Search Results for "suzanne sease"

Ask Anything – Does a photographer need a rep and do they really get you work?

- - Ask Anything

Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.


A perennial here on the blog is the Rep/Agent question and it’s always good to do another take on it because it’s such an important topic for photographers.

Amanda and Suzanne:

We definitely feel like a rep can be a great asset, but you have to be willing to still do the dirty work and get out there. One of our favorite reps once said β€œA photographer once asked me β€˜what have you done for me lately’ and I responded with β€˜you should be asking me, what can I do to help you?’”

REP 1:

What do you require from your talent in order to create a successful partnership?
mutual respect

What do you look for in talent?
unique talent, business acumen, adaptable personalities

What really gets you upset with your talent (i.e. not growing and shooting, no marketing)?
not being a collaborative partner

Do you do your estimates for your talent?

Do you like your talent to market in conjunction with your marketing?

What are the biggest changes you are seeing in the industry?
the way companies are advertising is changing and that of course impacts photography
less emphasis on print portfolios, more online
cg and post production alter the entire realm of what is possible

Do you think print is dying?
not dying, but the emphasis is shifting and other media are taking precedence


Do you look for photographers who have a rep? Does it make a difference?
It doesn’t make a difference as long as I’m being appropriately serviced. That said, many photographers are not as versed as seasoned reps in who to contact. There is sometimes also a prestige associated with having a rep that may open doors faster.

Do you think that some reps can make or break a photographer?
I don’t think it’s β€œmake or break” as much as it’s possible that a poor rep can, at best, not help the photographer, and at worst, damage a photographer’s reputation. It’s about β€œthe company you keep” in this business. That doesn’t mean that photographers should play the victim: a rep cannot effectively service a photographer without essential tools. This includes a continuous stream of new, relevant work. No excuses. An effective photographer/rep partnership requires full engagement in and commitment to the relationship by both parties.

How do you feel with the talent accompanies a rep on a portfolio showing?
It’s fine either way. I know that some art directors like to meet the artists directly.

What are the biggest changes you are seeing in the industry?
Number one, it’s still not robust out there. New photographers are having a difficult time breaking into the business and I fear they will simply find other careers before the economy recovers. Two, the integration of still and moving imagery is becoming more and more prevalent. Three, the use of CGI is replacing extensive shoots, such as cars. I’m predicting a time in the not-too-distant future in which CGI-generated people will supplement or replace expensive models.

Do you think print is dying?
No, I think it is EVOLVING. We have to stop thinking of photography in terms of Print and instead think if IMAGES in terms of ASSETS. Those assets can be still or moving and can be used across a variety of media.


IΒ  have a rep and my relationship with them is like a partnership. They handle a big part of the business that I don’t have to deal with any more, and it’s all commissioned based. I don’t think that “having a rep” automatically gets you work, because ultimately it’s your portfolio of work that gets you paid work. A rep is like a channel that, gets your portfolio out there into the world for people to see. It’s still up to me as the photographer to create better work, and the brand that goes with that. I do think that having a rep will improve your chances when you break down being successful in this industry it comes down to making better images, and showing more people. In a sense you are the one that has to make better images, but a rep will help you show more people. More than that, a lot of times art buyers will use reps as resources to recommend a type of photographer. Another great thing is to be accompanied by a good roster of talent. If you are with a good rep who has great credible talent, that puts you in that status which in turn builds your credibility. If you’re a younger photographer in the game, that credibility (and the credibility of having a rep that’s been in the business vouching for you)is an asset into getting bigger jobs.

Changes in the industry?
More digital, more photographers, more market saturation + crashing economy = less jobs which means you have to be even more at the top of your game to play with the big boys.

Is print dying?
Maybe a slow death. I hope not though. There’s always something great about feeling a printed piece in your hands. Hopefully that’s enough to suffice and not let it die.

To Summarize:

Reps do get you work, but they alone can’t do it by themselves. You have to step up to the plate and bring your game. Also, you have to connect with the right rep, do your research. We have consulted with reps and photographers hiring reps. We asked the hard questions that no one wants to talk about. At the end of the day 3 things matter: Money, Creative ability and belief in work and Personal Skills (these answers apply to the following: getting an estimate request, getting the job, finding a rep, a rep showing interest in you, etc…).

Call To Action:

If you want a rep – Do your research when trying to find a rep. Go to the workbook and find reps whose roster of talent speaks to you the most (visually). Then ask a client (with whom you have great relations with) if they could recommend a rep to you that meshes with your style and personality.

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of β€œAsk Anything.” Amanda and Suzanne review your comments for 2 days, and then they are off researching next week’s question.

Ask Anything – Should You Tell Your Clients If You Are Pregnant Or Have A Life Threatening Illness?

- - Ask Anything

Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

If a woman freelance photographer is pregnant and wants to continue working, how should she proceed? I’ve been told by many NOT to tell your clients as they will take you off the call list for a while. Either thinking that they are doing you a favor, figuring you don’t want to work, or thinking they are protecting you. A couple said it wouldn’t effect them, but it seems the majority think it’s not a good idea. In relation to this, is there a difference between editorial clients, corporate or commercial clients, private clients, etc.? It seems when the male photographer announces he is expecting, everyone is excited and wants to give him work for his family but the female photographer, because she’s the one carrying, gets the congrats, but not the work. Are there other experiences out there?

Amanda and Suzanne: So we reached out to our contacts and got their advice–we went to women art producers, women photo editors, women photographers and women reps. We started to get some great responses, but it got us thinking about a deeper topic-a life threatening illnesses. I (Suzanne) was diagnosed 7.5 years ago with breast cancer. I thought it would be good to have the support of the community, so I told everyone, but what I didn’t realize is that while folks were supportive, my consulting business dropped and it took me over a year to rebound. I did have cancer assurance, AFLAC, and that helped me pay some of my bills. But the financial strain of getting ill and having months of treatment with very little work, made me wonder, should I have told. So I reached out to friends who have faced the same thing and furthered the discussion by asking, β€œShould you tell clients when faced with a life threatening illness”?



When I had my baby 9 months ago, my business slowed down, as well. My clients were very cautious to not to bother me. It took 3 months to pick up to the pace that I was used to (of course I was uncomfortable with this considering the economic climate). My advice is to be open about your situation as my clients were thrilled to be part of this exciting time for me and they were eager to get back on my calendar at the first opportunity. It is definitely easier being able to look back and see what worked best for you at that time, so listen to your gut and do what is best for you at this moment. I am an eternal optimist and believe all will work out as it should (even when it seems as though the light at the end of the tunnel is non-existent or dim).

Established Art Buyer/Producer #1

As an art buyer, past clients, creatives and I never had any hesitation hiring pregnant photogs. Perhaps if I knew someone was working a week or two before their due date, I would be a little cautious.

That being said, I would never begrudge them for not telling if they felt it would influence them negatively. As you said, some people say it’s not a good idea probably because that was their experience.

As any shoot goes, there is always a chance of some emergency. A male photog would probably not set up a shoot on his wife’s due date as well.

I think we need to hope that when you hire a professional, they will come through for you. If for some reason, something goes wrong that was their doing, I expect them to correct the mishap.

Established Art Buyer/Producer #2

This is no different than when a woman applies for a job at a company. The company is not allowed to ask if the woman is pregnant and she is not required to disclose it unless her pregnancy is a detriment to the job she will be performing. For example, if she is applying for a job at the Fed Ex loading dock and she cannot lift more than 5 pounds, she would not be able to perform the duties of her job.

Unless the pregnancy will affect how the photographer does her job, then there is no reason to disclose it.

Established Art Buyer/Producer #3

When I was working, as a Photo Editor, And I would hear a photographer was pregnant and it really wouldn’t effect my decision to hire them. If I needed them to travel then may It did a little bit only because if they were far along putting them on a plane might not be feasible. But if I wanted to hire them I would ask them rather then making the decision for them. A pregnant photographer doesn’t have anything to do with their talent! So to me, it doesn’t make a difference!!

Established Photo Rep

Several years ago, I represented a photographer through her pregnancy and there wasn’t any negative impact on her work. She was actually shooting a job for the San Francisco Opera right up to her due date.

Established Female Photographer #1

I think the relationship you have with the client matters much more than what sector of the market the client works in and the way we handled this reflects that. For long-term clients, we were very open – we knew that they would want to share in our excitement and that it wouldn’t affect our working relationship negatively. In fact, we felt that keeping the news from them for too long would do more damage – imagine working with someone closely and finding out that they kept that kind of news from you.

Now, in that initial conversation, we were very careful to stress the fact that I’d continue to shoot up until I went into labor and that we had lined up a photographer we trusted to handle any projects that might come up while we were actually in the hospital. So our clients knew that no matter what happened, continuing to assign us work wouldn’t place them at any risk.

We did not raise the issue with new clients until the third trimester as up to that point, it was really a non-issue – we didn’t have enough of a relationship for them to feel one way or another about it personally and it had no impact on our ability to get the work done. When booking projects for the latter half of the third trimester, though, we did start telling people our due date and explaining that we had a photographer lined up to step in if I went into labor. We felt that we had an ethical obligation to give people the option to go elsewhere if that made them uncomfortable. Most people didn’t seem too troubled. Our daughter was born December 28th so my last shooting day was about a week before she was born but that had more to do with the holiday than my pregnancy.

Established Female Photographer #2 (Expecting)

Ok, so I only have a few thoughts about this one … since I am not really sure what to do myself.

So far – I have been keeping pretty quiet about the whole thing. I have been feeling pretty good during my whole pregnancy, so in that way I feel that I have been very lucky. But now, I’m at the point where when I show up for jobs and it’s pretty obvious – I just entered my third trimester. I have been telling clients (all types) after I book jobs but before the job itself, I put it out there while finalizing details of the shoot. I will also mention that being pregnant isn’t affecting my work – which is true, at least for now. That way if a client feels uncomfortable with a pregnant photographer, he or she has time to make other arrangements. The last thing I want to do is show up and have somebody worry that I can’t do the job. I also think that if I show that I’m not too worried about it, they shouldn’t be either … right?

But for the jobs where I know the I won’t see the editor or art director face-to-face …. I haven’t mentioned it at all. I figure that if it hampers my ability to do the job, then I’ll mention it. But if it isn’t really affecting my work – then it really doesn’t matter. If I had some other impairment that wouldn’t affect my ability to do a job – like a cold or my car was in the shop – I wouldn’t mention it either, but find a way to work around it. I kind of feel like this is similar.

For the most part my clients have been just fine with the whole thing. Many have been very sweet about it & encouraging. But then again – this is all new for me. And honestly – my biggest worry is taking off time after the baby is born — I know I am going to have to take time off and turn down jobs … I just hope my clients call me when I’m ready to get back to work.

Established Female Photographer #3

Sorry, my 2 kids are adopted

I can’t really weigh in. My gut says, don’t tell anyone in the bizzzzzzzzz. I never tell my clients that I am on a 5-week holiday, they don’t need to know

Established Female Photographer #4

Working while pregnant: I went ahead and told a few people early on and that news quickly spread around town. It didn’t seem to hurt too much on the front end, I did still shoot some assignments, and I even shot one assignment on location with 5 days to go. My client was concerned but hung in there with me.

And I found myself on a plane with an eight week old and an art director for an out of town shoot. People were still hiring me to do work when I was pregnant, and even shortly after the baby had been born.

I had two kids pretty quickly together and things became much more difficult for me mid-way through the pregnancy. I stopped showing my face at events and social functions, and completely backed off of my marketing efforts. At the same time my phone became ominously quiet, and did not begin to ring again until I made a very concerted effort to let people know that I was back in the game again.

That time out resulted in some of my regular clients establishing new relationships that to this day remain hard to rebuild.

My clients are primarily buyers and art directors from advertising agencies. Kids or no kids, I think my story is a testament to the fact that if you are not consistently reminding your clients that you are out there, they will forget about you and you will quickly be replaced by someone with a more aggressive marketing plan.

Life Threatening Illness With Treatments

Established Photographer #1

I wrote a letter that I sent out to loyal clients. Clients I had worked with for years. People I considered friends and trusted. I let them know what was going on and how I was doing. I was upbeat and positive and told them that I would beat this disease. I kept them updated throughout the process.

Several clients adjusted my shoots to fit my schedule around chemotherapy. Several postponed shoot until after my treatment had run its course.

I choose to not tell several clients including a national level magazine that I shoot for fairly often. I shot a major photo essay for them two days after receiving my first chemotherapy treatment and was maxed out on Prednisone. Two months later I shot a six-day story for the same magazine after finishing chemo but before starting radiation. They never knew until afterward.

The friends who faded away while I was sick and the ones who came closer surprised me. The clients who stuck by me have my loyalty till the day I die.

Established Photographer #2

Another photographer is currently dealing with this situation and has realized it is best NOT to tell anyone even their clients. As freelance people it is really scary to face not only a life threatening illness but the chance or lack of income.

Established Art Buyer/Producer #1

My answer to this question and anything similar is that a professional needs to know when they can perform a job based on their past experience and their portfolio.
Who are we to judge if a photographer is pregnant or has cancer is less able than a perfectly healthy photographer who had too much to drink (or whatever) the night before a shoot?

Established Art Buyer/Producer #2

That’s considered personal information unless it impacts the work.

Please Support One Of Our Own

Facebook – Give It Up For Loni Page

Here is her story:

β€œI was diagnosed on July 13, 2009 with a very rare form of cancer, and have been unable to work since then, unfortunately. But, I have a lot to say on this subject. Unlike some, I decided to fully disclose my circumstances (after debating about it for a time) to my community, including my clients. I do not regret my decision. If you’d like to talk, I can elaborate on why it was a great decision for me. Our photo community has restored my faith in humankind! …”

Loni was going to write more but the recent round of chemo has taken away a lot of her energy and required her to be admitted to the hospital. I (Suzanne) had the pleasure of interviewing her and getting some pointers to convey on this subject. She decided to trust in the generosity and support of her clients, as well as the photo community to understand her circumstances. She does not regret her decision, as the community, and especially her regular clients, have supported her beyond her wildest expectations.

As soon as she was ready to go back to work, they were there for her, with handpicked assignments that were appropriate for her energy level and physical limitations.

She truly feels that her trust in the community, gave the community an opportunity to trust her. She built her reputation over the last 25 years on honesty and never over-promising. She has been adamant about not taking assignments if she didn’t feel she would be able to deliver the job based on her high standards, as well as the standards her clients have grown to expect from her.

Because of her positive attitude, her friends and family have gone way above and beyond the call of duty to establish the “Give It Up For Loni” fundraising effort, which has produced some overwhelming results, not only financially, but more important, emotionally. The moral support has been invaluable.

Loni says, β€œThe realization of the importance of friends, family and community caused me to begin to conceptualize about the yet-to-be-named “Foundation” which we hope to have launched by mid- summer 2010.”

Please see the web site, and especially the “Personal Message From Loni” to learn more about the idea and how it came about.

Many thanks,
Amanda & Suzanne

To Summarize: Coming into any personal situation like this puts you into protection mode. How can I take care of myself, my health, and business (maintaining existing clients) at the same time? We have all learned from personal experiences and from the generous insights above that you have to do what feels right for you and your clientele. To tell or not to tell, that is personal. But the number one thing we hope you take from this is to take care of yourself and your health and the rest will follow suit. But to be safe….MARKET THE HELL OUT OF YOURSELF while pregnant and during your maternity leave or while you are going through something deeply personal – so when you are ready to pick up the camera, clients will be ready for you. And the best worst case scenario – if the client calls while you are in labor, we would rather you be able to turn down the job, then not be offered it all.

Be well, happy shooting and safe deliveries

Call To Action: Please check out β€œGive it up for Loni” because she is not out of woods, she has a long journey ahead of her. We are all in this world together and sometimes our fellow man needs a little help.

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of β€œAsk Anything.”

Ask Anything – How Do You Get Started Photographing Fashion?

- - Ask Anything

Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

I would like to know the best strategies for non-established photographers pursuing fashion. I find it very difficult to find practical information about pursuing fashion specifically. Maybe you can touch on advertising as well.

If it helps, I will explain my path. My primary income comes from developing models with top agencies in NY. Modestly, I make $2000 – $3000 per month depending on seasonal variables. That’s not so much if you live and work in a studio in NY.

I started out assisting (for one year) but found it shockingly difficult to progress with my work. I knew assistants who had not shot anything of their own for 8 months and beyond. It was like that for me as well. I also knew assistants who were coming off 5 years assisting but they still had to develop their work. I have a really strong itch to work, so I cut my losses.

Beyond model development, what is the next best step for someone in my position? I mean to make money. I’m avoiding stupid magazines, and pursuing hip magazines, which fit my particular style. This however doesn’t really pay.

Emerging Photographer Help!

Established Photographer 1:

Anything is possible anywhere if someone is talented. Fashion is a very, very difficult thing to succeed in, sort of like the NBA. I can’t stress how hard it is. The person should start somewhere they can put a team together and make brilliant photos. They could be in Bangkok or Seattle or NYC. I have never ever known anyone to go from shooting model tests to the big time, but I have known several who have gone from assisting a great photographer to being a great photographer. It gives you the in that you need. But the photographer you work for needs to be a great one. The main thing is that you need to be ambitious to the point of it being worth more to you than anything in life, and then you may have a chance.

Established Photographer 2:

Are you talking about real fashion or small catalogs? If you’re talking about a real career in fashion I wouldn’t even think about it if you weren’t living in NYC, Paris, or Milan. LA is better than anything outside of those cities, but still nothing is close to NY. To be in the fashion industry you have to immerse yourself in it, and it all happens in NYC. I actually laugh when people live in any other city than the above try to be “in fashion.” Plus, these cities are the only cities you can even get top tier fashion models of which companies won’t even think about you unless you have them in your book. The high-level fashion world is very gay (literally) and concentrated in NYC. My straight climbing the ranks fashion photographer friend and I always joke about how you have to be “in the gay” to climb the chains of fashion. Even if you’re straight, you still have to play the game.

Just my 2 cents.

Established Art Buyer:

I think that expanding into Lifestyle or even non-couture fashion gives photographers more options to make money. Real (but good-looking) people in everyday situations; it’s that β€œaspirational” style that many clients ask for. And if you can test with any top models that you’ve developed relationships with, that’s even better. Based on the current economy, it means starting small, with a smaller hot agency. It doesn’t mean not continuing to build a fashion portfolio, but it means refocusing efforts on projects that will pay for groceries while your portfolio is evolving.

Of course, the questions that need to be asked are:

  • What is the current state of your portfolio?
  • How are you promoting yourself?
  • Have you established relationships with outstanding stylists and retouchers as well as with top models?

More questions than answers…

Big Name Rep In NYC:

When I asked this rep the question, they had a lot of insightful information. They felt that it would be very hard for a photographer to make it in fashion if they were not in New York City or Paris or had a presence or studio there. You must align yourself with a great crew- stylist, hair stylist, make up stylist and top models. They mentioned one young up and coming fashion photographer who befriended a BIG name model and having photos of she and friends, put him on the map. Start with editorial; get great tear sheets and photo credits.

Amanda and Suzanne:

When you are starting out it is really important to work on your portfolio and make sure you have a defined unique style since the fashion world is looking for the next new thing. If you really want to shoot high fashion, New York, Paris and Milan are the biggest towns but LA does have some work. Others have done well in other cities like San Francisco, Miami or Chicago but it is a really hard business to break into. Lifestyle fashion is an easier area to break in, but still making sure you are using the best in talent from models, stylists, make up and hair. Wardrobe is so important. Do not rely on the model for their wardrobe because you have to be in control of the shoot. If you shoot great work then it is easier to get a great talent base for free. The problem with shooting comp cards is that you are scaling back to shoot what the model needs therefore losing control and getting work that represent you. Keep a positive attitude and network like crazy. Get tear sheets with photo credits and PR the hell out of yourself. You should create a β€œbuzz” about yourselves, this is the fashion hype!

Call to Action:

Please let us know tips you have for emerging photographers not only in fashion but other areas as well. A virtual mentorship as it could be known.

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of β€œAsk Anything.”

Ad Agency Guide To Photography Usage Terms

With the current US copyright laws as they are applied now, artists own all rights to their created images and sell/transfer rights to agencies and their clients. All questionable negotiations have historically defaulted in favor of the artist. Technically, even minor modification of the art requires the artists’ permission. You are RENTING, not buying an image unless explicitly stated on the contract.

Generally, think of usage costs reflecting the amount of exposure a particular image may receive. The more exposure, the higher the price. Exact terminology may differ, but the semantics remain the same if all of the information is included in each negotiation. You can phrase it any way you want, but be clear about the INTENT by including information from all categories outline below. Talent usage is similar, but there are differences in how each medium is priced out: talent usage tends to be much more specific. Again, it is based on exposure. European terminology will differ from US terminology, particularly in the β€œPrint” category. In Europe, β€œPrint” includes anything that is not broadcast.

Usage is defined by the following:

This is the length of time an image or images will be used: one year, two year, one time, etc.. It is best to specify β€œfrom date of first use” when negotiating a contract for an image. Standard use generally defaults to one year use {from shoot date} in a specific medium unless terms are otherwise negotiated.

This is the number of times within the time period that the image will be used.
Limited: A limited number of times such as β€œ2 insertions” or β€œrun of 5,000” within the time period purchased. By the time you reach multiple insertions in publications such as People or USA Today, you may as well buy unlimited rights.
Unlimited: Can be used an unlimited (unspecified) number of times within the time period purchased. This does not allow a transfer of copyright to you or to your client, nor does it mean the same as β€œunlimited time.” You both have only the rights to use the image, not to resell it or allow a third party to use it.
Total Buyout: You have purchased the copyright to the image and have full rights to do whatever you want with the image. You own it, basically. In the case of illustration, you own the rights, but you do not necessarily own the final art. That usually requires a very specific, carefully worded purchase agreement. Expect to pay dearly for this usage!

I recommend purchasing exclusivity of all images to prevent the resale of any images during the time period you’ve purchased. Unless otherwise stated, an artist has the right to sell an image to another client at any time—even if it is one currently licensed to your client. Usage defaults to non-exclusive of the selected images only if not otherwise stated.
Exclusive: The image (and the outtakes, if specified) cannot be sold to anyone else during the time period purchased.
Exclusive to Industry: The image cannot be sold to anyone else within the same industry (Liquor, Banking, etc.)
Non-Exclusive: The image (and the outtakes) can be sold to other clients at any time

This is the area in which the images will be seen.
National: US only. Includes provinces of the US such as Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
North America: Includes the US and its provinces, Canada and Mexico.
Global or International: Throughout the world (internet is automatically global).
Local: Specific city or area (San Francisco Area, etc.)
Regional: Specific region (Midwest, Southeast, etc.)
Europe: Europe is often negotiated as a neat little package that includes Great Britain, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Germany, Italy.
By Country: Specific countries can be purchased, but if the exposure is large, such as Europe, it may be wiser to go with Global to make sure you are covered.

This category also gives the artist an idea of the degree of exposure. Consumer advertising generally receives more exposure and at a premium cost. Trade is not as expensive, nor as far-reaching in exposure. Editorial is relatively cheap.
Consumer: Markets to β€œpeople who buy things”; it is purely commercial (sells things) in nature and the artist want a piece of the action because of the high degree of exposure.
Trade: Markets to β€œpeople who sell things to others”; it is lower down on the food chain, and therefore not as expensive.
Editorial: Informational in nature, not commercial. Magazine layouts and textbooks fall into this category.

This category further defines how the images will be used. These categories are then segmented even further by defining specific mediums for each.
Advertising: A medium that sells something, like an ad or an outdoor board.
Promotional: A medium that promotes something, like a poster for an event like a concert.
Public Relations: Similar to Promotional, but more awareness-driven and less commercial.
Corporate: Annual reports or internal materials like sales kits.
Editorial: Again, informational in nature, not commercial. May accompany an article or be included in a textbook.


Media usage describes where an image will be seen and can be defined as precisely as you choose. As with photography, when negotiating with talent the specific media included will directly affect your price. Broadcast use is seldom needed, but can be purchased if necessary. Remember that sometimes being TOO specific may come back to bite you later.
Any And All Media: Covers EVERYTHING: all print, OOH, POS, Electronic and Broadcast. β€œAny” and β€œAll” are somewhat redundant, but it drives home the idea that everything is covered.
All Print: Generally, anything printed onto paper that you can hold in your hand: newspaper, magazine, collateral, direct mail. You may expand your negotiations to include POS or OOH by adding it specifically, otherwise they are generally not included under this category. Exceptions may include GO cards or similar limited exposure items.
Newspaper: Use this category in conjunction with Geographic Region. Size also plays a role.
Magazine: Use this category in conjunction with Market and with specific publications.
Collateral: Includes anything in print that β€œgoes along with” the campaign but is of secondary importance. Things like brochures, some mailers and bill stuffers fit under this category.
Direct Mail: Pieces that are mailed to people. Quantity of pieces and Geographic Region affects pricing. Where the image is seen also makes a difference, whether it’s on the cover, envelope, etc.
Point-of-Sale (POS) or POP (Point-of-Purchase): Things that will be seen where the product is sold. Banners, signage, counter cards, displays, in-store posters, table tents, hang tags.
Out-of-Home (OOH) or Outdoor: Virtually anything seen outside of your home: outdoor boards, bus sides, trans stops, rail cards, GO cards.
Trade Show: Trade show booths or materials used in a trade show. Show attendance and how the image will be used must be discussed.
Electronic: Media that is not printed: Internet, C Ds for distribution, Asset Management System, screensaver. Unless rights are specifically purchased, images cannot be resold.
Internet: Global internet use. Where it will be seen (home page or inside page)may affect pricing. Sometimes numbers of hits makes a difference also.
Miscellaneous: Things like Ad Planners must be negotiated apart from the other media because of the potential for wide-spread, undetermined use.

This means all of the images shot for the project, not just the selected image or images. Some photographers will automatically sell you the rights to the entire body of works, but most will sell you the rights to only the selects. You will need to clarify at the beginning of the negotiation because usage will default to the selected images only if not specified. You will also want to include a clause that outtakes may not be sold as stock until the rights on the selects expire.

It is in your best interest to include verbiage in your initial use statement that covers future reuse. Legally, unless otherwise indicated, an artist can sell an image to another client at any time, with an increased risk after the original use expires. Because the exact date of first use may not be known at the time rights are purchased, it follows that the date of expiration may not be exact. With the proper verbiage, you can create a checks-and-balance system to at least have an opportunity to decide if you want to purchase reuse before your client sees it in another ad. I recommend stating that your “client reserves first option of reuse upon expiration of current rights.” If you and your client do not renew your option, then there is a possibility that the image will be purchased by someone else.

You will want to include the right to use images for your agency to use in self-promotion. Those rights are technically not granted past the original usage period without express authorization. Although usually not a problem, it doesn’t hurt to have it stated officially. To get the maximum amount of usage time of an image, include the phrase β€œfrom date of first use” or β€œeffective date of first use.” That way, if an image is not used for several months, your usage won’t begin until then. Otherwise, it may be a point of contention a year from the shoot date. This is especially important with talent. If the photographer is coordinating the talent, do not automatically assume that the usage for the talent matches the usage you are contracting with the photographer. You must clarify talent usage at the estimate stage.

Here are some samples of how to phrase your usage statement:
One year unlimited exclusive international advertising and promotional rights and usage in any and all media for entire body of works, effective date of first use. Artist retains self-promotion rights forever, as does the agency. Client reserves first option of reuse upon expiration of current rights.

Two years unlimited exclusive regional (Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois) advertising and promotional rights and usage in any and all media for entire body of works, effective date of first use. Artist retains self-promotion rights forever, as does the agency. Client reserves first option of reuse upon expiration of current rights. Image will be
digitally enhanced in post-production.

Unlimited exclusive global advertising and promotional rights and usage in any and all print for an unlimited time. Includes entire body of works. All images, including outtakes, may not be sold as stock until all usage expires. Client reserves first option of reuse upon expiration of current rights. Artist retains self-promotion rights forever, as
does the agency. Total buyout of rights, usage and copyright. Artist retains self-promotion rights. {The word β€˜buyout’ by itself is meaningless and will not hold up in court}

This information was provided to me by Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease. Usage terms guide created by Kat Dalager.

Ask Anything – Should Photographers be Unionized?

- - Ask Anything

Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to explore more of the commercial side of photography (not my area of expertise) and to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

Established Photographers

Photographer 1:

I don’t think photographers could ever pull off a Union type situation. Never in a million years.

It is like trying to organize a million man march of independents. They are too much the loner mentality.

Many can’t even follow loose guidelines for rates or usage.

Photographer 2:

I would even love it if we could just get some standard licensing language and standard estimating forms like the film industry uses. Art buyers are already use to standardized forms from the film world. Why can’t we at least do that?

I am a member of the Director’s Guild, and the company I work through is a member of the AICP, which is a very strong and effective union. They have fantastic representation, and they are well respected by the Advertising agencies. They have a very strong voice, and they are quite successful at getting their voice heard and their agenda’s addressed. Witness the whole dust-up when a few of the agencies announced that they were no longer going to approve advances and they were going to go to a third party payment guarantee. The AICP President immediately announced that they would not support it, and that their members would not abide. Photographers on the other hand did nothing. In short it is a very good model, and there are many benefits for their members. Most of the (National) commercial on air … are Union spots. Most of the advertising agencies are Union Signatories, and therefore CAN NOT shoot non- union spots. Usually, only very small shops, and local companies can get away with non- union. So that said, I have no idea of the history, or how it got started. But one of the reasons that photographers are always dealing from a point of weakness is because they have no good solid representation. Here is a quick, off the cuff summary of issues that are already resolved by the AICP:

1. They have a standardized bid form.

2. Mark-ups are accepted and the norm- therefore when the scope of the job is increased, there is some additional profit, even if the fee is not increased.

3. Billing for Payroll tax and Insurance are standard.

4. AICP looks at and approves contracts.. No weird indemnities and other issues being passed off will nilly by the agencies to the backs of the photographers.

5. Payment is customary advance and final payments are scheduled.

One issue for sure is shitty purchase orders with indemnity clause, and work for hire clause written in. Which I ALWAYS STRIKE, I might add successfully. I have two previous employees that have recently struck out on their own, bad timing huh? But even though they were worried about being a small fish, they are usually successful at getting amended p.o.’s

Another huge issue as you know, that I have been railing on about, it is how hard it is to get insurance, how expensive it is, and how many people in our industry go with out it. If photographers were banded together they would have more clout in this area. Health insurance too…

Well off my soap box for now. I feel real compassion for those starting out now.

Photographer 3:

Only employees can form and be represented by unions.

Independent contractors can be members of unions but cannot be represented by unions. No collective bargaining by independent photographers. Illegal.

The one way around it is for photographers to work as employees. But if photographers work as employees, their employers are the β€œauthors” and copyright owners of any images created.

Short answer: unions are a not the answer.

Art Buyers – International Ad Agencies

Art Buyer 1:

I’ll be honest with you. I would be against a union for Photographers. Right now, print is in a precarious place. We fight to convince clients projects need a print aspect as well as web and broadcast. In my experience, unions bring fees that would deter our clients from entertaining print. I’m not referring to photographer or crew fees. We know what the industry standards are and do everything we can to ensure they increase with the changing times. The fees I’m referring to are union dues, insurances, 10 – 20% production costs.

Unions would also create an uneven playing field. Photographers of different calibers would have the same fees. This would eliminate work to those photographers whose skill set does not match the norm.

This could also negatively impact our local market. Sorry to ask this, but how could I keep some jobs local? My local photographers allow me to of bringing work to the area because they’re fees are less than a New York based photographer. The proper term for this is not β€œunder cut.” It’s β€œlower cost of living.” I’m fortunate to have amazing talent in my backyard. If they had to meet a National Rate, my creative would ask to see all National photographers right for a project instead of me being able to convincing them to stay right here.

Art Buyer 2:

This would be a terrible mistake. Unions within the Broadcast industry are having a terrible time keeping members. Agencies all over the country are dropping their union signatory status and actors are taking non-union jobs just to stay alive while unions look the other way. This is NOT the right time…

Amanda and Suzanne:

To Summarize, a union would not be approved in our current times. But believe us, something needs to be done to encourage talent to charge appropriately and to be taken care of properly on the client side. We need Insurance for our talent (I β€œAmanda” paid $2k a month for a family plan under a group plan – Highway Robbery). Photography is a demanding career and takes a toll on the body, emotionally and physically. Union is not the answer, but comradery and other creative collectiveness is. Standardized forms and usage and creative fees across the board verses underbidding fellow photographers. It is crucial to understand Agency Advances and fee structure, to know the tax laws in the city you live and the cities you shoot in as tangible property has become very grey. It is important to understand payroll services, since freelancers are not true independent contractors and the potential liability to the photographer on taxes and workman’s comp. The question we have to ask ourselves: β€œAre we print photographers running our business as if we were in a Union, are we running our business not only effectively but lawfully to protect ourselves?”

Call to Action:
Brainstorm with your colleagues, organizational groups and create ideas that can be shared and eventually (possibly) manifested.

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of β€œAsk Anything.”

Ask Anything – Live

- - Ask Anything

Going to the PDN Photoplus Expo? You may want to come see Amanda, Suzanne and I put the toughest questions you can muster to an all-star panel that includes an AB, PE, Rep, Photog and AD. The Seminar is Thursday, Oct 28, 2010 – 3:45 PM to 5:45 PM.

If you’ve got a tough question, e-promo example, mailer example, website example or portfolio conundrum it would be awesome if you submitted it to Amanda (amanda(at) or Suzanne (suzanne.sease(at) before that date, so we can bring it up with the panel. I would be extra stoked if someone made a video question we could present. Actually that might be a good way to show us your promo materials or portfolio.

Not going to the expo? No problem. I’m going to setup some type of live streaming/transcript/audio that will allow you to see/read/hear the questions and answers. Also, you will be able to participate in the discussion on twitter.

Ask Anything – Treatment Redux

APE: I thought the last post on treatments (here) was a bit confusing because the the example we gave was actually part of a pre-pro book and not a treatment you might submit with an estimate to land a job. I asked Amanda and Suzanne to try and dig one up for us. As you can imagine these things are hard to come by, because they are very personal, private and I’m told people don’t want to get lambasted by photographers leaving comments on the posts. I’ll ask you to be civil, otherwise we can’t look at any of these hot button topics, because I will not have any real life examples to show and I’m not really into sitting around speculating what people do in a given situation.

Amanda and Suzanne:

First we want to say thank you to The Rhoads and to Double Image studios for being willing to put themselves out there and help others in their community.

CREATIVE TREATMENT: One’s personal approach to showing an idea or production approach with visuals (no boundaries on how)

USES of a TREATMENT for a photographer:
1. To use to show the modeling agency or stylist the look you are going for when casting
2. To use after the job is been awarded – but prior to the pre-pro to make sure all casting and wardrobe is headed in the right direction
3. To use in conjunction with your estimate (we are not recommending that all photographers do this or must) but it has been asked before by creatives or photographers have provided this on their own (just stating the facts)
4. In junction with the final pre-pro book – which is to help guide the crew as to how the FEEL/LOOK of the shoot should go and the end result/vibe

PRE-PRO BOOK: The guide of how the day will go from schedules, call sheets, the approved comp of the shoot, talent castings, wardrobe castings, etc…(this may also include the creative treatment as well)

We are showing 2 different samples below. You can use these visual guides for your own vision and decide how you want to approach either of these subjects.

PLEASE NOTE: There is not ONE way of doing any of these approaches. It should be your goal to find your own vision and find a way to communicate it.

call sheet example: this particularly call sheet was added to their treatment once job was booked (see previous post). Combined this would be considered their personal pre-pro book.


This Creative treatment was delivered after the estimate was submitted.


If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of β€œAsk Anything.”

Cool Photographer Promo Lands Serious Interest From Clients

- - Promos

Photographer Casey Templeton showed me some of the amazing responses he received from a promo he did recently and I thought you might want to hear more about what went into it. You can see more behind the scenes images and a video about it on his blog (here).



Here’s Casey explaining the piece:

I worked closely with Suzanne and my assistant, Rob Jefferson, starting the middle of last year to get the ball rolling. After a successful 2008 and beginning of 2009, I realized my work came mostly from word of mouth and I hadn’t done any marketing. We decided if I wanted to take my business to the next level, I needed to start marketing myself on a national level. We also knew I only had one chance to make a first impression so we had to do it right.

Rob and I met with Suzanne in her office and got a chance to see a variety of her throwback collectibles such as a Simpson’s lunch tin, figurines and print pieces which set our minds racing.

ctListThe big question was how do we fill a box with multiple items that are tied together with a common theme. Since this was going to be the first time these agencies and art buyers would have heard of me, I wanted to put in items that meant something to me and would help them to get to know me better. I started by writing a list of things I loved which could also be placed in a box.

I spent approximately $15,000 on the project between research, materials, portfolios from Lost-Luggage, assembly and shipping of the kits. A portion of this was also spent on my designer, Robb Major, that I used for every piece in the kit from the business cards to the screenprinting on the shipping box. I produced 300 promo kits and mailed 290 to a selected list of agencies, art buyers and in-house corporate groups that Suzanne and I compile using Agency Access.

The responses have been overwhelming and I am currently working on a an email blast to follow up on the delivery of the kits and start organizing meetings with various agencies that have requested to meet with me.

Here are some responses from the week they were shipped:

“As an art buyer, I get a lot of little promotional pieces. I am spoiled. BUT, yours was so well put together and well done that I stopped everything I was doing and went to your website. NOT to my suprise your work is just as thoughtful, inavative and touching as your promotional piece. I offficially have a work crush on you. Please come and see us so we can put you to work ASAP.:)”

“I just received your magic lunchbox and I gotta say it’s quite the spread. The San Cristobal just made my drive to NY tomorrow night that much better. If you’re ever in Boston for a job let me know and I’ll set you up with a portfolio review with my art producer colleagues so they can get to know you. Thank you and stay in touch.”

“Talk about getting someone’s attention. Great promo package. Fun and a great way to get your work in front of folks.”

“Thanks -for the promo package! Quite a statement. Glad you reached out. Wanted you to know that we appreciate it!”

“That was a pretty fancy promo for a recession! Thank you — and you are welcome to send email promos anytime.”

“Just received a super fun packed from you guys. Just wanted to say lots of thanks. I looked through the images in the packet, as well as your site. You guys have amazing work. Anyway, I’ll def keep you in mind for future projects, and thanks again!”

“Cool promotional box! So much so in fact that I feel compelled to use you for our next photoshoot. I have a client in ————– on March 12th. Are you available and interested? Wow, this just goes to prove the power of good advertising.”

Continued response last week:

“This is the most amazing promo I’ve ever received in my 12 years of art buying! I truly hope to work with you soon and I hope this gets you a ton of work! Its genius!”

“Liked your work very much-very honest and truthful. Will def keep you in mind.”

Draft FCB:
“We want you to come and see us because this is thoughtful and your work kicks ass”

I LOVED the promo. I feel like I already know you, thanks!”