Thursday, February 1, 2007

How do I price my work? Part 1

I get this question sometimes, especially given that I have sold my work.

There's several categories to discuss, but the first is when somebody emails you and wants to use your image. I'll address more situations in future posts.

Now, I cannot give you an exact price, because every situation is a little different. However, I can give you some guidlines.

First, unless they have no money to give you and you believe in the cause, never give the image away for free. Make them, at the very least, give you a token payment.

Second, if they sought you out, your photo is worth more than a microstock site would sell it for. Microstock sites sell pictures for $10US or so right now. You should never ever allow yourself to be talked down below $20US. What helps for me is often to go to a real stock site (like Corbis) and see what a roughly similar pic would cost and use that as a ballpark figure.

Third, research and feel out what sort of people you are dealing with. Large companies should be quoted higher prices. Similarly, if you are dealing with photo for the cover of a magazine, you should get paid more than an interior picture.

Fourth, it's better for all of us if you walk away from folks who clearly want an image for a few pennies. We photographers cannot tell each other what we should charge.. that would be creating a cartel. But people are prepared to only offer the satisfaction of being published to us because they've gotten away with it in the past.

Fifth, be extra careful about what rights you give away. The more rights they want, the more you should pay. Never give them rights to do whatever they want with it.

Sixth, if all else fails, think about your expenses. My wife and I have an agreement that anything I make on my photography is for me to do with as I please, so I quoted the price of a used Mamiya RB67 to somebody who wanted to buy one of my photos.


  1. Nice site! came across your site via flickr! and excellent work...nice pictures.

  2. Thanks Jake! We try our best over here.