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Help me price my (amateur) photography
October 13, 2009 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Photography pros: I've been approached by an editor who wants to publish my photos, and he asked me for my rates. I never sold a photo before. How do I price them?

(I realize there are a few previous postings on the subject, but most were 3+ years ago, so I thought I'd ask again and see what comes up.)

I took photos of a parade a few months ago. An editor for a small, local travel guide wants to use them and asked for my rates, but I have no idea how to price them. I read all the links on previous threads (this thread was very helpful), but I'm still lost on figures.

I'm in New York City, if that makes any difference. This is also where the parade happened and where the guide will be published and sold. They will credit each individual photo on the caption.

The guide will be distributed for free AND sold on bookstores. It will run twice a year. Although they call it a "travel guide" I assume they're mostly of local interest and small, as each sells for about 5.00 dollars. They sell adds on it for anywhere between 400.00 (1/8 page) and 7,000.00 (2 page spread).

Does the number of copies on each edition affect the price I should charge?

Do I give a price for each individual photo, or a batch?

Do I ask for a copy of their standard contract to take a look?

Not only are there many people all over the images - busy parade - but the best photos are closeups. I don't have model releases. Does travel-guide photography count as editorial?

PLEASE, if you have any idea on what photographers charge and/or an opinion on how much an amateur should charge on a first time sale, GIVE ME FIGURES! I don't know if I should go 100 or 1,000 so actual numbers would be greatly appreciated!
posted by AnyGuelmann to Work & Money (12 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't know if this matters, but something else I found on the publisher's website: they run 20,000-30,000 copies (new edition every six months), and they say readership is 60,000-90,000.
posted by AnyGuelmann at 2:41 PM on October 13, 2009


The easiest way to get a ballpark figure for this will be for you to go to Getty Images and select a Rights Managed image of a similar subject. You'll be asked for some info (circulation, length of use, size, placement, etc) and you'll be told what the rate is - all very quick and easy! You can use that as a starting point and adjust up or down as you see fit.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:48 PM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


blaneyphoto is correct and you should follow his/her advice.

That said, publishers of small, local travel guides are not exactly bastions of paying much of anything for photographs, since there is frequently an endless line of amateur photographers out there who will give them the use of their images for a simple credit line and zero dollars.

Whatever you do, just make sure that you stipulate that you maintain copyright ownership, do not sign any form that has the words "work for hire" anywhere in it, and get plenty of free copies of the publication in addition to whatever licensing fee you're able to get.

Good luck.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:18 PM on October 13, 2009


I would consider going cheap while you're getting started and you're more likely to get referrals...
posted by kingtaj at 3:25 PM on October 13, 2009


I would consider going cheap while you're getting started and you're more likely to get referrals...

Horrible advice. You'll get referrals to people who think they can get cheap photography. And, really, you probably won't get any referrals at all. People wanting to get less money from a company exploiting ("exploit" here not with a negative connotation) their photography for commercial gain is one of the great mysteries of the world, and yet everyone seems to want to do it. Please don't. Have respect for yourself and settle for nothing less than a living wage.

Blaneyphoto's advice is the best option.

Do I ask for a copy of their standard contract to take a look?

Actually, you're the one who should be sending a contract. Here's some good information about that. Since you own the photos, you control all aspects of the licensing agreement. Retain complete copyright, limit usage to the specific usage they need for a specific duration. Make it clear that unauthorized usage (outside of what is licensed) will be billed at 3 times the normal rate. Make it clear that any subsequent usage or other simultaneous usage can be licensed for additional fees.

Here's more I've written on the subject.

As for the title: Help me price my (amateur) photography

Your perceived amateur-ness has nothing to do with the price of beans or anything else. In stock photography (licensing previously taken pictures) the only thing that matters to the publisher and any viewers is that the picture fits the need of the usage. Nobody cares who took it or what their ability is. Photos should be priced the same regardless of who took it (well, until we get into the superstar photographer Leibovitz leagues or it's some ridiculously difficult photo to get such as a studio portrait of Putin). Now, professional vs. amateur matters a ton when it comes to commissioned photography; in that case, you aren't selling the photos so much as you're selling the ability to get the job done on time, on budget, without getting sued, etc.
posted by msbrauer at 4:34 PM on October 13, 2009


According to my photo pricing software:

Visitors guide:
Press run: 10k-25k
Image size: 1/4 page
Low end: $373
Average: $498
High end: $747

The price for the 25k-50k press run is $393, $525, $787.

Yes, that's per photo.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:07 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


girlmightlive, what is your software app?
posted by avex at 5:25 PM on October 13, 2009


FotoQuote.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:27 PM on October 13, 2009


Thanks everyone, that helps A LOT.

Now, any comments on this?
Not only are there many people all over the images - busy parade - but the best photos are closeups. I don't have model releases. Does travel-guide photography count as editorial?
posted by AnyGuelmann at 6:46 PM on October 13, 2009


To answer the second question yes ......BUT.

If your photos are used inside to show readers what said parade is like then it falls under editorial. If the photos are used to promote the guide in some way then it crosses the line into advertising.

That should be stipulated in your contract, advertising pics obviously go for a lot more and seeing as you don't have releases then you can't sell them for that purpose anyway.
posted by WickedPissah at 7:47 AM on October 14, 2009


The publisher will want releases, regardless of how they're using them, if your photos are close-ups.
posted by pollex at 12:22 PM on October 14, 2009


The publisher will want releases, regardless of how they're using them, if your photos are close-ups.

I shoot editorial and I've never been asked for a model release for that kind of usage. I get them anyways (to sell as stock later down the line and for my own records), but it's not necessary unless it's advertising.
posted by bradbane at 3:49 PM on October 16, 2009


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