271 PRICING ONLINE USES
December 7, 1999
judywhite of http://gardenphotos.com
offers some useful suggestions in pricing web page usages.
There are a number of issues when it comes to establishing starting points
for web-usage fees, not the least of which include perks beyond just a
I've done a lot of work both buying and selling web images (I helped found
one of the first Time Warner websites on Pathfinder), and a key issue is a
photo credit that is also a live hot link either to your email address or,
preferably, to your website address, if you have one. Images also should
be embedded by the end user with your Digimarc (and if you don't have one,
get one for free at http://www.digimarc.com). All this should be in your
delivery memo and your invoice.
Both the link and the Digimarc enable other people on the web to find you
more easily (excellent for publicity), and the latter helps you discover
and prove if your images are filched and used elsewhere. If the buyers
will not give you this, charge more, and tell them about the differences
in price based on getting the links and Digimarc.
Also important is specifying in advance the media resolution and size of
the image, because in the very near future most images will be delivered
in a broadband (extremely fast) way on the web, not the slow
telephone-modem way most common right now. If you sell now, specifying
the smaller telephone-restricted resolutions, the user will have to
eventually come back to you in order to utilize the image at a higher
resolution in broadband. Most users are not even aware yet that they will
want larger sizes later, and they will want them soon. Restrict uses now
to 72dpi, and try to include a pixel height and width limit on the image.
(There will be variances because there are so many different kinds of
monitors, but at least be aware of setting some limits.) Pixel height and
width specification now will severely limit the client's use of the image
on broadband unless they come back to you later and pay more.
Consider where the client plans to use the image on their site. A
homepage image should be sold for more than something used as a thumbnail
in an encyclopedic database, for example. A highly visited site should
pay more than a lower-trafficked one, the same way a higher print run or a
higher circulation publication has higher rates than small runs or small
Ask for statistics on page views for the area of the site on which the
client intends to use the image. Then specify in your contract where they
can use it. Specify one-time webpage use, so the image is not put any and
everywhere they like, and if the image is to be used both as a thumbnail
and a larger clickable image, the fee should reflect that. Specify
everything in your contract.
I believe a minimum small-resolution, small pixel height/width, one-time
web use of a hot-linked photo where you do not have to make any scans or
deliver digitally should start at at least $50 and rise depending on the
factors mentioned above. The client should pay more for scanning and
Editors Note: While I agree with much of what judywhite has to say,
I believe the pricing for such usages should start at at least $100 for
any type of "commercial" or "editorial" site. Under some conditions I
could agree to a lower fee for "personal" sites, but I believe those uses
will be few and far between. One other factor that the seller must keep
in mind are the transaction costs of any sale. These costs can be
significant even when the sale is fully e-commerce enabled.
Editors Note: judywhite was one of the founding editors of Time
Warner's Virtual Garden, which debuted in 1994 as one of Time-Warner's original
four sites on Pathfinder. It was the highest visited gardening website in
the world, earning a "Webby" nomination. judywhite was editor-in-chief
until it was sold in 1998.
over 60,000 images in gardening related
fields running the gamut of themes from orchids to backyards, pests,
vegetables, botanically-labelled plant portraits, public and private
gardens, landscaping, etc. The agency represents several photographers
both in the U.S. and the UK.