4 - September - December 2000
author Photographer's Guide to Marketing & Self-Promotion
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 http://www.mpiscopo.com.
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.
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."
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 www.editorialphoto.com. d) Do your own work. Your credit
line will only hurt you if you are doing derivative work."
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 (http://www.editorialphoto.com)
and it is out there for all photographers to use for more information
on forms and business practices."
information, see http://www.mpiscopo.com.