A huge offer for me...Please Help!!


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Mar 9, 2012
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I'm brand spanking new here. First post. Some brief notes for you.
In 2006 I finished a bachelors of fine arts in photography. I was a photoshop artist and portrait photographer for several local studios during and after my degree. This is back in the CS2 days. My husband and I decided to have our first child in 2007. Our daughter was born at 28 weeks of pregnancy and the past almost 5 years of been a medical blur with little to no photography jobs to my name. My street cred is all but gone.

I have been offered a dream job with a non-profit foundation close to my heart. I've been asked to make a proposal. I have NO clue what to ask for or say.....HELP!!!

Some specifics are that they would be supplying me with a whole new set-up. Dream computer, camera, lenses, etc. Everything I would need to start a photography business equipment wise. About $13,000 worth. My proposal to them is that they buy my list of necessaries and I work those items off at $75 an hour (about 173 hrs) or 1 year whichever comes first. This is cheap hourly, I think, but I'm just starting again and the foundation is only a year old. I would be building their portfolio for their foundation. It's a pretty good deal for me. I don't have 13 grand to throw down and I'm still using CS2 on my pre-intel iMac to process my canon 20D images :lol:

At the end of pay off or 1 year, I own these items and become a _________ for the foundation. This is where things get murky to me. I'm lost in the legalities of it all. Should I stay at the $75 an hour to be their beck and call gal or do I go for a yearly lump sum to do the same. Shoots will vary between charity events and weekly meetings. Maybe 3-5 hours a week maybe more depending on what is going on. So pricing by project isn't really feasible. They need this next step information because they will possibly be asking for funding through grants.

I will also be writing articles and posting related images to their website in a blog type of style. I have now clue how to bundle this into the proposal.

Ok, and my next question... I've never been a commercial type of photographer. I want to give them full rights to do as they please with the images, but I want to use those images to build my portfolio. I don't want to sell them, just use them on my website and to show future clients. So I don't want to give away my copyright. License wise, what on earth do you call that? I started to read through ASMP's website and got really overloaded. Oh, and they have super amazing lawyers. I do not. I'm just worried about regretting and missing something.

I need to get this done within a week or two.
Please please please help me!
I've never run a business but what I will say is make sure you spell out your rights to the images and their rights clearly. This sounds like a legal contract they're asking you to write so I'd also highly recommend you get an attorney to review it if possible (if that's too pricey then at least look into sites like legalzoom.com (I'm just giving an example, I've never used them) and see what pre-defined language they have.) If you're not careful about the language you may find yourself on the wrong end in a few years. In terms of fees, what do photographers get in your area...I'd do some research on that to get an idea how fair $75 is.
I agree. I would get an attorney to look at the contract before signing anything.

But If it's an organization you're passionate about, and a career area rat you are passionate about, Themis say I for it.
I guess I'm wondering if I need an attorney just for a proposal/bid? I assume we will make a contract after (if) the proposal is approved. At the same time the proposal or bid for the job needs to be detailed too. It is a very different situation for sure.
I :heart: auto correct!

I have no advice for you, this is way outta my league.

But good luck to you, getting back into the career that you loved!
Yup. Get an attorney to proof the contract. I think what you want to do is retain copyright, but give them unlimited license to works produced during paid shoots for them. That allows both of you to use their paid images as you see fit. Again, though, I'm not an attorney. This is not legal advice, which you need. Seek counsel.
First I totally and fully second the advice to get a proper lawyer to go over the contract with you before you sign anything. Remember you can get free consultations with many so you can at least present your case and outline your situation so that you can choose the right lawyer.

A few thoughts for consideration:

1) Watch this video (at least twice): http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/general-shop-talk/256614-f-ck-you-pay-me.html

2) Does the contract offer you any protections should the organisation fold within the year. Last thing you want is to place all you're bets in here and then have them fold and leave you with minimal pay and no gear to show for your time.

2) I would propose two contracts, one terminating at the end of the year/end of the final instalment payment for the gear. Then the second to be made at that point for continued services for them.
This lets you get a bit of legroom for yourself and also means that you can revisit the contract and agreements between you and them. The last thing you want is to be tied into a contract that looks good now, but which ends up with your working long hours for too little pay to support yourself.
It also gives you a breathing space to move on or lower your contributions to them (and thus free up time to take on alternative commercial work should you want to/need to).

4) Licence wise what you want to search on is a "usage licence" or similar working. You're not transferring copyright, just giving them a usage licence. This can be a simple as giving them a full usage rights to do with as they wish - though watch out for things like selling to 3rd parties or any restrictions they might try to impose - its a point of negotiation for you so you'll have to decide how much the photos you take will be worth to you long and short term. If you've really no worries about what they do a simple full usage licence shouldn't be too hard to draw up.
It helps to know what country you are in. That info isn't in your profile. I will assume you are in the USA.

The writing and the photography you do both involve copyright issues. It would be a good idea to understand what constitues a 'work made for hire' under US federal copyright law - http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf.
Here is the home page of the US Copyright Office - U.S. Copyright Office

It would be wise to try and schedule a 30 minute consultation with an attorney qualified in publication and copyright law, for info about writing the proposal and for writing your contract, model release, property release, delivery invoice, and any other needed legal paperwork.

In business, it is always preferrable to be the one providing the contract, rather than signing a contract the other party wrote.

You can do some ground work by visiting the web site of the American Society of Media Photographers - www.ASMP.org. On the left side of their home page click on 'Business Resources'. You have a lot of reading to do, and not much time to pull it all together.

Good luck! :thumbup:
Lawyer would be a good place to start as they would be able to draft up a contract that will cover both you and the client.
I could ask 101 questions - as you should be to this organisation, but I will start with this one.

"Some specifics are that they would be supplying me with a whole new set-up. Dream computer, camera, lenses, etc. Everything I would need to start a photography business equipment wise. About $13,000 worth."

13,000 for "everything" you need to start a photography business??
I can only assume as the figure is so low that you already have about 50-75% of what is required.
Just a proper camera and lens set-up (as in professional grade) would cost you at least that.
Then when you take into account a good reliable computer setup with proper software, if you are studio based then all the "extras" for the studio etc etc. then you are doubling or more that figure.
Then there are the "extras" like all the insurances, premises, office equipment etc etc ad nauseum and you are into the 30-40k range.

This whole thing could be great for you or could cause you a bunch of problems both legally and from a business point of view.
As others have said, talk to a lawyer or you will get burnt.
I thought they would be able to keep all the equipment after a certain amount of time?

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