Food, Photos and Travel

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How to Buy Photography

This is a great article that I came across today. It's written by Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua of Burns Auto Parts

Be sure to check out her other articles. She has some great info for small businesses and photographers alike.


How to Buy Photography (the short course)

First off, let’s correct that misnomer: “buying” photography. One doesn’t buy photography-one buys the license, or rights, to reproduce an image. By federal law, the images created by the photographer are copyrighted by the photographer. He or she owns the images and sells to you, the client, specific usage rights to reproduce the images. Those rights are specified both on the estimate and the invoice you will receive.

Day Rate vs Actual Cost

When you ask for a “day rate” you will not be getting the actual cost for an assignment. What you will hear is the fee the photographer charges for performing a one-day shoot-showing up, taking the pictures, so to speak. It doesn’t include expenses and, more importantly, it does NOT include any usage fees - the fees charged to grant the rights to reproduce the images.

Even more important, good, ethical photographers won’t even quote you a day rate. Why? Because they don’t price their services that way. Photography isn’t a commodity nor is it labor. A photo that takes one hour isn’ worth less than one that takes 7 hours to create. Each image is different. Thus, a good photographer will be more than happy to provide you with a specific estimate for your project, taking into account your needs, the creativity involved, etc.

Save everyone some time - -don’t even bother asking for a day rate.


“What?” some people may ask, “If I pay for an assignment, I should own the images!” Well, while that certainly is possible, you’d be paying for much more than you actually need. Look at it this way, do you want to pay the same price for an image you’re going to use once in a corporate recruitment brochure with a print run of 2500 as you would if the image was going to be used in a national four-color print ad campaign that will reach millions of consumers? Joe’s Sprockets doesn’t need to pay Nike prices!

That’s usage. It saves you money. You buy what you need, but you’re not limited. Let’s say the image used for that recruitment brochure would be perfect for that same company’s website. You can re-license the image for that additional usage, and the fee will again be based on that specific usage.

“But,” a client will say, “I don’t want to be bothered with re-licensing for each additional usage.”In that case, plan ahead and be specific! You might think that “Unlimited Usage” is the easiest way to go (and, well, it is), but you probably don’t really need all that. Perhaps all the possible usage you will need is trade advertising print ads, corporate website, and recruitment brochure, and all that for only one year. That will save you money over Unlimited Usage (and tons over buying the copyright!).

So, when you want to “buy photography” gather this information ahead of time, and you will get an accurate estimate for your needs:

Project Description (as detailed as possible, if you have a layout, providing that will definitely help).

* Props/talent: provided by you, or does the photographer need to obtain them?
* Usage: Advertising? Editorial? Corporate? In what media will the images be reproduced? Will the images appear locally, regionally or nationally? How long will you need to use the images? If you have media buy numbers handy, that will help the photographer be sure to give you the best price.
* Can the photographer re-license the images (or out-takes) to others (in other words, do you want exclusivity)?

Bid vs. Estimate

An estimate is a noncompetitive pricing for a project. You may want to use Photographer X and want to know how much it will cost. A bid, on the other hand, means that you either have several photographers in mind or, more likely, are going to award the project based solely on price (as opposed to ability, style, talent, experience, etc.).

If you’re asking for a bid, please be up-front about it. While it won’t make a difference in the prices (a project costs what a project costs) for most, it will save time and aggravation. Tell the photographer who his/her competition is. See, there are always those who will do anything to get a job. This way the photographer can bow out before spending days putting together a complex set of numbers just to hear “but photographer X came in at 25% of that!”

BAP advocates the elimination of the bid from our business. Estimates are a far more fair tools by which to evaluate prices, quality, approach, and all the other intangibles that go into selecting the right photographer for any project.

When you really want to use a photographer, but you don’t have the budget Fees are always negotiable. While no one can “give it away” most can often work out something which benefits everyone involved. Even the most famous photographers have worded with small clients who have paid in trade, or product, or who have agreed to stock use immediately, or who have given the photographer a large credit line. It never hurts to ask!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Here's a new photo I recently completed for Aroma Haven/Rustic Escentuals. They are a fragrance oil company in need of a high quality photo for the front page of their web site. Their fragrance oils are often used by candle and soapmakers, so the idea behind the photo is to represent both the finished products and the variety of different scents they carry. The photo is done in the same style as the fragrance oil photos I completed in November (you can see those here).

You can view more of my commercial and product photography here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Commercial Photography

I recently shot a couple promotional pictures for Synses, a new bath and body company based out of New York City. The photos are featuring their Coconut Rose Latte, a decadent milk bath that smells as beautiful as it looks...

Click here to view more of my commercial photography.

Technical Difficulties

When it rains it pours!

In addition to my e-mail woes, I am now having website woes. The company that hosts my web galleries seems to be having some troubles today (which is very rare). Hopefully that will be back up and running again soon.

As if that wasn't enough, I also had to replace a bad cable modem today.

AND... it has been raining ALL DAY.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

e-mail woes

It appears as though my e-mail server has been down for the last couple of days, and e-mails have been bouncing back to the senders.

I apologize if you have tried to contact me, and were unable to reach me. It appears to be fixed now, but if not please be patient. It will be up and running again soon.

In the meantime, if you need to contact me, you can either call me toll free at 1.866.670.9049 or you can try my personal e-mail: (replace the "AT" with @)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Camera club meeting

I just returned from my first meeting of our local camera club. It was a riot... I was only one of three females, and literally the only person under 70 years old (I seem to find myself in situations like this quite a bit). Suprisingly though, for such an old bunch, there were a lot of digital shooters. Of course, we started the evening with a slide show, so they have not all fully embraced the digital age.

I do plan on going back. The meetings are only one night a month, and it's nice to get out of the house (those of you who work at home will understand that!). Next month the speaker will be a professional travel photographer who will show a presentation of slides from his recent trip to India.

I've heard mixed reviews from other photographers about their camera clubs, so all-in-all I was pleasantly suprised.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year Sale

The holiday season is over and the new year is upon us. Now is the perfect time to think about investing back into your business with professional product photography.

SO, from now until January 14th, if you book a session with me for your products, I will take 10% off of your final bill**. Simply mention this blog entry for your discount.

**Offer valid from 1/4/2007- 1/14/2007. $100 non-refundable deposit and signed contract is required. Discount will not be applied to shipping and prop fees.

You can view my commercial photography portfolio here.