Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why you should not give your photo for free ?

With the popularity of digital photography and the number of amateurs joining in, its a common practice among the new entrants to give away photographs for free commercial use just for the thrill of viewing their photos published.


While its totally up to you to decide how to sell your photos, here are a few points you could consider before deciding to give away your photographs for free

  • If you really know what your photograph is worth, chances are you might reconsider your decision of giving it away.
  • When someone approaches you for a license to use a photograph you should ask the right questions like
    • What is the intended use ? say Corporate, Advertising or Editorial use?
    • If its for corporate use, What is the average circulation for the magazine or Annual report? Or in case of website, average visitors, feed subscribers etc?
    • Where will the photo be placed ? front cover, full page, spot etc
    • If its an advertisement, again the intended use, placement of the ad (billboard, magazine etc) and circulation numbers should be clear
  • If you don't know how to price the photos based on the usage, you can go to an online stock price calculator, just enter the data you collected from the buyer and use the numbers you get as a base for negotiation.
  • You may not need the money from your photos, but giving away photos for free will have long lasting impact the industry itself. This is really bad for fulltime photographers who earn their income from photography.
  • Most of the companies that approach for free photos are large corporations . Its not that they cannot afford to pay, they just simply don't want to.
  • While it may be good to give away photos for charity cause, or for non profit cause, please do the homework to see if your customer qualifies for this.
  • What ever be the reason, you should not transfer the copyright of the photo and should always prefer to grand a per use license. For unlimited use, price accordingly.
  • Never give away the RAW image and only provide the photo resized for the appropriate use i.e photos for web use need not have the resolution or size for photos intended for magazine print


This is a topic for debate so pen down you views.

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