​, this is a bit like agreeing to sell them ‘Stock images’ afterward​ – 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 ask​ 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 straightforward 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 any way 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 client’s 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 in 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 maybe 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 afterward​ !!

Or if they were​ 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 agreements that is use by photographers, especially by those who are just starting out – because at first it seems to be a very simple​ deal, which it is, so long as as neither party asks many questions and everyone just expects that once the invoice is paid, that’s it wink


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 headboard 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 has 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 a 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 counterproductive in a way, 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 used 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 in case 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 happen.

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 affected 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.


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.

February 18, 2012

So what do you think…

Filed under: Photography,Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 1:34 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Is Imitation is the best form of flattery?

I guess if it is, then we should be really flattery here, to see this image of the bar which we produced 2 years ago…
The Boru's Porterhouse bar at the South Court Hotel in Limerick.
.. has now been recreated by someone else:
New image of the bar at South Court Hotel in Limerick.

Or this one of the reception area, which again we produced 2 years ago…
The Lobby area at the South Court Hotel Limerick City.
.. now has been recreated too:
New image of the reception area at the South Court Hotel in Limerick.

So what do you think: Would you be flatter or would you be really annoyed here?

Personally, we find it amusing – so we’re kind-off flatter in a way – but as Marie said: Wouldn’t you think they’d live dangerously and maybe try a new angle or something !! – specialising in providing images which you can then get someone else to try and recreate to meet your advertising & marketing needs 😉

August 9, 2011

Sorry about that…

Filed under: Licence fees,Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 11:36 am
Tags: , , ,

.. but you need to pay a license fee if you want to use our pictures…
.. especially if it’s to promote your business.

Plus you should not be using an image which we produced at a totally different hotel neither…
.. as that is really breaking all the rules of advertising.

Sorry about that – but just because something is available (a room in their hotel or one of our images, for example) doesn’t mean it’s free… as in for you to use it, without paying something towards the amount you want to use it.

We recommend everyone reads the information at: Copyright 4 Clients – if you are unsure about the basic laws surrounding photography, ethics & standards of practice – before using someone else’s pictures.

December 29, 2010

Licence to use.

And why you should use it to avoid misunderstandings down the road.

It is, in my opinion, a very important document, which every Photographer should be making use of – especially today in this digital age.
It’s not an Invoice or a Model Release form – it’s a separate document – which is basically​ designed to help avoid misunderstandings, between you and your Clients or anyone else who may be handling or wanting to use your images.

Remember, the guys in the ‘art department’ ​may never see your Invoice – which contains the usage agreement information – because it may have been sent straight to the ‘accounts department’. So that’s where this document comes into play – it’s a separate document, that stays with your images – designed to help prevent misunderstandings down the road.

Filling in this document is simple – just tick the boxes & fill in the blanks.
Then print it out and staple it to your contact sheets, put a pdf file of it on the CD along with your images, email it to your client… whatever it takes – so as everyone knows what has been agreed (which obviously needs to tally​ with what you have written on your Invoice) – as well as what has not been agreed to, which can be even more important to sometimes clearly show too.

The example below is based on the Association of Photographer’s Licence document, which for a while one could have downloaded from their website …along with other useful documents & forms.

(Please note: Having used this document for a number of years now, I have made a few minor changes to their standard template, but it’s basically still the same)
Licence to use example
Then print their standard Terms & Conditions on the back, which is relevant to where you are based.

That’s it – my No.1 tip of the day for all Photographers – to help avoid misunderstandings down the road.

Below are the basic definitions of the Media Use terms and what each covers:-

. 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, etc.
. Magazine ads – includes: advertorial features, ads & PR.
. Magazine editorial.
. Newspaper – includes: advertorial features, ads & PR.
. Packaging.
. Point of sale – also known as ‘Point of Purchase’.
. PR – 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.

For more information on this, buy the AOP’s book Beyond the Lens“the essential guide to rights, ethics and business practice in professional photography” – which can be purchased from their website in one of two forms: conventional printed book form or immediate electronic downloads.

October 3, 2010

All Rights…

… and understanding what it is you are asking for.

Asking for ‘All Rights’ is saying you need to use the images in every media, for unlimited years, throughout the world – which would imply you are about to spend millions on advertising, in every country throughout the world, over the next 10 years.
On top of this, you are implying you need to be able to sell the images to others too – which would include Stock Libraries, etc.

So if we were to relate that to you asking a Hotel – the Hilton Hotel, for example, (where they provide hotels for people to use, just as we provide images for people to use) – it would be like asking them to give you a price for this:

Media Use: All Media – asking for this is like saying to the Hotel you need the use of all their facilities and all their rooms.
Period of Use: Unlimited – is like saying you need to stay for as long as you like.
Territory: Worldwide – is like saying you need to say in all their other hotels around the world too.

So what you are asking for here is: every room and full use all their facilities, in all their hotels around the world, forever.
On top of this, you are also asking them to agree to you being able to sell all their facilities and rooms, in every hotel around the world, onto whoever you want, whenever you want.

So as you can see, asking for ‘All Rights’ is asking for a lot.

I’m quite sure the Hilton wouldn’t say yes to this, especially not for the same price as a one nights B&B, in one of their hotels

When quoting a fee, the 4 main things that will, therefore, determine the license fee are:
1. The number of images you want to use.
2. Media use.
3. Period of use.
4. The Territory of use.

So naturally, the more you say you need to use the image or images…
The pool with a view
.. the greater the fee will be – because we will be using this information to determine what all we need to do, to meet your needs.

We use the Association of Photographers price guidelines, which can be found in their book Beyond the Lens, to help us determine the fee – based on what you say you need to use the images for.

Remember: ‘Want’ is not the same as ‘Need’.

So… if you really do need some images produced, because you need to use them in All Media, for Unlimited years, throughout the world – then naturally we will assume you have the budget in place, to help us meet your needs. Because obviously those images will need to be amazing (if you are about to spend millions on advertising, in every country throughout the world, over the next 10 years) and that’s what we will, therefore, need to take into account, when quoting a fee.

Because there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject

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 hopefully use them a lot.

Simple smile

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

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.

The BUR figure is therefore like my starting point.

It’s the amount that I would want to be paid to produce some images that others would want to use for ‘standard use’.
(‘Standard use’ being​ for the use of the images in either 2 media for 1 year​ or 1 media for 2 years, in 1 country or region).

So I start by working-out what my basic production costs would be, to produce some 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:
Crew / Assistant:
Stylist / Hair / Make-up, etc:
Prints / Contact sheets:
Location / Studio fee:
Props, Wardrobe, etc:
Sets / Expendable:
Actors / Models, etc:
Travel expenses (Fuel, Flights, Hotels, etc):

(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).

And so that would be my base rate or my starting point… and therefore the first quote that I would send to them.

(Added note: In their book, Beyond the Lens, the AOP 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 year​ 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.

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 to shoot any subject.

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

Little use = Little value to them. 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.

So I would send them 2 Quotes to start with.

If 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, then the 1st Quote would be to let them see what the fee would be for ‘Standard use’…
1st Quote
.. and the 2nd Quote would be to let them see what the fee would be for the amount of use that they said they would like.
Which, in this example, I would calculate out like so: BUR (£210) +50% for the additional media (£105), +50% for each additional years use (£210), equals the total (£525 per image).
2nd Quote

So the agreed Licence fee would then become my budget to meet this client’s needs.

Please note: the ‘Licence fee based on the above information’ – which means 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 would 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.

April 7, 2010

We won!

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 11:20 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Brilliant job Andre … and thank you so much for keeping us all in the picture here.

‘We have spent this afternoon biting our nails hoping that the news that the Labour and Conservatives had agreed to drop Clause 43 was actually going to happen… Today, I can say I am proud to be a UK photographer… WE WON!!!’

April 6, 2010

You couldn’t make it up.

UK Digital Economy Bill Turns To Ashes.

You think you own your your own photographs? Think again.

As it says: “You couldn’t make it up.”

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