There have been countless threads on this forum from people asking for a price for anything from a single photo to be published to how much to charge for a shooting assignment.
Some say they don't want to make any money from this photo just a few bucks. Others say they don't want any pay at all just a photo credit to get their name out there or to see it in a paper with their photo credit.
Quick tell me the name of the photographer who took the last shot you saw in your local paper that made you say WOW!!What a shot! Can't remember his name? Nobody will remember yours either
There are also threads which talk about using some of these online stock agencies, which pay next to nothing.
Now consider this, if you support one of these online agencies by supplying them with images or, if you are willing to give your images away just for a credit consider the ramifications of those acts.
Let's say that a year down the road you and the little Mr/Mrs decide you want to buy some lake front property for a weekend home and possible to retire to in the future. How can you afford this? Hey I know, I can start selling my images instead of basically giving them away.
So now you start looking around for someplace to represent you, a stock agency or a photo agent. Hmmmm, your having some trouble finding one now. Why? Because editors have used Istock or some of the other give away stock agencies and have found that they can find something on there which will meet their needs. Why pay another agency $800 for that stock photo when they can get one for $4.00?
You finally get in contact by telephone with an editor at The Best Damn Stock Agency in the World. You explain you have quite a collection of great images. He asks if you have ever sold any of them. "Yes, lots of them on istock.com" CLICK "Hello? Hello?"
Now you decide that maybe you will call the paper that ran your hs football shots for the last 4 years and see if they would be interested in hiring you to cover the local hs sporting events, nothing major in the way of pay. Maybe $75 a game. Guess what? They would love to have you do it but, it doesn't pay anything. Why should they start to pay you now. You have been doing it for 4 years at no charge. You won't work for free anymore? Fine, Johnny Gotshots has a new camera and has been bugging them for the last 3 months with wanting to submit his shots from the hs game.
Maybe you can contact a calendar company and see if they would be interested in taking a look at your landscapes and wildlife shots. Nope, they don't accept submissions anymore. All their images come from istock or a similar agency. Sorry but we have stockholders who are now making $35 a share instead of $2.00 and they love it.
Oh there will always be sources which will pay "pro" rates but, they will have a strict list of people whom they accept images from and you ain't on that list now nor will you be on it in this or anyother lifetime. Because of your actions in the past there is no longer a market for your photos that will pay you. Your work now has no value and the freebie agencies and photo credit only guys are where you can look to to see why the market is gone.
So you have to tell the Mr/Mrs that there is no way we can afford that lakeside cottage, sorry dear.
One thing you have to understand, any image you create has value. Some more than others. If someone contacts you and wants to use that photo for X use, it has a value. If they are not willing to pay you for it's use then it has little value, to them at least. They will find something suitable for their needs and some other schmuck will be thrilled that his photo was used. Guess what? You both got paid the same....nothing!
Now consider this, remember the shot of President Clinton shaking hands with people and Monica Lewinsky is in the crowd with her little beret on? How much revenue did that single photo generate? My guess would be close to $100,000 and I would be willing to bet that when the photo first ran, nobody knew who Monica Lewinsky was.
How about the shot of Jack Ruby sticking his gun in the belly of Lee Harvey Oswald? Oswalds mouth open showing the agony of pain from that gun shot. How much revenue did that generate? Probably more than 1/4 of a million $$$.
Ok so those were both newsworthy events, you don't ever shoot stuff like that. Everyone has seen a shot of the NYC skyline, the Jefferson Memorial at night reflecting off the water, how about a shot of a palace guard at Buckingham Palace? Not really newsworthy really but, still anyone of those images have raked in enough money to buy the entire line of Canon L lenses.
Can you afford to give away a single image that may turn into one of those once in a lifetime shots?
Give away your copyright, sell it for .20 a download over the internet, sell it for a photo credit and then think of how you will feel when all of a sudden you see that image which you have hanging on your wall and are so proud of being republished everywhere. In magazines, on TV programs, billboards, ads in magazines and newspapers.
When you get that sick to your stomach feeling because you gave that image away and now you realize that one image alone, made more in the last 6 months in revenue than you will make working 40 hours a week for the next 10 years, put the gun down and send ol' IndyJeff and email. Let me know that image is yours and you wished more than anything in the world you would have heeded the advice given by KennyG, VWPilot, RFMSports, Bloo Dog, myself and countless others to charge for your work because you now realize.....IT HAS VALUE!!!!!