Stock Agency Contracts

Posted on 9/17/1997 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



September 17, 1997

In the past we have reported, and many photographers have come to assume, that overseas selling offices retain, at most, 40% of the gross license price that the client pays. This is now changing.

Many selling offices are now keeping 50% and remitting 50% to the parent agency. This means that the photographer now receives 25% of the gross sale price, a 17% loss of income for the photographer.

We urge all photographers to:

Check with their agency and determine if any of the sub-agencies the agency is dealing with is retaining a share of the gross sale larger than 40%.

Insert the following clause into any future revisions of their contracts:

The photographer will be paid 50% of the gross sales fee collected by the primary selling office (define a country) except that in no event is the photographer to receive less than 30% of the gross sale fee paid by the client, when the sale is made through any type of secondary office.

Many may find that it is to their benefit to negotiate on this point, but at least they will know the percentage of gross sales they are receiving.

Given the standard language in most photographer contracts which says the "photographer will receive 50% of the amount paid to the parent agency" it is possible for selling agencies to take an even larger percentage and for the photographer to end up with even less than 25% of the gross sale price.

This potential particularly exists when the "selling agency" and the "parent agency" happen to be owned by the same international company. SELLER BEWARE.

Copyright © 1997 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, 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:  


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