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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 21 Jan 2012 (Saturday) 10:48
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What's Fair?

 
J-Blake
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Jan 21, 2012 10:48 |  #1

Hi all. I'm a landscape photographer by passion and began a business of selling my photos about a year ago. I have dabbled in senior photos and portraits for friends and colleagues, but nothing serious. I

I've been asked by my brother-in-law to shoot 4 installations his business has recently completed for use on a web site that he is having created. The items I will be shooting are about the size of a piano and are located in the basement of high rise buildings. I don't know how many shots he's going to want to use at this point but I would guess a total of 8-10. The buildings are all downtown about 20 miles from where I live. I figure it's going to take me around 6-8 hours to complete the 4 locations and then depending on how many shots he wants to use another similar effort to process, say 2 days total. Right now the only use for the shots that I'm aware of is for the web site, but I could see advertisements and brochures coming in the future though these were not discussed.

I've never done anything like this and have no clue as to how to structure this agreement. My BIL was thinking that he would pay me an hourly rate for my effort, and threw out $50/hour. I told him I would check into it and get back to him which is the reason for this post.

I'm sure besides the "what's fair?" aspect of all this, there are many issues I'm not considering. Do I need a written contract and what would it look like? Who retains rights to the shots? Etc! I do want to keep it fair and make sure that what I propose is “industry standard” or at least fair for both of us. Any advice on how to proceed is very much appreciated. I'm sure this type of question has been asked before, but I couldn't find the answer in my searching. Thanks, Jon


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Ledrak
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Jan 21, 2012 12:38 |  #2

I would at the least do a basic contract so there's no argument about your pay. If you want to restrict how the photos are used, who get's what rights, etc, then you can throw that in as well. But since it's your BIL, I wouldn't worry so much about the "industry standard" and just give a price that will give you a fair profit for your work. If you can do it in 6-8hrs with no probs, I'd probably just take the 50/hr he offered (if that works for good for you).




  
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ssim
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Jan 21, 2012 12:56 as a reply to  @ Ledrak's post |  #3

I hate working for family. I would suggest To your BIL that he should get a quote from an established photographer and then he would see what is fair. I do give family a break but if they are attempting to increase their profits in one of their businesses on my back it is a non starter. It sounds like he is running a reasonably sized business and in situations like this I might discount up to 15%. However the standard contract is always executed. Business is business and I've seen family members screw each other over money.

Surely you must know what others in your area are charging for similar work. I would charge the same less whatever discount you want for being family. The industry standard is more appropriate when it comes to licensing fees after the shoot. These can be found online and hopefully someone will chip with more specific links. You can read through some of the information provided by ASMP (external link) or there is even the 2012 Photographers Market available from Amazon (external link).


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Ledrak
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Jan 21, 2012 13:11 |  #4

ssim wrote in post #13743451 (external link)
I hate working for family. I would suggest To your BIL that he should get a quote from an established photographer and then he would see what is fair. I do give family a break but if they are attempting to increase their profits in one of their businesses on my back it is a non starter. It sounds like he is running a reasonably sized business and in situations like this I might discount up to 15%. However the standard contract is always executed. Business is business and I've seen family members screw each other over money.

Surely you must know what others in your area are charging for similar work. I would charge the same less whatever discount you want for being family. The industry standard is more appropriate when it comes to licensing fees after the shoot. These can be found online and hopefully someone will chip with more specific links. You can read through some of the information provided by ASMP (external link) or there is even the 2012 Photographers Market available from Amazon (external link).

Excellent advice, and that's exactly how I would do it if I had a business with established rates and contracts in place. But it sounds to me like he doesn't really have an established business yet and just got the offer cause the guys his BIL. Thus, I proposed just taking what he felt was fair profit for his time and not causing too big a stir over it. But this option works too.




  
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J-Blake
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Jan 21, 2012 13:24 |  #5

Thanks guys.

Ledrak, you're exactly correct. I have no clue what other photog's would charge and am not looking to make this a business line. It's really more of a onetime thing and I want to keep it fair for all concerned. My goal is to be within an acceptable rate, fair for both parties, and to have my bases covered in case this escalates into something else, IE, they want to use the shots for something else than is what's being proposed. In other words is it standard if I'm being paid by the hour that they would own the rights to the shots and could used them for whatever they want? Or, is it standard that I retain all rights except those stated which in this case is for their web site.


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rick_reno
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Jan 21, 2012 14:08 |  #6

The number he tossed out seems fair, given this appears to be a learning exercise for you. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on use of the shots. That'll have to be your call.




  
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Ledrak
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Jan 21, 2012 16:40 |  #7

J-Blake wrote in post #13743546 (external link)
In other words is it standard if I'm being paid by the hour that they would own the rights to the shots and could used them for whatever they want? Or, is it standard that I retain all rights except those stated which in this case is for their web site.

Most photographers prefer to retain all rights to their pics and grant permission (or license) for others to use them. But everything depends on the contract and the agreement. If someone hires you to shoot and they lay out the agreement, then you're bound to their terms.

If it were me in this situation I'd retain all rights and grant him permission to use the photos for the uses that he specifies to you.




  
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Jan 21, 2012 23:19 as a reply to  @ Ledrak's post |  #8

Yes you should have a contract and it should include a clause that states you retain copyright. It should also list what the images may be used for an additional fees for additional types of usage such as advertising. Note: costs for advertising usage usually vary according to the area covered. A local ad campaign is worth less than a state-wide or nation-wide campaign.


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BigAl007
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Jan 22, 2012 10:04 |  #9

Dan Marchant wrote in post #13746167 (external link)
Yes you should have a contract and it should include a clause that states you retain copyright. It should also list what the images may be used for an additional fees for additional types of usage such as advertising. Note: costs for advertising usage usually vary according to the area covered. A local ad campaign is worth less than a state-wide or nation-wide campaign.

The above is true for advertising in print media, but why dose it seem that people seem to be willing to pay less for images for a website? Even more why do photographers seem willing to take less for on-line use? It's the WORLD WIDE WEB after all, that makes it international advertising, surely that should trump local/national rates. I'm also pretty sure that in a lot of industries these days the on-line advertising (web site) is seen far more widely than any print advertising.
I do work for a specialist retailer in the UK who has just recently pulled all his print advertising in the specialist national print magazines and is moving over to a wider web presence, which he is actually seeing working, and at about an 80% cost saving. He is able to easily see how many hit's the on-line advertising gets, while the print magazines have now all dropped printing the ABC circulation figures, so he has no idea how much coverage the magazines are now getting. Fortunately I have not lost work from this but what I do has changed.

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wuzzittoya
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Jan 22, 2012 10:17 |  #10

This sounds to me like it would be more of works for hire agreement. Granted, to protect your own interests you could instead structure it to be licensed instead. That is preferable from the photographer's point-of-view. If you want to keep it fairly relaxed between the two of you, an agreement stating what exactly is expected and how you will be paid (and when) and licensing and whether or not you are selling the rights vs. licensing them for his use (reserving the possibility for you to submit them for stock, etc.) could be helpful.

That being said (caveat here) - if your brother-in-law is looking at this as kind of helping YOU out, then I wouldn't push too hard on the agreement, and if he has been fair on handshake deals before, I might just do a verbal discussion if you believe he might be put off by having it all in writing (feel like you're insinuating he is doing something to take advantage of you). I can just see, with my own family, someone offering to hire me for portraiture and then have me say "well, before you do that let's put together the contract" they would get offended and either withdraw the offer and/or still go through with it grudgingly because they feel like they can't back out, but be uncomfortable asking me to do anything for them again because we're "family" and I'm treating them like "clients." Very much depends on the individual though.

I just don't want you to feel pressured to put this all in paper if it could actually create more problems than it protects you from.


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J-Blake
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Jan 22, 2012 11:03 |  #11

Some really great responses and thoughts here so far. Thanks very much everyone.

I was going to mention earlier and didn't that my BIL is a lawyer among his many talents. I don't think he would be put off by a contract, and in fact may feel comfortable with one because he's it's more his thing. But you're right wuzzittoya, it's more what's in the contract which would make or break this deal. I do feel he's doing me a favor by asking me to shoot this, but at the same time he knows he'll be getting shots which are much better than he would be getting unless he went with a pro which would be more expensive. It's kind of a win-win in that regard.

Let me ask my question again in a different way. Let's say we agree that he'll pay me $50/hour and for this I do 2 days work. So for $800 he's going to get my services over the 2 days and I'll deliver to him 8 shots which he will have the right to do with as he pleases. This is the "handshake agreement" as best as I can foresee. I just want to make sure that on the surface it's fair and neither party are getting ripped off. I also think that the number of shots I deliver to him is important to be specified which will limit the amount of processing I do short term and make him come back to me if he wants more. I guess I'll make sure he understands that this is all an estimate and that he'll be paying me by the hour whether I'm driving, shooting or processing. That way if in the future they want more shots from this shoot he'll have to pay me to process them.


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Ledrak
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Jan 22, 2012 11:20 as a reply to  @ J-Blake's post |  #12

What's fair depends on the viewpoint of the 2 people involved in the deal. I wouldn't be so concerned about what everyone else in the industry is doing in this situation. You can do it exactly how you have it planed out here if you want... or not. Personally, when I do deals that promise to deliver images, I word the agreement in such a way that I agree to deliver "at least" X number of images. So in your case, I would guarantee him 8, and possibly throw in a few extra for good will if I so desired. It just depends on how much time I had and how many good shots I took. It sounds like you may be making this more specific and complex than it really needs to be.




  
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J-Blake
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Jan 22, 2012 11:48 |  #13

I hope I'm not making this more complex than it needs to be. I am just trying to find out what's the norm for the industry before I make a decision. I realize it's up to me in the end and therefore I'm trying to gather all the information I can, albeit in a relatively short time, to make an educated decision.

I guess that fact that no one has come out and said DON'T DO THIS is an indication that it's a reasonable offer, even if I give him rights to use the photo's for anything he wants. That's really all I'm after.


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