Texas wedding photographer Allen Ayres was recently contacted by an advertising agency that wanted to use one of his wedding photographs for one of its pharmaceutical clients. Ayres had in mind to ask for $1,000, but wisely decided to ask for advice over at Digital Wedding Forum.
His request was spotted by wedding photographer and photo business blogger John Mireles (AKA The Photographer’s Business Coach), who advised him to find out five aspects of how the agency intended to use the photo: the size of the reproduction, the nature of the publication, the geographical area, the duration of use, and the exclusivity of the use.
After learning that the image would be used in a series of medical industry ads, both in print and online, and that the agency was asking for exclusive use, Mireles advised Ayres to ask for $15,000.
Not only did the agency find that price reasonable, but they even asked to increase it for better terms. The two sides ended up agreeing on an $18,000 contract for two years of exclusive and unlimited national use in the medical industry.
Mireles’s advice for photographers?
All too often I hear photographers make excuses for why they should undervalue their work: “It only took me an hour to shoot.” “It’s only a half-day.” “I’ll do this one for cheap so that this client will give me more work later.” “It’s not my regular work so it’s not that big a deal.” “I’m not going to do anything else with the shot.”
Forget all that. It’s not about you. It’s about the value that you’re delivering to your client. There’s a lot of mediocre images out there in the world. If a client wanted one of them, they could use one for a song. If they want you, it’s because you offer something special. Don’t be afraid to charge for your specialness.
Image credit: Photograph by Allen Ayres