Boilerplates

Questions for the resident (former) agent
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Darcy
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Boilerplates

Post by Darcy » November 23rd, 2011, 11:43 am

This is a little here and there. And not writerly, exactly. But I've just contracted with a Big Six to do some head shots of one of their authors for a very small fee. They've asked me to sign a contract giving them worldwide exclusive rights for ten years. They have the right to edit my images however they like, and I can't even use them in my own portfolio without their permission. Does this sound right? Or, are they taking advantage?

Doug Pardee
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by Doug Pardee » November 23rd, 2011, 4:22 pm

My slightly-knowledgeable opinion: In a work-for-hire situation, you don't hold any rights at all to the photos. It sounds like the publisher's trying to split the difference, giving you some rights after ten years in return for not paying you very much.

Also, I would note that depending on the laws where you live, the author could also have some amount of control over what you do with their photos. Even if the publisher agreed, the author might not permit you to have the photos in your portfolio.

My advice: do it for the money. If the money isn't enough — along with the photographic experience you'd gain and, if you care, the opportunity to meet the author — then turn it down. This is not an opportunity to collect photos of the author.

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Mira
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by Mira » November 23rd, 2011, 10:34 pm

This is an interesting question.

I don't know the answer, but I wanted to say that I'm impressed that you were hired by a well-known publisher. No matter what you decide, I think that's pretty validating! Kudos!

Sommer Leigh
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by Sommer Leigh » November 25th, 2011, 11:50 am

I sent an email to Amanda Plavich and asked her to come weigh in. I know she's a photographer and has answered questions about freelance work before. Hopefully she can give us some insight!
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Mira
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by Mira » November 26th, 2011, 12:16 pm

Wow Sommer. That's awesome of you!

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charlotte49ers
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by charlotte49ers » November 26th, 2011, 8:45 pm

Hey! Sorry it's taken me a bit to respond. Gotta love the holiday crazy! :D

I don't claim to be an expert on freelance stuff because I've only done touches of it. I did shots for a HarperCollins author, but the publisher didn't ask for rights. They just wanted something in writing giving them permission to use the shots on the book jackets and in promotions. But I worked with the author directly. The editing part is common, as even in traditional portrait digital purchases, they have the right to edit if they really want to (plus, that covers them for B&W conversions, crops, etc.).

I'd have a hard time doing it for a small fee just because I don't need to, if that makes sense. If it's less than what I'd make on a portrait session I wouldn't be able to justify the time I'd have to put into it, especially since they'd own the rights and I wouldn't even get public credit for it.

It really comes down to if it is worth it to you.

Sommer Leigh
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by Sommer Leigh » November 28th, 2011, 3:18 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Amanda! Your experience is always really appreciated.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by Nathan Bransford » November 29th, 2011, 12:38 am

Ha - love these forums, I have no idea about this question but the other answers seem helpful!

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CharleeVale
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Re: Boilerplates

Post by CharleeVale » November 30th, 2011, 11:39 am

charlotte49ers wrote: I don't claim to be an expert on freelance stuff because I've only done touches of it. I did shots for a HarperCollins author, but the publisher didn't ask for rights. They just wanted something in writing giving them permission to use the shots on the book jackets and in promotions. But I worked with the author directly. The editing part is common, as even in traditional portrait digital purchases, they have the right to edit if they really want to (plus, that covers them for B&W conversions, crops, etc.).

I'd have a hard time doing it for a small fee just because I don't need to, if that makes sense. If it's less than what I'd make on a portrait session I wouldn't be able to justify the time I'd have to put into it, especially since they'd own the rights and I wouldn't even get public credit for it.

It really comes down to if it is worth it to you.
I'm a pro photographer as well, (It's one of my many jobs), and I echo this whole heartedly.

If it's not worth it to you, then don't do it. But a potential benefit of doing it is that if you do good work the publishing house may continue to use you, which will mean more money. Pros and cons abound!

CV

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