Paying for my photograph with a hamburger

This is sort of a follow-up to my previous post Amateurs and hobbyists, don’t sell yourself short.

Last week, a design firm contacted me about using a few of my photos on murals, that would decorate the inside of a nationally famous family-casual restaurant. I put together pricing that, I thought, was fair but slightly higher than what I was hoping for, just to have some negotiating room.

The firm came back with a counter offer that was so incredibly laughable that I was certain we would never see eye to eye.

I did a quick Google search on cost to build such a restaurant. Between the land, the stand-alone building, the fixtures and all the other associated fees, this website estimated a 3 million to 6 million initial investment. The offer I got for my photos, about $7.50 each.

Now I can understand, in this tough economy, any business person will do their best to lower costs. But do you sense a disparity here? And the reason the design firm offered this “generous payment”, I supposed, is that they’ve had takers in the past. You see they found me through Flickr and I’m sure they were hoping that their standard amateur pricing would be adequate.

Of course, you know how this ended. Ironically, the payment they were offering per photo would be less than getting a hamburger at this restaurant. But hey, if I sold 4 photos, I could almost pay for a family meal, if we opted for water to quench our thirst. The tip? Well I’ll need to sell another photo to pay for that.

10 thoughts on “Paying for my photograph with a hamburger

  1. Interesting. So what did you think was a fair price?
    $7.50 is barely the cost of a print, let alone a use license. Plus, while some might be able to justify this as an advertising opportunity… it’s not like they were going to watermark your photos. I bet know one would ever see your credits.

    1. Let’s just say that my price was a lot more than a order of magnitude higher than their offer.

      I think photo credit is bogus. It rarely yields any views/business to be worth it.

  2. That is infinitely sleazy on the part of the restaurant chain or its decor contractor.
    Name both. I’ll forward a copy to the client’s management.

    1. Mike, something that may not be completely clear on my post is that I’m not really blaming the company per say. It is all of us, amateur photographers and perhaps some pros that are responsible for the degrading of photo prices.

      “We” collectively should not be accepting this low payment or free with a promise of a photo credit. This is what drives the prices lower.

      A business like an individual is going to shop around for lower prices and is not going to pay higher prices out of the goodness of their heart.

      The supplier of the service must eventually refuse to offer the product/service for such a low price.

  3. The problem is so many photographers WILL give their stuff away … It makes it very hard for anyone else to sell things at something like a fair price.

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