Profit sharing with the model?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by KanFotog, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. KanFotog

    KanFotog Member

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    Hello Apuggers

    I recently clicked a photo of a friend at a restaurant, and with his permission, uploaded it onto my flickr/facebook profiles.

    A bunch people (mostly my friends or his friends) liked the pic on facebook and consequently, I jokingly asked him to consider paying me.

    That's when the situation turned interesting.

    He thinks I should sell it to the general public (he'll sign a release) but profits should be equally split.

    I have my doubts. Sure he posed, but that's about it. I had spontaneously thought it'd be interesting to shoot.
    Apart from thinking of the shot, I had to arrange the lights a bit, shoot, get it processed and scanned etc. All at my own time and cost.

    What do you guys think? Is there a precedent of sorts for these situations?


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12411943@N00/
    The photo titled Mohit is in question.
     
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  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Is he a famous person? If not, I don't see what makes this a saleable photo, and wouldn't worry too much about it.

    You should provide a direct link to the image, if you want to discuss it here, rather than to your flickr stream, otherwise it looks like you are just trying to get people to look at your flickr page.
     
  3. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Don't expect much "profit" if any.
    Not after you subtract your operating costs.
    I'll sometimes share 10-15% for stock sales with models.
     
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  4. KanFotog

    KanFotog Member

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    Didn't intend to...

    Sorry David, didn't mean to grab attention.

    Here's the direct link:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12411943@N00/6124189869

    He isn't a famous person and I'm not actually considering selling the pic.

    I was just wondering if it was a pic that people would be willing to buy, does 50/50 seem justified?

    More a thought experiment at this stage but in future, if/when the day comes, hopefully I'll have some clarity on the matter
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the direct link.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    When you work with a model, any model, to create a commercially salable photo the deal is whatever you two decide is fair.

    If he wants half and your not willing to pay that, just don't sell it.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you want to sell photographs commercially, you should come to an agreement BEFORE taking the picture what you would do in the event of a sale.

    Usually a model will get compensation for being a model. Either you barter work for work; they help you with being the model and you help them with their portfolio. Or you pay them.
    If it's a famous model the price tag goes up, and they may wish to negotiate for a portion of future revenue as well.
    But you basically make a contract. Written better than verbal or hand shake.


     
  8. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    Since you have published it, should you not already have a release? Maybe times have change b/c of the internet but when I used to shoot persons I got releases for a photo such as yours. It covered contingincies such as displaying it in an exhibit. Back then for street shots like yours, I simply exchanged the release for a dollar and the model initialed that he received in on the release. Hence he admitted quid pro quo for the release. If a youngster, then I'd have the paent sign on his behalf. Usually for them, it only took a Polaroid to make them happy.

    Profit sharing is not the same as revenue sharing so be careful. Revenue is the gross amount received before expenses and profits is after expenses. If you enter into these types of agreements see an accountant or lawyer to determine and understand both the teminology and calculations. If you do not, you can be bitten quite badly.
     
  9. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Don't most professional models work for an hourly rate or a flat fee? Most Hollywood movie stars work for a fee. Granted, those fees are in the millions but it's a fee, none the less.

    However, I'm with Mark. Payment is whatever the two parties agree on.

    I have been in discussions like this with people whose picture I take.
    I am always happy to share with people but they have to realize whose equipment is being used, whose raw materials (film, paper & chemistry) are being used, whose time will be spent after the photo has been taken, whose education and expertise is being utilized and whose artistic vision is being used to create that salable image. It's me, not him, who is putting forth all the time, all the work and all the money. If he wants to foot half the bill for your capital outlays, maybe he can share in half the profit.

    When I take photos of other people, I almost always share the results with them. Usually that's a postcard sized print. In fact, I have postcard stock on hand just for the purpose. If it's a really good photo I might make them an 8x10. Other than that, I don't believe I am obliged to pay people for the privilege of taking their photo unless it is a prearranged modelling session, in advance.

    One thing that people absolutely don't understand is what it costs you to make a photograph:
    Cost of film: $2 to $5 per roll.
    Cost of film chems.: $1 to $3 per roll.
    Cost of paper: $1 to $2 per sheet.
    Cost of paper chems.: $1 to $5 per printing session. (Including toners, wash water, etc.)
    Your time in the field: I get paid $15 per hour at my job.
    Your time in the darkroom: $15 per hour for me.

    One Frame of Film: ($6 ÷ 12) per roll of 120 + ($3 ÷ 12) for chems. = $0.75
    One Sheet of Paper: $1 per sheet + ($3 ÷ 20) for chems. = $1.10
    Field time: 1 hour * $15/hr. = $15.00
    Darkroom time: 2 hours * $15/hr. = $30.00

    I think I'm being generous with my costs and my time. The cost of just one picture can EASILY top $50.00 and we haven't even gone into how much your equipment cost to buy.

    So... Does your friend want to pay YOU half the cost you had to bear in order to take his photograph? That would be $25.00.

    If he does pay, he should be entitled to half the profits. If not, he can go pound salt up his a$$.

    Okay, okay... I know... I'm over dramatizing my case, quite a bit. :whistling:

    However, my point is that there are expenses involved that the other person is not considering. The bottom line is that YOU are laying out money and time to be a photographer. Other people need to consider that before they go asking for a share of your profits.
     
  10. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    And a very good point indeed!
     
  11. BillBingham2

    BillBingham2 Member

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    But then you need to consider the model paid for clothes, hair cut, time it took to grow and trim the beard, health club membership, etc.
    Make an agreement ahead of time were you both get what you need, may not be what you want but make sure it's has both pod your perspectives in mind.

    Get it in writing along with the release.

    B2
     
  12. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Yes, I agree. This is part of the reason I usually offer the person a "free" print of the photograph in question. It might be just a piece of paper but it is a fairly valuable piece of paper, none the less.

    I also do it just for the social value of being a photographer. People don't know that you are a good photographer unless they can see the photos you make. Besides, I don't want to be that "creepy guy" with a camera.

    Sharing the occasional picture covers a lot of ground.
     
  13. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I really don't see you selling many/any of these prints...
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Seems to be a battle of egos, nothing more. Not sure what the fuss is about.
     
  16. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Maybe, maybe not. Some of the photos are nice but I'm not the final judge. Saleability is in the eye of the beholder... and it has a lot to do with what you can convince other people to fork over the cash for. However, they are at least as good as some photos I have seen in galleries in this town.
    (Unfortunately, in Erie, the pool of photographers is wide but not very deep... if you get my meaning. :whistling: )

    There's certainly a possibility of offering some of those photos as stock images but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

    Isn't it what everything is all about, these days? Unfortunately, that's what the world seems to have sunk to. :sad:
     
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  17. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Many of us amateurs have the photo skills and results suitable for professional uses of our photos. That's pretty common. We don't take the time to actually make a viable business out of it; that's a lot more work, and it's not for everybody. Take it as a complement that the subject thinks it's a salable photo. There's plenty of people willing to casually pose for a photo in exchange for a print, and he should be happy with that.

    otoh, if he's a crackerjack businessman with connections and you both want to be in the photo business whole hog, anything is possible.

    A famous person might also PAY or at least not charge to have their photo taken, IF it promotes their new music tour, album, movie, etc.. when they are seeking publicity.
     
  18. KanFotog

    KanFotog Member

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    Thanks for the great response everyone. I'll try and address your points. (Pardon the long post)

    Bruicemuir: 10-15% seems reasonable enough. I especially liked that you said 'sometimes'

    Mark Barendt: Comes down to negotiation skills :smile: But yes, the method does have it's benefits.

    Thomas Bertilsson: Point taken. Barter is a nice idea for beginners like me... In any case, I'll keep some release forms handy from now.

    Brian L: Since he's a friend of mine and I'm only publishing on my flickr/facebook profiles, I've taken a release over sms (or maybe email). If I do publish it where the general public will see it, I'll get a proper release signed. As of now, a bunch of his and my friends have liked the pic (low standards maybe?) so we're both happy.
    Will check out the legal/financial implications when things do get serious.

    Randy S: No idea about flat/hourly rates, I just shoot as a hobbyist. But thank you very much for the detailed costing that you've given. I'll point my friend to this post and see what happens :smile:

    B2: I get the point you're making. However this was a spur of the moment shot during a dinner where a bunch of us met, and the model hadn't done any preparation for it, except for posing like I asked. But yes, special efforts, if any, need to be compensated for...

    VPWPhoto: As of now, I don't either. As mentioned earlier, if/when I do get to a level where people would be willing to pay, it'd be nice to have some idea of how to deal with the situation. As of now, I'm a hobbyist happily shooting film and getting a few 'likes' on facebook.

    CGW: Close enough, except this is more like cubs fighting each other to get ready for future hunting events.

    Randy S: Thanks again. Nice to know not all of my pictures are destined for the bin :smile:

    JP: Lawyers, accounts etc. add up to the cost of an image and then at times, there're weird policies that employers come up with, like no freelancing. That effectively discourages much of the commercial possibilities.


    Cheers,
    Som
     
  19. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I meant as I took it non-editorial sales. I don't see people buying a photo of a guy they do not know to hang on the wall, I have enough trouble with people buying photos of their kids to hang on the wall, or put on the desk.
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Som,

    A quick thought on this response since it looks like you have your eye toward making money with photography someday.

    In the beginning of any business venture, 80% to 90% or more of your time, energy and thought in will be spent in marketing, bookkeeping, compliance, and the rest of the general grunt work needed to make it work.

    In business you get to spend more time, on say photography in this case, only when you are willing and able to pay others to do the rest of the grunt work.
     
  21. KanFotog

    KanFotog Member

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    VPWPhoto: Yes, I don't know anyone who buys random people's pictures to hang somewhere either. The subject of that photo suggested selling to general public and my mind started thinking of possible consequences.

    Mark Barendt: Agreed. It makes sound business sense to ensure firm footing on legal/financial basis and naturally that would involve spending/investing money and time.

    Having said that, if I (even accidentally) shoot a landscape which happens to impress people, would it be easier to sell it when compared to a picture involving people or private property?

    Maybe I'm wrong but the lack of model release and private property permission requirements seem to make landscapes more attractive for commercial purposes.

    And as VPWPhoto said, most people would avoid hanging a stranger's photo on their wall but a river or mountain wouldn't attract the same kind of doubts.
     
  22. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd say in this case, why not just agree to the 50/50 contract with the fellow. No, it is not normal, but I think it is pretty much a moot point in this particular case. And it is a good, cheap, and harmless way to learn a little lesson for next time, when it might really matter.
     
  23. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I think if this guy actually is a friend of yours, I'm not sure why it's a problem to split the money. It'll probably be pennies if anything, but isn't sharing what friends do?
     
  24. KanFotog

    KanFotog Member

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    2F/2F: The whole thing started because he suggested I sell copies. There is no sale happening so no real money. What I am splitting right now is hairs :smile:

    thegman: He is a friend and we often share lunch/dinner. Money has never been an issue.
    However, in terms of photographic principles, I've borne the efforts and costs of equipment, deciding the pose, arranging lighting, making the shot, getting the roll processed printed and scanned.

    Given these facts, if at all there was a sale, I don't think 50/50 would be justified.
    I'll probably spend all the earnings to celebrate my very first sale.
    This friend would of course be a part of it but, principally, no 50/50.

    Maybe in future if he does half the work...

    Cheers,
    Som
     
  25. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I "grabbed" a photo at a car show of some girls in bobby socks and saddle shoes against the wheel of a friends Buick.
    I never sold a print, but did win a jurried show award (no cash) and this guy thinks I own him hundreds of dollars.
    I have a print in my studio and he comes by and always makes comments.... sour grapes, I did give him an 11x14.
     
  26. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The bigger point I was trying to make is not that the legal/financial (and marketing btw) were important (which they are), my point is that they are the business.

    I seriously disagree. As would Elliot Erwitt, Henri Catier-Bresson, Karsh, most every National Geographic photographer, ...

    Sure landscapes are legally easy, socially easy, generally hold still, and don't complain much, so what?

    Every Tom, Dick, & Harry can compete with you too.

    If you really want to be successful, even in landscape, you need to do the 80-90% of the work that others aren't willing to do.
     
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