Ashley Morrison's Blog

March 23, 2011

All Media

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 7:17 am
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Recently a photographer asked what he should charge for ‘All Media’ use, in the UK for 1 year.
He knew the AOP’s guidelines recommended +750% for ‘All Media’ use; however, he felt that was totally wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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
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“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 20, 2010

The Vendor Client relationship.

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 6:55 pm
Tags: , , ,

Very funny but also very true at times:
The Vendor Client relationship – in real world situations.

🙂

March 2, 2010

The way I see it…

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

January 31, 2010

There are more any 100 different ways to shoot any subject.

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 11:18 pm
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When being asking to quote a fee for the use of your images which you are about to create, there are basically two parts to the equation that need to be taken into account:
1. Value to you.
2. Value to them.

And it’s the 2nd part that is often the more important part – but yet it’s often the part that most photographers don’t seem to take into account when quoting a fee.

On the Photography Ireland forum yesterday, one of the members pointed out: Clients would often argue that it is not justified to charge for Usage e.g. “does a plumber get paid more if he is putting in a shower that will be used by a family of six rather than a single person”.

Which is a fair point?

So I asked the question: Do you know the answer or how to answer this ?

For those reading this and don’t know the answer – but would like to know – the answer lies in the simple fact, that there are more any 100 different ways to shoot any subject – which basically means that no two images are the same.
So depending on how you shoot the subject, that will have an effect on the value to the person, who is wanting to use your images i.e. the ‘value to them’ part.
(Our before & after images here – Before & after – clearly shows this)

Therefore, to determine the true value of your images – and what they may be worth to others – you need to look at the 2nd part i.e. the usage value to them.

Little use = Little value.
Greater use = Greater value.

So it’s that value to them – in terms of what all they will want to use your images for, that will determine what they believe your images are worth to them – beforehand. And so it’s that amount that will ultimately determine what you can afford to do, which in turn will affect the true value to them – afterward.

Understanding this is important, for anyone who wants to be able to move their business forward, when negotiating the fee before the images have yet been created.

Which basically means, it usually comes down to your wording: Are you agreeing to do ‘work made for hire‘ OR are you just agreeing to ‘produce some images for them to use‘, for an agreed amount of use, to which the fee you have quoted relates to ?

If you present yourself as someone who is agreeing to do work made for hire, then you simply bill them for your time & your expenses – like the Plumber – and then once they have paid you for that, they will believe they have paid you in full. The usage doesn’t really come into it, because that’s not what you have billed them for – and so, they will believe they can do as they please with the images – after they have paid you for what you asked for (even though it may not have been what they actually asked you for in the first place).

Producing images for them to use; on the other hand, is where you just charge a fee (Licence fee) for the use of your images – which would, therefore, ​be based on their usage requirements. And so, you would then usually clearly state what the agreed usage is, to which the fee relates to.

So, if someone phoned to say they wanted (to commission) you to produce & then provide them with some images for them to use for “a one time only editorial feature in a local magazine”, then you would simply quote them a fee based on that information.

If on the other hand, ​they said, they wanted you to produce & then provide them with some images for them to use in some brochures, as well as on some billboards plus in some international magazines too, which would be good enough for them to use for the next 3 years throughout Europe – well then, naturally you would need to take the information beforehand and quote them a fee based on that information instead.

Otherwise, you could get it badly wrong here and end up failing to provide them with what they would need, to met their needs.

So it’s all very well knowing what it would cost you to ‘take some pictures’, but since it not just ‘any old pictures’ they want, then it is important to take their usage requires into account too – especially since that is the thing that will determine the amount they are prepared to pay you, before they have seen the results or you have done any work.

In other words, it doesn’t really matter how much it costs you, it more to do with how much they are prepared to spend beforehand to get what they want – as that is what you are trying to figure out here.
So for example, for £500 what will they get from you or for another £500, what more will they get from you… because usually that is what they actually want to now.
How much it costs you, is therefore neither here or there – as far as they will be concerned – as that’s like your problem, not theirs.

So it’s the usage value that’s all important and that is what they will be looking at, to determine what they feel your images are worth to them – beforehand.

And so that’s what you need to go by, when trying to determine what the fee should be – because it’s that amount that will ultimately determine what all you can afford to do afterwards, which in turn will effect the value to them – since there are more any 100 different ways to shoot any subject.

So the difference is in your wording i.e. what you are actually asking them to pay you for.

January 5, 2010

Quoting a fee: the brief.

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 9:08 am
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I received is email today from a web design company, asking for a quote:

Hi Ashley,

Happy New Year to you and all the best for 2010. I have a few new design jobs that we’re going to need to get some photography quotes for. The first is for a large mostly _________ based hotel group, _______ Hotels. We are looking to get a quote which includes 5 shots of each property in the group. These shots are not just room specific, as we are looking to highlight the property, not only the rooms. There are 7 properties in the group, so if you could quote me for 5 shots for each property.

The second project is a new site we are doing for _________ hotel in ______. Here the client was looking for recommendations for photography, so I have passed on your details to _________________, who is the GM there. He should be calling you soon to discuss what he requires.

If you have any questions on the above, please let me know. Looking forward to working with you in 2010.

Thank you,
M__________

So I need to give them a price based on this information.

But where does one start?
Keeping in mind that there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – and therefore all images are not equal or even close at times.
The Before & after section on our website clearly shows this – same room (subject) but very different looking final image.

So how do you go about quoting a fee – for something where there are possibly hundreds of variables – that’s the big question.
Keeping in mind: if you quote to much you won’t get the job and if you quote to little, you may not be able to afford to do what you would like to do.

January 1, 2010

Hello world!

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 10:22 am
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Welcome to my Blog.

Pricing what we do as photographers and putting a value on our work, is one of the toughest things to get right.

So after nearly 30 years of doing this for a living, I will be using my Blog here to cover my thoughts on this subject; as well as showing some of the projects we are currently working on, plus our latest published work… because “the proof is in the pudding” as they say.

Your comments, thoughts and opinions are always most welcome.

Cheers,
Ashley

Ashley Morrison
www.ampimage.com
www.ashleymorrison.com

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