Wednesday, February 14, 2007

[Photography & Pictures] Payment and Attribution for Photos

Quite a few friends have asked me what to do if a publication asks for permission to use their photos. My answer is always the same, and I thought I'd just put it out here for discussion:

- Ask them what they pay for photos. You're not going to make a ton of money on the sale of a photo, so it's not really the amount as much as it is proving a point that your photos are worth something, and that publications need to have a budget for that. It helps photographers everywhere when people ask this question. And it helps publications to know that web photos are not "freebies" that can be used instead of professional photos.

- Insist on attribution. And try for a www link as well.

- Make sure you understand the scope of where the photo is going to be used (one-time use, on a single www page or on multiple properties, in print, unlimited use, etc).

- Go for it!

I still stand by these guidelines, but would say that they are loose guidelines, to be considered but not necessarily followed to the letter of the law.

A couple days ago, I was approached by a newspaper and was offered attribution but no pay*. And I went for it. Even though I know that it wasn't going very far to help "the cause" of getting photographers paid, I was getting attribution in a print edition of nationally read, top 5 newspaper. In my mind, it was a win for me as it would help to build my publication portfolio, and I didn't have to do any extra work for the credit.

It was the first time I had allowed a print publication to use a photo of mine without paying.

I also wanted to go easy on the publication, giving them a break for at least tracking me down and asking if they could use my photo - unlike Mrs. D's experience last year.

*I should say that I was offered this after directly asking the questions. I have never seen a media org answer questions about pay, attribution, or use unless they are asked about it.

What has been your experience when dealing with traditional media on photos you've taken? Have you had any success?

This Post was written by Jen Maiser from Life Begins @ 30.


Sam said...

A magazine asked me if they could use some of my photos and they paid me the regular rates (standard, already set in stone) and drew me up a regular contract. I can't accept payment because of my visa restrictions so I asked for attribution instead and although I will get my name on the picture they can not link to my blog. But I couldn't really make a stink because they wanted to pay me.
We did find a solution in the end. I gifted ownership if the pics to someone else and they get paid whilst I still keep my photgraphy credit.

nika said...

Sam: if they had a UK office, could they not pay you then?

Sam said...

well - they didn't, but no - under the conditions of my visa I am not allowed to earn any money any where in the world through employment of any kind (inc freelance/blog ads, etc), apart from through the company that actually sponsors my US visa.

Nice rule, huh?

david said...

But if you had an American husband you could...

Sam said...

are you bringing that darned ring for me in June? I've been waiting almost a year and a half.

drbiggles said...

My general response is, "Shit yeah !!! Just get my name right."

Unless I could retire on what they'd pay me. Money and contracts make life too difficult as far as I'm concerned.

I need to find a good meat axe.


ParisBreakfasts said...

I took pictures for a chef niece for no pay to use on her website. I did assume I would get a credit or attribution.
6 months after notifying her still no attribution
Frustrating :(

Culinary Fool said...

The other thing you might try is a trade. I had a local print publication contact me and they asked if I would consider their use of a photo for a bottle or two of wine. :-) And attribution, too.

I know this is may be hard to believe but I didn't need another bottle of wine at the time so instead I asked if they'd consider a subscription to their magazine.

Since that costs them next to nothing they were more than happy to oblige and gave me two years for the photo. Since I liked the magazine and the subscription rate was a bit high, I was happy and so were they.

As in any negotiation if everyone comes out feeling like a winner the chance for additional opportunities is greater.