License? Royalties? Reposting question, with more details?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by holly_coleman, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Thanks to anyone who offered suggestions the last time I posted. As suggested, I am reposting with more details about the situation.
    So, I was approached my someone who is starting a business and wants me to do photography for him. He is creating a website that will sell 'fine art' prints. He has a series he is working on with images he shot in Maui (he calls himself an amateur photographer and would like me to do the post production on his images as well) . He wants me to take pictures around Lake Michigan and maybe Chicago. He is also shooting a series in London. His goal is to launch the website with images from these series for sale as prints. There will also be an option to purchase the prints as framed works of art. His goal is to get at least a couple of series available for sale in time for the Christmas season. He has said that he would like to pay me hourly for shooting and editing.
    To answer the question of how the images will be used- They will be for sale on his website as prints or framed prints.
    Also, he is putting together a contract that will deal with licensing and royalties (He suggested both). I don't think he is really sure how this should work either, and is trying to do research himself. He said he wants this to be more of a partnership, in the future- him handling the marketing side and me the photography side (as well as potentially adding more photographers in the future). I just want to go into the situation as educated as possible.
  2. I suppose there are all different ways of working, but generally when you are selling work through someone else, you work it like a gallery arrangement. They usually take 50% and you get the other 50%. You bear the cost of printing the images and mounting/matting if that is included and they pay the marketing and delivery costs.
    Shooting on an hourly basis probably makes sense for the portrait, or just a simple flat fee--probably not all that much in a case like this. Of course, an hourly rate to post process his images is pretty standard in the industry.
    Make sense?
  3. Are you in the Chicago area? Visit to find someone nearby to help you clarify your questions and concerns about your new enterprise. SCORE is an organization made up of volunteer business people who offer help and advice to entrepreneurs like you who want to start and manage their own businesses. Many of the members have retired from major companies and corporations and now want to give something back to the community. My hope is that you would be able to make an appointment to discuss your situation in confidence with someone with the perspective and experience to be genuinely helpful.
  4. What is your question?
  5. Ditto John's response.
    Also, he is putting together a contract that will deal with licensing and royalties (He suggested both)​
    Licensing (from) you or (to) the purchasers?
    As I responded to your earlier post, royalties indicate a percentage paid with "follow on" sales.
    Hourly wage? This could be a work for hire arrangement in which case you own nothing (No Copyrights) unless you indicate otherwise in your employment contract.
  6. It is way too late to be trying to put a package together for this year's Christmas buying. Start planning now for next year.
  7. Holly,
    I think you need to decide what YOU would like this relationship to be so that you can negotiate in your own best interest. You also need to look at this from his point of view.
    In other words, if you want to be paid hourly to shoot, that may dictate who owns the images or at least how he will want to structure the contract. If he's giving you a guarantee, he's taking all the risk and will probably not want to split the profits later. I'm sure if some of these don't sell, you would not want to pay half of the loss either. On the other hand, if you want to set up a partnership, it may be less confusing to do this now.
    Don't expect to renegotiate later based on promised. In other words, if this really takes off, you're going to want a share and he's not going to want to give it to you.
    Move slowly and cautiously and don't worry about this Christmas. As of today, it's less than 2 months away and this is not a "last minute jewelry" type of purchase....-TED :)

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