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Advice on contract

Hello all:
I need your advice on legal matter.
I got an email  ( and later a  phone call)  from a lady  asking for my services. I’ve never heard of this lady. She writes: " I found some of your work on the internet and really appreciated your eye, composition and ability to make a photograph that left me wanting to know more.  So I’m contacting you to see if you’re interested in being considered for this project" (that sounded weird to me but  Hey  who knows !)

She sent  me some picture samples  and a contract . Here is where I need your expertise:
Article two states:
2.  The Work.  You are contracted to deliver the following:
a.  Photographs for 5 written stories.  
b.Photographs will be delivered per the instructions that are included and listed below.
c.  A  properly completed  release form for every person photographed.  Minors’ release must be signed by parent or guardian.  A release form is attached to this document.
d.  A completed Work Agreement (this document).  A fully completed 1099/Independent Contractor acknowledgment

Article Four: Rights
(THE COMPANY) will have the following rights to the photographs: Two year unlimited exclusive, North American Print and Electronic use. Usage duration will start upon first date ofpublication. (THE COMPANY) will be granted the first option to re-license images upon usage expiration. Photographer retains copyright to all images and the ability to use for self-promotion

Article 5:  Payment
The agreed upon fee for the work which you are contracted to supply will be: $10,000.00 photographer project fee
10% upon execution of this agreement. 40% upon the delivery of the work described in  #2 and the delivery of the photographs.
 50% upon approval of the work submitted.

This assignment is for a major retail sales company that also funds community service projects and is looking for someone to take "candid" journalistic style pix of their projects.  I will be paid what looks like editorial style wages for a commercial job, despite the fact that the pix are not your usual slick commercial style images.  Plus it appears that I am being paid not for the time I put into the project, which she says will be one day’s shoot for each image plus two more days of editorializing with the writer, but instead am being paid for the results.  It appears that I could be working for 15 days at less than a thousand a day, and I may not even get the full fee (only half or less) if the work is not approved by the company.

What do you think?. Have you ever encountered something like this?
Your advice is much appreciated

by Alex Reshuan at 2006-02-13 18:59:40 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Usually I require 50% upfront if worked with a new client or when there are big expenses. Whenever I caved in and shot without getting my money, I ended up getting screwed. You are basically getting $2,000 per story usage fee and they can use it unlimited for two years. What if they don’t publish the pictures for another year, then they get three years. What about your expenses, pre and post production, image delivery fees?
What if they use the photos on website or ads,etc. You are missing out on a usage fee if you don’t state what usage they are buying. Don’t let them decide if they like it or not, they might change their mind or concept and you are screwed. Put in your contract something about a possible reshoot and only in cases of technical screw ups caused by you. Exclude anything where you don’t have control over, like weather, their inability to acomodate you, etc. Of course you retain the copyright and register as soon as you are done. Stop, why does it take one day for one image, and then another two to editorialize it with the writer. Are you shooting an ad for them??? If you end up shooting 15 days plus production time you should re-evaluate what you are giving them. If this is a major retailer they have more knowledge then you and they could be taking you for a ride. I think you should sit down and write an estimate that includes your creative fee, usage fee, assitants, film or digital delivery fee, pre and post production, messenger fees, transportation costs, food and expendables, etc. If this person is an in-house creative or buyer she has a lot of experience and will offer the equivalent of minimum wage. She already contacted you and is interested in your product, now tell her what you charge for your talent and ability to make her look good and give her the product she wants. Negotiate with her.
You should ask this question again over at apa http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/APAnet/ or go to ASMPproAdvice@yahoogroups.com or check out ep http://www.editorialphoto.com/
I hope this helps and sorry for ranting, it’s late in NY. Good luck.


by Andreas Kornfeld | 13 Feb 2006 23:02 | | Report spam→
Excellent advice Andreas!  They are definitely taking the photographer for  a ride with these terms, there is no doubt, and furthermore it would appear that they are doing so with full knowledge of the circumstances — ie, purposely searching new photographers in order to take advantage of their relative lack of experience and ignorance about contractual matters, which admittedly, as you just made clear, can get rather complex. 

but it is always a trade off.  People want work, they want to break in, and they figure that a poor arrangement is better than none.  but these kinds of deals create problems for all of us.

by Jon Anderson | 14 Feb 2006 08:02 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Andreas , Jon . Thanks for the useful advise and links. I don’t know which are the standards  for this  kind of contracts. But this one didn’t sound right.  I have read some LS post were photog has been screwed by "reputable" magazine. I am glad that some LS members with more knowledge   can share their experience with others

by Alex Reshuan | 15 Feb 2006 10:02 | | Report spam→
Alex, did you call the lady back too find out more and talk it over? I just had a firm call me up from out of state. After I explained to them the actual situation with their project here in NY, which I think they weren’t even aware of, the pr assistant didn’t reply, so I made a call to her again to explain what was going on, she just assumed I wasn’t interested. Good luck and go for it.


by Andreas Kornfeld | 15 Feb 2006 22:02 | | Report spam→

Andreas is on the money with questioning this as he’s. Remember, with a job like this you need to be paid not just for your time shooting but also for the LICENSE of the images for different usages. If you don’t want to get into the particulars of licenses for every use you can try to get a decent amount of money upfront. You can use FotoQuote as a guide to figure out about how much you would make if you licensed images for a variety of uses and then pitch a single fee for their unlimited usage. If they’re talking about 15 days of shooting in addition to other work not to metion the licensing fees then they’ve likely offered you about 1/3 of what they should pay. 50% for “approval” is nuts. Don’t forget that day rates are for you time to produce, that doesn’t include usages. Make sure that if they say they don’t like it that they don’t have any copies of the images. You can write into the contract that if the work is not accepted but if used later they’d be subject to a penalty (in general, charge what you want then be happy if you get anything). You can also try editorialphotographers.com. it’s the best $50 you’ll spend. Good luck… Scott

by [former member] | 16 Feb 2006 11:02 | New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→

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Alex Reshuan, Photographer Alex Reshuan
Guayaquil , Ecuador
Andreas Kornfeld, Photographer Andreas Kornfeld
[undisclosed location].
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States


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