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Professional pictures and fees for use

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  • Professional pictures and fees for use

    I had pictures of a mare I planned to put up for sale taken at USDF finals this year. I had to pay a nominal fee, like $5-10 per class for her to take them. Then I had to pay $30 for a 3 X 5. Enclosed in the return envelope was a flyer that stated that if I wanted to use this for commercial purposes I had to pay more. So, if I want to use this in the Chronicle, I have to pay her another $100! That means for the one picture, I will have had to pay $140! Is this normal, fair or robbery? The whole point was to place the ad and now I feel like I am being extorted. Suggestions?
    Lisa Coletto
    Standing Elite Hanoverian stallion, Cabalito
  • Original Poster

    I had pictures of a mare I planned to put up for sale taken at USDF finals this year. I had to pay a nominal fee, like $5-10 per class for her to take them. Then I had to pay $30 for a 3 X 5. Enclosed in the return envelope was a flyer that stated that if I wanted to use this for commercial purposes I had to pay more. So, if I want to use this in the Chronicle, I have to pay her another $100! That means for the one picture, I will have had to pay $140! Is this normal, fair or robbery? The whole point was to place the ad and now I feel like I am being extorted. Suggestions?
    Lisa Coletto
    Standing Elite Hanoverian stallion, Cabalito


    • #3
      unfortunately for those of us who buy pictures.

      But try to put yourself in the photogs place--lots of pics taken, not many bought; some people keep & use the proofs but never pay; etc., etc.

      I gripe when I pay but I sure try to see the other side! (Grumble, grumble, grumble)

      www.rougelandfarm.com Home of TB stallion Alae Rouge, sire of our filly Rose, ribbon-winner on the line at Dressage at Devon.


      • #4
        It is normal. The picture is, after all, the photographer's creation and he/she does deserve recompense and credit for your use of it.
        However, if your sole purpose in purchasing his/her talents in the first place was to use the photograph as a marketing tool, then that should have been laid out up front and you shouldn't have to be paying more every time you turn around.
        What was the 3x5 and why on earth was it so expensive? This must be a VERY good photographer to be charging that much. That's what I charge for one of my 8x10s!
        Good luck getting everything squared away!
        Mrs. M


        "We can talk...or not talk...for hours, and still find things to not talk about!"

        Book: If you take advantage of her, you\'re going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater. Firefly


        • #5
          And I thought $15 was a lot for a 3"x5"!! I've usually paid between $7.50-$15 for 3"x5"s. And that's in Canadian funds. I know at Indio, 4"x6"s were $20 and 8"x10"s were $45.

          Showing in both Canada and the US, I've never had to pay a nominal fee per class. I've only received the copies or negatives in the mail, if I want to buy photos, they've always been a reasonable fee and in ordering, they've always cropped, etc. without being asked. Once I've received the photos, I've always been able to have free use and use them for advertising as long as I agree to give photo credits where they are due!

          Now, I do have a couple of negative copies up on my site right now [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif[/img] but only because I'm waiting for the 'real' photographs to come in the mail.

          Personally, I think you're getting ripped.
          Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
          Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


          • #6
            To buy the rights to a DAD photo (ie to put on your website) it costs $350 per photo. As a small breeder this is a huge chunk of change for just one photo. This year I paid a $ 50 shooting fee before I even went into the ring - just to get the photos taken. I often buy every single good photo (sometimes in multiples and enlargements) for hundreds of dollars each year. Wish they would consider the total cost of the order when setting the fees for the rights. It will probably be cheaper to just buy the rights to a photo - and then scan into the computer and print out as many enlargements as I want - hmmm...

            I felt that these fees were gettting a little out of hand when I found out that the photographer at the AHS inspection this year wants $350 per year per photo for the rights [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]. These were digital photos that had blurry edges even on the 3X5's. Because I want to get a website up for my breeding program - I have started bringing my own photographer/friend to some of my events. Even though my friend was not able to go into the ring at the inspection -we still got some good shots - that are a fraction of the cost of the professionals. As I want to showcase my young stock on my website - it is much less expensive to do it this way.


            • #7
              Then you need to contact the Fjord Jockey for your photo needs!!! I offer poster sizes (20x30), FRAMED, for a mere $45!!

              I sport a looooovvely Nikon FM2 with a Nikkor 70-300 mm lense, and charge (hold your horses!!!) THREE WHOLE DOLLARS for a 3x5! Of course, this is because I am just now starting out. Go me! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

              BTW, compared to normal track photography prices, those you listed are STEEP...


              "Is that YOUR funky tune?"-Raymond T.
              -The Girl With Endoscope Eyes


              • #8
                I've only ever used one photo publicly, and the photographer just said to give him a credit.
                Man plans. God laughs.


                • #9
                  All photographers have their own way of billing and pricing for usage. But what it boils down to, is that the photographer owns the image. You are basicly, for lack of a better word, renting it.

                  Personally, my pricing stucture for advertising is based on where the ad is being run (magazine[s], billboard, website, etc.), how many or how long it will be running and how the image will be used in the ad.

                  When you use the image to generate income for yourself/business you are using someone else's product to do that. For an general idea of what the going rates are for photo usage in ads go to



                  "I'll use CAPITALS, lowercase or sanscrit until the font police come and get me," Josh Lyman, The West Wing

                  [This message was edited by Photoequs on Dec. 28, 2002 at 07:53 AM.]


                  • #10
                    Regarding use fees of my photographs taken at D@D: According to my price list, $350.00 is the cost of leasing the rights for stallion and/or farm promotion on web, magazine (up to 50,000 circulation) and brochure use for two years.

                    Advertising use fees are based on how much work a photograph is doing for the client: If you are buying an 8x10 for your own use, you are charged for the 8x10. If you are using the photographs to promote yourself, sell your horse, sell your stallion's service, etc. that photo is working for you and making money for you. Some photographers do not break this down in to two parts, and charge all their clients more for their enlargement. I choose to itemize so that you are not paying to lease rights that you have no use for.

                    I turn out top quality photos, but it isn't cheap to do so. I use the best cameras and lenses, and state of the art computers and software to run them. I hire Susan Sexton to be my second photographer, so that between the two of us, you are guaranteed to have great photos from Devon regardless of which ring your horse is in. None of this is inexpensive! Nor is airfare, other travel expenses, lodging or meals at Devon for both of us and our staff. Nor was the year of intensive study necessary to learn to produce technically perfect digital images.

                    There are many photographers out there who charge varying amounts, according to their experience, the photos they produce, and the level of service they provide. You can often get photographs for less money than I can provide them for. But I'm not interested in producing a cheap photo -- I'm interested in getting you the BEST photo.

                    Terri Miller

                    Photos & Commissioned Paintings


                    • #11
                      Thank you Terri, you said everything I didn't have time to type.

                      Amy Dragoo

                      "I'll use CAPITALS, lowercase or sanscrit until the font police come and get me," Josh Lyman, The West Wing


                      • #12
                        By the way, Amy, thanks for posting the link to Seth Resnick's site. It's great information. But the correct link is:


                        And Laurie,

                        >>and then scan into the computer and print out as many enlargements as I want - hmmm...>>

                        ...if you are wondering why photography prices are so high, besides the reasons I listed in my previous post, the quote above is it! Retail stores factor in the cost of shoplifted goods, and we photographers have to factor in the cost of stolen images. And yes, unauthorized scanning and copying of an image is stealing.

                        Terri Miller
                        Photos & Commissioned Paintings


                        • #13
                          I always think I pay too much for my show photos.........then I show them to non horsey friends and they gush over what an incredible shot it is. And they are to be sure.

                          You have the choice of not paying a deposit or not purchasing off the proofs displayed at the photographers stand. This is their living and they are entitled to whatever they can get. They continue to own whatever they have placed their name on and that is fair.

                          The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                          • Original Poster

                            I appreciate everybody's opinion here. There were some really good points brought up. I too believe that there must be a lot of costs associated with being a professional photographer. This situation was a little different for me as I have never placed a photo ad before. I think where I am a little unhappy is in the fact that I didn't know the policy BEFORE I got involved. Maybe I was wrong and should have known better but I did not. I understand where people are advertising farms/services/stallions but this is my individual horse. I just have a hard time believing that everyone in the Chronicle pays these fee's to say "congratulations Adam Smith and Fancy" ads? After all a good picture with a photo credit is advertising for the photographer as well.

                            I think I will give this lady a call and make sure I am not missunderstanding. In the end, If I need to pay to use it, it is a good shot, so I will. Thanks all.
                            Lisa Coletto
                            Standing Elite Hanoverian stallion, Cabalito


                            • #15
                              I can understand your not knowing about copyright leasing: most people besides graphic and advertising professionals never have to deal with this. As an individual horse owner, when you sell your horse, this is probably the only time you'll ever need to address the issue.

                              The good news is this: by placing an ad in the Chronicle to sell your horse, you have already targeted your prime market. By using the best picture you can possible find, you are catching the eye of your potential buyers in the most effective way possible.

                              As for photo credit being good advertising for the photographer: yes, up to a point. For instance, my bank will not accept photo credit for payment of my bills! As you'll notice if you follow the link that was posted a few messages up for the photo price calculator, the standard rate that many of us charge of $100.00 for this sort of ad use is about 1/3 of the industry average for magazines of similar circulation in other specialties -- we have to hope that photo credit makes up for some of that!

                              I hope your ad and your photo find a great new home for your horse!

                              Terri Miller
                              Photos & Commissioned Paintings


                              • #16
                                I think the reason some of us pay for fancy ads it to PUBLICLY Thank our customers that showed with us at the end of a season. In a case like mine, Hunter Breeding, many times you have a customer for only a year, maybe 2, and the horse goes on to it's performance career with someone else. These ads also serve as a way for others to see what type of product (rider/horse) you produce.
                                It can also wish the customer and horse good luck in their next step! It is the first year I did one and I did it in EQUESTRIAN TALK as it was what I could afford and I like the idea of a nice new magazine!

                                Owner/Trainer of Plumsted Equestrian Center Inc,NJ
                                Owner/Trainer of http://www.plumstedequestrianctr.com


                                • Original Poster

                                  I understand why trainers place the ads but was curious if everyone paid a fee over and above the initial fee for obtaining the picture in the first place? That was my question.

                                  And BTW, I saw the ad, nice job, pretty horses!
                                  Lisa Coletto
                                  Standing Elite Hanoverian stallion, Cabalito


                                  • #18
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Daventry:
                                    And I thought $15 was a lot for a 3"x5"!! I've usually paid between $7.50-$15 for 3"x5"s. And that's in Canadian funds. I know at Indio, 4"x6"s were $20 and 8"x10"s were $45.


                                    No kidding. I paid $20 for this tiny photo. And the photographer seemed to take a lot more pictures of all the other Pony Jumpers (that spent time at the whole circuit and whom she knew would buy photos) and only 1 of me.

                                    It wasn't just the PJ either, their seemed to be an array of people she just went nuts on, and others had no pictures at all.


                                    • #19
                                      Terri -

                                      Thanks for cleaning that one up.



                                      • #20

                                        In reference to your proofs from the Inspections, thank you for presenting an opportunity to explain something about digital photography: soft looking edges can be fixed. The amount of "fixedness" depends on several things, so ask the photographer about it. Don't just use this as an opportunity to gripe about prices; do something about it. You'll be surprised with the results you get and much happier about the money you spent.

                                        When we (equine photographers) shoot at a venue, we have to shoot hundreds or thousands of images. Therefore, we do not take the time to do digital "fixes" on every one of those images before submitting them to the client. There are waaay too many photos to make this a profitable venture. So, when you get proofs that are "fuzzy around the edges (not clear what that means--do you mean out of focus?) even at a 3X5," that's not the end of the world.

                                        Next time you get a picture that you're not pleased with, please speak to the photographer about it. It is your right and your responsibility. Who knows, you might just come away pleased with the whole experience, and this is what we are all striving for.

                                        Regarding the other commments I read on pricing photos, $30.00 seems very steep for a 3X5 or even a 4X6. It isn't really the size that sets the price of a photo. Did you know that? Somehow or other photographers have to make a living (and my bank is just like Terri's in that it will not accept photo credits as legal tender) The bottom line is that the size of the picture is the most understandable way to set a price for a photo. Just like buying a vase: the bigger it is, the more it costs. When we used to do all our own darkroom work, it took forever to make one print, and it varied from print to print, regardless of size. It was simply easiest to set a price determined by size. The size/price formula doesn't even begin to approach what making a print is all about.

                                        When you pay $30.00 for the smallest size, you are paying for many other things that are involved in the business, things you could never imagine unless you were in this business yourself. I don't even offer a 3X5 because it is simply not worth the effort. I know of some photographers who don't even offer 4X6s for the same reason. There are endless business costs, and these all have to be paid for in one way or another.

                                        Some people charge $30.00 for a 3X5 (bless you, whoever you are) to try covering all the costs of doing business. Others--like me--charge for the use of an image for the sale of the horse or his semen. The photo is working for you; therefore, it stands to reason that it gets paid. The more work it does, the more it gets paid. The more people who see it (in other words, the higher the circulation of a magazine), the more work it's doing. If you paid $350 to use a photo in your stallion ads, and you got just one more breeding than last year, then that usage fee is more than paid for. Just one breeding. And if you use a photo in a sales ad, it attracts LOTS more attention than a 2 liner in the classified ads. It also SAYS lots more than the 2 liner.

                                        Photographers charge different rates, and yes, it's cheaper to use a friend's picture. But ask yourself this: what determines a good picture? That's hard to answer about your own horse. Why? Because love is blind. Picking the right picture for your ads means you have to be brutal, so ask around. Don't try to make that decision on your own. (In most cases, you get what you pay for.)

                                        When you buy a photo, it does a variety of things for you, and you have to pay for each thing. The photographer has the responsibility of explaining that to you, so be sure to explain to the photographer what you plan to do with the picture.

                                        We professional photographers truly want to make this a win-win situation for both of us, the client and the photographer, but it works only when we all communicate. That's what makes these forums pricelss.
                                        Susan Sexton