New to commercial and not confident licensing images

6 years 10 months ago #534510 by [email protected]

This is my first time posting and I'm excited to be a part of this community.  I have had my photography company for the last 8 years, we've done well with weddings but are ready to move on.  Over the years we have done plenty of commercial photography and have found that we love it.  The only thing is- we can't figure out how to price it.  Everything I read says to not start cheap and establish yourself as a low cost photographer but nothing I read gives specific examples.

All the shoots we've worked over the years have been either friends of the family or wedding related vendors.  Considering that as well as the fact that we have always been wedding photographers, it made no sense to suddenly charge licensing fees on these images.  But now we will be separating the commercial into a different brand and it should go more smoothly. 

So- I have my first potential client on the line.  I did a trade shoot with them for there event space (wedding related) and went ahead and shot a product shot to show them what I can do.  They loved the shot and I offered to shoot their entire line of products; they are a distillery.  So this is the quote that I shared with them only having a basic understanding of what I was doing.  

7 final images to be delivered- 1 for each product

Production- Full Day
$1,500 (includes 6 months of digital use for all images)

Full product Line 5 years website and social media use

Individual Image 5 years magazine or billboard use

Well, she was shocked by the numbers and I don't see them going for it.  Was I wrong? Is she uninformed? Do I stick to this type of pricing?  I know each person's market is different and mine in particular is full of folks who would do this for dirt cheap on a full buyout.  

I'm hoping there's a gold standard that I don't know about.  Thank you for any thoughts you have on this. I would love to hear personal stories and specific examples of the types of numbers you currently use as well as how you started out.

6 years 10 months ago #534516 by Eric A
What did she specifically have a tough time with?  Price or limitation of use?  

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6 years 10 months ago #534569 by Screamin Scott
Since pricing is local, try to check out competitors in your area, established ones that is.

Scott Ditzel Photography

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6 years 10 months ago - 6 years 10 months ago #534585 by [email protected]
She had a problem with limitation of use I'd say. She was being polite but also very quiet. I got the impression that she wasn't too surprised by the price but shocked to see that the rights would eventually come back to me for that price. It was hard to explain to her that the photos are not hers, they are mine and I'm leasing them to her.

As far as other folks in the area, I've made friends with one photographer who has been more than gracious in helping me figure things out.  But every time this topic comes up he tells to charge what I feel I'm worth.  But I frankly feel too ignorant about the topic (despite all my research) to confident assign numbers to the value of these images.  

6 years 10 months ago - 6 years 10 months ago #534721 by icepics
I'm not sure the pricing and usage seem to be clear enough. It seems a bit off because I don't get the pricing for 6 months' online use compared to use on a billboard which could generate a good bit of business for them. I'm not sure why either there's only one photo of each product being provided; they may want a few to choose from or be able to use for various promotions or marketing campaigns.

I agree with Scott, it will vary depending on where you live. If you're networking with one other photographer that's a start; build on that and try to do more networking.

Try or PPA for pricing guides. ASMP did have a 'paperwork' share where working photographers shared actual contracts and jobs and pricing, but their site has changed and I'm not sure if it's still on there or available to nonmembers. Try taking a look at the Photo District News to learn about commercial photography.

I think you need to look at your licensing and make some adjustments in that and your pricing range. Find out ahead of time what they need and how they expect to use it so you can draw up an appropriate contract. It might need to be one specific timeframe, for example for one year's use, then include specific types of usage (online, billboards, etc.).  If it will include social media use, provide appropriately sized images for that.

edit - And five years seems too long, their products will probably change and they'll need new photos periodically such as in a year or two; they won't be able to use the photos that long (unless something like a photo of their sign or log or vineyard etc. if that stays the same for a number of years).

The more you learn all about licensing and contracts etc. the more you'll probably develop confidence in doing this.

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