Selling Files

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by passionate prints, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. passionate prints

    passionate prints TPF Noob!

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    Hello!

    I'm new here and would like to have some help if you can. Over the years I have been taking photographs of wildlife from flowers to animals. I also have taken hundreds of events with family members and the public.

    Recently, I have been taking more and more pictures of wildflowers, and, I would like to sell the file itself if that is possible. Seems like a funny question to ask as a person should be able to make up their mind of what they can and can't sell, but, this is different for me. With the purchase of a file, I will be giving up the entire rights to it. To me this would be whomever purchases the file would be given all rights to it, as it was taken by the purchaser themselves. The buyer would be able to use it in any form necessary including business reasons like re-sale.

    I am just wondering if this is a business to go into and, if it is legal to do so.

    My other question is if it is legal, what should I charge for my files? Once I give one up I could have used it myself for product like greeting cards, wall photos, canvas prints, etc. If a corporation or small business were to purchase a file, then they would have the profit from it 100%.

    Thank you so much in advance! This website is teaching me a lot so far and I can’t wait to take more photographs!


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As there's no location in your profile, we can't speak with authority on the legality, but as far as I know, if you live in North America, most of Europe and pretty much any country that's a signatory on the Berne Convention, you can sell your intellectual property as you see fit. That said, assuming you can find a market for it (and that will be the real challenge; there are millions of photos uploaded to the Internet every minute; why should I pay for yours when there are others I can have free?), your model allows you to sell each file only once since once you've sold it w/ rights, it's no longer yours to sell. Conventional wisdom suggests licensing of images, in other words: People pay you a fee to use the image for a set period and under specified conditions, and depending on those conditions and the nature of the image, you may be able to license the same image to multiple clients simultaneously.
     
  3. passionate prints

    passionate prints TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply. I just enjoy taking photos and think mine are as good if not better than anyone else. I have looked at 100s of photos in magazines, books, presentations, and online, and I don't know how they got there. For instance, magazines that are sold for wildlife and flowers - take Birds and Blooms. Their magazine is wonderful, yet, I have seen so many photos over the years that don't come even close to mine. I'm not being cocky as I may sound, but, there are so many photos out there that are too simple, meaning, it doesn't have a "story" to it.

    I'm glad though that there is no law against this. And as far as taking images and using them for free, well, you would have to get the owners permission, and, a lot of times you cannot use them as you see fit. For example, if you're looking for a photo on a rose and want to use it for canvas prints, tee-shirts, and even a bedspread, it only would not be legal to just take any photo you see that you like - you need to have the owners permission, and, I almost guarantee that it would not be given. That person could too make a profit from it.

    By selling the file outright, you are giving that person and/or company, the right to do what they want. Giving others the right to use your image by selling it to multiple clients would give all companies a run for their money. Two may try to sell it for a tee-shirt and their prices are different. Whom would you go with - obviously the company that is cheaper.

    What do you think?
     
  4. passionate prints

    passionate prints TPF Noob!

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    Oh, by the way, I'm from North America.
     
  5. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    At least that narrows it down a bit.
     
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  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hello and welcome!

    Yes, it is legal, but I question the wisdom of relinquishing control entirely. As tirediron wrote; you could license the image and still retain ultimate control. Typically, a license agreement would specify what the purchaser would be able to do with it, for how long, and how many times. After which they could re-purchase for another specified time/use or allow the agreement to lapse.

    I think you should enlist the aid of a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property licensing and get a contract for each image/client. If the same lawyer writes all your contracts, there would be consistency and subsequent contracts would (probably) not cost as much as the first one.

    How much money you propose to make kind of depends on your photography skills, your marketing skills, and of course, the market.

    So if you've got skills and a wide following, you can make money.
     
  7. passionate prints

    passionate prints TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for you reply!

    Yes, I know I should consider the licensing, but, it is expensive I imagine. By selling the rights to my photos and losing full control would make me happy as I am earning a profit. I am not doing this with every photo - I am just trying it out on ebay.com right now. I'll show you the photos if you wish so that you can see if it would be worth it to sell it outright. Let me know and I can e-mail them to you!

    Thanks!
     
  8. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Erp.................. uh, ebay isn't really where image buyers flock to when looking for files.
     
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  9. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you sell the file then yes, you would be selling your original work - this is done for commercial use (such as for advertising) and the company buying it pays A LOT OF MONEY. This would be foolish to do it the way you're talking about because no, you won't be the one making money from selling the image as prints, on T shirts, etc.

    Learn how to license usage and in what cases it might make sense to sell the original file outright. Such as if someone is going to send an armored truck full of cash to your home. (I'm kidding!) But really, selling your original file for T shirts etc. isn't going to be worth losing your original work and possibly not being able to ever use it again.

    You need to learn about licensing usage - back up the bus, get off ebay with this, and get on American Society of Media Photographers - Homepage or PPA and learn how to license usage, how to do contracts, etc.

    If you want to sell your images on T shirts, or as prints, sell those on ebay. Those are intended for the buyer's personal use. If you want to try licensing usage of your work by someone else for commercial use on T shirts, etc. then start learning how and where to market your work.
     
  10. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's not expensive to license usage - YOU are the one who will make money from the licensing.

    You really need to get more informed. Please do that before you go any further.

    If your photos are good then figure out where and how to sell prints or retail items (like T shirts), and how to license usage of your photos for retail use or for commercial use.
     
  11. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If your photo's are really that good. You need to be printing them, framing them. And going to art shows and what not. Take your portfolio to some art studios and have them displayed for sale. Many people even if it's not their own work would love to sell others work just for the commission!

    Most mom and pops who might by a nice landscape are not the people to buy an electronic file and then go have it printed. They want a finished product they can see right in front of them.

    You will sell more and make more money by printing your work and selling the prints! And by still owning the rights. Can keep making prints of ones that sell! You will make pennies if you sell files! There are millions of picture files that can be bought online for cheap! Do you really want to compete with thousands of others selling their work just just pennies? And there is work involved by choosing keywords for searches so your pictures even comes up. Go to a picture selling site and do a search for mountain view. And see how many come up. How do you get your picture to the front? Or even in the first 10 pages of results? How do you get it seen over millions of others?

    If your work is as good as you say. They need to be printed and framed! You will get much much better returns. One weekend at a popular art fair would probably cover an entire year of trying to sell files! And in the long run even be less work / time on your part!
     
  12. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I’m starting to think OP is a troll.
     
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