earn money from your photos

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by lynch512, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I agree. $0.20 is a joke for image usage, but unfortunately it's a sign of the times with the digital revolution. As photography gets easier, and there are more photographers, and the bar gets lowered as the market floods. I suppose if an amateur has never gotten a check in the mail, then $100 seems like a lot. Of course if you are going to pay taxes on that income in the states, you can take 40% away from that right away which turns it into 12 cents per image use, and I can't imagine making a living on that.

    Point-n-shoot digi cams have spelled the demise of the photographer for the local newspaper too. Why would they pay for both a reporter and a photographer, when the reporter can just snap a shot for the story with his cell phone? It's too bad, because as I watch the old photogs from my local paper retire, I've noticed a serious lack of interesting photos in the paper.

    Art is valuable, and a common problem with all sorts of artists is that they devalue their work. Personally I feel like I'm giving commercial interests a heck of a deal when I allow single usage rights to an image for $200.00. 20 cents pays for just over 1/3rd of a sec of my time at my minimum commercial rate, and according to the photogs I look up to, I'm still too cheap.


     
  2. metroshane

    metroshane TPF Noob!

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    Absolutely.

    Let's expand this into a value thread since we're talking about it. People often think that if I charge $200 for an hour of work, then I'm getting paid $200 an hour. Not true. First, I shoot with a 10D...and while it's not top of the line, I have about 5k tied up in the body, various lenses, flashes, lighting kits, etc. So there is maintenance cost, depreciation and most importantly liability cost. What if I drop my camera shooting a $.20 job? Not worth it. What if it gets stolen while I'm shooting somewhere.

    Next we have transportation to lug all this equipment around to various locations. Electricity to power 600W lights, strobes, battery recharges, etc. Taxes. Medical insurance...something most jobs incorperate into a pay scale. Liability insurance in case something happens at a shoot....someone gets hurt, I damage something, etc.

    Most people have no idea how to value the things I've listed and therefore they undervalue themselves. You CANNOT stay in business this way. It's impossible unless you're independantly wealthy and don't mind a massive leak in your bank account.

    So let's see. I make $200 for an hour shoot.
    $80 to the gov (hey I'm a business now, got to pay extra taxes).
    $6 for health insurance (yep, no group plan here)
    1.20 in gas
    .20 electricity
    $5 depreciation of equipment (lamps are expensive, so are computers)
    $12 liability insurance so I don't get sued if a light falls over on someone...even if it is thier fault.
    $5 various supplies, CD-R, postage

    That's not mentioning the things I'm forgetting like years of study and practice. And I only wish I were booked every hour! :roll:
     
  3. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your making it sound like once you sell the image for $0.20 you cant ever sell it again. :0) There are people on istock that have had thier picture downloaded 500 times, at say an averge 20 cents per download thats $100 from the one picture. And they usually have other pictures from that series on there as well. A few on istock make a very good income, but most dont.

    I think it comes down to do what you want. If you want to do istock and are happy with what your getting paid, great.

    If you dont like the pay and you dont wnat to do it, then dont do it. No one is forcing you.

    If a company wants an average picture, they can use istock. If the site is a low budget thing, they probably cant afford a $200 stock image.

    If your a big company and you want quality, they probably go to corbis or a company known for quality.

    I think were just going in circles here, heh.
     
  4. metroshane

    metroshane TPF Noob!

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    You're right about selling an image mulitple times, Gerry David..that's why I wanted to discuss value as a whole as it relates to the professional photog...not the amatuer that's selling his hobby surplus.

    But also don't forget one other thing...the company that's paying .20 for your image is making money from it.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Everybody should feel free to place whatever value on their work that they want, but I'm telling you, I don't care how much of a newbie you are, if your image is worth selling, it's worth more than $0.20 for commercial use.
     
  6. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    The market knows whom they need, which is why I say there is no reason for worry.

    Say for my sister's wedding, I'll have two options when it comes to hiring a photographer:
    1. Hire a top-of-the-line- PJ who charges around US$5K and above (leather album and all the frills inclusive).
    2. Hire a newbie who is building his portfolio. His fee - US$900 (album of 4x6).
    (This is merely a hypothetical scenario, and obviously there are more options that these two)

    My point is, there will ALWAYS be a crowd for Option 1 as long as mankind is there. I cannot even comprehend the idea that digital newbies who undervalue their work would affect the business of the likes of Joe Buissink, Bambi Cantrell, Dennis Reggie or a bunch of the pros listed here. The market is too smart for that.

    Peace :)
     
  7. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ive also heard people like to brag about how much they paid for thier wedding and the wedding photographer. :0) Cant do that if you go cheap unless you lie.
     
  8. celery

    celery TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, .20 is just too little. I'd rather just print out an 8 X 10 and sell it for $20 once rather than wait for 100 downloads. If you have good images, it's easier to find a handful of buyers than to find hundreds of people who want to download your image.


    It costs about $5 -$8 to print an 8 x 10 at home (ink and really high end photo paper).

    That leaves you with about $12 profit (not counting the cost of camera and computer . . . etc). That means you need an image to be downloaded 60 times to make $12.

    So, basically it's 60 downloads VS one person buying directly from you.

    BTW, even $20 is really cheap for a photograph, but it suits my example.
     
  9. cmptrdewd

    cmptrdewd TPF Noob!

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    I've been doing photography off and on for two years and I'm still kind of in the expermenting phase. I never really thought about selling prints. I have a web site and maybe I could sell downloads (for more than .20 cents each of course) on my web. I really don't think that all the time and energy put into one good shot should be reduced to 20 cents.

    I wanted to do an inhome portrait biz, but was wondering how in the world am I going to pay for all the equipment I need like backgrounds and lights and all that jazz. I think I'll get all my best shots and print some out and sell them... I think... ummmm..... but where would I sell them?

    O I'm glad I fould this thread! Thx everyone! :thumbsup:


    BTW my avatar is not one of my best shots, just thought it was cute. It's my chinchilla.
     
  10. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Celery, who would pay $20 for an 8x10 of a fork? :0)

    And why not have some images on istock, and then offer them as prints as well on your website. People that buy prints may not ever know about istock, and as far as I know, your allowed to sell your istock stock as prints as well. You just might not be able to sell the same images to another stock site. I know the bigger stock sites dont want your images on any other stock sites.

    The stuff that does well on istock isnt usually the stuff that would do well as prints, and vice versa.

    I think it just matters what level your at. Starting out, then you will probably only be able to get on those cheap sites. If your really good, go for the more pro sites. And I think the pro sites need huge files, so those using p&s cameras cant get on a real stock site anywase. So your gear limits you as well.
     
  11. cmptrdewd

    cmptrdewd TPF Noob!

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    If I were to go right now and grab my camera, get a fork out, lay it on the table and take a picture, it would cost about .20 :)
     
  12. tmpadmin

    tmpadmin TPF Noob!

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    I'll disagree a bit here. Have you even looked at some of those images on the stock web sites? Heck, most of us here can do that by dropping our cameras. Beside I don't think that stock photography is the same as something you would want hanging on the wall. Why would I want a photo of a keyboard on my wall? But that same photo would be perfect for a web page. I honestly don't see much artistic about stock photography, there are exceptions, however for the most part they are of forks, keyboards, hand shaking and so on. Most of the photos posted here would never get downloaded at a stock site - they just don't serve the purpose, but they would get some good money to hang on a wall.
     

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