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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 93 of 138

Pricing Your Licensed Images


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 93 of 138

Pricing Your Licensed Images


Lesson Info

Pricing Your Licensed Images

So how do we price this work? And I have this little tiny formula that I hope is helpful, which is your base price, which is not helpful for me to say, but we're gonna talk about that, your base price of the least amount you would sell an image for digitally plus how exclusive that file is going to be with that company, and that will equal your cost. So let's just give a quick example here. And this is a totally random example. I do not remember the exact terms of this license. But let's just say when I sold this image, this person had come to me and said "Okay, I would like this image "not to be sold on any albums for one year." Let's just say that. So I could still sell this picture for book covers, for websites, whatever I might want. And they said "You can sell this anywhere else in the world, "I'm not giving any location exclusivity. "But no other album art for one year." Well, I'm gonna have to determine what is my base price and how exclusive does that make that contract to get ...

my cost. So let's just say that my base price is $500. That's my base price of if somebody wanted, like, no exclusivity, I can sell it anywhere at any time, $500 is my price. So if I have $500 as my base price and then I take into account I can't sell this image for one year on albums only, you have all these little, tiny steps of what you could decide to make your pricing. So I'm not gonna tell you yet exactly what I would do, we will get there. But just keep in mind there are a lot of tiny things to think about and it's quite daunting. Hopefully we'll get to a good place. Oh, there we go. So if your base price is $100, let's say that you just tack on another hundred for each piece of exclusivity just to make it easy. Maybe you have that adds up to $300, and then that would be 400 bucks. Simple, but not so simple at all. (chuckling) All right, so let's talk about why it's not so simple. So this is a pricing structure with limitations. So if there are limitations to how your image can be used, this is what you would wanna consider: is it within a certain country, within a certain medium, for how many different years, or forever. And I write out these specific things because this is how my pricing works. So instead of figuring out my terms for two years, and four years, and eight years, and 15 years, and all the things that it could be, I tend to just choose the most common of the requests that I get, which, I don't know why, but I don't think I've ever had somebody license an image and say that they wanted exclusive for two years or four years. It's always one, three, and five years, for whatever reason. Maybe that's like a publishing thing that I don't know about or something. So that's how I do my pricing. So I have different pricing based on within a certain country, within a certain medium, for different years, and then in conjunction with one another. This is torture. This is torture pricing. I mean, I feel like nobody should have to do this for themselves, but we're doing it for ourselves. Okay, so this is an example of what I might add on to my pricing based on exclusivity. So for example, if my base price is $500, and then they're going to be exclusive for one year with a certain company, maybe within the country and the medium, then maybe I add $200. For three years, maybe I add $500. For five years, maybe $800. And forever, maybe $2,000. And this is just my general pricing personally. I do not know what everyone else sells their images for, okay. So, I do have a few of my images with an agency, and I sell through an agency in a very limited way. And mostly I sell by myself. So I'm representing myself, I'm giving prices myself, I'm sending the image myself, and this is simply what I have come to sell at. And so far it's working! I mean, so far I am selling images, and so far nobody has yelled at me too much. Just once, and they were mean, so it didn't count. Isn't that true, if someone's really mean, it doesn't count?! Yeah. Everyone be nice. Okay. So then here's a pricing structure with exclusivity, perhaps one year. And this is with exclusivity in every country, worldwide, exclusive rights for one year: a thousand dollars, $1500, $2000, and forever. Just examples, just guidelines that you might wanna use for pricing your own work. And if that looks really high to you, it might be for where you are in your career. If it looks really low, it might be for where you are in your career. It totally depends. And my pricing also changes a lot based on the image itself. For example, I've had a number of requests to license this image so far since creating it, which it's about a year old now. Maybe a little bit longer, but around a year old. And that's kind of a lot for me, to have a number of inquiries about a single image in just the year since it's been created. So I wanna think about this image and its sellability, you know. If I've got an image that I think no one's gonna ever want to buy for whatever reason, then maybe I would sell that at a lower price than this image, which I would be more hesitant to give exclusivity to, because I know that there are other people interested in buying this picture. So if I've got this image and someone says "I want exclusive rights forever, and ever, "and ever worldwide," I'm probably gonna put a really high price tag on that because I know that there is more money to be made from selling this image digitally versus some other creepy picture that I've done that almost nobody will wanna buy for whatever reason. I don't know why more people aren't into creepiness, but K. So optional pricing considerations, things that you might wanna consider. The quantity of the print run, so how big is their budget for printing, which is not always, I should say, an indication of how much they can pay their artist. You know, if you think about yourself putting a project out there, maybe you put all of your budget into just printing it to get it out there to as many people as possible, but you don't think about the artist and who you're gonna pay for the cover. I totally get that. I mean, if I were doing that, I would probably do it the same way, without really considering oh my gosh, I have to pay the artist. Which is terrible, 'cause I am an artist and I like getting paid. But I still probably wouldn't consider it. The personal value of the work, not just sellability of an image, such as this one, but how personal is it to me. I mean, where do I want to see that work go? There are certain images of mine that I won't license to people because it has really significant personal meaning to me and I just don't want it out there on a book cover, or album art, or something that I don't feel really good about. So I'm always thinking what does it mean to me and what is my sale price on that emotion, which is terrible, right! Like, okay, this means a lot to me, but what price will I give it up for?! But generally, the answer is nothing, you know. If it's really, really important, then I won't sell it. And if it's something that I can let go of, then I let go of it. So personal value. Value of the product. Kind of an interesting one to consider. So, you know, you sell a book, and this book probably has a price on it somewhere. Of course not! But you know how books usually have prices on them? That's what I was hoping to see. Oh, this one does, okay. So this book retails for $17.99, 17 dollars and 99 cents, so we'll say $18. And if that book is selling for $18, then you can imagine, once you break out that price, who gets what. Probably the people who put this book together are not making a lot of money per sale of book. They're hoping for large quantities of book sales so that they can make their money back. Now, if you take that versus, let's say, (humming) let's say that someone's using your image for an opera show that's just come out, and it's going be the poster image for that show. Well, they're not selling the poster. So the price of the product itself, the physical poster, is nothing. But the price of the experience is quite high. You know, you'll have people paying hundreds of dollars to go to that opera, and you have to think about that in terms of pricing your work. What is the value of the product, and how is that money being split up among the people who are involved in the project? So just something to consider, value of product. This is probably my favorite thing that I have written up here to date. (laughing) How difficult is your client? And I hate talking about difficult people, because I really am empathetic to people's situations, how they work, what they want out of the experience. But let's just be honest. If someone's really hard to work with, I'm gonna put a higher price tag on that experience for them, I just am! Because I don't like working with difficult people! I want everyone to be really nice, and kind, and gentle all the time. That doesn't always happen. So first of all, client status. If somebody, let's just say that Beyonce e-mails me, and Beyonce is like Hey, Brooke. This is what she would say to me, obviously. I would like to buy this image for my next album. What's the price? Am I going to say $500 'cause that's my base price? Probably not. Because there is going to be, first of all, a huge distribution, huge distribution, very big money being made by everyone around. So I'm going to take that price to an appropriate point for that client, just like with galleries. You know, if you have a certain gallery that doesn't have a lot of art buyers coming in, where they're not really gonna sell a lot of work, you might start out pricing your prints lower. But when you get into a much better gallery that has art buyers come in, you're gonna wanna price your prints for that market, because they expect that price when they walk into a gallery. It has to do with how your art is perceived, you know, and then getting paid appropriately for that circumstance. So what is the status of your client and how difficult are they to work with. And I'll share some horror stories later, but not yet. If you're going to extend the license. So if your license that you initially agree on is for three years, you can always give that person the option to come back after three years, pay more money, and extend the license. Something that you wanna think about, maybe in terms of offering to your client, just letting that be known up front, especially with clients who don't have a big budget. I would say that 90% of the licensing e-mails that I get are from people who flat out say I don't have a big budget for this. And it's kind of good that they do that, because now we're all on the same page. Like, we know that this might not work out, and maybe my prices are too high. But I love being able to go to those artists. Because I have a lot of respect for artists who want to make good products, you know, and I wanna be a part of that experience for them. So if this person comes to me and says "I would love this image. "I don't have a big budget. "What can we do?" Then I might say to them "Okay, well, "how about I sell it to you for this price for one year. "And then if after one year you wanna continue distributing "that work, then you can pay the next license fee." And then that's easier for them, 'cause they have a whole year to work on getting that money together, they can see how successful that album was. I might do it not just in terms of year, but in terms of region, in terms of... The medium, you know. And there are all different ways that you can work with artists to lower the price, or extend the price, extend the license, so that's always a good thing to do.

Class Description

Creating a great photo for a client is one thing - but turning your passion and ideas into a series that is shared, shown, and sold is a whole different business. If you do it right, you’ll be shooting what you love all the time. Learn how to choose which ideas to create, how to turn your concept into a production, and steps to getting your work seen and even sold in Fine Art Photography: A Complete Guide with Award-Winning Photographer, Brooke Shaden.

This is an all-inclusive workshop that provides the tools you need to run a successful and creative business as a fine art photographer. You’ll learn creative exercises to find and develop your ideas, how to create an original narrative, how to produce your own photo series, post production techniques and skills for compositing and retouching, how to write about your work, ways to pitch to galleries and agents, and how to print your pieces so they look like art.

This workshop will take you on location with Brooke as she creates a photo series from scratch. She’ll walk through every step for her photo shoots including set design and location scouting, she’ll cover techniques in the field for capturing your artistic vision, post-production and compositing techniques, as well as printing and framing essentials.

She’ll round out this experience by discussing all of the details that will help make your career a success like licensing, commissions, artists statements, social media plans, gallery prep, and pricing your work.

This comprehensive course is a powerful look into the world of fine art photography led by one of the world’s most talented photographers, Brooke Shaden. Included with purchase is exclusive access to bonus material that gives exercises and downloads for all of the lessons.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Storytelling & Ideas
  3. Universal Symbols in Stories
  4. Create Interactive Characters
  5. The Story is in The Details
  6. Giving Your Audience Feelings
  7. Guided Daydream Exercise
  8. Elements of Imagery
  9. The Death Scenario
  10. Associations with Objects
  11. Three Writing Exercises
  12. Connection Through Art
  13. Break Through Imposter Syndrome
  14. Layering Inspiration
  15. Creating an Original Narrative
  16. Analyze an Image
  17. Translate Emotion into Images
  18. Finding Parts in Images
  19. Finding Your Target Audience
  20. Where Do You Want Your Images to Live?
  21. Create a Series That Targets Your Audience
  22. Formatting Your Work
  23. Additional Materials to Attract Clients
  24. Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful?
  25. How to Make Money from Your Target Audience
  26. Circle of Focus
  27. The Pillars of Branding
  28. Planning Your Photoshoot
  29. Choose Every Element for The Series
  30. Write a Descriptive Paragraph
  31. Sketch Your Ideas
  32. Choose Your Gear
  33. How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations
  34. What Tells a Story in a Series?
  35. Set Design Overview
  36. Color Theory
  37. Lighting for the Scene
  38. Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design
  39. Locations
  40. Subject Within the Scene
  41. Set Design Arrangement
  42. Fine Art Compositing
  43. Plan The Composite Before Shooting
  44. Checklist for Composite Shooting
  45. Analyze Composite Mistakes
  46. Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing
  47. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing
  48. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories
  49. Shoot: Miniature Scene
  50. Editing Workflow Overview
  51. Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress
  52. Edit Details of Images
  53. Add Smoke & Texture
  54. Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite
  55. Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario
  56. Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot
  57. Self Portrait Test Shoots
  58. Shoot for Edit
  59. Shoot Extra Stock Images
  60. Practice the Shoot
  61. Introduction to Shooting Photo Series
  62. Shoot: Vine Image
  63. Shoot: Sand Image
  64. Shoot: End Table Image
  65. Shoot: Bed Image
  66. Shoot: Wall Paper Image
  67. Shoot: Chair Image
  68. Shoot: Mirror Image
  69. Shoot: Moss Image
  70. Shoot: Tree Image
  71. Shoot: Fish Tank Image
  72. Shoot: Feather Image
  73. View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing
  74. Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion
  75. Edit Images with Advanced Compositing
  76. Decide How to Start the Composite
  77. Organize Final Images
  78. Choosing Images for Your Portfolio
  79. Order the Images in Your Portfolio
  80. Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others?
  81. Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order
  82. Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing
  83. Determine Sizes for Prints
  84. How to Choose Paper
  85. How to Choose Editions
  86. Pricing Strategies
  87. How to Present Your Images
  88. Example Pricing Exercise
  89. Print Examples
  90. Licensing, Commissions & Contracts
  91. How to Keep Licensing Organized
  92. How to Prepare Files for Licensing
  93. Pricing Your Licensed Images
  94. Contract Terms for Licensing
  95. Where to Sell Images
  96. Commission Pricing Structure
  97. Contract for Commissions
  98. Questions for a Commission Shoot
  99. Working with Galleries
  100. Benefits of Galleries
  101. Contracts for Galleries
  102. How to Find Galleries
  103. Choose Images to Show
  104. Hanging the Images
  105. Importance of Proofing Prints
  106. Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery
  107. Press Package Overview
  108. Artist Statement for Your Series
  109. Write Your 'About Me' Page
  110. Importance of Your Headshot
  111. Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch
  112. Writing For Fine Art
  113. Define Your Writing Style
  114. Find Your Genre
  115. What Sets You Apart?
  116. Write to Different Audiences
  117. Write for Blogging
  118. Speak About Your Work
  119. Branding for Video
  120. Clearly Define Video Talking Points
  121. Types of Video Content
  122. Interview Practice
  123. Diversifying Social Media Content
  124. Create an Intentional Social Media Persona
  125. Monetize Your Social Media Presence
  126. Social Media Posting Plan
  127. Choose Networks to Use & Invest
  128. Presentation of Final Images
  129. Printing Your Series
  130. How to Work With a Print Lab
  131. Proofing Your Prints
  132. Bad Vs. Good Prints
  133. Find Confidence to Print
  134. Why Critique?
  135. Critiquing Your Own Portfolio
  136. Critique of Brooke's Series
  137. Critique of Student Series
  138. Yours is a Story Worth Telling


April S.

I tuned in for most of Brooke's lessons in this course and watched some of them more than once as they were rebroadcast. First I want to say that Brooke is a very good instructor. Her easy-going, friendly, down-to-earth, somewhat quirky manner cannot be mistaken for unprofessional. She is very prepared, she speaks well (not a bunch of hemming and hawing), she is thoughtful, she is thorough, she is very relatable and at ease, and she is definitely professional in her presentation. I really thought when I first tuned in that it would mostly be background noise while I was at work, sound to keep me company. Not because I didn't like Brooke but I really didn't think I was into fine art photography nor did I think I cared about the business side of things much. Not now anyhow. I was really wrong. Brooke sparked a deep interest in me to delve into fine art photography, to consider creating images for myself, from my imagination. In fact, I realized that this was something I'd been thinking about for a couple of years though I hadn't put a name to it (the idea of creating pre-conceived images based on my own creative goals). I gleaned many little treasures from her about image sizes, working with printers, different types of paper, selling, interacting with galleries, and so much more. I may not need all of what she taught right now because I'm definitely headed in another direction at the moment, but she planted ideas and information in my head that I know will be useful at some point. Things I may not have thought of on my own, but that seed is in my head now so when the time comes, I'll know. I'd really like to buy her course but at the moment, with the holidays right around the corner, it's not in my personal budget. I'm grateful to have caught the live and rebroadcast lessons though, and her course is on my list to own. I think it's a great reference to be consulted over and over again, not watched once and forgotten. Kudos Brooke for really putting together an excellent course.

Ron Landis

I'm retired now, but spent decades in the people and training business. Brooke is extraordinary! Even though this course is extremely well organized and she's left nothing unattended, she moves through it with friendly conversational manners and without a sense of it being stilted. It's as though we are all her friends, not students, as she shares her heart and passion with us. What a joy it is to listen to her. And what a clear, unambiguous command of her subject. Wow! She explains it with such ease using explanations and techniques that won't overwhelm artists just starting their portfolio or the Photoshop-squeamish among us; but despite its simplicity her resulting art is breathtaking and beyond original. I wish more of my professors at school were as engaging. This was by far my best buy at Creative Live yet.

a Creativelive Student

What an amazing 20 days this is going to be! Brooke is so enthusiastic and has such a lovely manner. What a bargain for all of the information Brooke will be sharing with us. So excited. Thanks Brooke and Creative Live. :)