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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Boulder, CO, USA

    Question How Much Compensation for Photos in a Major Ad Campaign?

    New here, but not to photography. I'm just trying to get as much info as I can as this is the first time something like this has come up.

    Slight background: I'm an astronomy grad student and I do a lot of astrophotography. (That's about all that's important.)

    The case: I was contacted by a woman who works for a pretty significant ad firm in San Francisco, whose clients include Frito-Lay, Saturn, Budweiser, Adobe, HP, Netflix, Sprint, and Starbucks. They are now designing an ad for "prevage" night cream for Elizabeth Arden (big cosmetics firm, I'm told ... I'm a guy so I don't know these things). In the print ad, they want to use three of my images of the moon - a ~35% crescent that goes down to a ~5% crescent that then turns into the product (the tagline of the ad is that you're supposed to wake up looking younger than the night before). So it's a fairly integral part of the ad, but not the focal point. She said that their budget for the three images is $2000.

    So, to me, that seems like a lot of money - at face value - and I should take it and run.

    But, this is a major firm, for a major client in a major industry. They are requesting 1-year unlimited reproduction rights (for this campaign) in all print and web ads (so including billboards, direct-mail, web banners, magazines, etc.) And they also want to negotiate for a second year (if the campaign is renewed a second year) in advance. So my reaction to that is then that $2k seems pretty small.

    So I'm in a situation where I have no idea what's standard practice (like did she purposely low-ball me initially and expect to negotiate upwards?), what I should expect, and how to ask for more money (if I find out that I "should" be getting much more) without them running off and finding someone else.

    Basically, if anyone has any ideas/experience/advice, please let me know!

  2. #2
    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    SW MN

    Re: How Much Compensation for Photos in a Major Ad Campaign?

    I have no experience selling photographs, but if it was me, I'd take it and run. It doesn't sound like a lot of money for a company of this caliber and they may be low balling you. On the other hand, competition is stiff no matter what you're selling these days and you certainly wouldn't want to take the chance of losing this size of a customer to another photographer. Everyone is on a budget these days and they also may only have so many $$$ budgeted for something like this. Not only would the $2k be nice, but look at the bragging rights. It would be a heck of a name dropper for other potential clients.After acceptance, you could always try and negotiate for a higher fee for the second year. This just my 2c worth.

    Good luck and congrats.
    Canon 30D X 2, Canon 100-400L, Thrift Fifty, Canon 18-55 IS 3rd generation lens plus 430 EX II flash and Better Beamer. :thumbsup:

  3. #3
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Somewhere north of US 10 and east of Wausau, WI, USA

    Re: How Much Compensation for Photos in a Major Ad Campaign?

    What do you think your work is worth? Now double it. And double it again. Start negotiating at this last price, and if you negotiate down below this amount, walk away. Its your work, you should be able to name your price.

    Don't do what Minnesota scroller recommended and just take the amount you were offered. That sets them up to low-ball you again in the future if they ever want your work, and you will have trouble raising your prices later on if you want to.
    Sean Massey
    Massey Photography

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    IT 4 Photography

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Re: How Much Compensation for Photos in a Major Ad Campaign?

    I am a new poster here but not to the subject. I come from the other side of things (some say "the dark side") as I am a Marketing Director with a major corporation and I work with agencies on building ads.

    If you are new and trying to break into selling your photography and making it as your living (or as a side business for some extra money) and you do not have a solid portfolio built, I would say take the offer as it stands. Yes for that size company the money is a little low but when I buy photographs to use in ad campaigns I do not use anyone that doesn't have a portfolio or a good track record. What a feather in your cap to be able to show your photographs being used by a major company, plus you can easily justify increased rights fees in the future (with this comany or any other) just based on this ad campaign. This campaign will open doors that will be shut to you otherwise.

    In a major company we may be perceived as bad guys to creative people and freelancers but everyone would be amazed at budgets that Marketing Directors work with today and after you go through product design, packaging, ad copywriting, focus groups, etc there may not be much money left for photography.

    I have changed ad campaigns and utilized stock or low cost freelance photography (or taken photos myself) that may not have been exactly what I was looking for just because the "perfect" photograph was going to cost me more than my budget because the photographer was asking for too much money and not willing to negotiate.

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