Ashley Morrison's Blog

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’, versus 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 specified 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 simple​, 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



December 19, 2013

Pianciano Holiday Rentals

Received a request this week from an old client in Italy, who emailed me to say:

A new agency, Holiday Rentals, wants to see your authorization before publishing your photos.

Which I found very interesting – but was actually very pleased to read – as all to often these days, people don’t ask or double check this sort of thing, before going ahead and publishing images, especially on the internet or Worldwide web.

Anyway, this document…
Licence to use
.. is what Claudia was asking for – which I talked about here: Licence to use – and why I highly recommend all photographers use it, to avoid misunderstandings down the road.

So I was very pleased to hear that this Holiday Rentals company was asking for such a thing, rather than just assuming that the person who owned the property, had actually obtained the Rights to use the images from the photographer first.

Anyway, besides this, it was also lovely to have another look at those images again and remember those amazing roads trips across Europe and how we stumbled across this place which Claudia & Francesco call Pianciano – which is a stunning haven in the heart of Umbria.
Comprising of a number villas and this beautiful swimming pool…
swimming pool
.. and relaxation area…
relaxation area
.. on the side of a mountain.

La Roccia villa was the first one we shot, when we first met Francesco 8 years ago, as seen here…
Francesco Bachetoni outside La Roccia villa
.. sitting outside enjoying the view.
This was one of the smallest of the villas, but nevertheless, we just loved what they had done inside…
The living room in La Roccia villa.
.. which included a lovely country kitchen…
The kitchen in La Roccia villa.
.. and three very nice rustic bedrooms like this…
Main bedroom in La Roccia villa.
.. all of which we captured before heading north to shoot 3 other properties, before returning a few days later to shoot L’Arco…
L'Arco villa in the Pianciano hamlet near Spoleto.
.. which was amazing…
The living room in L'Arco villa.
.. from every angle…
The living room in L'Arco villa.
.. as it appeared to be built out of the side of the mountain, so the doorways…
leading into the dining room in L'Arco villa.
.. and rooms themselves, like this dining room…
The dining room in L'Arco villa.
.. just blew us away.

And the view…
The view from L'Arco villa.
.. well needless to say, we both just loved this place.

So when they asked us back a few years later – to shoot IL Cipresso…
IL Cipresso villa in the Pianciano hamlet.
.. with it’s beautiful courtyard area…
Courtyard area at IL Cipresso villa.
.. country kitchen…
The kitchen area in IL Cipresso villa.
.. and bedrooms like this…
Master bedroom in IL Cipresso villa.
.. and this…
Bedroom in IL Cipresso villa.
.. we jumped at it.

And of course, while we were there with all the gear, we shoot their own personal villa…
Claudia & Francesco Bachetoni's villa near Spoleto in Italy.
.. which later appeared in the July issue of Period Living magazine…
Pages 82 to 86 of the July 2010 issue of Period Living magazine.
.. on pages 82 to 86.

Oh, I want to be there right now…
.. but in the meantime, I’d just like to thank the Holiday Rentals company for not assuming here – and of course thank Claudia for this wee trip down memory lane – which I thought I’d share with you all, as this all happened before I started Blogging – which is a bit of a same, as those road trips across Europe to shoot places like this where truly amazing.

Anyway – here is Pianciano should you fancy something a wee bit different – which I can highly recommend, as I truly loved everything about this place.


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.

Create a free website or blog at