“Know Your Rights– Know The Price”; Guidelines For Selling Your Images

When photographers sell their work they are not only selling images. Fees also include the rights to the use of photos, so additional factors such as overhead, equipment, experience, and personal expertise must be considered. For sometime industry associations have recommended and referred photographers to books and other written guidelines that were dedicated to helping establish pricing guidelines. Pricing your images right increases your photography business' chances to prosper. It is imperative to develop a clear strategy.

© 2008, Glenn Glasser, All Rights Reserved

Finding proper stock pricing was previously an arduous chore, but new software allows the user to price stock with a range of variables. This gives photographers tremendous power and flexibility to accurately calculate pricing.

One example of this trend is the integration of two powerful software programs that provide the tools for the less experienced or less accustomed to aid in the task. Allen Murabayashi of PhotoShelter (www.photoshelter.com) and the Cradoc Corporation (www.fotoquote.com) have collaborated to help photographers avoid underestimating the value of their work.

The collaboration has resulted in PhotoShelter's rights-managed pricing module integrated with Cradoc's fotoQuote program data. Both products, Personal Archive and The PhotoShelter Collection, have a free starter account available; for but more than 50 MB of space it becomes a paid subscription, the online applications are for photographers to archive and sell images. The PhotoShelter Collection is an online service that provides a proficient sales transaction system, with the photographer keeping 70 percent of the stock image sale.

© 2008, PhotoShelter Inc., All Rights Reserved

Databases tied to industry standards allow anyone (even the novice) to price like a pro. By providing the average individual photographer access to the same pricing information that is held by large agencies, the playing field can be much more level. We recently talked with photographers Annie Libby, Robert J. Pennington, and Jock Fistick plus PhotoShelter CEO Allen Murabayashi to learn more.

Shutterbug: Why would a photographer be vulnerable to underpricing their work?

Allen Murabayashi: Photography is easier to create and distribute than ever before. There is so much imagery available through web searches. This makes photographers who post images more vulnerable to photo buyers who are looking for the "one dollar sale." The current situation is that the widespread use of high technology to obtain images and the need to avoid pricing quality photography as a simple commodity are conflicting with each other.

Annie Libby (www.outloudstock.com): Those who are at the beginning of their careers and have not assisted another photographer to learn the necessary skills of the profession firsthand are vulnerable. Conducting business with limited knowledge of the industry and no negotiation skills will lead to detrimental mistakes.

© 2008, Skye Hohmann, All Rights Reserved