FAQ - Commercial Work
© Please note: All Photography by Paul Manser is copyright protected and Legal action will be taken if found using without permission
Why use a professional photographer
As cameras grow in digital sophistication it is becoming easier for everyone to get pleasing results for apparently little cost. However, using an amateur to take an important picture can be a false economy. The impact a professionally taken image has on a client’s market is far stronger than that of a quickly grabbed snap from a digital camera. Professional photography will sell your product or your company, amateur photography will not.
Photographers are not just technicians. A professional understands how to capture images that are right for a client’s business and convey the message required. Their experience enables them to obtain successful results in any situation. It is as important for the photographer as it is you that the images are right for your business and convey the message you require. As a proportion of your media/print budget, the cost of getting the original imagery as good as it can be is tiny.
When commissioning a photographer the images they produce will be exclusive to you.
Images bought from a photographic library will only be exclusive for the specific area you have bought a licence for. Unless you negotiate an exclusive deal with the library other companies will be able to licence the same image and use it for their own products or company. Negotiating exclusivity with a library is often more expensive than commissioning a photographer.
How do photographers charge?
There are no set rates in commercial photography. The majority of commercial photographers will charge a day rate. Some may charge by the hour. The type of commission and specialisation will generally dictate the fee - photographers will also take into account a number of other factors to determine the cost including:
Where the work is to be used eg on packaging, annual reports, billboards, national press, website
The length of time the work is to be used by you
The territory or territories in which the work is to be used
If you have a tight budget, discuss this with the photographer who can advise if it is realistic and what you can expect for your proposed budget. Be aware that if other professionals ie models, stylists, set builders etc are needed these will be charged on top of the photographer’s fee, as will film and processing or digital capture. The photographer will estimate these extra costs for you.
There is a misconception that if the images are shot digitally, rather than on film, that this is a cheaper way of producing images. This is not true. Some photographers will still shoot on film but deliver the images in a digital form whilst others will shoot and deliver digitally. Both methods incur costs.
In order to produce high quality digital images a lot of time and skill is necessary after the shoot, in preparing the images for presentation to the client and ultimately for reproduction. In addition,
a professional photographer has to invest heavily in good equipment and time like a doctor - many years as an assistant. The equipment needs to be replaced/upgraded frequently to ensure it meets the standards required to produce professional result
Copyright / Licence
Licenses are down to the discretion of the photographer on a job to job basis depending on the client.
( Ask the photographer if this applies to your particular shoot )
Paul Manser usually asks for credits instead, as this leads potential new clients to his website to gain further work
Photography - paulmanser.com
In the same way that musicians control who can reproduce their music, photographers control who can reproduce their images. Authors of original works own the copyright in their work
Shops, hairdressers and pubs etc all need licences to play music - photographers, like musicians, own the copyright in their work and issue licences to enable people to reproduce their images.
This is why it is important that you discuss your commission and fully brief your photographer including details about where and how you would like to use the images. The photographer will give you a licence that will reflect the agreed media - ie. on a website, in a brochure etc ., the time period and territories. The use of these images will be exclusive to you. This means that the photographer will not be able to allow any third party to use the images they shot for you during the time they are licensed for your use and beyond if this is agreed.
If I’ve paid for the film, processing or digital files why can’t I keep all the work?
If you buy a copy of a book, computer software or a CD, making that purchase doesn’t give you the rights to make copies of it or broadcast to the public. That right remains with the copyright owner.
There is a difference between the medium (eg transparency/ negative/digital file) and the content (the image) but one is of no use without the other. If you were to claim ownership to the transparency this doesn’t mean you own its content. The image on the transparency is the copyright of the photographer and without a licence it would be illegal to reproduce it. If you need further reproductions they can be done by your photographer in a professional manner and to a high standard. As mentioned above – the images will be exclusive to you so there is no fear that the photographer will sell them on to another client whilst you have a licence to use them.