Commercial work for resort....pricing and contract

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TPF Noob!
Jul 25, 2013
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I am fairly new to the business of photography and charging for my work. Up until this point I have been doing portrait work for a few friends for my portfolio and a minimal fee of approximately 100 for about 10 to 15 photographs on a CD. The resort I work at has gotten wind of my photography skills and has asked me to possibly take some photographs around the property. They have drawn up a contract for me to sign and I know it is beyond low for what they are asking for but I don't know exactly what the industry is for this type of photography. I was hoping someone might look it over, and also maybe provide examples of more appropriate contracts for this type of work. I am not a professional photographer by any means, but I do know my work is worth more than they are offering. I do own very nice equipment and can produce high quality images, but am limited in comparison to a professional commercial photographer. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I have to get back to my manager tomorrow....

Photographer’s Release Form

I, Name Removed, as photographer and legal copyright author, owner and doing business as
Name Removed 1099 (social security number on file) do hereby grant the property name removed full rights to copy, print or reproduce photos as described; website, collateral, e-blasts, etc. There will be no restrictions for any photos released to hotel by Photographer and no limit will be give for photography release.

The goal for Name Removed is to help the hotel create new business development and use our photographers for future hotel clients. This includes incremental photos to include but not be limited to the following:

• Teambuilding- events
• Busy Pool- activity
• Joggers- active athletes
• Water Sports- those on water
• Architecture- arches and hallways
• Coffee guests- at Aroma
• Live music- weekends

Photos may consist of “hero shots,” table top displays, hotels to include Resort and generic photos.

There will be no restrictions for any photos released to hotel by Photographer and no limit will be give for photography release.

Fees will include; $99 set up fee to include but not be limited to 10 hours of photography. This also includes a $10 fee for each photo used by hotel. Should hotel use any photo outside of photographers understand, not litigation may be taken. However, hotel will reserve the right to pay photographer the agreed upon $10 photo fee. Not to exceed 20 photos by year’s end- 2013.

Invoicing must be completed and submitted to HSDR as per the accounting practices by the hotel. A purchase order will be complete by the hotel for up to but not to exceed $300.

A copy of this document shall be considered adequate proof of release by the photographer and firm. Confirmation of such can be verified by contacting me at any time if necessary.

Photographer- Name REmoved Name Removed – DOSM
Date: 8.1.2013 Date: 8.1.2013
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:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao: Oh... wait... they're serious?????? :lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao: Sorry... Not to exceed 20 images and not to exceed $300? EVEN if you are being paid your regular salary/wage (are you?) while doing this, they are realllllllllllly trying to thread you! It really depends on what YOUR goal is here. Do you want to do the job and pick up a little 'bonus' money, or do you want to stand on your rights as a photographer. If you're getting paid your regular salary/wage and you're happy with the experience, etc, it's not the worst deal in the world ('though not far from it). I really can't tell you what to charge, since I have no idea where you are, whether you have all of the necessary equipment to properly discharge the commission, etc, BUT... if I were doing it, I would probably quote them something in the order of $1000 for the work (the exact requirements are a little vague) plus licensing. For unlimited and non-exclusive use for a three-year period, I would probably ask for something in the three-five hundred dollar/image range. If they wanted exclusive use (as in, I couldn't sell them to a stock agency, or use them in my portfolio, etc) I would raise the price by a factor three or four (understanding fully that they would likely tell me to take a hike).

The "contract" is VERY poorly written, and does not appear to adress who is responsible for model releases, does not include a property release, does cover what form(s) the images should be delivered in, nor whether exclusive use is desired. NEVER let the client dictate the contract - sure they can bring theirs out, but you bring yours out too, and at least meet in the middel.

Did I mention, they're trying to thread you?
I've never done photography for money or profit but I've done freelance graphic design and this sounds like plenty of the bad experiences I've had there. People always think art is cheap. I personally would take the above advice unless its just experience and your ok with that.
I suspect your newness to the business of doing photography was the attraction, rather than your photography skills.
They have you at a distinct disadvantage business wise. Business 101 teaches that whoever writes the contract has a big advantage.
As John mentions contract terms are usually negotiable - The Photographer's Guide to Negotiating
Pricing Guides | American Society of Media Photographers
Licensing Guide | American Society of Media Photographers

Look this article over to get an idea of what commercial photography is worth. The total estimate was for $19,900 and was accepted. Case Study: Producing A Successful Estimate |

After considering the size of the client, scope of the use (no print), experience of the photographer (this was his first major commercial assignment), shoot difficulty/complexity, the quantity of photos, the fact that only one image would be used as the "hero" and that the value to the client would diminish for similar images from each scenario, I valued the first image at $2,500, the 2nd through 5th at $1,250 each and the 6th through 13th at $800 each, for a total of $13,900.

The Hotel wants way more usage than what is involved in the above article. Selling use licensing is what commercial photography is all about.
The more uses they want, the more it costs.

Some additional references:
Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition
The Professional Photographer's Legal Handbook
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No restrictions, no limits... this seems to want a lot for not much. Not sure if I'm reading this correctly, but $99 plus 10 per photo for a total of no more than $300 for unlimited commercial use? Since it's work related if it's something you think you need to do it seems at least that it would be better to have terms limited to specific use for a specific time frame (although at least it seems I think to be just for this resort not for the entire company). They may want an employee to do this because they can't even begin to find a photographer who would do commercial work like this at this rate of pay.

You could look at American Society of Media Photographers , they have sample contracts I think, and a formula available to determine cost of doing business as do other organizations and websites like PPA.
(nm Just saw Keith's links above - instead I could just post more of these :lmao: like John did, that sums it up pretty well :er: - that rate might not even be up to current standards for one year's use of one photo in one brochure.)
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The goal for Name Removed is to help the hotel create new business development and use our photographers for future hotel clients...

What dollar amount are they hoping for in the "create new business development"? This is, after all, Hilton. They're not going to do anything without knowing what it will cost them and how much they can make. I don't necessarily fault them for making such a low offer. They are, after all, in business to make as much profit as possible. If they're not shown any resistance, they have no reason to increase the dollar amount.

Also, the "use our photographers" phrase is intriguing. Are you now going to be one of their photographers? If not, why are they wanting to use your photographs to build business for other photographers? Will you be able to benefit from "future hotel clients"?

Aside from everything else, the initial money being offered is stupidly low. I would respectfully and politely decline. If it becomes uncomfortable, simply explain that you don't want to lose focus on whatever your primary role there is. That's a tough one for them to argue because, if you say that, and your primary job does suffer, they can't say you didn't warn them.

This isn't Uncle Cephus' Wagon Wheel Inn. This is Hilton. Hilton can, and should, pony up...
I politely offered resistance explaining that we need to consider what type of contract and use rights were realistic and well as pricing. I explained that I do appreciate the offer for the experience but I also need to consider that this is a field I am looking to Pursue as my career and I am not keen on lowering the market value in turn affecting the rates companies are willing to pay in the future. I mentioned that i thought we were on a good track by discussing it but we needed to hammer out the finer details by the end of the day I had an email in my inbox containing the above contract. I honestly was insulted and felt used by my company but I don't know how to approach it now because I feel I was not assertive enough from the start and was being to nice. Now I feel they think I'm a child lacking the education to understand how absurd their offer is but I'm in a tough spot because it is my place of employment.
Oh yeah and the manager actually said that it was a conflict of interest to hire somebody who is currently employed by the hotel and therefore the only way we can do the deal is if I worked for and i quote peanuts
Oh yeah and the manager actually said that it was a conflict of interest to hire somebody who is currently employed by the hotel and therefore the only way we can do the deal is if I worked for and i quote peanuts
Tell the manager you are hosting a large party for family and friends and would he mind coming over and to act as waiter, bus-boy and oh yeah, bring the food too? You'll pay him $300 for the day's work, because of course, any more would be a conflict of interest. They are trying to get something for nothing, and I would strongly suggest politely refusing.
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My goal is to counter offer and show him I can't be pushed around, but I don't know what to offer. In reality I am still very new to the business. I own a canon 5d mark II and mid level glass. I have done proposal shots and engagement shots. I need a realistic counter offer....
Seems like it could make for an awkward situation since they're your employer; maybe it will be best if you decide to decline and let them choose someone else. If you accept this contract it might give you some good experience but then again it might set a precedent for them offering you low pay for this type work in the future.

I guess if you were doing this during your regular work hours, they are already paying your for that time; but doing this doesn't seem to be part of your regular work duties. If this doesn't work out maybe it will be better to pursue photography on your own, that might lead you to better opportunities down the road.

edit - If you haven't done event or commercial photography and have done limited professional photography I'd probably look into what the range is for entry level (or something comparable to that) for that type work in your area. Maybe ASMP or other pro photographers organizations might have a chapter in your area that would list members - if you could look at some other photographers sites maybe you could get some idea what the going rate is.
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A non-exclusive license means you can license the same up to 20 images images to other use license buyers.

The pricing model for commercial/stock/assignment work is vastly different than the pricing model for the retail photography you have been building a portfolio for.

I get the distinct impression you do not have a well researched, written business and marketing plan for your retail photography business, let alone a second business/marketing plan for doing commercial/stock/assignment work.

whitnic. Are you in the USA? Your profile has no location info.

Starting & Managing a Business |
I am employed as the Concierge for my company. The resort is well established and in Southern CA. Generally speaking some of the photos would have to be taken on the clock because events happen during my normal business hours but the majority would be off the clock. I am not paid a high hourly wage and these is not my immediate manager. I have not built a business marketing plan as my research and education on the topic has been halted by recent events. I do however have a basic understanding of contracts and pricing for both commercial and retail work. My hesitation in this particular instance is due to the fact that this is for my current employer. I am absolutely willing to work for under market value on behalf of the circumstances but I feel the contract he has presented is beyond low, it's pennies. This manager is trying to take advantage of my situation and spin it as he is doing me a favor despite company policies because I am an expecting mother and could use money. He has also never spoken to me in the past to know I am not as young as I look and that I am a college graduate who is not going to settle for being manipulated, I am not naive. I was considering asking at least 50 per photo with a 3 year use? Which I still think is beyond reasonable and quite low but also see that is five times what he offered and don't want to piss him off.
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I'm not going to say anything that others haven't already said, so I'll just say this...

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