Information For Clients

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Stock Photo Pricing

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Blue Shark and Mackerel Jacks
Blue Shark, Prionace glauca, with mackerel jacks, Trachurus sp., San Diego, California, East Pacific Ocean. Picture #: 005297
A reproduction fee must be agreed upon by both parties before pictures are used in any context. The use of stock photos is so varied and complicated that it is impossible to supply a comprehensive "price list." The fee depends on the exact details of the context of use and of the rights required.

The price of a stock image is not based solely upon the picture but based upon how you will be using it, i.e., the licensing rights granted.

For example:
  • Client A wants to use a photo of a humpback whale breaching on their web site for a period of two years.
  • Client B wants to use the exact same image in a national advertising campaign with multiple inserts in numerous magazines for a period of one year.
  • Client C wants to use the exact same image and publish it spot size in a book with a print run of 5,000 copies, English language, to be distributed in school libraries in North America only.
  • Client D wants to use the exact same image and enlarge it to a 8"x12" and hang it in his child’s room.

Even though the exact same image has been chosen by these four clients the price will differ substantially between them. You can see that Client B’s usage demands a much higher fee than the others because it is a national advertisement exposed to millions of people and the picture plays a major role in the sales of the advertised product.

Because this is how prices are determined, we need to know exactly how the image will be used in order to give you a fair price quote. In addition, we do give discounts for bulk purchases and non-profit causes.

Licensing Rights:

When an image is purchased for use we will issue an invoice stating the rights that are granted. Listed below are various licensing rights that affect the pricing.

Print Run Print run is the number of items printed for products such as posters, post cards, books, brochures, etc. The print run will have a direct effect on the pricing. The larger the print run the more the image will cost.
Circulation This usually applies to magazines and newspapers and will have a direct effect on the pricing. The larger the circulation, the more the image will cost.
Size of Use The larger the image is used, the more it will cost. Usually this is quoted per page size, for example, full page, half page, quarter page, spot size, etc. It also depends on the size of the product. For example an 8"x12" poster would cost less than a 30"x40" poster if they both had the same print run.
Placement of Picture Placing a picture on the cover will always cost more than placing it in the interior.
Distribution Worldwide distribution will cost more than U.S. only distribution. Distribution in school libraries within the U.S. would cost less than U.S. distribution.
Exclusive Rights Exclusivity is an important pricing factor. An exclusive use of a picture will always cost substantially more. There are different types of exclusive uses. For example, you may want exclusive rights within the television industry or exclusive rights for a calendar cover for the upcoming year. Most clients can not afford total exclusivity on a picture and would opt for exclusivity within their field of use, in other words, a limited exclusive use. If you do not want another postcard on the market with the same picture as the one you selected, you can obtain limited exclusive rights.
One Time, Non-exclusive Rights This is what most clients purchase. It is the non-exclusive right to use the picture for this one time. That means this image could be sold to other clients for the same use or for other uses. However, the price for these rights costs far less than exclusive rights, and the conflicts are very rare.
Period of Use Many clients want to purchase a picture for a specific period of use. For example, a client wants to use an image on a postcard and purchases the exclusive use of that image on postcards only for a period of three years. Another example would be a client who wants to use a picture in a press kit and will only be distributing that press kit from April to June of that year.
Languages Licensing a picture for all languages will cost more than just for the English language. For example, if you purchase one language then need to print your book in another language, the cost is an additional 25% of the original price. After you have purchased four different languages (25% x 4 = 100%) you will have purchased the rights to all languages. A general rule of thumb is that all languages will cost double what one language will cost.
Unlimited Use Sometimes it is more economical to ask for unlimited use of an image for a period of time. For example, if you have many different uses during a one month period you might get a lower quote asking for unlimited use for that period rather than negotiating each use separately.

Examples of stock photo uses:

  • Four billboards placed outside of a large amusement park in Florida for a period of one year.
  • 500 point of purchase displays (12" x 18") placed in nature stores throughout the United States for a period of two months.
  • 20,000 copies of the book, Sharks and Rays of the World by Doug Perrine, distributed throughout the world in English language only.
  • 50,000 posters, 30" x 40" to be sold in stores in North America.
  • 25,000 postcards to be given away free to clients to promote an upcoming show on cable TV.
    These are some of the most common rights asked for. If your use is not described here, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more comprehensive personal service.