What to Charge Client Who Wants to Use Photo For Marketing Materials

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by liliaorid, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Hi all,

    I'd appreciate any professional advice as I'm transitioning from solely selling my work as art and for hire photoshoots to offering photos for marketing as well. I have a personal relationship with a client who asked me to take a few photos at their event. I was not hired as the photographer, but didn't mind taking photos on my iPhone while they had to socialize and run the event. One of the photos taken was of a collector car their company owns with a stunning backdrop of mountains and sunset. When the client saw this photo they fell in love with it and said they want to use it for all of their marketing materials next year which would mean print ads, posters, digital ads and their website.

    I mentioned to them my licensing fee for art for non-exclusive rights is $100/print (or ad). That I anticipated they would probably want more than 50 prints so I'd charge a flat fee of $5,000. The client was really put out at this number saying "we made the art together" because the photo is of their company's car at their event and without it I wouldn't have the photo. That I should try selling it to someone else and see how much I can get and I'm trying to hold him hostage. I said this isn't personal it's from my research what I believe to be fair and regardless of who owns what is in the photo, I own the photo. I mentioned $5,000 feels like a fair number to me, but if they feel it's too much to come back with a number they feel is fair and we can go from there.

    I'm not sure if I'm completely off on my prices or spot on and would appreciate anyone who has experience in dealing with selling photos for marketing or in a similar scope for input. Thank you!!
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I see two elements in this situation.

    Firstly, irrespective of whether or not you are way off with your pricing, I think that you need to understand that you have already entered the NEGOTIATION phase of the business deal. Having done that you can't effectively negotiate up; and in this situation it is usually better to negotiate on other terms than those offered by the other negotiating party: they are negotiating on (1) price and (2) the apparent lack of sale potential in any other than their arena.

    Best, in the first instance to ignore both those negotiation points and focus your negotiation on the VALUE (not price) of this unique image for them to use as an ongoing marketing theme.


    The second element I see is this: "I said this isn't personal it's from my research what I believe to be fair and regardless of who owns what is in the photo, I own the photo." - AND in the context of - "One of the photos taken was of a collector car their company owns."

    I think that you need to be very sure of your ground before you tread down this path of playing the trump "I own the Photograph". You might. You might also own the Copyright.

    HOWEVER, you may not own any right to publish or sell the image or to pass the right for anyone else to publish the image other than your publication for “newsworthy” purposes, and maybe then, not that either.

    The laws governing these technical points, vary by jurisdiction.

  3. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    There are three bad outcomes that will tend to occur together

    • You lose or affect the personal relationship. I don't know how important this is to you. It probably would be significant to me, though you may be prepared to sacrifice it in exchange for a few hundred dollars on the altar of "it's my photograph". Only you can answer this but from what you've said you're some way down this path already.
    • You don't sell them the rights to the picture and they find another image they can use to promote their business. They can quite probably do this without losing sales and certainly for a lot less than $5 000 - just take a look at the prices charged for royalty free images by even the bigger players these days.
    • You can't sell the image elsewhere. This is William's point, and as a photographer with many thousands of images represented by photo libraries I would not expect any sensible agency to agree to handle this image without a property release signed by the owners of the car and possibly (can't be sure) by the owners of the vehicle's brand. I'd guess you have no chance of persuading your "client" to sign a property release that opens up the possibility of selling it elsewhere unless you have supplied it to them, are on good terms with them, and have offered them some form of discount to reflect that you have supplied the image on a non-exclusive basis.
    I think the way you've started off this negotiation runs substantial risk of all three of these outcomes occurring. The way you've worked out the price you want is arbitrary & has little basis in the general way these pricing decisions are made. I don't think there's any logic to your number. Have you looked at the websites of the organisations that sell photographic rights in volume to see how they do it for Royalty Free and Rights Managed, exclusive or non exclusive - bearing in mind that even those prices do not all flow back to the photographer. You seem to think that because you pressed the shutter you are in the driver's seat . When the client says "we made the art together", that might be wrong legally but commercially it's dead right. Without you both co-operating your picture is worth zilch, and the same for your friendship.

    I think the value of your photograph is what your "client" is happy to give, and that the alternative to that is zero. In your position I might go back to the client, apologise for getting off on the wrong foot and ask if you can start again, together. Whilst I would do the research I suggest above, I would not use that as a stick to browbeat your client with. I would want to find out what the clients expectation is and how far I could nicely push that along whilst having a happy client and a sale. If you want a property release signed ( to facilitate selling elsewhere) you may well find that he/she would want a price concession to sign it or even the use of the image for free in return for signing it. Intuitively this is a route I'd avoid, and I 'd settle for the most I could get on a friendly basis from someone already emotionally invested in the image rather than the freedom to sell in a difficult, underpriced market and the risk of nothing.
    William Michael likes this.
  4. The biggest thing missing from the initial post is what the client offered? Did they want the image for free? Did they say, "We have previously paid $1000 for this type of image?" You didn't post until you were past the point of being told that your initial request is too high or too low but you didn't, it seems, bring us up the current point in the negotiation.
  5. 2d


    "I mentioned to them my licensing fee for art for non-exclusive rights is $100/print (or ad). That I anticipated they would probably want more than 50 prints so I'd charge a flat fee of $5,000."

    why would they want 50 prints if these images are for marketing? I'm confused and I'm sure they are as well. That said $5,000 for an advertisement photo isn't super high but I suspect we are not thinking the same scenarios. Here is an Amazon link to a good book "Licensing Photography"

    Personally I would see the licensing as the usage they are requesting for their marketing material and not confuse that with a line item calculating print costs. In other words:

    The non-exclusive licensing for three years of marketing materials, website, and in-house display = x ($2,500 example)
    Production Costs: print copies = y ($100 per print example) delivery = z (Fedex cost). etc...

    As far as his argument if the car wasn't present etc... well I'm sure you had better things to do that day than their event. In anycase get the book it's well worth the $20 and will probably help you communicate with your client
  6. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    This new member joined Photo.net to make this post and has not been on the site since two hours after the OP was written. So none of the responses here have been seen by the poster at all. You might want to consider that in the event that you're thinking about trying to help him/her.
    Stephen_Prunier and ed_farmer like this.

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