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Old 09-15-2010, 12:25 AM   #23
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DWHonan's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Issaquah, WA
Posts: 590

Originally Posted by Freericks View Post
All e-mails since they agreed to the price have been ignored and I've never been paid.
This is exactly why I always ensure that I have a signed licensing agreement in hand before I ever release images to a client; if they don't pay within the 30 days prescribed in the document, I have a legal basis for taking action against them.

Following up on what others have said: Last week I was contacted through my Flickr account by a representative from a large international geotechnical engineering firm who inquired, "We would like to obtain your permission for using this photo in our brochure, and wanted to check if you would charge a fee in doing so?" I responded by stating that before I would quote a rate, I wanted to know the dimensions of the brochure, the percentage thereupon my photo would cover, and what their distribution media and quantity would be. I use that data to determine what my rate will be; I'm not going to charge a travel agency who wants to do a run of 2,000 postcards the same that I'd charge a Department of Transportation that's using my work on their website and in brochures and posters.

Six days have passed and no response yet; at this point, I don't expect one. As others have said, it's rather shocking that these large firms expect to simply ask for permission to use photos without compensating the photographers. On the flip side, though, with the widespread accessibility that digitial photography has brought to the masses, anyone can go out and take halfway decent photos that suit the needs of these firms; Joe Average might think that simply having his name in fine print on a brochure is fair compensation, something he can show off to his family and friends, while meanwhile the company effectively pads its bottom line at his expense.

I've gotten to the point where simply having my name on the paper next to the image isn't enough; I put a substantial amount of time and resources into capturing photos, and if an entity wishes to use them I feel perfectly justified in requesting fair compensation. (I do make exceptions for not-for-profits, such as the small telephone co-op that's using one of my shots on the cover of their next phone book.) If the potential client doesn't want to pay, they're welcome to find someone else to rip off.

One last anecdote: A very, very small model-building firm contacted me this past spring asking to use a few of my photos to illustrate a brochure for their new HO scale product. They had no complaints about paying a modest fee for use of the images. This "VERY prominent model railroad company" could take a lesson in common-sense business practices from the mom-and-pop-size companies that understand what we "little guys" go through and are willing to take a small hit on their bottom line to develop a relationship with potential clients.
Dave Honan
Issaquah, WA
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View my portfolio at Flickr Not quite so new anymore!
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