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Just like all advertising, commercial photography has traditionally had price set to the terms of a ‘license agreement’, determined in most cases by the media formats (newspaper advertising, brochures, annual report, poster, website or social media), territory (state, country or worldwide), duration of use (one time use in print, recurring print publication, six months billboards, one year multi-formats, in-perpetuity with social and web due to shares and reposts), and number of images/artwork.
When a photographer is approached for a possible commission or with requests to purchase usage of pre-existing images, costing is dependent on this information.
The Base Usage Rate (BUR) works as such: The BUR is the starting point for negotiating use of the work over and above the initial commissioned media and time period. It is the figure to which the percentages in the guidelines for negotiating usage are applied.It is suggested that the BUR should not be less than the negotiated day rate, and could be pitched according to the amount of input and involvement required from the photographer.
The BUR is the fee and expenses for the photographer to get out there and shoot the job, with expenses including travel, consumables, assistants, access fees, models (if arranged and paid for by the photographer) and other costs to create the shoot. This may (or may not) include one or two media for a limited time period. For example, a BUR could include Press and Magazines, 6 months, within Australia only.
These relate to the usage fee for any additional media or period of use. Additional 12 months usage (often referred to as a ‘rollover’) or, additional media formats may be booked for example: Media: Press, Magazines, Brochures, Digital and Online, Outdoor; Territory: Worldwide; Period of use: 12 months
An example of how Base Usage Rate has loadings added is shown below:
If the agreed BUR were $2,500 (and included News Press and Magazines, United States only, 6 months) the loadings would be as follows: Brochures 25-50% = $625 – $1,250; Digital and online 50-100% = $1,250 – $2,500; Outdoor 50-100% = $1,250 – $2,500
Total photography fees and loadings would then be between $5,625 and $8,750.
A common misconception with small business, big business and some advertising agencies alike is that social media imagery ought to be supplied at no or very little cost. This mindset does not take into regard the cost of a shoot, the permanence of internet presence of an image once loaded (often images are reposted months and sometimes years after initial loading to social media) or the often explosive reach of a well visioned and shot image when loaded on social media. Another misconception is that a photographer ought to offer shots free for ‘exposure’. Exposure does not cover costs of shoots, does not cover insurance I have to maintain, does not feed myself nor assistants/models/makeup artists/ hair stylists / travel or pay charges for access to shoot locations. Not only does ‘exposure’ not pay the bills, I can have a page with upward of 3 million fans share my work several times daily to afford me analytic stats and growth. While advertising agencies are often pressed by clients to supply Social Media growth at a constant exponential rate on a budget, photography for commercial use still has a price tag attached. Following are details for social media imagery usage as a stand alone rates:
Medium resolution supplied (1920 pixels on longest edge) – No editing allowed – Watermark visible in all instances – Credit (LINKED*) must be published within first two lines in all instances of posts.
Base Usage Social Media Rate for pre-existing shoots: $250 / image plus expenses (model release agreements)
Base Usage Social Media Rate for new shoots: $550 / image plus expenses (assistants/models/makeup artists/ hair stylists / travel or pay charges for access to shoot locations)
High resolution supplied (from 4500 pixels on longest edge) – editing allowed – No Watermark visible – Credit (LINKED*) must be published in all instances of posts.
Base Usage Social Media Rate for pre-existing shoots: $350 / image plus expenses (model release agreements)
Base Usage Social Media Rate for new shoots: $750 / image plus expenses (assistants/models/makeup artists/ hair stylists / travel or pay charges for access to shoot locations)
Images used for commercial promotions on social media without full written agreement discovered after the fact receive an extra $800 half day rate commercial shoot charge. No exceptions.
*Contact me regarding which credit lines are due for each individual usage.