Ashley Morrison's Blog

November 23, 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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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 a way​, 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 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

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

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…
Entrance hallway door
.. and this one…
Entrance 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 being ‘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 afterward.

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 traveling 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 obvious 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 stay within my budget and keep my costs down to a minimum – especially if I was wanting to maximize 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 counterproductive – as this is like saying: it doesn’t really matter how good they are anymore.

That’s obviously not really a great way to work, especially for a creative person, who will naturally always want to do 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 different 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 afterward… for the same price.

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!

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 booking into 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…
Slieve-04
.. 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 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.

April 1, 2010

Negotiating.

Filed under: Licence fees,Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 6:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

“If you sell yourself cheap… by Barbara Bordnick” and the American Society of Media Photographers.

Is a great video…
If you sell yourself cheap, you will never get out of that hole
.. which every photographer should watch.

“Good negotiating skills are critical to the success of any independent photographer, yet this talent is frequently not what comes naturally to us. Listen to some tips and insights on this difficult issue.”

March 2, 2010

The way I see it…

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 10:42 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

(As posted on the Pro Photo forum.)

If someone says the use of the images isn’t important, when they are asking you to quote a fee, then you shouldn’t be concerned about it neither.

So the next job they ask you to do for them, charge them for ‘your time’ – then turn up and ask them for their mobile phone.
Take the pictures they want to be taken with that – and then hand it back to them when you are done, so they have the pictures.

See then if they care about the use or being able to use the images.

Common Law of Business Balance:

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.”

It’s totally about the use, as far as I am concerned – as it’s the only reason they are asking you to provide them with some images in the first place i.e. because they want to use them.

So the (Licence) fee naturally needs to reflex the that.

The Media use, the Period of use and the Territory of use are therefore the 3 key things that will determine the true value of any image.

And that’s why you should always clearly state what those 3 things are – when Quoting a fee – so as to avoid any misunderstandings down the road, as to what you are agreeing to provide them with, for that amount of money.

February 2, 2010

1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2.

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 8:44 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This is an email I sent to a client, trying to explain why 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2 after they asked: “Can you confirm the cost for a stylist (if not already included) for this project”.
Which on the face of it sounded like a strange forward request and could easily have been answered by just saying the Stylist’s day rate fee is £££.

However, sometimes things are not that simple – hence this email to explain why – which I have decided to post here for others to read … and hopefully it will make sense to some of you.

Hi ___________
You will be well aware, putting a price on what we ‘creatives’ do, is never easy or straightforward.
There are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – from quick snap-shots through to full production staged images – which means all images are not equal nor will they be the same. That, in turn, means there value to others could vary hugely… from zero to thousands of pounds.

So when Quoting a fee – to produce & provide images for others to use – I need to look at a number of things, besides the subject matter, to determine where to start.
For example, I not only need to take into account the type of images they require – the style, the look & the feel – I also need to take into account the number of images they require, plus the Media use, Period of use and Territory of use.

This information will not only help me work out what my basic production costs need to be – but it will also help me determine what else I may need to bring to the table, to meet the client’s needs. So it’s this information I use to help me determine the value of the images to them.
Value to them‘ being all important.

As a general rule of thumb:
Little Use = Little Value.
Greater Use = Greater Value
… to them.

So it’s the Usage Value that will usually determine what they (the client) feel the images are worth – and that in turn will determine what they are prepared to pay i.e their budget.
It’s that budget that will ultimately determine what I can afford to do or ‘bring to the table‘ for them – in terms of the total amount of time spent on the project, number of people involved, their roles and what all can be put aside to cover expenses, etc.

Like I said before – there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – and our before & after images here – Test shots – clearly shows this.
Same room (subject) but different images.
From a client’s point-of-view, the big difference here would be the Usage Value of these images.
Little Use = Little Value.
Greater Use = Greater Value
.

So that is what the Licence fee is based on i.e the Usage Value.

As you know, time is money – so from my point-of-view, that’s what I need to keep an eye on too.
Example:
If I shoot it on my own, I will be able to produce X number of images in a given period of time.
If I hire a basic Assistant (bag carrier / gofer) he will help me produce more images in that same given period of time.
If I hire a more expensive & experienced one, he will not only help me produce more images in that given period of time, but he will also be able to help me with lighting, etc – so the images would be more appealing; and therefore, of more Value to the user.
If I hire a Stylist, she will help me produce more appealing images too; however, a Stylist will slow the whole process down – so I will not be able to produce as many images in a given period of time – it could easily take twice as long to produce each of the images. Plus, for a Stylist to be able to do her job properly, she will need the budget in place to allow her time to prepare for each of the shots – and she will also have to have the budget in place to buy props and other items, which she feels will be needed. That stuff can add-up fast – especially if the client wants different items in every shot – which most do.
If I hire both an Assistant & a Stylist, then things speed up again – so not only would we be able to produce more appealing images but we would also be able to produce more of them, in a given period of time.

So… this is the sort of stuff I need to take into account before Quoting a fee… because as you can see, it’s not just a simple case of saying 1+1 = 2… as other factors need to be taken into account.

Cheers,
Ashley

Ashley Morrison
M: +44 (0)7860 391196
www.ampimage.com

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