What do you all think of my quoting template?

Started Nov 30, 2022 | Discussions thread
Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 16,393
Re: Need is a wonderful thing.

Will Faulkner wrote:

Just so you know: I normally wouldn’t ask my clients to pay me for anything in advance - so I therefore don’t actually think it’s to much to say, when quoting a price beforehand: you will need to pay me for the Licence to use my images, after your have seen the images but before you use them.

And it doesn’t matter to me whether they are a large international company or not, nor does it matter what type of business they run, that would still be deal as far as I would be concerned… which is why I would clearly state that on the front of all my Quotes & Invoices, and then would love it when they would say "but we need to use those images now"

But all pro photogs I have spoken to and YouTubed say you cant expect smaller entities to pay licensing.

I have lost much needed small jobs in the past where I tried to enforce licensing and they didnt even return my email.

Are you really getting all levels of businesses to pay licensing? Seems very unusual.

There are many reasonable ways to structure a photography business.

The traditional method is to license images.  You charge a "creative fee" when you create the images, and then a licensing fee that varies with the intended use.  If the client needs additional use, they pay an additional license fee.

Another strategy is to charge a fixed fee up front, and to provide the client with an unlimited license (perhaps exclusive, perhaps nonexclusive.)

There seem to be some strong opinions on either side of the issue.

Individually licensing images works best for clients that have a good idea of how they will use the image, and who rarely need additional use.  For instance images that are created for use in a specific magazine article.  The publication knows what their usage will be, and they likely understand the concept of licensing.  They are hoping to get a lower price as they are not asking for an unlimited license.

Many clients prefer to get an unlimited license.  Perhaps they don't have a good handle on their uses for the images?  Perhaps they need lots of images from different photographers, and don't want to have a person dedicated to tracking usage licenses for hundreds (or thousands) of images?  Perhaps they just feel more comfortable with the knowledge that the image is bought and paid for, and they don't need to allocate future funds should they want to get more use out of the image.

Neither strategy is best in all circumstances.  Neither is inherently more profitable.

Assume that your strategy is to individually license images.  You have found that over time, you make an extra 5% of revenue on subsequent licensing.  Probably most images never generate additional revenue, and a few generate noticeable revenue.   If you switched your business model to unlimited licensing and raised your rates by 5%, your revenue would stay the same.

Actually it wouldn't.  You might pick up some customers who prefer this business model, and lose some who prefer the old model.  You might find that some clients use images more, and therefore don't need as many images.

You might also find that you have additional free time to relax, or take on new clients as you don't need to spend time tracking down unauthorized use, and going after infringers.

Personally, I find my clients see it as a big plus that they don't have to track usage.

One of my clients is a swimsuit manufacturer.  Each year we do a photoshoot for all the new styles.  I know that 95+% of the images will only appear in the printed & online catalogs.  After a year, that style won't be made anymore, and they won't have any use for the images. I know that a few of the images will be used in advertisements and trade show displays.  I know that a few designs won't sell out and will be carried over for another year.

I could individually license the images.  I could make the client notify me of which images were in which category.  I could bill them extra for those few suits that carry over to next year.  I could charge then extra for the few shots that get used outside the catalog.  I could spend a lot of time policing their usage to make sure they don't accidentally use an image above the license.

Instead, I just charge them upfront based on what their usage is likely to be.  It's not a perfect system. if I was doing individual licensing I might be getting a little more or a little less.  But I have less work, and the client has less work.  They don't need to track the images, so they can afford to spend a little extra on licensing, and still come out ahead.  I get more money, I get it up front, and I have less accounting and policing to do.

I'm happy, and so is the client.  Happy clients keep me in business.


I have some friends in LA who have amassed a large library of images over the years.  Many of these are celebrities or rock stars.  One of them is closing his business, as no one is interested in licensing from his archive.  The other spends a lot of time policing the net and sending takedown notices.  Both of them were counting on the archive to be their retirement fund.

I have another friend in LA who sells unlimited licenses. Frequently he even signs over the copyright.   His business is going great.  He has any other photographers working for him.  His clients include many studios in the entertainment industry. They are happy to pay a premium to obtain all rights.  His retirement is a ell funded 401K.


Now, I am not saying this is the strategy for everyone, or even for all situations.  I am just saying that selling an unlimited license is not a crazy thing to consider.

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