First Time Selling Files - Looking for Pricing Advice


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Mar 21, 2012
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Washington, D.C.
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So far I've only been charging for my time, but I was approached by a third party associated with a band that I recently did photos for looking to purchase files. I refuse to let my .raw files go, but I think 15 bucks a piece for the high-res .jpg files is reasonable. What are everyone else's thoughts? I haven't given the client a price yet. Am I obligated to remove the files that I've sold from my publicly viewable flickr account? Downloading is disabled.

Here is the set he is looking to purchase from:

Space City Shakedown @ Last Concert Cafe - a set on Flickr

Thanks for any advice!
Well, if I was a concert promoter or publicist, I would think I would be very happy to get the images for $15/each. That said, I would NOT sell them at an each price, but rather a full set price, which would depend on several things including how long it took to shoot & process, what, if any further processing they wanted done, and what and how long they want to use the images for (remember, they're NOT buying the images, rather the right to use them for a predetermined period). Exclusive use costs more than non-exclusive use. If they're going to be general publicitiy photos for a small-town band, then I would probably be thinking $1500 - 2000 for three years, but if it's going on the cover of a major album release for a well known band (I have NO idea if these guys are world-famous or a local garage-band), then many times that.
If you can work out a full set fee as Tirediron said you will end up further ahead. My whole web site is based on hi res downloaded files and they range from $15-75, I did a lot of market work before finding a point in which people would buy them, I started at $50 and ended up at $15, it was what the market would hold for a personal use file. For anything commercial or editorial the fees are based on a different set of fees.

If you do end up getting a full set fee, there really is no reason to take them down, how likely are you to sell any of these to other people?
I doubt anyone else will be interested in purchasing them. Thank you both for the wisdom!
Visit the web site of the American Society of Media Photographers and on the left click on the Business Resources tab.

Images sold for commercial use generally involve 2 charges.
1. A 'creative fee' for the photographer's pre production, production, talent, and post production work.
2. Use licensing fees that are determined by a wide variety of factors, some of which tirediron mentioned.

The ASMP web site has more information about use licensing. Many commercial photographers here in the US use stock/assignment image pricing software like fotoQuote Pro 6.
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That was very helpful. Thanks, Keith!
Looks like you've already received excellent advice here. Having worked in video/stills licensing in the Rights and Clearances end of production for quite some time, I'll offer my two-cents:

1) Flat-fee sales of your images to a client with no defined use-restrictions devalues your product and removes the option of possible future income from that work.
2) Rights-Managed licensing is a pricing model that is challenging to pursue in a market saturated with Royalty-Free (typically cheaper) image options, however it remains the best licensing model for content producers licensing their own work directly, whether for stock use or to commercial clients.

When approached about the use of your images, regardless of the client and the content, start with these questions:
How will the images be used? (Print? Magazine? Business Cards? Web? Billboard? What size image? Multiple uses?)
How long will the images be used? (Is this a one-time publication? 2 Years of print advertising for the venue? In-Perpetuity use on the band website?)
Where will the images be distributed? (What size audience? If online, assume worldwide rights are needed. If in a local paper or regional promotional magazine, then the audience size is smaller.)

Clients often don't know the answers to all of these questions, but getting some idea of their ballpark usage needs for the images will help you identify the applicable Rights-Managed licensing terms and rates. It also never hurts to ask what their budget may be, perhaps with the caveat that you'd like to provide them with the best rates and terms possible for their needs. Even if you provide them with a broad set of licensed uses for a very low rate, by defining those terms you keep the door open to future licensing income.

So for example, having seen your Space City Shakedown shots (which are great, btw) I would expect they want to use the images to promote the band. Maybe they only intend to put the shots up on their website, and distribute through social media. Your license terms might look something like:

Internet and Mobile Worldwide In-Perpetuity
(Provide a specific definition that satisfies the client needs - lots of great examples via ASMP and fotoQuote)

With this Rights-Managed license, should the band achieve international super-stardom and have additional uses for your images, they would need to come back to you, such as for the rights to print those images full-page in the latest hip music magazine, and that use may cost more due to a broader circulation etc.

Or you can go the Royalty-Free route, and give them all rights to use in every way, for eternity. ;) You might check out Stocksy for their "new" Royalty-Free pricing model, which is more of a hybrid. I would expect the band doesn't have a lot of money to spend, so you can keep the price as low as you like to make the sale, but if you make sure to define the usage terms and your retention of copyright, you'll have a fair deal for both the band and yourself.

In any case, you can negotiate with them regarding the distribution of the images on your flickr stream. As it is portfolio work for you, and free advertising for them, a written agreement confirming that you retain the copyright to the images and the right to use them for non-commercial purposes should satisfy all parties.
Note that if they are photos which nobody else would have any good reason to use, then it is pretty unlikely that the band would be willing to pay more for exclusive rights.

I wouldn't if I were them. What would I be paying for? Stopping some other band from using my cover art with the wrong musicians on it? ...

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