RM Photographer Frustration

Posted on 8/23/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

Today, Peter James made comments on my Facebook page to several of the stories listed there. I can understand his frustration. Here are links to the stories he looked at, his comments and my reactions to those comments.

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Copyright © 2016 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • GEORGE MCGINN Posted Aug 23, 2016
    Jim said at the end of the first comment: "Secondly, the customer can simply go to the RM seller and negotiate rights to make all the possible future uses they can think of for a one-time price. This happens all the time."

    I used a delivery memo as my contract. It described the specific usage, when I must receive the slide/negative back before incurring additional fees, and general contract verbiage about unauthorized use and copyright, and how I wanted my name next to the photo, or if omitted the client will be billed at treble fees.

    However, in the digital age, I have changed the verbiage of my delivery memo, such as they are allowed to store the image if needed for second or third printing, as I put in the fees for each.

    Also, the last page I decided to make it "Future Useage."

    After talking with the customer, they said that they may want to use it also in an annual report, or as part of a sales presentation, or in a company brochure. One client wanted to submit it to a contest within their industry.

    So I used the last page to take their suggestion and add to it all other popular usage, such as website, in blog posts, and so on, and I assigned a fee to each. What the page and the client's signature on it says that within the next 3 or 5 years (unless we negotiated an inflation percentage) that for any use listed on this page, the client has the right to use it as long as they send me my fee within 20 days after usage.

    Since I never had a staff, I was inundated with these calls. So I proposed that, based on pricing from a certain guide, if they wanted to put it on a brochure, they did not have to ask as it was already in the delivery memo and the price was previously agreed to.

    I received more sales from each client because they knew they could use it, and know much it would cost, including initial printing run and reprint fees.

    I did this mainly to help generate additional sales by empowering the customer. Since you can never know if they deleted the image from their system, instead I let them keep it and as long as they paid the licensing fee, all they had to do is send me a check.

    To this day I still get a check from a newspaper with a million+ daily circulation for a travel assignment I shot for them. The assignment was photos from Lido Beach to Anna Marie Island, and I sent the client 100 images with my back page for usage fees.

    Two years ago I got about $1,100 for an assignment I shot in 2002.

    Sometimes to keep customers from looking for other photos, we must provide them with more of a selection (I could have sent them the 10-15 they wanted) and give them a way to use the photo, any photo you send as long as they know what the costs will be ahead of time, they do not have to look outside for other photos when they have 100 from me to use.

    Something for some of you who do assignments to think about.

  • GEORGE MCGINN Posted Aug 23, 2016
    Jim, is there a way to make the post comment box larger?

    A correction at the end: I said I could have sent the the 10-15 but what I do not think I made clear is that I always, for every assignment, I send at least three times the number they ask for. It also depends too on what I am shooting. If a newspaper wants 10 photos of a high school football game, I give them 30, with the the first 10 what they asked for.

    If I shoot a NFL game, I generally send them 100 images, for they do use images during the week, and in special issues, and if they have my images on file and know how much it costs them, I've had photo editors chose my image over AP. The reason is the personal reputation I have with them, the lunches we go to.

    I know Jim did mention that if you want to sell from your site you need to continually market yourself, and even when I worked freelance, I always sent 5-10 new images in a folio to keep me in their mind, even of they are giving me 10 assignments a week.

    I then will drop it off on their desk and it is always work I am doing on my own. And that is key. If I give them 5-10 images from an assignment they gave me, they'll be asking "what else has he held back from me."

    Sometimes my self assignments become something they are interested in publishing and want more information.

    And while I was doing only assignment work, I bought a software package ImageFolio E-Commerce for about $1,200 in 2000, and it is both a portfolio website and allows a client to purchase a download and pay based on usage. Many times an editor will need some wild art to fill space, and if I did my marketing right, they would check my site for an image to use.

    The trick is not to overdo the marketing to your client or potential clients.

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