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12-21-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
mattb123's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Colorado High Country
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Retainer contracts?

I put this on too, but figured I'll try it here as well.

These kind of problems are always the hardest for me.
I've been approached by representatives of the city I live in to provide a library of stock images we can use to promote our tourism industry and/or encourage people to move here. They want to have a one year arrangement where they will have me cover events, town life, and even go on some touristy outings like balloon rides, a rodeo, and whatever else they want to project as our image (I already cover a lot of sporting events like cycling and skiing). I'm flattered they asked me, but I know their budget is somewhat limited. We are a small town in Western Colorado and we aren't Aspen or Vail! I'm not in this purely for the money up front, but also to help the community and get some exposure. I would retain ownership of the photos but would give them license to use them for marketing and documentary purposes.
Both parties want this to be fair for everyone, but I don't think either of us have what that means very clearly defined. I mentioned to them that I sold a photo to the local college's marketing efforts for $500 and they noticeably gulped. Now, I wouldn't expect that much per photo with an on-going arrangement, but threw that out to test the waters. With guaranteed income I'd be willing to lower the per photo price in exchange for some "sure thing" business on a revolving basis.
I already do this to some extent on my own because I enjoy it and I sell some images to help cover expenses now and then. With this arrangement, the city would get me access to more of these types of events, and probably better access than I have now (they mentioned use of their bucket truck, for example).
Now it's my job to do a little research and come back with a proposal which brings me here!
Does anyone have any examples of an arrangement like this? Have you ever been a part of something like this? How did it work? What are the potential caveats? I have only ever charged by the shoot, photo, or print so this is new territory for me.
For some background, photography isn't my day job, but I consider it my side business. I've got work in a couple of galleries and get published now and then in the paper and magazines. I'd like to go fully pro if I could make a go of it, but I need reliable income to pay the bills so for now so I remain "semi-pro".
Any insight would be appreciated!

12-22-2011, 10:54 AM   #2
Ole's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Posts: 4,179
You could ask them what their budget is. If it is in the ball park of what you'd find reasonable you could either accept, or try to up your fee a bit. You should probably also think about establishing some upper limit on the number of events they can ask you to cover. That limit could very well depend on the fee you agree on.
12-23-2011, 06:39 AM   #3
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Gashog's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: NY
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Congrats OP. That's great that they want you. My aunt was a state photographer for NC. She wasn't well paid but she could take me anywhere for free.
The thing about a job like that is that you have a regular job (even if it's part time), you have a very good reference and bragging rights that will certainly bring you business, and you'll have time to cultivate your own business.
Good luck!
12-23-2011, 07:49 AM   #4
mattb123's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Colorado High Country
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Posts: 9,498
Original Poster
Thank you both!I'm kind of excited about it myself.

12-24-2011, 08:11 AM   #5

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: East central Indiana
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Posts: 846
Just don't sell youself short.

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