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Portions of this column were originally written for the July 2007 edition of News Photographer Magazine.
Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.
The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.
July 2007, Volume 59
By Mark Loundy
"Why should I buy expensive art when I can make my own?"
Many clients' only experience with photography is that magical click of the camera. Heck, it's so easy anybody can do it. So why are you charging so much?
The value of our work lies not in the fraction of a second that it takes to record an image but in the value that the client is getting from it. For example, a large circulation magazine might charge more than $100,000 for a full-page ad. A smaller publication might charge only a fraction of that, but it's still going to be in the thousands of dollars. Since the magazine itself puts a high valuation on its pages, it makes sense that you do the same with the images that you're supplying to fill those pages.
Photographer Andrew Buchanan compares licensing images with renting a movie on a DVD. "If I get that movie for a limited time of a few days or weeks from the local video store, Netflix, or wherever, I pay a set fee of a few dollars to watch as many times as I want within a certain time period, then I return the copy. If I want to check it out again, I pay again. Or, I can pay a higher fee of $10-20 dollars and own a copy of the DVD. I can watch as much as I want and never return it, but I pay a higher fee for greater convenience and opportunity to enjoy it — greater benefit to me, the end client, means a higher fee for the creator. Finally, another option is I can pay a set fee of a few dollars to watch it on my pay-per-view cable box. The fee is the same as for a physical copy of the DVD and I can watch as many times as I want, but only within a 24 hour period after which I no longer have access to it. In that scenario, I'm paying for the ultra-convenience of not even leaving my house in order to choose or return my movie, but the trade-off is a relatively expensive per-viewing cost compared to the other two methods. Again, greater benefit to me in the form of convenience means a higher per-viewing fee charged by the creator."
Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.Leftovers
If this person had pursued the right clients and rejected bad deals, he might still be shooting.
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