Archive for June 2011

29 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st


wants to use

my picture….

The phone rings, an unfamiliar voice says, “I saw your photo of the cat at the village exhibit and I asked the director for your phone number.”
“Uh-uh,” you say.
He continues. “We have a website and a product that we sell on the Internet. It’s about cats. (He gives you the website address and you write it down) “We’d like to use your picture of the gray cat on our site and in our CD/Ebook of our product, and in our local magazine. We’re really excited about the way you caught that cat’s expression.”
“Hmmmm…” You say.
“Are you there?”
You’re astonished. Speechless. You never imagined someone would actually want to use one of your photos on the Internet, let alone pay you money for it.


If you let people see your work, and it’s good, you’re bound to get responses like this. Your next question (to yourself), “What da heck do I charge this guy???” You have now entered that grand arena that Marco Polo made famous hundreds of years ago. Trade. Buying and Selling, Haggling.
Now I can’t tell you what to charge him, any more than you can tell me what I should sell my motorbike for. It all depends. But I can come close with an educated guess.
Here at PhotoSource International we deal most of the time with book publishers and magazine publishers. Photo editors at those places have a set budget and a set fee for each assignment on their production schedule. There’s no haggling necessary, you either accept the fee they are authorized to pay, or not. That’s the beauty of working with the multi-million dollar industry of book and magazine publishing.
The kinds of pictures these editors use are called “editorial stock photos.”
The kind of pictures this guy is asking about is “commercial stock photos.” In that arena, the picture might sell for $1, or $1,000.00.
My friends who are commercial stock photographers tell me that you need to do a little research before you blurt out a price. For example, if he were to use your picture in their magazine, get the ad rate card of their publication (you just phone their advertising department and ask them to send you their Ad Rate card.
If you know he wants to use it ¼ page, one-time, inside (not on the cover) charge him whatever fee they get for a ¼ page ad. If he’s going to use it ½ (half) page, charge him that fee. If they want to use it on the cover, charge him 5 times the half page rate.

Now you have a base for other fees to charge, for use in web pages, CD’s, brochures, announcements, etc. My friends in the commercial stock business also tell me that a web page can be an “ongoing” recurring fee–one fee for the cover, or for inner pages, a lesser fee that you receive for a limited amount of time, say, 6 months, a year, etc.

With a little homework you can become a first class negotiator.

You can get information about the size of a company at You can learn how many hits they are getting, when they were established, stuff like that.
A good trick, my friends tell me, is to use Google to find a similar-sized trade publication in another nearby state and seek out the name of the photographer of one of the photos (credit line). Find him or her on Google also, call them and ask outright “What did you get for that horse, dog, fish, picture? (You fill in the blanks). You’d be surprised how helpful fellow pro photographers are – as long as you don’t live in the same ZIP Code. You can do this also with magazines and books at a newsstand. Do some research.
By the way, if a buyer wants to “re-use” your picture again or for some similar purpose, the standard fee to charge is 75% of the original fee.


Unless you are a household name in the art world, print selling is pretty much standard. Prices fluctuate with economic times. A visit to an art fair will be a good education for you. So will inquiring at an upscale art gallery. Picasso once said, “You can sell a painting for $25, $250, $2500 or $25,000. It’s all a matter of waiting.”
Keep in mind that visitors at an art fair usually go with a fifty-dollar bill in their pocket and expect to return home with a painting or photo they will take to their local art frame shop. Depending on who the customer is and who you are, you’ll probably sell your first print around that $50 mark.
And, yes, tell ‘em, you don’t take Visa but you will accept a check.

There's no time better than now to start selling your photos, getting published and seeing your credit line in national circulation. Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of “Sell & ReSell Your Photos” and “” He has produced an eBook, “How To Make the Marketable Photo,” and an eCourse, “How To Market Your Photos.” For more information and to receive a free eReport: “8 Steps to Becoming Published Photographer,” visit
800 624-0266.


22 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st


Can They Find You ?

Demographers tell us that in our mobile society, we can expect the greater part of the U.S. population to have a new address every five years. Here at PhotoSource International, we certainly find that to be true when we make a mailing to photographers on our database. Photographers move a lot.

If you have moved recently, it's important to personally let your buyers and clients know of your new address.
In our day and age, technology offers ways we can make sure our photobuyers can find us, even during the transition of a move. Your Email address and 800# can remain the same, independent of any changes in your mailing address. You won't lose touch with your photobuyers if you have both.


It might seem that an Email address can be a lifesaver for the peripatetic photographer, but there’s a drawback here if you’re not careful:

From time to time we are tempted by local and national ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to hook up with their Email services. They dangle an alluring low fee, much as credit card companies will do, to bring you aboard. Then, be it six months or twelve months later, they’re sure to raise their fees. Your problem: Should you switch to a cheaper company or stay with your original ISP?
If you make the switch, it means that every place you’ve registered your Email address, you’ll have to contact them and make the change. This includes all your printed matter, such as your business cards, sellsheets, flyers, stationery, plus your blog(s) and Web addresses and links where you have registered your name.

LESSON: When choosing an Internet Service Provider, pick one with a track record that indicates there’s a good chance they’ll be around for the next decade. We’ve all heard examples of low-fee start up ISPs that are out of business in a few months. Instead, choose an ISP you estimate will be around for a long time (even though the cost may be somewhat higher). In the long run, you’ll be happy you did.

You may want to sign up for private Email in addition to your regular business Email. A second Email (sometimes called Webmail) can be used much as you would use a “non-published” telephone number.

There are several dozen companies that will offer you a free Email. Keep in mind that many of these free Email sites receive their profits from advertising. You can expect commercial intrusion to ride along with your message.
To find free Email services, use one of the search engines such as Bing, Google or Yahoo.

HotMail (MSN) is popular as well as Google’s Gmail and .


Should you list your name and Email address on a “people search”? If you are a recluse, a hermit, an artist who doesn’t want to be hounded by the press or be bothered by relatives, no, don’t submit your name and Email to a People Search feature at your favorite Search Engine. On the other hand, if you want to receive attention from photobuyers and other business entities that are a part of the stock photo industry, the answer is, yes.
Sure, it’s true: you might open yourself to receiving what most of us call “junk mail.” But think of it this way. You can recognize the difference between the subject matter of a junk mail pitchman and a response from a photobuyer. (“It just rings differently.”) So the choice comes down to whether to put up with receiving 24 junk mail letters that take twenty four seconds to delete for the chance to receive one Email from a photobuyer that might lead to a lifetime of future stock photo sales and assignments. No contest.

Photographer Directories
There are a number of photographer directories on the Internet that will list you and your areas of expertise. You have probably found a few favorites of your own. In case you have not come across these –here are some popular “bookmarks:”

Find a Photographer
Global Photographers Search
Guilfoyle Report
Fine Art Photographers
Folionet (AGT)


With a Web site or blog address on your business card or stationery, you rise a few notches in a photobuyer’s estimation.
Are Web sites expensive? Yes, they can be. But they can also be free, if you roll up your sleeves and build your own. It’s surprisingly easy.
The following free Web authoring companies offer a variety of benefits, ranging from templates for easy page creation, to storage space, reliable on-line connectivity, feedback forms, font and color choices. Some “free” Web provision companies require an extra fee if you use their service for a commercial purpose.

Most free Web site companies offer essentially the same services. I'll start the list with the first two companies to have come on the scene, which happen to also be the leading companies so far, on the Web.

No computer knowledge is necessary to build a free Web site at most free sites. Example: Follow the simple instructions at the Angelfire site (there are about a dozen steps to go through and it'll take about 15 minutes). Size of Web MB is 11 Megs at this date. You can also add photos and illustrations to your site. (Again, adding the photos might take the aid of a computer-wise colleague.) Anglefire provides 2 single pages. Free Email.

( ) Although it sounds like a photography-oriented site, it isn't. But this may be a good one to initially hook up to because you'll receive a URL that reads" "Tripod." Size of the “Homepage Studios” is 11 Megs. (for non-techies) is a well-respected blog builder; is a powerful site building service, but tech-knowledge is necessary.

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Note: Here are some suggestions. but the best suggestion is to use a search engine suchas Google, and in the search bar, type in a longtail search phrase suchas
free website
oer free hosting

FortuneCity ( ) you receive 6 MB free space and access to an online html editor.
Free Town ( ) Is available when you sign up as a citizen of Free Town.
TrailerPark ( )

I recently experienced another way that photobuyers can find photographers.
Nancy Ritz, photo coordinator at Prentice Hall, the book publishing company, Emailed me saying she was returning one of my photos (an original B&W 8X10) that her company had used in one of their textbooks. She pointed out that they've filed a digitized copy of the photo, and the number stamped on the back of the print is the database designation from the Corporate Digital Archive (CDA) of their parent company, Simon & Schuster. She said in her letter, "You are listed as the photographer, copyright holder, and source. When another member of Simon & Schuster should come across the photo, the information is already in our computers relating you to that photograph."
It's nice to know computers, databases, and mergers of large publishing houses can still produce beneficial rewards for independent photographers.
My digitized photo will probably remain in their CDA a long time. It's nice to know that that photo, taken many years ago in 1978, is in such an archive – which can benefit not only me but also my grandchildren, and possibly their grandchildren.

Finally: Where will they find you. There are many, many online galleries. For a starter, here's is an excellent list from

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There's no time better than now to start selling your photos, getting published and seeing your credit line in national circulation. Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of “Sell & ReSell Your Photos” and “” He has produced an eBook, “How To Make the Marketable Photo,” and an eCourse, “How To Market Your Photos.” For more information and to receive a free eReport: “8 Steps to Becoming Published Photographer,” visit
800 624-0266.


15 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st

Keeping up

with innovation…

The prophesies are over. The book is closed. We have morphed into the Information Age. The time it takes to deliver information has become so quick compared to what went before. It's almost instantaneous. Even to Indonesia. Remarkable!
This allows us to capitalize on opportunities with new efficiency, and helps us avoid unnecessary risks. The “information float” is collapsing. We don't twiddle our thumbs waiting for a response.
The change is here. Photography technology is outdoing itself. Digital transmission, storage, and manipulation of images has become a reality.
Printers can produce images that compete in quality with film. Corbis, Getty, Alamy and others, provide clients with on-line retrieval and viewing of over 1,000,000 stock selections. Digital thermometers, touch panels, audio tones, and timers are now
commonplace in the photography studio.
But don’t let all the bells and whistles distract you. The actors, props, and settings may be different, but it’s still the same show. Getting pictures that are publishable still takes creative ability - - and that takes talent and knowledge. And it has always taken more than talent to consistently receive checks from publications and ad agencies, and to see your credit line in national circulation. That takes marketing know-how, and always will.
The Law of Probability is on your side if you direct your initial marketing efforts toward the specialized magazines and specialized book publishers listed in periodical places and directories you find on Google. Just type in your specialized category and you’re in business.


Don’t be tempted to be “all things to all photo editors.” This is usually the first mistake the fledgling photo illustrator makes. Photo editors recognize that one photographer can’t be that versatile. Their primary concern is that they get material that’s accurate that they can present to their readers and advertisers. All photo managers prefer to work with a photographer who already knows something about the interest area of his/her publishing project.
"Where should I start? Where should I go?" You ask. Focus on a market area that appeals to you, such as outdoor recreation, aviation, medicine, trains, education, etc. These categories and hundreds of others are listed on Google. Ask the publishers for their “Photographer’s Guidelines.” If you already have a collection of photos that focuses on one particular category, put them all on a disk and send it to a publsher whose theme is the same as your category shooting area. You'll find a good friend waiting for your disk because they're used to receiving disks filled with butterflies, waterfalls and seagulls. Every thing they *Don't* need!


Some specialized markets work with monthly photography budgets ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Many spend $40,000 - $90,000 (per month – not per year) on photography. If you zero in on just 10 specialized publishers in your category of picture-taking, you will have, as they say in the marketing field, found your “corner of the market” – the sweet spot. The photo editors of these markets will consider you an important resource. Once you have made some sales to an editor, he or she will be interested in sending special assignments your way.
If you just do this part-time, you’ll still be able to handle lengthier assignments by scheduling them on your vacation time (and as a result give yourself free vacations!).
Turn over a new leaf tomorrow. Get prepared for a genuine assignment by giving yourself some “practice” assignments this year. Using photo layots in one or two of your targeted publications as guides, duplicate the photos used by those photographers, and teach yourself how to develop photo essays.
Make this the year you get your stock photography marketing off the ground.

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Refer to freelance photography handbooks on Google, to research how to price yourself for your day rate.
Three tips for assignment work: Since each publication you work with will offer a different ‘day rate,’ based on such things as circulation, advertising revenue, and size, you’ll find day rates ranging from $400 a day to $2,000 a day.
In addition to the base ‘day rate’ fee, it is acceptable to also submit a statement for expenses like the following: mileage (52 cents per mile outside your general metropolitan area; if you live outside the general metropolitan area of the publishing house, do not charge a fee for coming in to the city); car rental; plane; train; meals; lodging. Also, photographic expenses: workflow; renting of special equipment; props; model fees; location charges (such as rent); mailing and/or carrier charges; special phone calls (beyond the ordinary); messengers; porters; guards. Be sure to keep your receipts and staple them to your statement.
Some popular pricing guides: FotoQuote, Cradoc Corporation, 145 Tyee Dr #286, Point Roberts, WA 98281-9602; Phone: 1 206 842-4030; Fax: 1 206 824-1381; Email: cradoc[at]ibm[dot]net.
Jim Pickerell’s, Selling Stock, 110 Fredrick Ave Ste A, Rockville, MD 20850; Phone: 1 301 251-0720; Fax: 1 301 309-0941; Email: jim[at]chd[dot]com.
Michal Heron’s, Pricing Photography, 28 W 71st St, New York, NY 10023; Phone: 1 212 787-1272; Fax: 1 212 721-0844; email: mheron[at]interport[dot]net.
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There's no time better than now to start selling your photos, getting published and seeing your credit line in national circulation. Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of “Sell & ReSell Your Photos” and “” He has produced an eBook, “How To Make the Marketable Photo,” and an eCourse, “How To Market Your Photos.” For more information and to receive a free eReport: “8 Steps to Becoming Published Photographer,” visit
800 624-0266.


08 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st

Economy of scale

Single sales are good, but...MULTIPLE SALES ARE BETTER. Every now and then, a commercial stock photographer says to us here at PhotoSource International, "I never sell a photo for less than $300." He goes on, "I don't see how you can survive at stock photography, selling photos for less than $300!"
It's true--if you are selling commercial stock photos on a one-shot basis, to clients you probably won't deal with a second time. In fact, the overhead cost of contacting and following up in the initial sale to any commercial client could eat up most of your profits.

The secret is to develop your editorial stock business so that you are working vertically--rather than across the board (horizontally) with your buyers.


Editorial stock photography lends itself best to continuing sales, by developing a long-term working relationship with a photo editor.
If a photo editor pays an average of $125 per picture and you make 4 sales a year to him, that one photo editor really represents a $500 annual annuity for you (4 x $125).
If that specialized market remains a client for you for 10 years - which is the industry average -- that one photo editor (or her company) represents $5,000 in revenue for you, minimum. If in one year you make a match with ten specialized photo editors, with yearly sales of about $500 to each, you're talking about a $5,000 annual annuity. This translates to a total $50,000 asset if they remain clients for the usual ten-year period.
Effort put to keeping your photo editors satisfied in their special interest area is effort well spent.

Photo editors of the future will lean heavily on finding their specialized pictures not through an on-line gallery visit, but an Internet search engine.
There are two reasons for this: 1.) because it's easier. 2.) because they are lazy and don't want to spend unnecessary time 'looking at pictures' when they know the exact editorial image they want to find.

Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of “Sell & ReSell Your Photos”
and “” He has produced an eBook, “How To Make the Marketable Photo,” and an eCourse, “How To Market Your Photos.” For more information and to receive a free eReport: “8 Steps to Becoming Published Photographer,” visit
800 624-0266.


01 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st

Are You...

A Giant Killer?

Those massive stock agency conglomerates were once the "big guns" of the industry. Until recently they had a corner on state-of-the-art technology that gave them superior advantage over independent stock photographers.

Speed, price, and automation rule.

But now prices of today’s technology have dropped to where independent stock photographers no longer have to take a back seat. They now can compete on a level playing field.
Today, everyone benefits from increase in bandwidth, speed, the decrease in cost of eCommerce hardware and communications, as well as advances in search capabilities.
Individual stock photographers now have the tools enabling them to give service as complete, speedy, and relevant as the giants.
And, working directly with photobuyers, individual photographers are able to keep 100% of the sales of their photos.

Fortune 500 companies have been buying up and merging with other companies, making life in the fast lane even faster.

In the book-trade industry, the world’s largest publisher, Bertelsman (owner of Random House), the world’s largest bookseller (Barnes & Noble), and the world’s largest book wholesaler (Ingram Book Company), have joined together in an arrangement that creates the most powerful publishing entity on the planet.

Computer connectivity and the resulting cost-cutting synergy was the basis for the move.

When this trio reduces costs by focusing only on books that have mass audience appeal, some authors and writers fear that such a tripartite is sure to eliminate room for creative book ideas that don’t appeal to mainstream tastes.

Many photographers see the same phenomenon happening in the stock photo industry. Although no official tripartite exists in our stock photo field, three giants have emerged: Corbis, Getty, and Alamy. Can independent stock photographers flourish, given such competition?

An answer might be indicated in another phenomenon that’s flourishing on the Internet: self-publishing.

Self-publishers in the book industry couldn’t care less about the size of their competition. They’ve found an inexpensive way to avoid the usual publishing road bumps: profits eaten away by publishing, distribution, advertising, and fulfillment costs. They have discovered the Internet and eCommerce.

Take the case of Corey Rudl, who authored a book a decade or so ago, called, “Car Secrets Revealed.” Before the Internet came along, he outspent himself on direct marketing, general magazine advertising, newspaper advertising, and retail sales. Nothing, it seemed, brought results. He placed ads in major automotive magazines. The bottom line: He broke even.

And then it all changed. He switched to the Internet. On the Internet, his book soon became the #1 best-selling car book, with over 10,000 sold in less than 12 months; and over $140,000 in net profit (that’s net profit -- not gross sales).

No big publisher was involved, to siphon off large chunks from his potential profits. After printing expenses, and meager Internet costs, he received 100% of the sales.


We can all benefit by taking a close look at what doing business on the Internet has to offer editorial stock photographers.

The formula goes like this: Find out the email addresses of photobuyers whose photo needs are in subject areas that you cover in your areas of photo specialization.
Contact them often (monthly, twice-monthly) with notices describing what you’ve photographed recently. (Make sure your area of interest matches the theme of the publisher. In the body of your email message, include a hyperlink to a page on your website or blog where they can see some of your newest images. No photobuyer will consider your email as “junk mail” if you restrict your email noticesonly to photobuyers whose photo needs match your photographic specialty areas.

If you have discovered 50 photobuyers who buy in your areas of specialization, and you gain a $1,000 average net profit from each of them over a year’s time, you’ve made a tidy $50,000 for your coffers.

You’ll spend it however you wish, but I suspect you’ll put a portion toward an airline ticket to somewhere on the planet where you’ve always wanted to photograph.

In any case, when other photographers complain about “big business” taking over the industry, you can smile – all the way to the bank.

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Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of “Sell & ReSell Your Photos”
and “” He has produced an eBook, “How To Make the Marketable Photo,” and an eCourse, “How To Market Your Photos.” For more information and to receive a free eReport: “8 Steps to Becoming Published Photographer,” visit
800 624-0266.


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