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Guest Post: Stock Photography Pricing Resources by Rich Durnan

January 25, 2010

All text is provided courtesy of Rich Durnan and are protected under copyright laws.  I invite you to link to this article but please do not repost the content without prior approval from Rich.  Thanks for letting me post this on my blog, Rich!

In this post you will find links to stock photography pricing resources that will assist you in determining fair value for the commercial usage of your photos.

In my seminar, The Business of Photography, I talk a lot about how to place a value on one’s work. It is not an easy thing to do and there are a lot of factors to be considered when placing value on your work. Every photographer has different circumstances, production and overhead costs. All these factors affect your costs, and therefore need to be factored into your pricing scheme. This is why there is not a simple answer to what you should charge for a photo’s use.

In this post I do not intend to try to detail this entire process. My intent here is to provide a list of tools that give you a glimpse at the stock industry’s baseline, and a place to start your own pricing negotiations.

What is your cost of doing business?
If you want to really dial in your production costs, the National Press Photographers Association web site has a Cost of Doing Business Calculator. This is a great place to start in determining what your business costs are so you can determine what you need to be making on your sales.

What are you actually selling?
I can not stress enough that you should not be selling your actual photos. You should not be selling your ownership of photos outright or the copyright you have on them. You should be selling licensing rights or usage rights to your photos.

In short, this means you allow a client to use your photograph and they pay you for that right. This process is a negotiation. You are the creator, the copyright holder, and in power of what happens with your photos. I never outright sell my original photo, digital file, negative, or slide, and always reserve rights to use or sell it again. I may sell exclusive rights to a client prohibiting my use of it in other ways for a specified amount of time, and I charge more to do this, but eventually the rights return to me. I never give or sell my ownership or my copyright of an image I create.

Learn about usage rights and licensing
Understanding usage rights and negotiating can be very complex. You do need to be familiar with it.

ASMP Licensing Guide
The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) web site’s Licensing Guide is an excellent resource for detailed information usage rights and negotiating.

PLUS Web Site (Picture Licensing Universal System)
The PLUS Coalition is an international non-profit initiative on a mission to simplify and facilitate the communication and management of image rights.

Pricing Resources

My number one tool for pricing is a software program called Photo Quote. Cradoc’s FotoQuote Software costs $139.99 at the time of this post, and is well worth it! It lists usages by category and has an extensive Coach section that helps you sharpen your negotiation skills.

A second resource I always keep at hand is Jim Pickerell‘s book Negotiating Stock Photo Prices . The book is available on Amazon. This is also a very trusted book of standards and has great information on the process of selling stock and negotiating licensing fees. Jim is also available for pricing consultation if you have a really unique situation.

Free On-Line Resources:
These are not nearly as comprehensive as Photo Quote or Jim Pickerell’s book, but they are free.

Stock Photo Price Calculator available at the Photographersindex.com website.

Stock Photography Price Calculator available at the
StockPhotographyCalculator.com web site.

Another good free resource is to check some of the major stock sale websites which often have calculators built in to give clients a starting point for usage fees.

Network!
Join and participate in forums of with your peers.

Travel & Outdoor Photographers Alliance (TOPA). I am a member of this free Yahoo News group called TOPA, . It is a focus group for the discussion of business issues pertaining to the licensing of stock and assignment images for the travel, outdoor, and adventure markets – both editorial and commercial. If you have an interest in this field, I recommend you join. It is a great forum where experienced photographers share with the intent of educating less experienced and aspiring photographers.

Editorial Photographers (EP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and profitability of editorial photography. Their mission is to educate photographers and photography buyers about business issues affecting the photo industry and in the process raise the level of business practices in the profession.

ASMP. American Society of Media Photographers is the premier resource for community, culture, commerce and publications relating to publication photography. ASMP is the authoritative voice of publication photographers worldwide.

I hope the above stock photography pricing resources are helpful. If you know of any other resources that should be listed here please let me know. If you have a photo club or organization that would be interested in my Business of Photography class, I’d be happy to talk to you about presenting.

About Rich:

Rich is an uber-talented adventure and travel photographer who has traveled the world making gorgeous photos every step of the way.  He leads workshops, sells fine art prints and licenses his photos for stock usage.  Check out his website and blog for lots of amazing photography and helpful articles.

How do you price your stock photography?  Share your thoughts and resources in the comments below!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2010 2:50 pm

    Thanks for this valuable info. I had no clue about stock and just recently started thinking about it but it is a little overwhelming.

    Also, I found this link on one of my FB friends page and thought it fit pretty well with your blog post:
    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-et-onthemedia22-2010jan22,0,4822231.column

  2. Bret Edge permalink
    January 25, 2010 5:07 pm

    Hey Aleks,

    Thanks for the comment and the link. Glad you liked the article. Hope you had a good time in Moab. Can’t wait to see some photos.

    Bret

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