Commission Pricing Structure
So commissions. Now we're gonna talk about how to work with clients, how to prepare your files for you clients, and how to price commissioned images. And it's gonna be, in some ways, similar to licensing, and that's why I wanted to pair these two things together. Because they're two different ways that you can make money through your fine art. What you see here are three different images that were created for somebodies use exclusively. Now I still have the copyright to these images as we talked about, but for each of these examples these people came to me and said, "This is the book that I'm making, "can you please make me an image to go on this cover?", and that's what commissions are. It doesn't have to be a company, it doesn't have to be a book or an album or anything like that it could just be you and me. You come to me, you say I want my picture taken, I say okay, here's what I do. And I know that we were having a conversation earlier even about people who misunderstand what you ...
do. Somebody coming to me and saying, "Okay I want my picture taken", and then they expect that it's gonna be like a senior portrait session or something like that, so it's a really really good idea to explain very clearly on your website exactly what your service is, and what your product is, because you don't want that confusion happening. And I think the confusion happens because these people are not photographers, so we can't blame them for not understanding how we work. Somebody who's not a photographer, sees me with a camera taking pictures, I guarantee you they automatically assume that I shoot portraits and I shoot nature and I shoot landscapes and all this stuff because they just don't know. You think about photography that's what you think of. So it's important that we're really clear about that. I'm just showing this slide one more time, to just really drill in this idea that we need to keep track of everything from day one, or else you could find yourself in a bad legal situation. So just, that's it, just one more time, okay moving on. Alright so this is that book cover that I showed you where you can sort of see the halo effect around it, and it's unfortunate to me that this did happen because I really liked doing this book cover I had super fun with it, they're great to work with. I love this author, and I thought it was all a brilliant experience but sometimes these things happen. So this is one example of a commissioned shoot that I was on. This was a very interesting experience for this book cover because I shot this probably I don't know a total of maybe eight or nine times, totally re-shooting it, hiring different models, etc, until we had to have they said a Chinese American model, specifically, with a very certain look, we shot it many different times and then as you can see there was not model in the final photo. So after nine months of shooting this cover, they came to me and they said "Can you just photograph a rose to put in there?" and I was like, "Fine, a rose will be fine." so we did that, and my point in saying this, is not, oh whoa is me, I had to shoot this for so long, usually companies are very good about these things. They'll pay you more money as time goes on, as you do more work, so it's not about being compensated. It's simply about expressing that this is not just you in this process, this is a team of people, who all feel that their artistic way of expressing themselves is maybe the right way or the best way or what will work for this particular project. So it's important to remember that yes, while this is yours, it doesn't always go how you hope it's going to go, I would consider this to be a commercial image that I produced. I would not consider this a fine art image. Because this went through so many transformations, to the point where I realized I am deep in this, and this is not what they want, and I need to either bail right now after five months of working on this, or just get it to how they want it. So for example with this image, I ended up having to make the grass this green color that I would never use, I had to make the sky really bright colors that I would never use, and there were different things that happened that were just simply not how I would've done them. And that's okay, as long as you can just let go of that image being yours for a little while then... You kind of have to decide, am I gonna work through this as a commercial project or am I bailing because it's not what I expected? And I'm not saying one way is better. Either way is fine. This was my golden book cover. The process that was just so perfect and I loved every moment of it and I recently got to meet this author, Mindy McGinnis, and I was just like, oh man, we're the same person, we are so on the same page about everything. About telling stories and about life and that was really interesting to see because a large part of the process of creating commissions is how well do you as a person relate to that artist as a person, and how well do you gel visually, so I created this image and they gave me a lot of freedom here. And I just wanted to talk about this particular cover, which I have here because it was very much a process of them saying this is what the book is about, this is what we like, now you do your thing, and we'll see how you interpret that. So I created this book cover with some guidance. They had said to me, I had this image of where I was half underground and half above ground, and they had seen that picture and they said, we really like this image but it doesn't quite have the right feeling for this book cover, but we would love something that's half underground half above ground, something like that. That was my guideline. Then they sent me the summary of the book. Which was sort of a historical fiction about a mental institution from I think the 1800's. So that gave me a lot of good guidance, half underground, half above ground, mental institution, 1800's, cool, I can do that. So I've got this book cover, and I decided that doing something indoors would be really interesting, having all the outdoors underneath, and then the indoors above, with this hole in the ground. And then we got to add this little hand in to the bottom which is the kicker for me, I just love that little hand. So this was a really rewarding experience, because what I came back to them with was what we used. I sent them this and they said great let's take it, and now it's on this book cover. And that's not very typical for me. Usually I have the unfortunate experience of having to go back and forth and back and forth many many many times and I was really thankful that this was not like that. So how I price commission shoots. I price it with a shooting fee, a licensing fee, and extra images. And there isn't really any point in me telling you, that I break out the shooting fee and the licensing fee, cause I don't really do that personally. Okay? The only reason I'm breaking it out is this. Let's just say that your shooting fee is $1,000, and your licensing fee is $1,000. Well what I would normally do for my commissioned shoots is just go to this person and say well, for $2,000, I'm never saying $1,000 and $1,000, I'm just saying for $2,000 we'll do the shoot, you'll get one image, and one print. And that is how I do my commissioned shoots, every single time, and then if this person comes back to me and she's like, you know what, that sounds great, but I would need probably like 10 to 15 images from the shoot, that's when I'll start adding in my extra image costs. So you could do this differently where you totally break it out, for a licensing fee, instead of doing extra images, you might just have licensing fee for extra images, so you do your shoot fee plus your extra images, and that's you licensing fee, but I tend to just combine the shoot fee and the licensing fee, because a lot of people just want one image from the experience, so it's just way easier for me to say for $2,000 you get the experience, the high resolution file, and the print of that file, and that's it. So it's really really simple.