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Anyone have experience with photo licensing fees?


Spaceman Spiff

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I'm gonna do my best to out Burgold @Burgold here :806:

 

This morning I got an email from a major cable network (not gonna share all the details) asking me my fees to license one photo I took a few years ago of a huge hip-hop star that they want to use for an upcoming documentary series they're making.  Again, not gonna share all the details but you've definitely heard of the network, you've definitely heard of the rapper.

 

Her email asked for my rate for "all media, worldwide and perpetuity."  I have no idea what a fair price is.  $500? $2,000?  $10,000?  My first question is if it's going to be used on billboards, magazine articles, etc, or are they just gonna flash it on tv for a few seconds?  

 

Like I said, I have no idea what a fair price is or who to ask.  I could ask them what their budget is but I'm afraid they'll undercut me if I go that route.  Wanted to see if anyone in the ES fam has experience in this arena.  Lemme know.

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That's really great! Congrats. Unfortunately, all my photos came included with my stories for my radio work. I never pieced them out, but let me ask around. I may know some people wiser than me on the subject.

 

I just queried/IMed three friends in the biz. Hopefully, one will get back soon.

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5 minutes ago, Burgold said:

That's really great! Congrats. Unfortunately, all my photos came included with my stories for my radio work. I never pieced them out, but let me ask around. I may know some people wiser than me on the subject.

 

That'd be awesome, thanks!

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First answer comes from one of the producers of CBS Sunday Morning. I suspect your rate should be higher since the AP and Getty stuff is basically a warehouse of photos that are just designed for a keyword search and click, but I don't know. I'll forward more info as I get it.

 

Your questions are good. Also, find out if they are asking for exclusive usage rights over a certain period of time then that should up the rate too.

 

Anyway, here's what he had to say.

 

Quote

All I know is what we pay the various photo houses for use on tv and web: AP gets $31.50. Alamy is $75 and Getty is $125. Not great for photographers, but those fees cost us a half a million each year.

 

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12 minutes ago, Burgold said:

First answer comes from one of the producers of CBS Sunday Morning. I suspect your rate should be higher since the AP and Getty stuff is basically a warehouse of photos that are just designed for a keyword search and click, but I don't know. I'll forward more info as I get it.

 

Your questions are good. Also, find out if they are asking for exclusive usage rights over a certain period of time then that should up the rate too.

 

Anyway, here's what he had to say.

 

 

 

Ok, awesome.  Thank you!  Good starting points.  It's tricky cause when I got a pic of Weezer in Rolling Stone a few years ago, they paid 100 bucks for something the size of a thumbnail.  I think it should be higher, too.  Just not sure how much higher.  

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1 minute ago, Spaceman Spiff said:

 

Ok, awesome.  Thank you!  Good starting points.  It's tricky cause when I got a pic of Weezer in Rolling Stone a few years ago, they paid 100 bucks for something the size of a thumbnail.  I think it should be higher, too.  Just not sure how much higher.  

Yeah, it's tricky. One thing to keep in mind that I have learned from other documentary makers is that docs are generally money losers. The folks making the documentaries operate on a shoestring and grant money. Now, this changes a bit if the cable company is the actual producer.

 

Perpetual rights are also normal. Most of my deals are first use or one year. That means if someone wants to re-air my story they need to pay me again. With most news stories that's never a worry as how often do we want to hear a five year old news story? However, with a documentary they probably hope to keep it making the rounds for years or decades. Multi-media also makes sense to me as they want to protect themselves if people play it online, internationally, at conventions or whatever. Mind you, asking for the broadest rights usually means you can ask for a slightly bigger fee. Also, and I have no idea how they would react to it, you could ask for a rolling fee.  For example, they pay you X every time it is re-aired after the initial broadcast run.

 

Let me know how it works out!

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1 minute ago, Burgold said:

Yeah, it's tricky. One thing to keep in mind that I have learned from other documentary makers is that docs are generally money losers. The folks making the documentaries operate on a shoestring and grant money. Now, this changes a bit if the cable company is the actual producer.

 

Perpetual rights are also normal. Most of my deals are first use or one year. That means if someone wants to re-air my story they need to pay me again. With most news stories that's never a worry as how often do we want to hear a five year old news story? However, with a documentary they probably hope to keep it making the rounds for years or decades. Multi-media also makes sense to me as they want to protect themselves if people play it online, internationally, at conventions or whatever. Mind you, asking for the broadest rights usually means you can ask for a slightly bigger fee. Also, and I have no idea how they would react to it, you could ask for a rolling fee.  For example, they pay you X every time it is re-aired after the initial broadcast run.

 

Let me know how it works out!

 

Right on, will do.  Thanks for the help!  I think I'm gonna call the woman that sent the email and try to sound more knowledgable than I am by asking a lot of questions with these word tracks :806:

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One last thought on AP and Getty. I know that when I worked in radio, didn't even pay for individual photos through that service, but paid a yearly subscription fee which granted us access to their entire catalog. So again, even though Getty is the gold standard and AP or AP Prime is a go to... it may just be a starting point for you.

 

Oh... and if I'm telling you stuff you already know please don't take offense.

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7 minutes ago, Burgold said:

One last thought on AP and Getty. I know that when I worked in radio, didn't even pay for individual photos through that service, but paid a yearly subscription fee which granted us access to their entire catalog. So again, even though Getty is the gold standard and AP or AP Prime is a go to... it may just be a starting point for you.

 

Oh... and if I'm telling you stuff you already know please don't take offense.

 

No, you're good!  Definitely don't know this stuff.  Never have worked with Getty or AP or any other wire service.  

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I suspect that unfortunately those Getty prices are going to be more applicable than anybody would like... They might love your picture in particular, and they might have the money, but they don't necessarily want to spend it, and if the hip hop star is that big a name, they can probably get a different photo from Getty or the like as a substitute if you're too expensive.

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I'm a member of a group of Photographers based in Utah and this was/is a fairly common subject of discussion amongst the members. It's very common when it comes to the Portrait photographers. One of them posted this article which is part 4 of 4. Good read on all 4 parts. 

 

https://fstoppers.com/business/guide-pricing-commercial-photography-part-4-license-fees-8713?fbclid=IwAR15JJN_kCeevgqAODrNR-k1kcRsabkaFwKdfEvD2GB-L0cGyCZo2-hDFkw

 

Big thing to remember here,(statement of obvious),is that the licensing contract/fee doesn't,(or shouldn't),forfeit your copyright to the image. Hope this helps. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just got off the phone with the production company.  I didn't get a hyooooge amount or anything as they're gonna flash that photo on the screen for like a second.  But I withheld rights for promotion so if by chance they're gonna end up using it for any promotional materials they'll have to pay extra.  And then I sent the rest of the photos from that night to see if they'd wanna buy more.  Thank you @Burgold and everyone else for the advice, I felt like I knew what I was talking about when speaking with the rep.  She kept re-iterating their "extremely tight budget" throughout the call so I don't think there was a lot of wiggle room.  But for a photo I took three years ago that I never expected to make money off of in the first place, and to only air it for a second...I'm really just flattered they asked.

 

I'll let you guys know when the episode airs.  

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24 minutes ago, Spaceman Spiff said:

 

I didn't get the name of it but it's being produced by Questlove and Blackthought.  It's a 6 part docuseries, each episode looks at one important song in hip hop history.  

 

****ing awesome.

 

Potentially this:  https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7898366/questlove-black-thought-rap-yearbook-interview-roots-interview

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3 hours ago, Spaceman Spiff said:

I just got off the phone with the production company.  I didn't get a hyooooge amount or anything as they're gonna flash that photo on the screen for like a second.  But I withheld rights for promotion so if by chance they're gonna end up using it for any promotional materials they'll have to pay extra.  And then I sent the rest of the photos from that night to see if they'd wanna buy more.  Thank you @Burgold and everyone else for the advice, I felt like I knew what I was talking about when speaking with the rep.  She kept re-iterating their "extremely tight budget" throughout the call so I don't think there was a lot of wiggle room.  But for a photo I took three years ago that I never expected to make money off of in the first place, and to only air it for a second...I'm really just flattered they asked.

 

I'll let you guys know when the episode airs.  

Fantastic! Congrats. Time to pop that generic can of soda (that's photojournalist champagne!) ;)

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