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This Photograph is not for Free

geoffash26 17 2.5k United Kingdom
15 Jan 2012 11:47AM
Thought this was worth sharing.

Words attached to sunrise photo taken buy John Mueller

So this was the first sunset I captured in 2012. It cost me $6,612 to take this photo.

$12 in gas to go from work to this spot and then home. The camera I took this with cost $2500. The lens was another $1600. The Singh Ray Reverse Neutral Density filter was $210. The Lee Wide-Angle Adapter and Foundation kit was another $200. The Slik Tripod was another $130. The shutter-release was another $60. When I got home, I uploaded it to a computer that cost me $1200, and then I used Lightroom 3 which I got for $200. I then exported it and tinkered with it in Photoshop which costs about $500.

12+2500+1600+210+200+130+60+1200+200+500= $6,612

So if you’re a magazine, website, corporation, sports team, or advertiser who wishes to use this photo, please don’t come and ask to use it for free, or in exchange for credit or “exposure”. You found my photo so obviously I have “exposure”. You have an advertising budget, and this is what it’s for. You obviously don’t expect your writers to work for free, or your secretary, or your boss. No one is going to publish it for free. Just because the picture is digital doesn’t mean it was free to make.

As someone mentioned, THIS single photo didn’t cost me $6,612, but if you wanted to create it, from scratch, that is what is involved. So I consider it the replacement value if it’s stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it’s found being used without my permission.

If you give your photo away for “credit” then the best possible scenario for you is someone will see your photo, contact you, and ask if they could borrow one of your photos… for credit. Try this… next time you’re at dinner, tell your waiter you’ll tell all your friends how good the service was if he gives you dinner for free.
thewilliam 12 6.1k
15 Jan 2012 11:52AM
Photographs are only available for free because there are so many idiots willing to give them for free.
collywobles 17 4.1k 10 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2012 11:53AM
Extremely well thought out and to the point without any doubts as to what the tog wants.
f8 17 9.2k 22 England
15 Jan 2012 1:13PM
Totally agreeSmile
mohikan22 Plus
17 2.3k 2 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2012 1:17PM
i like it, i shall compose similar i think Grin
jazzygf 17 537 Scotland
15 Jan 2012 1:24PM
Agree with THEWILLIAM, That's one reason I now watermark all my images with a copyright logo not to big but so folk know. I learned the hard way and well epz & Pete were very helpful in giving me advice. The old saying is true once bitten twice shy.
seahawk 14 1.4k United Kingdom
15 Jan 2012 2:23PM
On this subject I received the following e-mail 3 days ago :-

Hi Martin,

I randomly found your Bodiam Castle picture with the drawbridge at eye-level online.

It is absolutely stunning. I would love to convert it to a canvas painting and hang it in my room.

However, in order to do so, I'd need the large file size so it would scale to a 36" x 24" canvas painting.

Would it be possible for you to email the actual file for this picture? Interestingly enough, I took a similar shot of Bodiam Castle on my trip to London, though it didn't turn out as fine as yours Wink

Thank you so much for your help!


Now I'm quite flattered but I'd appreciate some advice as to how to proceed - I have sold photos in the past but as prints, never electronically. Mohsen seems to want it for free.
(I did check him out and it seems he's 'kosher' as he works for Apple in Cupertino. No anti-Apple rants here ChrisL!!)
brian1208 17 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2012 3:03PM
To Seahawk:

How much profit would you make if you created and sold the image as the same sized canvas yourself?

I would suggest that could be a good starting point.

You may also consider whether he wants to produce more than one image for future resale, if so you either need to constrain that in your agreement with him or add a clause whereby he pays you the same sum for any additional prints (better yet - charge for them up front)

Just a few thoughts based on what I have done in similar situations in the past

(I'm sure some of our "Pros" will be able to advise better)
lemmy 14 2.9k United Kingdom
15 Jan 2012 4:49PM

Quote:I'm sure some of our "Pros" will be able to advise better

Speaking as someone who has only ever made pictures for money apart from family pictures, nonetheless this sounds a genuine enough request. I'm a little surprised he didn't offer something for your trouble and in that case it is pretty cheeky to ask you to go the bother of sending a bigger image. In the end, that shows how much value he attaches to your picture. Probably more thoughtless than anything else.

How about suggesting that if you send him the image, he promises not to keep the image file and gets a similar canvas print done for you too? He can get it all done online, one from an American print house for him, one from an English one sent to you. That way you get something out of what does not appear to be a commercial transaction.

You have then gone to a bit of effort and he has too. If he's not willing to do that I'd suggest you tell him you're too busy.
ade_mcfade 17 15.2k 216 England
16 Jan 2012 12:51AM
in seahawk's situation, I'd normally offer a print - as in, I'd FTP the file to a printer, get them to print it, post it and send me the bill - charging the recipient an appropriate mark up..

Or in some cases, just upload them to Photobox and use the gallery feature, for ease...

or if it's local, get Pro Am to print it for next to nothing...

never done this with an overseas customer... maybe upload it to Redbubble and let them buy off there ?

always incredibly reluctant to let digital portfolio shots out at large sizes... they may do a print run of 100 and sell them on their local market, and you'd never know!
User_Removed 11 1.4k England
16 Jan 2012 1:05AM
Dear John Mueller

Cool story bro.
Needs more dragons and ****.

Yours sincerely,



looks fantastic in my lounge.
ade_mcfade 17 15.2k 216 England
16 Jan 2012 1:22AM
print us one off and send it up Wink

he he

just spammed facebook with the article, see it gets a reaction there, maybe people will stop fainting when I give them a quote Wink
jimthistle73 17 2.4k 1 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2012 1:38AM
Why is there a Mobius strip asleep on your sofa Swwils? Dogs make much better pets.

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