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Thread: Charging per photo after already charging for your time (corporate imagery)

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    Charging per photo after already charging for your time (corporate imagery)

    So recently I was asked to shoot for a multinational on a project they had their products on.

    Essentially it was a heap of Architectural images where the brief was to make the building look more "regal". So I took the liberty to go crazy and well the client loves the images.
    The images will be used in a promotional advertorial magazine that this company produces, which may be then used by head office for worldwide use. There is already an offer of further work every two months so I don't want to risk that by getting greedy.
    My questions is they want 7 of the images and I gave them a hourly rate.
    Now they are wondering the cost for the images.
    So do I charge extra for the images on top of the time?
    Or does the fact I charged an hourly rate mean they already own the copyrights and that's that?

    I don't mind either way as I did charge a very high rate for a rank amateur.
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    I have never been in your situation so I can only call it as I see it.

    You seem to be happy with your earnings from this deal already - IMO, go with it as it is and see how it develops. No risk involved. If in the future you feel you deserve better renumeration then re-negotiate. My call is to go with the opportunity and to stay claer of the temptation to nail a quick profit at the expense of long term gain.

    ^^^ total hobbyist talking - ignore as appropriate
    Last edited by fess67; 04-11-2013 at 12:15am.

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    You need to understand that you're not selling your photos, but the usage of your photos. Commercial use is very different to working for private clients who use the photos for private purposes. I can't advise you on specifics, but you might want to do some research on going rates for commercial usage. You may be able to go onto a stock image library and do a client enquiry. Ask for a quote for images to be used exactly as your client intends to use them. That will give you a ballpark figure. It's up to you whether you offset this against the money already paid. At least your clients are sophisticated enough to know that they need your permission in the first place and expect to pay for the usage. Most local companies I've dealt with here have no idea and treat the images as their own.
    Last edited by Warbler; 04-11-2013 at 9:37am.

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    You've already charged for the photos, you can't charge again, that's unethical. The truth is that, subject to your agreement, they own the photos. If they ask you to enhance those photos by all means charge them for the work.
    Warbler, in the majority of cases with commercial photography (weddings excluded) you are selling your photos with the copyright. Newspapers, magazines, govt departments, commercial enterprises would all expect to employ you for your skills and the emphasis is on "employ". These larger organisations simply have a task to be done for which you are an employee or contractor, they own the product by choice, or otherwise they employ someone else.
    Plenty of professional photographers out there willing to work without worrying about amateurs unless they want a giveaway once up price or don't have the budget. Either way, repeat business is unlikely.
    Also, photography is a negotiated business based on what and when and rarely has anything to do with "going rates".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    Warbler, in the majority of cases with commercial photography (weddings excluded) you are selling your photos with the copyright. Newspapers, magazines, govt departments, commercial enterprises would all expect to employ you for your skills and the emphasis is on "employ". These larger organisations simply have a task to be done for which you are an employee or contractor, they own the product by choice, or otherwise they employ someone else.
    Better do your homework again buddy. In fact, with few exceptions, the photographer owns copyright. One of those exceptions is weddings by the way where unless there is a contract to the contrary, the client owns copyright.

    This link used to be free, but I see now it is user-pays, but $30 well spent. http://shop.copyright.org.au/product...roductid=16559

    In summary though:


    • Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, the general rule is the photographer is the first owner of copyright.
    • Exceptions to this general rule are photographs taken in the course of employment ie if you are a staff photographer or just an employee taking photographs on behalf of your employer.
    • Newspaper/Magazine Publishers (except for freelance photographers who retain all rights)
      • Before 1 May 1969 the publisher owns copyright
      • After 1 May 1969 and before 30 July 1998 The publisher owns the rights for newspaper and magazine publication and broadcasting, the photographer owns all the rest including publication in books.
      • After 30 July 1998 the photographer owns the rights to photocopy and include in books and the publisher owns the rest.

    • Photographs taken for a Federal, State, or Territory Government - unless there is an agreement to the contrary, is the first owner of copyright in material created, or first published, under its direction or control. This does not apply to Local Governments.
    • For "commissioned" photographs (ie where the person paying the photographer is not the photographer's employer,
      • Prior to 1 May 1969, the person paying owns the copyright unless there is an agreement to the contrary
      • After 1 May 1969 and before 30 July 1998, the first owner of the copyright is the client unless agreed otherwise
      • After 30 July 1998, it depends on the purpose for which the photographs were taken.
        • If they were taken for private or domestic purposes (like weddings or family portraits), the first owner is the client unless agreed otherwise.
        • If they were taken for any other purpose eg commercial shots, the photographer will be the first owner of copyright, unless there is an agreement otherwise.

      • However, if a person retains copyright as a result of commissioning it in the absence of any other agreement, the photographer has the right to restrain the use of the photograph for any purpose other than those for which it was created, provided those purposes were made known at the time the photographs were created. This rule applies to any photograph taken on or after 1 May 1969. Even though the client is the owner of copyright, the photographer can rely on his/her right of restraint to negotiate further payment for
        uses that were not contemplated at the outset.



    So, I suggest you better acquaint yourself with these provisions Redgum. You might find it to your advantage.

    And before you come back with the standard "Oh that's very well in theory, but in practice...blah, blah, blah" It may be different in practice for you, but those who know and use written agreements will find it can and does work. Sure there are clients who want copyright ownership, and you can come to an agreement along those lines, but you should put a value on those rights and adjust your prices accordingly. Make sure your client knows that you are doing that too. If they don't want to pay for ownership, then you make a business decision that suits you.
    Last edited by Warbler; 07-11-2013 at 8:50am.

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    Well Warbler, I take offence at your remarks. Firstly, my name is John Westwood and I own Redgum Television Productions and three other companies associated with the film industry and although our work is in many countries we are based in Brisbane. Redgum is 30 years old next year and for years was the second largest production company in Australia. Go and do your research.
    From my information it appears you are unemployed or retired and have never been a commercial or professional photographer. If that's wrong you're welcome to publish the facts.
    The first thing you should do is learn to read. My only reference to copyright was the fact that most commercial photographers are more than willing to sell their ownership. National Geographic, Royal Geographic, Time and the majority of regular publications in most countries will have no interest in your photography unless you do sell them complete rights and as a consequence you do get paid for it.
    Secondly, if you could read you would see that I excluded weddings in this context.
    Thirdly, you should study copyright rather than copy and paste extracts from other websites. I would suggest most people here have had more experience than you.
    Finally, if you're embarrassed by all your blunders feel free to PM me direct with your apology.

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    I don't think that will be happening John. And no, you are wrong about me. I am neither unemployed, nor illiterate. The facts as I stated above are correct. Going back to the original post. If mechawombat was commissioned and the usage spelled out at the time is different to the usage they are now seeking, he is entitled to charge for the additional usage. That is not unethical. It is up to him whether he does that, just as it is up to you or I to charge or not. Your experience doesn't change the law. I have also agreed in the past to give up my copyright to commercial clients, but I have put a value on that. I was merely stating the facts John. That you took offense is your choice, but I was not incorrect. I can and do read. I do commercial photography. I have nothing to apologise for.

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    Keep this civil
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    The truth is that, subject to your agreement, they own the photos.
    However we don't know what the original agreement was?

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    You are correct Mark L. The fact though that they came back and asked for a price would seem to me to indicate that they don't believe they bought the copyrights either. In the absence of an agreement to the contrary the photographer holds the copyrights. No amount of bluff and bluster changes that. If you agreed to sell the copyrights mechawombat, then you can't sell them again. Of course, if want to charge for the additional usage, then it's up to you to negotiate the sale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    However we don't know what the original agreement was?
    An "hourly" rate is an employment contract - he was employed to take the photos for the multi-national. He can't turn around now (they've asked for 7) and charge them again for the work he has already been paid for. What was he expecting for his hourly rate and did this conform with the client? Surely there was some form of verbal agreement at that level?
    It would appear that mechawombat and the multi-national company are both a little confused on what they agreed, if anything.
    I guess the lesson here is that you need to do the "business" first and take the photos second.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    An "hourly" rate is an employment contract - he was employed to take the photos for the multi-national. He can't turn around now (they've asked for 7) and charge them again for the work he has already been paid for. What was he expecting for his hourly rate and did this conform with the client? Surely there was some form of verbal agreement at that level?
    It would appear that mechawombat and the multi-national company are both a little confused on what they agreed, if anything.
    I guess the lesson here is that you need to do the "business" first and take the photos second.
    I have always found your advice 2nd. You advised me to sell a pic for $50 but I sold it for $500. Anyway, did you miss this from the OP..

    My questions is they want 7 of the images and I gave them a hourly rate.
    Now they are wondering the cost for the images.
    It's obvious we don't have ALL the facts.
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    Charging an hourly rate does NOT on its own make this a contract of employment. There is plenty of information about about what constitutes a contract of employment and what is a contract for service on Government websites like Fair Work Australia and the ATO. It is far more likely that the work was a "commissioned" work.

    In a nutshel, if the agreement/understanding by both parties at the commencement was not to transfer copyright, and the quote and invoice was as per that agreement, then mechawombat has fulfilled his part. The new request by the client is just that, a new request. He can set a fee to fulfill that, or he can be generous and charge nothing, but it is his choice. It's really up to him to decide. He says he doesn't want to be greedy. I gather he also doesn't want to undervalue his work, which is why he asked for advice.

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    Some facts:

    1. Weddings are not Commercial. Under the Act they are classified as Domestic. Domestic portraiture is where the client owns copyright. So inclusion of weddings in this discussion is convoluting and confusing the discussions and points of view.

    2. Without seeing the original contract none of us are in a position to know what was/was not included. Thus the OP is within their rights to try and get details regarding the $$ value of individual images for the client.

    3. Having a client ask you for a $$ for further use of image is not 'unethical'. Doing so if a contract is in place that covers it, and then you ask for more is. We do not know what the contract says, so we cannot make judgement on this aspect.

    4. An 'hourly rate' may be an employment contract, but it is not necessarily all-encompassing. It depends on what is written in the contract, which we do not know!

    Please keep this thread on the facts. All that is happening is creation of confusion over the OP's original question.

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    Wow I really wasn't expecting this kind of reaction.

    I have ended up just going on the hourly rate plus sundries which was pretty high considering it was my first time. I am thrilled, the client is thrilled, and more work is coming my way. I will be working a lot closer with them on some more projects. Considering that I was sounded out by them, I felt that this is a good thing.

    Considering what I got paid to do in 2 and a bit hours, almost equated to me working my regular job for 20 hours which in it self is not chump change, I felt pretty justified in that decision.


    Thank you all that have put in their opinions. I really appreciated the different POVs and yes I really have to get a hang of this business side of things
    Last edited by mechawombat; 09-11-2013 at 7:15pm.

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    PM me if you want some real-world information on how commercial remuneration works based on actual, recent personal experience with large companies/organisations and the agencies they employ.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cripps View Post
    PM me if you want some real-world information on how commercial remuneration works based on actual, recent personal experience with large companies/organisations and the agencies they employ.
    You could have PMed that to mechawombat!.
    Though since you made it public, maybe you could post some thoughts here. It may be interesting for others to learn a real-world view, just in case they need to know (as mechawombat did)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    You could have PMed that to mechawombat!.
    Though since you made it public, maybe you could post some thoughts here. It may be interesting for others to learn a real-world view, just in case they need to know (as mechawombat did)
    It was obvious from the posts above that people were more interested in ego-warring. I didn't want to get into a battle with anyone...

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    mechawombat
    In my limited experience using commercial photographers I have paid a shooting fee and then paid a cost per image for images used from this shoot. They might not have liked your work and elected to use none of your images.
    Perhaps this was your clients expectation from the deal?

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    I got an email from the client yesterday.
    The images were sent to Head Office in Switzerland.
    They will be using the shots provided and have asked if I will be available to work on more projects in the future.

    Only hope it involves them paying me travelling around the world (I dare to DREAM!)

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