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When asked to bid on a job for Vegas attractions, I was told they want a BUYOUT for billboards, taxis, video walls, and ads for Vegas, but this entire campaign is unexpected and isn’t even in their budget. How in the world do I price something like this when they say something like that?


When I hear this from a potential client, I hear, “We are looking to get a good deal with the lowest bidder.” This is a sales tactic that gives you a sense of what they are looking for. If you have any “down & dirty” ideas that will get them more bang for their buck with less of a production, this is that type of photoshoot. My warning in this situation is to have your estimate terms clearly state what IS and what IS NOT included in your bid. No surprises!

Instagram Influencer Photoshoot


On a local Instagram Influencer photoshoot, I allowed the local hotel to use the image on their Instagram feed only and made it clear that any other use would incur usage fees. I recently found another property under the same corporate chain using the image and tagged the Influencer. Was my consent to have the local hotel use it on their social media my mistake since they are a smaller hotel owned by a larger global hotel chain?


Influencer social media posts lead to unclear third-party usage that we should be getting paid for. I’ve temp-repped these situations by explaining to the negligent part how licensing needs to be granted by the photographer and not the Influencer. The challenge for us is we have Influencers giving away our usage rights as they often believe they own the images. Originally our terms need to be clearly stated on a signed estimate and explained, so all parties are clear. After that, we can go after them to get paid, which is often a process of educating everyone involved. One company I’ve heard to help photographers get paid for their images used without permission is

Images For Broadcast


I always put the terms “excluding outdoor and broadcast” on my estimates and invoices. Now a client wants to use the images for Broadcast. Do you have a rough idea of what Broadcast usage would be? What does Getty quote for it?


The only reason to fill the usage terms of what is excluded would be to educate a client who may not know much about licensing rights or as a teaser to encourage them to use it for OOH or Broadcast. Legally, they can only use it for what you are granting them. Getty may have something you can look at on their site, but I don’t use it. All fees are random as there is no set amount for Broadcast or others. I’ve seen fees go across the board, so I hate to rely on one set of numbers. Broadcast is large, so you can double or triple what they paid in usage for the other usage. I find negotiating tactics are the real answer to these questions because it depends on the client’s budget.

Testing With Brands on Social Media


I photographed some products at home (self assigned). I tagged the brand, they saw my work via DM. A few months later they came out with a campaign that is almost identical to what I shot. This has happened to me 3 times with 3 different companies, so I don’t think I’ll be shooting sample things and posting them on Instagram, maybe on my portfolio but that’s it…not sure. What are your thoughts on this?


It is hard to prove when a company uses your copyrighted images for their concepts, but that is one way to approach this. Before posting the images, make sure you register your copyright if you foresee going down the legal path.

My REP thought is this guidepost of encouragement showing you are right on the money with your direction instead of using this as a reason to lower viewings of your images. You have something hot happening here that may need a slight fine-tuning to strengthen the unique magic you offer. 

Don’t Waste Time Doing Estimates With Information We Don’t Have

We can’t be spending our time doing estimates on information we don’t have. 

I’m hearing a ton of complaints from photographers wasting useless time on estimates that don’t turn out to be the real deal. I hear you! With no bid spec sheets, I get many of these requests that won’t reveal the budget upfront, so I focus on the points that help me see if this client is even ready for an estimate. Our goal is to quickly open up the communication doors, giving us a clearer sense of what we are dealing with.

My quick first step estimating questionnaire:

  • What is the Usage?
  • What is the specific Shotlist?
  • Do you have a creative deck with the layouts + mood-boards?
  • What are the talent rates?
  • Do you have stylists you like to use?
  • When is the creative call?

Estimates, Full Buyout, and Usage Rights


It was mentioned on your APA-LA webinar on Estimates a range of 8K-$16 for a full buyout. I got a job inquiry for 2 days, 120 images. They demanded a full buyout. I want $10k for the usage rights, plus my day rate. I didn’t get the job because they don’t want to pay this amount for the usage rights. What do you do? Reduce the $10k or keep your position? At the end I chose to keep my position, but I do need jobs…


Usage rates have no definite set amount, so it’s a bit of an educated guessing game. The other guessing game is when clients use the term “full buyout,” which means they own the copyright or unlimited usage for an unlimited duration. Bidding a job requires negotiation to make sure everyone speaks the same language to reach a mutual agreement. In this case, your $10k usage rate request for 120 images is more than reasonable.

Free Shoot And Usage


I did a free shoot with a celebrity who has a restaurant for a magazine story. When they asked to use the image for a virtual beer tasting event, we kindly allowed them to use it for free. They took that as a blanket usage for all social media without our permission. What kind of contract can we use for approved usage terms with a zero balance? What is the best way to deal with this when we are not charging for the initial use?


Assume when you are photographing in the editorial, portrait, and entertainment industry, you work with people who do not understand copyright and usage terms. Begin with the perspective that you must put everything in a signed contract no matter your fee. Every photographer must have an estimate form signed by the client BEFORE starting the job. “Freelancers” do not mean free from protecting our business. A freelancer means you create your contract with legal terminology available to us on resources like

Negotiating Licensing


How do you negotiate licensing or ask a client to stop using your photos when there was no contract in place at booking and/or during delivery of images?


Step one is to find the appropriate contact at the company who is using your images illegally. Step two is to educate the client as this usually occurs because they don’t understand copyright ownership. The photographer owns the copyright with or without a contract. Instead of asking the client to stop using your images, you can explain how they need to pay you to continue using them and a penalty fee for when they have already used them. Handle this yourself with legal copyright documentation or use a temp rep or lawyer on your team.

License and Perpetuity Estimate


I recently lost out on a job because my perpetuity number scared off the agency. They needed a 5 year license estimate and a perpetuity estimate. My 5 year license was $16,000 and perpetuity was 4 times that. Seemed fair to me because I’m not comfortable with a lifetime license of my images anyway. What are your thoughts on this? I’m gutted because I lost out on the job but I’m ok with not giving a lifetime license away for next to nothing. 


When bidding on a job requesting usage duration fee options, those are often an excellent place to start high, expecting to negotiate and not risk losing the job. 

The usual fundamental reasons you could lose a job you are bidding on:

-They have a #1 favorite choice in mind based on their style. 

-Your overall estimate price is much higher than someone else, so high they don’t even want to try to negotiate, 

-Your overall estimate price is very low, showing that you do not have the experience needed to fulfill the goals of this project. 

-Another bidder impressed them more with their treatment or ideas on the creative call.

Recognizable Art

Just like companies cannot make money off of photographer’s art without their permission, the same goes for any recognizable art that we may not even realize has copyright ownership. I was on a call discussing casting, and we were warned against using talent with tattoos because we would need permission from the artist. Recognizable public artwork on buildings or bodies without usage agreements has caused legal problems that we don’t want to get entangled with.