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Notes on negotiating rates for
Picture editing and research

These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for picture editing and research. And please send us your reports of successful negotiations.

  • The rates are suggested as minima from which freelances will negotiate upward according to their experience and specialist knowledge and the value of the work.
  • It is essential that freelances have clear contracts which specify, among other things:
    • the names of all others who will be handling the images borrowed under the researcher' signature;
    • who is responsible for work that affects the researcher's;
    • who is responsible for returns;
    • who is responsible for paying agencies and photographers - including fees for overdue returns;
    • arrangements for the researcher's expenses; and
    • additional fees to be paid when the job takes longer than forecast, for example when there are changes to the picture list.
  • The rates for shifts do not include paid time off.
  • Freelances who are registered for VAT will add it to every invoice.

‘All-in’ pricing

Clearly, if a client wants an all-in price for a job (particularly common in book publishing or public relations) there should be an agreement on charges applicable when it takes longer than estimates, especially if this is due to the client changing the specifications.

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Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.