Fees For Travel App Use

Posted on 12/1/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Recentlty, a photographer asked what to charge for use of photos on a travel app that is designed to help tourists discover new places to visit, things to do, places to eat and drink etc.?

I view this use as similar to a city guide that is given away in hotels, or a country travel guide. I would charge the same for the app use as I would charge for print use.

However, there are several important differences to take into account. The first is that given the newness of this market the app publisher probably has no idea how many copies he might sell, and thus will be looking to keep his costs to an absolute minimum. In order to get one’s pictures used it may be necessary to discount the normal book use price substantially.

Rather than walking away from such a project because the price is too low, I would recommend that photographers try to negotiate some extra incentives. It seems likely that this type of multi-media project will be widely used in the not too distant future. It could be very useful to have a better understanding of how they are put together.

Here are a few things to consider:
    1 – What will they charge for the app and how many do they expect to sell?

    2 – How narrowly focused will the subject of the app be? For example, a typical travel guide for New York City might cover the whole town. The photos used to illustrate it might just hit the high spots. When it comes to designing apps the publisher may want to offer several that look at different sections of the city – what might be chapters in a printed book. Each app could be purchased separately depending on the interest of the reader. This makes it possible to keep the cost low and provide much more detail for those interested in specific subjects.

    3 – How many pictures are likely to be used in the project and will the photographer be able to supply a significant portion of them? Given the way iPad information pieces work the publisher may want to use a lot more pictures and show a lot more detail than is typically found in a printed book. If that is the case then more images may need to be shot. This could lead to an assignment project.

    4 – Will the pictures be interactive with a map so the reader can jump back and forth from positions on the map to see exactly what he would find in that location? In some cases locations that might be illustrated with one or two pictures in a book might need 20 or 30 pictures in an iPad app to do the subject justice  
    5 – Will they be using any video clips and is there a possibility that you could shoot some?
    6 – Do they plan to produce a series of apps? Will they guarantee you work on several of them? Can you turn this opportunity into a long term relationship rather than a single sale? In order to provide the depth of coverage they need it may be necessary and more cost effective to plan specific shoots rather than relying stock from multiple sources.

    7 - Will they provide information about actual number of sales after 6 months or a year so you can more accurately gage what you should charge for future productions and how much expense you can afford to incur in producing images for an app?

Copyright © 2011 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 301-461-7627, 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.  


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