How to Get Top Value When You Sell a Stock Photo

If you are active online and on photo sharing social media sites, it is quite possible you will be contacted by someone interested in using your photograph. That requested usage could be for a variety of things from buying a print to licensing the image in a magazine or brochure or a website.

First, it is my opinion if someone wants your image for an unauthorized use then they will just take it in one form or another and I am not covering that angle here. Instead, I want to look at legitimate requests to use your landscape nature photography and the steps that you should consider before agreeing to the sale.

The first good sign is that someone is asking to use your nature or landscape pictures, but that could easily be followed by “we don’t have a budget.” Granted we are all competing with free images these days and that makes it tougher, BUT…they know that and if they wanted free they would go get it. Instead they contacted you because your image caught their attention. So here’s what you do….

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Don’t Make This Same Pricing Mistake I Made

True story: many years ago, at least 20, I got a call from a client who I had never worked with and who was looking for a stock photo. At the time I was in Portland Oregon and known as a local stock photographer with a large library of images.

This client requested a selection of images for which I do not recall just what the subject was, but we sent a selection over and sometime thereafter she called to negotiate a price.

After describing her usage I did as I always do: told her I would call her back. This is an important strategy because it gives you time to think about the usage for it the specific market instead of having to name a price immediately while on the phone.

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How To Quote The Photography Assignment

A stock photo client calls you with an assignment. The photo buyer likes your photography and enjoys working with you and now wants you to shoot a project.

Commercial clients who purchase your stock images are likely to assume you shoot assignments. If, up to now, you’ve only shot for stock, consider this article a primer to prepare you for taking the step into assignment photography.

Unlike shooting stock, assignments are not speculative and have specific client requirements. Often these requirements are unavailable in a stock photo. For example, the client may want a photo of its product–with the logo prominent in the image–being used on a backpacking trip.

Assignments require planning, estimating/budgeting and production. Most often you are required to prepare an estimate for the client that will pull all of the elements together.

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If You Charge Too Little You May Have A Problem

If you are always wondering just what to charge during an assignment, you may want to read this post over at Larry Lohrman publishes this site and his post last week: If You Charge Less Than $150 For A Shoot You Have A Problem is well worth reading, even for nature photographers.

The markets are tough out there for all photographers and the competition for work forces prices down. The real question is just how low to go and remain profitable. Real estate photographers and nature photographers share similar problems.

Real estate photographers are in a category of their own within the architecture photography business. You have your high end architects and high end magazines like Architectural Digest, and you have real estate agents, all who hire photographers.

Each of these types of clientele has different needs and different price points that they may be willing to pay, just like nature photography and pretty much anything else in the photography business.

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