How much is my photo worth?
July 12, 2005 11:01 AM   Subscribe

What is a reasonable price to charge for rights to use one of my photos on a book cover?

I was contacted by a publisher in Spain who wants to use one of my photographs for the covers of the Spanish and Catalan translations of a book. I am not a professional and have never sold the rights to any of my work before.

What is a reasonable price for permission to use the image?
posted by furcifer to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Go to Getty Images and use their pricing wizard. Click on a rights managed image that has the same relative theme as the image of yours they want to use and select the price calculator. Go through the wizard (free reg. required) and you'll get a pretty good idea of what they'd have to pay a stock agency for your photo.
For a random image I selected as a full cover photo of a book in spain for a fairly small run - looks like about $1000 for 3 years. Get the specs from them of how big the run is and how long they expect to print this cover - plug in the numbers and go from there.
Don't discount - or let them suggest you should discount - because you're not a pro. They like the image - or they wouldn't have asked for it - and if they like it - its worth paying for. Good luck!
posted by Wolfie at 12:07 PM on July 12, 2005

You might get a thousand but then again, it depends on the house and what their budget is like. I think more in the $500 range, but you can bargain if you like (they will walk away pretty quick if they feel it's more trouble than it's worth), I also suggest asking for a kill fee of around $100 bucks, which they have to pay you in case they don't use the image (happens more often than you think) that way you get a little something while your photo is off the market so to speak (even if it never was really on the market). Oh make sure you get paid as soon as possible and probably stipulate a check in US funds, unless they will do a wire.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:31 PM on July 12, 2005

Also depends on how much you want the photo to be used. If it's a small pub house then the budget is probably small, but if you really want to be "published" then a small amount of money may be worth it to you. "What the market will bear" applies not only to the publisher but also to your desire to see your work in print.
posted by johngumbo at 12:54 PM on July 12, 2005

I don't know if this helps, but: A few years ago I put a bunch of photos on, for fun mostly (Flickr hadn't been invented yet).

An ad agency approached me and wanted to use one of my pics on a website for Mattel (for Barbie in particular). I was ready to let them have it for free (for shits-n-giggles), but they gave me $350 to use it for a limited time under non-exclusive terms.

A Barbie web site isn't the cover of a book, but similar circumstances.
posted by o2b at 2:36 PM on July 12, 2005

What Divine_Wino said. Completely. And also be prepared to negotiate a little bit (not too agressively though). I know the smaller houses will go without photos (or attempt to scan the interiors) instead of pay even a $250 disk fee for files. From my work with cover designers, I also think $1,000 is a bit to high, especially since they could get a more generic piece from the stock houses for less. The designers charge foreign publishers between $1,000 to $2,500 when they want to use an entire cover. For just a photo, $500 to $750 should sound reasonable but it depends on the publisher. (if you need more info on the publisher, send me an e-mail and I'll see if I've worked with them before).
posted by rodz at 4:03 PM on July 12, 2005

Hmm. This thread is a good start - I was just approached by someone on flickr who offered me $50 for a photo to be used in the sales literature for a small business.

I have NEVER sold a picture before, or even tried to. My image is only 2MP so they may not be able to use it, but where does one start?

The usage determines the value, yes?

Any downsides to this? I don't plan to try and sell this picture again. But of course I may want to sell other pictures down the road (especially when that DSLR comes in soon).
posted by stevil at 10:53 AM on October 21, 2005

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