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Thread: Media use - how to ask for payment

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    Media use - how to ask for payment

    I'm looking for some advice around how to bring up the subject of payment when the media ask for use of a photo.

    We had some massive storms in Brisbane on the weekend and I was approached by a media company who sell multimedia to news entities. I didn't know how to bring up how much they were willing to pay professionally, so I just handed the hires photos over to them, and later saw that they had sold the image to a news source, who had already added it to their story.
    Seems silly of me, especially since the news source didn't credit the photo and I didn't get any cash. It's all good for exposure, but without an image credit, I feel like I should have asked for some form of payment.

    Anyone have any tips for how I could have handled this situation better?

    Thanks!

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    best way. discuss costs before handing anything over.

    It is a funny old world we live in. If we buy gorceries, a new tv, a new camera, we always discuss the cost before we pay for it, and before the goods are given to us, but for some reason photography/photographers work differently. They shouldn't. Cost and agreed payment terms should be discussed before any product/service is provided.

    So my advice is learn from this, and next time get payment first.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    best way. discuss costs before handing anything over.

    It is a funny old world we live in. If we buy gorceries, a new tv, a new camera, we always discuss the cost before we pay for it, and before the goods are given to us, but for some reason photography/photographers work differently. They shouldn't. Cost and agreed payment terms should be discussed before any product/service is provided.

    So my advice is learn from this, and next time get payment first.
    Thanks, Rick. Will do.

    Should I have some set prices in my head of what to charge? Anyone got any ballpark figures I should aim at using for one time use? $150 too high or low?

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    So Fedgrub, when you say you just handed the photos over to them, was there anything else said, signed? Did you say "use them as you wish"?
    If not, shouldn't a "media company who sell multimedia to news entities" know something about copyright and attribution?
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
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    Mark - Yes they should, and probably do,

    But in their defence, they asked for an image, and were given that image by the the photographer (Fedgrub in this instance) with what appears to be no (and I am only guessing here) terms and conditions attached, so therefore believe they are free to do with it as they see fit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedgrub View Post
    ... It's all good for exposure, but without an image credit, I feel like I should have asked for some form of payment.
    How's it good for exposure when you are not credited, and even if you where, how is it a benefit, what do you feel you've gained from the exposure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fedgrub View Post
    ...Should I have some set prices in my head of what to charge? Anyone got any ballpark figures I should aim at using for one time use? $150 too high or low?
    It depends on the desirability and uniqueness of the image. If 20 other people have the same picture then your image is worth very little, probably nothing. On the other hand if you have the only image of an important moment then you can name your price, any price that you want because you are in the drivers seat and setting the terms, not the agency that (potentially) desperately wants your images. The likelihood of being in such a situation is remote but it does happen and it could happen to anyone.

    In any case it doesn't hurt to start high and see what it's worth to the other party. That way you'll soon find out what it's really worth, but not now when it's too late.
    Last edited by jjphoto; 20-11-2012 at 8:52am.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I agree with JJ re exposure.

    Exposure to who? for what? Are the people that see this image going to be in your market? IE. are the viewers people who would then contact you and want to pay you for some future work. Exposure is only worth it when their is a quantifiable gain from that exposure. Exposure just for the sake of it, acheived nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    So Fedgrub, when you say you just handed the photos over to them, was there anything else said, signed? Did you say "use them as you wish"?
    If not, shouldn't a "media company who sell multimedia to news entities" know something about copyright and attribution?
    They should, and they probably do. I was contacted by them through a work contact who they had approached originally. I didn't take the shots on the clock, so I said they can't attribute it to our business but must do so to me personally. This is where I got a bit confused, because my work would not have charged them for sharing the images (they do a lot of work in good faith), but I felt like they had the perception of me as an employee, not an individual. They put my name in the metadata but when they sold the image, the news source did not attribute it to me, and I felt they should have. But I see this more as a learning experience, so I don't think I'll shake anything up just yet - I just want to know how I could have controlled the situation better to get more out of it from the beginning.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    Mark - Yes they should, and probably do,

    But in their defence, they asked for an image, and were given that image by the the photographer (Fedgrub in this instance) with what appears to be no (and I am only guessing here) terms and conditions attached, so therefore believe they are free to do with it as they see fit.
    Correct - I need to do up some terms and conditions by the sounds of it. I've let them have way too much control without any of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjphoto View Post
    How's it good for exposure when you are not credited, and even if you where, how is it a benefit, what do you feel you've gained from the exposure?



    It depends on the desirability and uniqueness of the image. If 20 other people have the same picture then your image is worth very little, probably nothing. On the other hand if you have the only image of an important moment then you can name your price, any price that you want because you are in the drivers seat and setting the terms, not the agency that (potentially) desperately wants your images. The likelihood of being in such a situation is remote but it does happen and it could happen to anyone.

    In any case it doesn't hurt to start high and see what it's worth to the other party. That way you'll soon find out what it's really worth, but not now when it's too late.
    Sorry I should have been more clear - I meant that it would be good for exposure if I had been credited. But because I haven't, I would have liked some money because right now I feel empty handed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedgrub View Post
    ...Sorry I should have been more clear - I meant that it would be good for exposure if I had been credited. But because I haven't, I would have liked some money because right now I feel empty handed.
    Even so, how do you feel the exposure would be a benefit?

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    Selling photos to media

    If you have a price you are happy with, offer it at that price, but offer a low-rez image watermarked with your copyright. On agreement of payment, provide the full sized image. If you don't have a price in mind, offer the low-rez, watermarked version and ask for a price. Timing is essential, as the photos relate to a news event (i.e. your storms) and once the story is not current, neither is the image. If the photo is very good, and if others do no have something equal or similar to offer (as JJphoto said), it would be worth several hundreds of dollars if you hold out and bargain. To a media company, the photo could be worth several thousand dollars through re-sale if it remains current. Always demand accreditation as a condition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nexuspr View Post
    If you have a price you are happy with, offer it at that price, but offer a low-rez image watermarked with your copyright. On agreement of payment, provide the full sized image. If you don't have a price in mind, offer the low-rez, watermarked version and ask for a price. Timing is essential, as the photos relate to a news event (i.e. your storms) and once the story is not current, neither is the image. If the photo is very good, and if others do no have something equal or similar to offer (as JJphoto said), it would be worth several hundreds of dollars if you hold out and bargain. To a media company, the photo could be worth several thousand dollars through re-sale if it remains current. Always demand accreditation as a condition.
    This is very useful advice, thanks so much!

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    My experience is that unless you have something very unique, media organisations will most always offer to pay random photographers zip! They think and hope that you will be pleased to see your name printed under the image while they may make thousands the world over.

    I also know from experience that if you ask for somewhat more than they expect to pay, they will just forego your image and get one elsewhere, even if not quite the same or as good. It's a pretty ruthless world these days, when free digital content is available to them on every corner.

    I have to ask what you gave them permission to do with the image, or what they told you they were going to do with it. As you haven't sold it, you still hold copyright, and can demand they do not keep a copy, do not use it again, and do not on-sell it.

    Whenever I offer anything to media that I wasn't employed by them to do, I always mandate;

    1. The terms of use and license conditions, so I never 'give' the image away, it's always just permitting them 'use' or license of it, and I restrict that use for a period of time.
    2. The image is not to be on-sold, re-distributed, edited other than cropping for the purpose of fit or copied in any way without first obtaining my written permission. I usually restrict their use to their own publication.
    3. Attribution! I always exercise my moral rights.

    Obviously the payment you may receive will also depend upon how much freedom you are willing to let the media have with the image. $150 is alot of $ these days for a media outlet to pay for anything that isn't super newsworthy and/or unavailable from anywhere else.

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    Most of the news stations get their footage and photos from professional meteorologists or storm chasers like South Brisbane Storms, Higgins Storm Chasing, Aussie Storm chasers, and Brisbane Storm chasers, who have exclusive contracts with the stations to buy their footage. They won't often pay for photos from storms, unless the chasers didn't get anything on the day. I know how this works, as I'm friends with all the chasers, and have been there when they've handed footage over. Which storm did you have photos of?
    Happy to take all constructive Critique, please don't rework or edit my photos. Thanks!

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    Go and have a look at Getty Images website.....go to the section that has similar photos to yours and click on a photo....go through the process as if you wanted to buy a license for that pic and then you'll get a price.....it could give you some ideas for a starting point.
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