How to assign a value to stock photos?
August 17, 2005 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I just received an email from someone at an energy management company who is preparing a document for the U.S. Department of Energy. They found three of my photos from the NYC August 2003 blackout on the web and are offering to purchase the rights for using them in this report. I can provide high-resolution photos to them, but have no idea how to estimate how much to charge them per photo. As an amateur photographer, how do you assign values to your photos for re-use?
posted by camworld to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Search the archives for photo pricing. This has been covered a number of times here as well as here and here to name the first few I found..
posted by Wolfie at 1:56 PM on August 17, 2005

I usually base the price on the outfit asking. If it's for a big slick magazine, I will say something like $150-300 per photo. For something smaller, non-profit, or school-related I either give them rights for free or ask for something small like $30.
posted by mathowie at 2:11 PM on August 17, 2005

I've gone through this and it's very difficult, even after reading through all the stuff that's online. You just pick a price and hope they don't walk away. I will suggest not trying to get cute with the terms. They'd rather just give you a check than have to worry about something special, like free use in exchange for a copy of the brochure.

I would be interested in hearing about it from the other side, because I have a lot questions. How wed is a designer to an image when they get to the point of trying to buy the rights to it? How much leverage does the photographer have? If I suggest a price that's ludicrous compared to the market rate, what's the response? How concerned is the designer with cost anyways?
posted by smackfu at 2:13 PM on August 17, 2005

There is only one NYC blackout photo on Getty Images and I priced it out for "Internal Use" at 3 years and they came back with $465, which I think is too high. My gut instinct is to charge $100 to $150 for each.

Lastly, since I took these with an older Canon Digital Elph, the highest resolution I have is 1600x1200 at 180dpi, which I think is sufficient for their usage, but it's certainly not as high as most of today's digial cameras. Should this be factored into the pricing?
posted by camworld at 2:19 PM on August 17, 2005

I asked this question a while ago - get FotoQuote.
posted by armoured-ant at 3:28 PM on August 17, 2005

All of the above advice sounds really good -- but you're going to want to carefully consider the terms of the license before quoting a price.

I sold eight photos to the Federal Reserve a few years back and charged them $80 each + printing costs. (They didn't have concrete publication plans, and just wanted them for their archives, and that seemed fair to me.) I basically drew up an ad hoc contract stating that I owned the rights to the photos, including copyright, and was offering them a license for their use. (I wanted them to acknowledge that this wasn't a work-for-hire situation.) I also included a provision that the buyer could not assign nor transfer any rights to my photographs to anyone else, and that this was a nonexclusive license (so I'd still be able to license those images to others in the future.) You may or may not want to ask for photo credit, as well.
posted by Vidiot at 4:03 PM on August 17, 2005

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