Buying Photography
it doesn't have to be hard work

How to do business with your Photographer

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Buying Photography - get the best pixels for your pounds

Buying photography doesn't have to difficult, complicated or madly expensive. Tight budgets and stretched logistics are facts of life for most photographers. However, start throwing in impossible deadlines, awkward, unhelpful models or last minute changes and either budgets must rise or quality must fall.

If you use photography regularly try to develop an ongoing businesslike relationship with the right photographer.

They'll get to know the style of work you need, you'll learn their language, and you can negotiate in a friendly and cooperative way to everyone's benefit.

Reviewing new photographers and portfolios can be a never ending cycle, once you've found a photographer you can work with - stick with them. Egos can be bruised so if your photographer thinks you're always looking they can only assume you're not happy with them. Let them feel safe but not a fixture.

Your photographer should become part of your creative team

Even if you don't use photographers very often, it's worth looking beyond the local high street wedding and family portrait photographer.
Exploit your photographer's strengths. A studio still-life photographer probably isn't the best choice for candid location work.

When you've found your photographer you can start talking money.

They may quote for the job - a fixed fee - or the quote may be a 'day rate', alternatively they may offer an estimate of what they expect the job to cost with the final bill to follow on completion, if you and the photographer trust each other this can become the fairest method. Remember that all expenses and costs will be added to the 'day rate'.

Creative fees vary as widely among photographers as any others and often the experience of the photographer, or specialist equipment and abilities they have may make a higher price good value.

Always try to buy 'the right quality for the job'

not the just right price - One photographer I know wrapped over 1,000 light bulbs in tissue paper to get the right soft effect for the image the buyer wanted. It cost a fortune but the buyer was delighted, happy to pay for perceived good value. For a photographer to estimate a job fairly, they need to know everything that's relevant. This will often reduce the quote – there are fewer 'guesstimates' to make. Always give a detailed job description, including what the photographs need to communicate, how they need to fit into a lay-out, deadline dates, usage, printing and any other user requirements.

Issues regarding rights

The photographer owns the copyright - the more widespread the use of the photograph the more you pay, generally. One essential component of the photographer's fee is payment for the rights licensed. It is important that the photographer and client agree on usages in advance. Generally, the more extensive media exposure a photograph receives, the higher the fee will be for producing it. However, with the growth of digital photography more and more photographers are giving their clients digital files instead of prints.

Other questions to answer are: Where will the photograph be used? Is the photograph for advertising, editorial or other media? Is it for local, regional or national use? Who else can use the photograph? Is there a time limit? Can the photographer re-use the images, including those not supplied, perhaps sell them to others? 

This is where it is important to have your brief fully worked - why pay for something you won't use - future rights can usually be paid for as needed - but usually at a higher rate than including them in the original schedule.

And, please, please, please, don't be stupid

Possession of photographs, transparencies or negatives doesn't give you the right to use or copy them. Nobody likes being ripped-off. Incidentally I do give you the right to use my photographs however you wish - once they've been paid for.

If your need more than your budget will buy, get right down to your basic needs, cut out any maybes. Don't cut corners on quality, get more value from what you have.

Talk to your photographer, ask his advice - it's part of what you're paying for.

They should have lots of ideas. Whatever you do don't say to a new photographer: "If you do this job for peanuts I'll give you lots more work in the future." You can guarantee they've heard it before, they may have even fell for it, but only once.

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Call me on 07947 673167 or E-mail Alan Howarth now - let's talk about your Architectural Photography

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Alan Howarth - happy producing freelance photography for the Web & for the Real World

Alan Howarth: Freelance photographer based near Blackpool, Preston & Lancaster, Lancashire in the North West of the UK, I frequently work in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham and I spend 50% of my time working in London. within the M25, I travel throughout the UK and often work in mainland Europe, with work published throughout the world. As a corporate photographer my portrait images will enhance your marketing and your business, my video production skills can enhance your video email marketing campaigns. Email me know. I'll go anywhere - except war zones.

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