There are two main ways photographers charge for their work - either on commission, or through reproduction fees. In either case, as "authors" under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, and therefore owners of the copyright in their photographs, they are in fact issuing licenses to reproduce them. For convenience, however, the suggested rates are listed in the traditional categories of commission and repro fees.
There is a lot of advice to give and we have divided it into the following sections:
Negotiating rates and rights is the key to making practical use of the figures in this guide.
Photographers working on commission charge by time, typically by the day...
For both photographer and client, digital technology can produce results that are better - but not cheaper...
Contracts are best in writing. Oral agreements are legally binding but can be difficult to enforce in court. And putting things in writing, by clarifying the expectations of both parties, can prevent conflict arising in the first place.
The freelance author of a photograph - that is, the person who creates it - is the first owner of the copyright in it. Photographers are frequently put under great pressure to surrender this hard-won right, but are strongly advised never to do so.
Technology for finding photographs is likely to change quite fast. In the fairly near future it may be possible to send a photo to a special search engine that will find other photos that look like it. At the moment, though, your best bet is to search for text that would be likely to be wrapped round a particular photo.
Photographers have found that rapid communication among themselves has become essential - to warn of abuses, to pass on news, and to act collectively to solve problems.
Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.