Product photography and licensing

gossamer

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Hi all,
I'm an amateur photographer with a D500 and a few nice lenses. I occasionally do photo shoots for money, but this time I'm working on pictures for a wholesale pet products company that involves a much more professional position than previous times. I need help with figuring out a fair arrangement for both the company and myself.

I wrote up a photo release/agreement that stipulates that they are effectively licensing the pictures for use on their website. They now tell me (while still negotiating the terms, without having yet taken any pictures) they wish to be able to use these same pictures in print and online ads and other promotional/marketing efforts.

How do *you* handle such a situation? Is it a percentage of the initial fee per placement? Do you have something simple you could share for your approach?

Would you license the initial picture at a price that makes them free to use it however they wish?

Is providing photo credit something I should care about? I don't think it's reasonable to expect my name next to every picture or even in a magazine. Perhaps on the website?

I wish to do whatever is easiest to make this happen, but don't want to get screwed either.
 

vintagesnaps

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You need to find out how to license usage - try American Society of Media Photographers - Homepage or look up PPA for info. on contracts, licensing, etc. etc.

Usually the contract would be for specific usage in a specific timeframe; it might be for a year, then further usage would extend it for example for another year.

Look at ads, you don't see photo credits; those usually are used to accompany articles in publications.

You mentioned releases, which are used to get permission to photograph someone or their property. Usually for editorial use like in newspapers a release isn't needed but may be requested by a publication; for retail use like on T shirts a release is needed; and for commercial use such as for advertising purposes a release is necessary.

The company seems to want a lot of usage so that needs to be covered in a contract and payment should cover all that. I think ASMP and other pro photographer websites have a link to a resource on how to determine pricing. You're getting paid for your time taking the photos, your ability, time you spent learning photography and practicing skills, etc. so that I think can make it challenging to figure out pricing for creative work. It varies regionally, depending on where you live.
 

KmH

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They now tell me (while still negotiating the terms, without having yet taken any pictures) they wish to be able to use these same pictures in print and online ads and other promotional/marketing efforts. That significantly raises the pricing of use licensing.

How do *you* handle such a situation? Is it a percentage of the initial fee per placement? Do you have something simple you could share for your approach?
Back in the day I charged a % of the ad buy(s).

Would you license the initial picture at a price that makes them free to use it however they wish? NO. In fact. Hell NO.

Is providing photo credit something I should care about? No I don't think it's reasonable to expect my name next to every picture or even in a magazine. Perhaps on the website? Neither

I wish to do whatever is easiest to make this happen, but don't want to get screwed either.
Get the pricing software Cradoc sells - fotoQuote Pro 6 - that has long been recommended by the ASMP.

Companies today use social media and photo sharing web sites to identify folks like you that have little or no experience in the world of commercial photography because they know they will likely get some nice images and highly favorable to them (not you) use licensing terms for pennies on the dollar.
 
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gossamer

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I just spoke with them again, and they want the ability to do with the picture as they please. This includes allowing their clients (pet stores) to download the product images from the website, use them to create various promotional and marketing materials, 'Sell Sheets', ads. They also wish to be able to alter them for promotional purposes.

They didn't find me through social media, but referral from the web developer who is a colleague of ours.

I don't want to give away the store, but I also don't want to lose out on the deal.

Does anyone have any creative ideas for how to give the client enough for them to have a fixed set of costs, yet not have to come back to us every time a modification or additional use is necessary?

Would any professional photographer ever provide an open-ended, unlimited use license for a picture? Would it even be a license at that point, or just outright buying the picture itself?
 
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vintagesnaps

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Sounds like they don't just want to use the photos, they want to allow third party usage (their clients). My instinct is - no, no, no. Or, they pay a lot. Because all those other companies want to use your photos, to promote their products, which helps them make money. That's even more usage than it first sounded like. I think you might need to license usage with every other company that wants to use your photos.

It seems like they're dangling money and you're about ready to take the bait, and yeah, one of these days you'll probably realize you let yourself get screwed with your pants on. Unless you take time to LEARN WHAT TO DO - go learn how to license usage and what payment and amount of usage would be appropriate, etc. etc.

This is the type thing that happens and helps cause photographers to go out of business or not make enough money to even be worth it. That company doesn't seem to value your work, and you don't seem to value your work either. It's doing yourself a disservice to not look into how to do this and to get an appropriate value for your work.
 

vintagesnaps

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And they want to alter them?? They should have to come back to you for further usage. Unless you get paid a heckuva lot for all this. They want the moon and the stars. And seem to be taking advantage of you not knowing anything about commercial photography.
 

KmH

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I just spoke with them again, and they want the ability to do with the picture as they please.
"No problem Mr. Customer.
Basically you are saying you want to buy my copyrights.
Once I make a photo my copyrights are good for the rest of my life plus 70 years after I die.
On that basis I put the value of my copyrights at $50,000 per image.
For you I will sell them at half price - $25,000 each.
How many of my image copyrights would you like to buy?"
 

fmw

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Welcome to commercial photography. You bill for time, materials and expenses. You turn the images over to the client who paid for them and now owns them.
 
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gossamer

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Welcome to commercial photography. You bill for time, materials and expenses. You turn the images over to the client who paid for them and now owns them.
Fred, are you disagreeing with those who say I should license my pictures, and instead just sell them to them for a reasonable price and move on?
 

fmw

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Welcome to commercial photography. You bill for time, materials and expenses. You turn the images over to the client who paid for them and now owns them.
Fred, are you disagreeing with those who say I should license my pictures, and instead just sell them to them for a reasonable price and move on?

Yes, indeed. Commercial photography isn't like wedding photography. You don't sell images. You sell time, materials and expenses. The ad agency should know that. They bill their services the same way. I did work for every ad agency in our market. Your plan won't work. Doing custom photography for the ad agency's clients may work. Just bill it like the rest of the agency's work. The images you make belong to the clients. That is how iut works.
 
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gossamer

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Just to be clear, I'm working with a wholesale company directly, not an ad agency. There's no ad agency involved.

I really want to make this work - I don't much care about my name being associated with the images, and can't really expect the business to come to me every time one of their clients wants to use one of my images.

The clients here are a wholesale pet products company. Their retailers also wish to use the same images. The wholesaler wishes to be able to give them free unlimited access to these images to market on their own websites. It's my understanding there are several dozens of these retailers.

They wish to be able to call upon me to do product shoots for three or four pictures at a time, and up to 100 at a time.

I'm fine with one price, if that's the way it should go in this industry, but I provide a local, service-oriented service unavailable elsewhere, and believe that should be part of the price.

Ideas for moving forward with this (sample license/sale agreements or pointers to suitable ones online) appreciated.
 

fmw

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Just to be clear, I'm working with a wholesale company directly, not an ad agency. There's no ad agency involved.

I really want to make this work - I don't much care about my name being associated with the images, and can't really expect the business to come to me every time one of their clients wants to use one of my images.

The clients here are a wholesale pet products company. Their retailers also wish to use the same images. The wholesaler wishes to be able to give them free unlimited access to these images to market on their own websites. It's my understanding there are several dozens of these retailers.

They wish to be able to call upon me to do product shoots for three or four pictures at a time, and up to 100 at a time.

I'm fine with one price, if that's the way it should go in this industry, but I provide a local, service-oriented service unavailable elsewhere, and believe that should be part of the price.

Ideas for moving forward with this (sample license/sale agreements or pointers to suitable ones online) appreciated.
Can't help you. Sorry. The wholesaler simply wants an arrangement like they would get with any commercial photographer., No surprise there, Goood luck.
 
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gossamer

gossamer

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Can't help you. Sorry. The wholesaler simply wants an arrangement like they would get with any commercial photographer., No surprise there, Goood luck.
That's the part I'm trying to understand. I don't want to make it more complicated than it needs to be. I understood commercial photographers licensed their photos. Is that not correct? I've seen so many conflicting statements that I'm confused.
 

fmw

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Can't help you. Sorry. The wholesaler simply wants an arrangement like they would get with any commercial photographer., No surprise there, Goood luck.
That's the part I'm trying to understand. I don't want to make it more complicated than it needs to be. I understood commercial photographers licensed their photos. Is that not correct? I've seen so many conflicting statements that I'm confused.

Perhaps you need to define commercial photography. Product shots need to belong to the client in my view. My view angers some people, however. I billed time, materials and expenses. You can do whatever you like.
 
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gossamer

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Can't help you. Sorry. The wholesaler simply wants an arrangement like they would get with any commercial photographer., No surprise there, Goood luck.
That's the part I'm trying to understand. I don't want to make it more complicated than it needs to be. I understood commercial photographers licensed their photos. Is that not correct? I've seen so many conflicting statements that I'm confused.

Perhaps you need to define commercial photography. Product shots need to belong to the client in my view. My view angers some people, however. I billed time, materials and expenses. You can do whatever you like.
How do you adjust your price to compensate for this, if at all? In other words, my client will be using these pictures in print and web ads, modifying them for promotions, and giving them away to their clients. The pictures could be in use for as long as they are selling that particular product.

I don't want to be involved with every little ad campaign they have, but I also don't want to sell the picture for $15 while they generate real business as a result of it.
 

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