For articles, see f2 eZine content    Archive 4 - Sept - Dec 2000

Archive 4 - September - December 2000

Marketing News

Editorial Photography

By Maria Piscopo,
author Photographer's Guide to Marketing & Self-Promotion
Allworth Press

This is part two of a two-part article generated from the many responses received on my "But I Just Want To Be Famous" section of my web site To see the rest of this article, please see the May 2000 issue of Shutterbug magazine. If you are not a subscriber, contact them about subscription information and getting a back copy of the May issue. The Shutterbug article covered many interviews and topics including how to find, get and keep editorial clients. This part two article presents a different question, "What is the most important business practice for photographers when working with magazines?" Here are some of the recommendations from our survey.

Michael Grecco starts with the basics, "Having your terms agreed to up front and making sure you have all your paper work in order are the most important things. This also means having a good contract and getting it signed before the job is vital. Next, you need to be able to track your usage terms expiration dates to make sure your clients know when the rights expire and follow your images to make sure they get returned. I use a version of the APA terms with editorial language written in by my attorney. I also like the idea of Seth Resnick's License Lock. Stephen Spataro, my attorney, is fashioning my own terms to use with a license lock on the outside of the film delivery package. I use the software that generates letters when film is past due; money is past due and a courtesy notice when rights are about to expire. It saves a lot of office work for staff and myself. It also generates cash flow by getting the film in syndication and the invoices paid. Lastly it increases rights licensed by reminding people who do need to extend their usage."

Stephen Webster, photographer, Worldwide Hideout, Inc. recommends, "Never take an assignment you are uncomfortable taking, either creatively or contractually. Let your gut instincts drive you on this. The money is not enough in editorial to have to take every job that comes in."

When I asked if he had anything else to say to photographers just starting out and thinking of getting into editorial work, Stephen adds, "a) Stay in school and don't do drugs. b) Editorial is a realm you have to love what you are doing and if you don't it will show in your work. Shoot the work that you are passionate about. c) Don't give your work away for free or unbearably low rates. The current rates (which have been the same since 1988) are close enough to free. There are those of us trying to make a living that gets hurt every time someone takes a lower fee. Pay attention to forums such as d) Do your own work. Your credit line will only hurt you if you are doing derivative work."

Peter Hvizdak Photography, Vizionpix, gets serious on the business front, "Understand what "profit" means. Never put yourself into debt or at the most; don't incur debt you can't pay back in a month. Get a good accountant and use QuickBooks or specialized photo business software. Put your bookkeeping in order along with your paper trail. Join ASMP and/or visit with the ASMP local chapters when they have a meeting. At the very least, get the ASMP 5th edition "Professional Business Practices In Photography" book. I have moved in many professional circles where I have seen younger, talented photographers drop out because they couldn't cut it on the business end. They undersold their talents. If younger shooters are committed to the long haul, they should learn their craft from photographers whose businesses have been paying their mortgages on time and putting their kids through college. Learn from photographers who are great at making photographs, are excellent in their business, and are good people."

We give the final word to Seth Resnick, Seth Resnick Photography, "The single most important business practice is to understand that in fact you are a business and that is equally if not more important than being an artist. Rock solid paperwork including a contract is critical. Handshake business is no longer valid in this market. I designed the paperwork for the Editorial Photography site ( and it is out there for all photographers to use for more information on forms and business practices."

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For articles, see f2 eZine content    Archive 4 - Sept - Dec 2000