Cost for author's photo?

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JES
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Cost for author's photo?

Post by JES » April 26th, 2011, 4:35 pm

How much does it cost for a professional author's photo (digital - high-res jpg) that you can use for publicity, book cover, etc., assuming you want exclusive world rights for a year or two? Anyone have any idea? Reasonable guesses?

Not asking for myself, alas, but for a friend. :)

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by sierramcconnell » April 27th, 2011, 3:18 pm

I would think that would be regional to the photographers in their area. We have many professional, good photographers around here and if they know you or a friend recommends you, they can give you a deal. :)
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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by JES » April 27th, 2011, 3:53 pm

Thanks for the reply, Sierra. We did talk about the regional variable, but at this point she's just looking for a ballpark. Hundreds? Thousands?

It seems like it would be different than for stock photos, for which prices are posted all over Web... but who knows!

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by sierramcconnell » April 27th, 2011, 4:03 pm

I wouldn't know because I would probably do my own photograph considering I have a mid-range Nikon and some photography skills. You should probably look on the regional websites as they have listed rates for portrait packages, but be prepared for lots of flash graphics. Dear God their websites are so overblown...

I wouldn't say thousands. I think that's ridiculous. Hundreds maybe, depending on how good you want it to look.
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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by longknife » April 27th, 2011, 4:03 pm

Check out places that do passport photos. They should also be able to do others that would be appropriate.

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charlotte49ers
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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by charlotte49ers » April 28th, 2011, 8:37 am

Keep in mind that when you look at a website, you may see prices for digital copies, but most of the time they are for personal use only.

If you want to use them commercially, you will be required to pay a separate license. Depending on the photographer, this can be time-limited with certain restrictions, or it can be a one-time fee. It's really an individual thing. I'm not sure about typical cost (I've only shot one for a HC author and we haven't hashed out the license cost yet - waiting until closer to pub date and she's a friend, so I don't plan on charging an arm and a leg!), but if you go with a higher-end portrait photographer that yields typically 1K+ for a portrait sessions (after print purchases and session fees), don't expect to get a commercial license for a couple hundred bucks.

I've searched and searched my photography forums to find an estimate of where to start, but I can't find any advice re: pricing worth anything. :/

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by Quill » April 28th, 2011, 10:26 am

Wow, a commercial photographer whom you pay to take picture of you requires you to license that picture, too?

Forget that. Hire a friend with a decent camera, or a photography student.

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by sierramcconnell » April 28th, 2011, 10:44 am

Agreed. It's a stupid picture that's going to be about this big. No one is going to look at it for more than five seconds anyway. I'm not even going to have one unless an agent wants one. And then they can pay for it! :D

(Of course, the reason I don't want one isn't for cost, it's for the fact that you really don't want to look at a weak, exhausted, sallow frail person when reading a good story. Yes, there's an undead character in there, but you want to imagine one. Not see one on the back cover.)
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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by charlotte49ers » April 28th, 2011, 10:47 am

Quill wrote:Wow, a commercial photographer whom you pay to take picture of you requires you to license that picture, too?

Forget that. Hire a friend with a decent camera, or a photography student.
I guess I'm not understanding you. People who are running a business charge for the use of their art by others, just as you would charge people to read a book you've written. Or were you one of those arguing the piracy thing a few months back? If so, there's no point in discussing this with you, as you and I don't share the same opinion on copyright law.

By all means, hire someone who is a "friend with a camera" or a student, but be aware that you may not be receiving the quality you may desire. It's certainly a valid option. I wouldn't do it if it were for a book jacket, though (personally).

Photography is my passion and I grow very tired of people who think a camera makes a photographer. It's like saying a computer with word processing software makes a writer.

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by sierramcconnell » April 28th, 2011, 10:58 am

There's a difference between artistic photography (I take that) and a dust jacket portrait that is only about two by three inches.

TWO BY THREE INCHES.

There isn't much detail you can get into that once it's been shrunk down and pixeliated to hell and back. There is no reason for you to go to the ends of the earth and hire someone special with a thousands of dollars Nikon for something a low end HP camera or Kodak could get you by with. I've seen some of those pictures. They couldn't set up a photoshoot to save their behinds.

It's about balance, color, and light. Not the amount of money spent. People don't realize that in this day in age. Oh, and Photoshop is not the most OMG amazing thing out there. There was a time before Photoshop, where you MADE IT RIGHT when you took the picture.

Find a good photographer that can get you a deal for a small picture like that. Unless you are wanting the entire back of the book, but I doubt you're going to find a publishing house that wants you to do that until you're a much more established author.

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by charlotte49ers » April 28th, 2011, 11:23 am

How much does it cost for a professional author's photo (digital - high-res jpg) that you can use for publicity, book cover, etc., assuming you want exclusive world rights for a year or two? Anyone have any idea? Reasonable guesses?
This was the OP's question, which I answered. The friend must put value in that picture, as it has more uses than just the book jacket - websites, promotional stuff, etc. If I were self-publishing, etc., I wouldn't see much point in it either, but if you want a professional author photo, then my answer is relevant.
It's about balance, color, and light. Not the amount of money spent. People don't realize that in this day in age. Oh, and Photoshop is not the most OMG amazing thing out there. There was a time before Photoshop, where you MADE IT RIGHT when you took the picture.
I wish it were that easy. And I'm being 100% serious. This misconception is why we have so many God awful "photographers" stealing people's money. :/ I know people who have studied for years and do FAR more harm than good in photoshop, and can't see a color-cast when it's staring at them in the face.

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by sierramcconnell » April 28th, 2011, 11:39 am

It's not easy. It takes practice, patience, and just that right moment. It takes hundreds of failed snaps and many crap photos for that one perfect picture that even you, the photographer, will still find fault in.

But it doesn't always take the best equipment. It doesn't always take all the money in the world. And it doesn't necessitate Photoshop or Adobe After Affects or anything fancy prancy like that.

Taking pictures should be a passion and an art. Not a way to make money. Of course, I've said the same about writing and people miss the point about that one, too. :)
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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by charlotte49ers » April 28th, 2011, 12:23 pm

I could obviously argue that point, as my family time is too important for me to do photography without an incentive (aside from the shots I take for personal reasons). It's insulting to suggest artists are somehow morally bankrupt for charging for their work and time, though I'm sure that wasn't your intention. Since most people don't fancy spending hours working for other people for free, photography is a business so people can have memories for their families (the same memories I can create for my own family, but they don't have the knowledge to do themselves).

And you're right, it doesn't take the best equipment. I routinely surprise people when I tell them what body I shoot with (not that I'm some amazing photographer or anything). ;-)

This is one of my favorite photography related cartoons:

Image

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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by sierramcconnell » April 28th, 2011, 12:36 pm

charlotte49ers wrote:It's insulting to suggest artists are somehow morally bankrupt for charging for their work and time, though I'm sure that wasn't your intention.
First off, I love the cartoon (though it did take me a moment to get it, I'm exhausted from working a full shift yesterday, coming in last night from 11:30pm to 1:30am, and coming in on time this morning).

What I meant was, taking pictures should be a passion and art, not just "OMG I CAN MAKE MONEY WITH THIS THING". Just like everyone thinks "Hey, I could write a book about that". No. You couldn't. You're a moron with a computer. It makes me think of that Family Guy clip of writing in Starbucks. "It doesn't count unless someone sees you doing it." "Hey, I'm gonna write that down!" "Great, can I watch?"

People lose sight of the real meaning and beauty of something when they start looking at money and prices. "OMG how much is this". "OMG how much can I charge people for this".

It's one reason I get so infurated by people in the doll community who make clothing. Yes, making clothes takes effort. The fabric, the machine, and the hand sewing and coming up with ideas is all so time consuming and such. But if you love it and want it to get out there, why the hell are you charging $200 a freaking outfit? You are not CoCo Chanel or Ralph Lauren. Stop trying to be that way. But there are morons out there who will slap that money down and then wonder why the clothes are falling apart six months later.

Because you didn't research. You didn't look at what you were buying, and you didn't see how crappy it was. You saw, "Ooh, $200. It MUST be good!"
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Re: Cost for author's photo?

Post by Cookie » April 28th, 2011, 12:52 pm

charlotte49ers wrote:
Quill wrote:Wow, a commercial photographer whom you pay to take picture of you requires you to license that picture, too?

Forget that. Hire a friend with a decent camera, or a photography student.
I guess I'm not understanding you. People who are running a business charge for the use of their art by others, just as you would charge people to read a book you've written.

I am going to agree with you. You do need a license and special permission to sell and even use the photo. However, if it is for a blog, I *think* it would constitute as promo. You would still need permission to use the photo and a photo credit.

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