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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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What to charge for images to be used by TLC in a TV game show.
Old 10-12-2010   #1
robklurfield
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What to charge for images to be used by TLC in a TV game show.

I just received an inquiry from a producer at TLC to use some of my images on cooking contest TV show. Apparently the show is featured a cook-off between some professional bakers. They're being asked to prepare a baked item modeled to resemble a giglio, which is a tower used in some Catholic communities to commemorate the life of particular saint. They're concerned that no one will know what a giglio looks like without my pix. Any suggestions about what, if anything this is worth? I've already asked for a screen credit on the show. Here's a few of the images for those of you who have no idea what a giglio is (I didn't myself until I went to view the festival for this thing in Williamsburg Brooklyn a year ago).







I don't think the producer picked the best images, but I'm happy to have the exposure.

The story is that the local church builds one of these every year. They have a big street fair where the main event is a group of strong men and a few strong ladies lift this several-ton structure on their shoulders and march it down the street. Apparently, there are a few of these festivals in the US and more of them in Europe, apparently mostly in Italy.
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Old 10-12-2010   #2
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Bump. Anyone have advice? I am clueless what the going rate is for this kind of thing (frankly, I'm naive and flattered enough to give it away if I have to).
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Old 10-12-2010   #3
Brian Sweeney
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Personally, unless you need the funds: Go for the Screen Credit! How cool is that.

Many years ago, I was asked by an Air Force officer how much I wanted for the pictures taken at an Air Show at their base. Told them just take them "Courtesy of the Navy".
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Old 10-12-2010   #4
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Whats the audience numbers? Local, State or National Broadcast? Single use or multiple episodes?
(Very) rough figure would be in the region of 200 dollars per photo single use limited license. Give me more details and I can get you a better standard value.
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Old 10-12-2010   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Sweeney View Post
Personally, unless you need the funds: Go for the Screen Credit! How cool is that.

Many years ago, I was asked by an Air Force officer how much I wanted for the pictures taken at an Air Show at their base. Told them just take them "Courtesy of the Navy".
Please don't do this, not charging devalues the industury for professionals attempting to make a meagre living off of it. Why pay someone when you can get it for free. At least charge a fair token amount.
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Old 10-12-2010   #6
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Brian & Jay, thanks for the tips. Since this will neither make or break me, I'm inclined to ask for a combination of the token amount AND the screen credit.

More opinions on this are welcomed.

If you want to see my name on the silver screen, rent the 1982 Fred "The Hammer" Williamson action-karate-detective-blaxploitation film "One Down; Two to Go." Apprentice film editor. Big whoop. The movie is lousy, the editing bad and my name very tiny. The movie played for a about two weeks in a Times Square theater. Long ago and far away.
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Old 10-12-2010   #7
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Well put it this way if they were to get an image from
http://srosenstock.photoshelter.com/...000fvWx646vDcI
(Click on add to cart then select TV/Film and the relevant drop downs)
w
It would be 477 dollars per image, single use North American distribution.
If they were to go to Getty it would be more in the region of 800.
So do them a discount on that at say 200/300 and screen credit and the producer has saved on her budget and you've made a sale.
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Old 10-12-2010   #8
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The show is called "The Next Great Baker."

Jay, I like your suggestion and am pitching a variation on this. Thanks for pulling that data for me. Very helpful.
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Old 10-12-2010   #9
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And congratulations Rob. You are getting noticed these days, not for the first time. Good on you.
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Old 10-12-2010   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robklurfield View Post
The show is called "The Next Great Baker."

Jay, I like your suggestion and am pitching a variation on this. Thanks for pulling that data for me. Very helpful.
No problem. Just be aware that the producer has a budget that will cover it, but they get a bonus if they come in under budget so will try and get it as low as possible. I have worked in TV/Film for a good few years and producers are a crafty bunch with money.
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Old 10-12-2010   #11
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I've supplied still lifes for similar purposes, and Jay is bang on, they would be paying a minimum of £100/ $200 for brief usage on a small network, whatever you do don't give it away!
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Old 10-12-2010   #12
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Thanks, Ezzie.

Jay and Paul, let's see what they can do. I'll report back.
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Old 10-12-2010   #13
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a friend of mine who used to be on the buying side of this equation tells me that $250/per image single use sounds right given today's market.
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Old 10-12-2010   #14
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that sounds like a fair number Rob. either way, jay has been giving pretty good advice so far.
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Old 10-12-2010   #15
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emraphoto, thanks. always glad to get advice from you folks who are able to make a living at what I do for a hobby.
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Old 10-12-2010   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robklurfield View Post
a friend of mine who used to be on the buying side of this equation tells me that $250/per image single use sounds right given today's market.
Yep. Sounds just right and I agree emphatically, "do not give your work away."
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Old 10-12-2010   #17
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thanks, Jack.
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Old 10-12-2010   #18
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They usually spend more money finding the right image than for the images themselves. Not saying that you could get more, just the way it is.
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Old 10-12-2010   #19
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Frank, thanks.

If I get anything, I'm happy. I also am sensitive about not making easier for people to shortchange you pros by giving in easily.
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Old 10-12-2010   #20
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Thanks, Shane.
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Old 10-13-2010   #21
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Shane, thanks. And, so true what your friend says.

I have to shake my amateur's mentality.
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Old 10-13-2010   #22
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Hookders' rule applies: Never give it away.

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Old 10-14-2010   #23
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I'm hoping I didn't scare this gal away with the mention of money. The easy of them finding people who will give it away is clearly screwing things up for us. Morry, I hope we don't all have to become hookers.
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Old 10-14-2010   #24
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You should get paid and screen credit. Too bad it's for TV, as TV shows of this sort are very rarely union shows, had it been union you could've used this as an opportunity to join the camera guild as a still photographer if that were something you were interested in
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Old 10-14-2010   #25
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Here's a correspondence from this morning. Let's see what happens.

Christy,

Can you give me photo credit and a DVD copy of show? If so, you've got my permission.

I hope you won't mind me being candid, but I have to say that I'm surprised that you have no budget here. I presume, since this is not public TV, that High Noon and, certainly, TLC have money to spend. I don't expect that your camera operators, gaffers, etc. work for free. I would hope that you'll take second look at the budget and see if you can squeeze a few bucks out of this. Why not see what you can do?

The going rate from some of the more well-respected stock photo agencies as from $477 to $700 for a single use distribution domestically. I would be very pleased to give a significant discount to you. So, please see if another look at the budget might shake loose a few shekels for a starving artist.

I know that part of your role as a producer is to maximize what you can get while minimizing what you spend, so I can't blame you with proliferation of images on the internet in places like flickr for trying to see if you can get something for nothing. But, as some who earns her living (I hope you do, anyway) in the "arts," would you work for free?

Anyway, take another look at that budget and see if you can locate something, as I would very much like to grant you permission to use what I think are some great images that capture both the Giglio itself and the entire ethos of the festival.

FYI, I know that everyone on earth with a computer and a point & shoot digital camera thinks they're a photographer. You know from searching for these images that most of the images out there are ripe garbage. Not only do I take what I do seriously, I also use fine and, unfortunately, costly equipment (the images you selected were made with about $6,000 of Leica gear) that is reflected in the quality and resolution of the images.

Feel free to call me if you like. I hope I have stimulated enough guilt in you (you seem like nice person judging from your own flickr page) that you'll see your way to finding some money in that budget (buy a few less pounds of floor and confectioners sugar perhaps). Even if it's a mere token, you'd be doing a good turn by all of the professional and semi-professional photographers among us who are diligent, hard-working and who produce high quality imagery. Put yourself in our position. I'm sure this won't break the bank. And, it will make you feel better, too.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Rob Klurfield
877....

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the message! Unfortunately, we don't have a budget for graphics/photos for this show. So we couldn't pay you to show your photograph in the episode.

I will most likely end up getting photos from the Italian Cultural Center or maybe our Our Lady of Mount Carmel. They are interested in promoting the festival, and have a good deal of photos we could use. (Even though I like your photos best!)

Let me know if you are still interested in letting us use one of your photos. If not, no worries and thank for your time!

Best,
C ...
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"His photos are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes." -http://www.500letters.org/form_15.php



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Old 10-14-2010   #26
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that's appealing. I think this is probably shot in Denver and I therefore doubt that it's a union shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mephiloco View Post
You should get paid and screen credit. Too bad it's for TV, as TV shows of this sort are very rarely union shows, had it been union you could've used this as an opportunity to join the camera guild as a still photographer if that were something you were interested in
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Old 10-14-2010   #27
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She's lying through her teeth unfortunatly, of course they have a graphics budget, while she might find photos for free designers dont work for free. I'd pass on it unfortunatly. If you want to work for credit its up to you but the only reputation it will garner is one of someone who works for credit unfortunatly.
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Old 10-14-2010   #28
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Jay, I'm with you on this, especially on the sense that she's lying. They will probably spend hundreds of dollars on baking supplies alone. I am guessing that she will decline.

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Originally Posted by JayGannon View Post
She's lying through her teeth unfortunatly, of course they have a graphics budget, while she might find photos for free designers dont work for free. I'd pass on it unfortunatly. If you want to work for credit its up to you but the only reputation it will garner is one of someone who works for credit unfortunatly.
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"His photos are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes." -http://www.500letters.org/form_15.php



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Old 10-14-2010   #29
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they may have decided they won't put money in a "photograph" budget when nthey all sat down and wrote the budget but that shouldn't be mistaken for not having money.

as Jay has mentioned, you must decide on the course forward and only you know your priorities. sadly though, there is no course forward if no ones is paying.
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Old 10-14-2010   #30
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might i also add that i am gobsmacked when i see folks who profit from others talent and creativity trying to low ball/rip off the talent in the process.
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Old 10-14-2010   #31
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Wow, what a bunch of BS. I know nothing about professional photography, but this just reeks of the miserly penny-pinching that companies seem to feel is justified in this economy. Disgusting. I'm sure she gets a hefty bonus for getting the show to come in under-budget. My bet is that your compensation was merely a roadblock on the way to her bonus.
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Old 10-14-2010   #32
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thanks, emraphoto and hipsterdufus.

the funny thing is that I would be delighted for a pittance. since I am not famous and don't earn my living doing this, a $100 to $200 per image would be a windfall. I'm not Ansel Adams and these shots are not Moonrise. I'm sure their coffee and pastry budget in the Green Room at their studio exceeds my "asking" price.

To all who have commented, as someone who hasn't done this before, I really appreciate both the tips and the moral support. So, thanks everyone.
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Old 10-14-2010   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayGannon View Post
She's lying through her teeth unfortunatly, of course they have a graphics budget, while she might find photos for free designers dont work for free. I'd pass on it unfortunatly. If you want to work for credit its up to you but the only reputation it will garner is one of someone who works for credit unfortunatly.
100 per cent agree. No pay, no play.

I've done quite a few odd TV bits to do with my work, and after a time it's liberating to hear them go thru the spiel, how much they like you and your work, blah blah softsoap softsoap, as I listeni politely and say thank you - and then ask what the fee is. Once you've been paid for a few you realise how much BS all their earlier talk is - in the end they always pay. If they were plugging a photo book of yours, it would be worth considering, but otherwise you're just giving away your own intellectual property for free.

It's important to note that, if you do give your work away, you won't make them like or respect you more, despite assurances to the contrary!
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Old 10-14-2010   #34
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Paul, thanks.

You are all stiffening up my spine (in a good way).
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Old 10-14-2010   #35
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By the way, the shots are good. I'm sorry someone is attempting to demean you - but hey, people will always try it on. Best of luck.
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Old 10-14-2010   #36
robklurfield
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Location: New Jersey, USA
Age: 56
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I don't feel the least bit demeaned. It's just business. She's got a job to do and it's to be a cheapskate. I don't take this stuff personally. Probably, if I weren't a photographer and had her job, I might (I hate to admit) I might do it the same way she does. But, we all know better since we live this.

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Originally Posted by Paul T. View Post
By the way, the shots are good. I'm sorry someone is attempting to demean you - but hey, people will always try it on. Best of luck.
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rob klurfield
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