Usage and Pricing of Photography in Social Media

aphotoeditor
Oct 14, 2014 · 5 min read

By Suzanne Sease, creative consultant

Many photographers and photo editors have asked me to look into rates for social media use. I reached out to Suzanne Sease for the first of what will be a series of articles looking into the pricing and usage. – rob

When Rob asked me to reach out to Art Directors and Art Producers to get an idea of what photographers are charging for social media, I got a surprising lesson. Since I was an Art Producer for over 20 years, I am very fortunate to be able to reach out to those currently in the field. To get a more complete understanding of pricing I spoke with people from traditional advertising agencies to social media ad agencies to in house corporate ad agencies. These businesses were all over the country from large to small cities.

I found quite a range in pricing with free use from amateurs to inexpensive stock to photographers shooting original content making the best rates. Several articles I found mentioned clients taking the ad budget for TV and allocating it to social media to use the free venues (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube to name a few) to promote their brand. Because these venues are free, clients sometimes put little value in paying for images. Many have social media marketing rolled into use by asking for unlimited. Some said they spell it out like consumer print, social and internet because they don’t need trade. If they don’t have a great budget they will not ask for unlimited because it is print where the money is spent and social is thrown in.

Many clients doing social media only are looking for stock and a Senior Art Producer at large top agency I talked to said they pay as little as $50.00 to $65.00 per image for use with top brands. The images were anything from a scuba diver, grandfather and grandson fishing, a campfire, sandcastle on the beach, and cows grazing that were shot well. These images came from Getty, Masterfile, Corbis and Shutterstock.

One Creative Director at a social media advertising agency said they felt that places like Flickr, Tumblr and Instagram were going to make a photographers business harder while another Senior Art Producer said that Flickr was a dangerous alternative, because releases are not filed and determining if the person who posted the image is actually the true owner of the copyright can be difficult. They said they will only work with known stock companies because their contracts protect as well as indemnify their client. Another Senior Art Producer at another large International ad agency said they recommend clients purchase royalty free images from $300 to $500 each so they can use it forever. They also said that banner ads would price between $500 and $700 for year with a rights managed image. If they used rights managed images for social media, the range is $300 to $500 for the year.

There are some photographers who have positioned themselves to work on social media campaigns. I interviewed one photographer who has been asked to do many social media only campaigns and the fees have a huge disparity because of different client budgets. On the high end, they got around $8,000 for 6 shots in 1 day of shooting.On the low end was $650 for one image/unlimited usage. They said that most clients are looking for quick images that do not have the detail and production value of a print shoot. On the average shoot, the client wants up to 25 images with social media use only for around $5,000.

The best way to position yourself is to be on a retainer for a client so you can shoot when the client has an immediate need (sometimes in real time). This goes for about $10,000 a month for social media use only.

A Creative Director at a social media ad agency said they would pay $500.00 for a one image shoot with lasting 2–3 hours total (pre-pro, shoot and edit). This is how fast clients want to get their social media marketing up. And for shoots when they need 15–25 images in one day, their client pays $2,000 max. Some clients will have usage based on time but more and more are asking for unlimited.

An example of the speed of the images needed, if you remember during the 2013 Super Bowl when the power went out, it was the ad agency for Oreo (They use several agencies from Weiden + Kennedy and The Martin Agency where I once worked) who sent this tweet out and it was advertising gold. It was because usage had been covered in the original negotiation that allowed them to tweet it.

Kit Kat just surpassed Oreo at Apple’s expense with the “bending” iPhone 6 plus.

And then there is Real Time, where someone is hired to shoot and send images out as they are shot. The fashion industry likes to do this as well as brands holding an event to get more people to the event. In this situation they will pay about $1,000 to $2,000.00 per day plus expenses for a full buyout.

Finally and unfortunately in some cases advertisers are starting to use everyday people to add to their social media marketing to give their brand more attention. They are not paying for the rights to use those image.

Here are some interesting articles I found:

http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/marketing-budget-shifts-from-traditional-to-digital-media-may-be-slowing-42159/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2011/08/26/online-ad-spend-to-overtake-tv/

http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/the-30-most-brilliant-social-media-campaigns-of-2014-so-far/

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be brand driven and not specialty. Follow her at SuzanneSease.

She is presenting with Kat Dalager Market Right 2014 in NYC on Wednesday, October 29th http://yodelist.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/were-proud-to-announce-market-right-2014/

Originally published at www.aphotoeditor.com on October 13, 2014.

    aphotoeditor

    Written by

    Rob Haggart - Former Director of Photography at Men's Journal and Outside Magazine

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