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Freelance Fees Guide

June 26th, 2014

Potographers working on commission charge by time, typically by the day. However the photographer is the owner of the intellectual property in the work, and while the day rate charged includes an initial licence for reproducing the photographs, the commission fee in fact represents the figure below which a photographer is not prepared or cannot afford to work.

This figure varies according to individual circumstances but should start at around £400 per day before production charges and expenses.

It has to cover all overheads and capital investment before producing enough in a three or four day week to pay a salary high enough to cover holidays, periods of sickness, and a pension. Three full days is usually about as much as can be fitted in between preparation before the work, post production and delivery after, with time to spare for all the other aspects of running a business including marketing and accountancy. Allowing, after holidays, for a 48 week year, that leaves 144 days to produce the the estimated turnover, which can be 2- 2.5 times the required salary.

Each photographer has to work out this figure according to their requirements, their costs, and the number of days they can work in a year.

The NUJ provides a calculator for photographers to work out their own figures.

Static day rates now leave many photographers working below the level at which it possible to earn a professional income. The only long-term solution is to establish a higher day rate which over a period of time would provide a living. In the short term many photographers accept lower rates in the hope of surviving through subsequent reproduction fee sales. No photographer should work for less than £250 per day.

As mentioned above, the commission fee should include an initial limited licence for reproduction, to be negotiated between the photographer and the client, beyond which further reproduction fees are chargeable. Typically photographers working for editorial markets restrict reproduction to one issue of a newspaper or magazine, and further restrict the number of reproductions included, for instance six per day or three per half day.

Some may charge a premium for use on the cover. Some charge "day rates against space".

Day rates against space
Under this arrangement the day rate is a guarantee only, and licence fees are paid in full for first as well as subsequent usage. Historically, day rates were introduced as a guaranteed minimum for photographers who had traditionally been paid on commission by space rates alone, and who therefore risked being paid for no more than one small picture - or even nothing at all. "Day rates against space" are therefore not so much an innovation as a return to paying photographers in full for the licensed use of their pictures. For working example of such an arrangement see the Business Week deal (RTF file).

For further guidance on licensing see Negotiating rates and rights.

There is no such thing as a half day
Even the shortest jobs end up taking the best part of a day. The time quoted includes travel to and from, and processing/delivery after the job. No job should be invoiced at less than a day. However, in a buyers market, photographers often have to charge for shorter periods, of half a day or a number of hours The licence included in these fees is usually more limited. A half day should be charged at no less than 60% of a day.

7 Beginners Tips For Shooting Sports And Action

June 26th, 2014

7 Beginners Tips For Shooting Sports And Action

In sports and wildlife shooting, itís all about getting that one particular moment that happens within a fraction of a second. Mastering the techniques to shooting sports will be able to help you progress as a photographer as those skills can be used in other forms such as photojournalism, weddings and street candids. My mentor has been kind enough to pass along some of his knowledge to me.

1. Get The Right Lenses
To shoot sports, youíre usually best off with telephoto lenses. A lens with a max aperture of F2.8 will do well because you can do more with less light, and you can always stop it down if the lighting permits. As for focal lengths, you may find yourself shooting more at the longer end of your lens. Donít spend too much time zooming in and out though or else you can lose your shot, the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 works for me.

2. Use A Monopod If You Can
While a monopod is not always an option, it can be a life saver if you are going to be shooting for an extended period of time. This is especially true with longer lenses because it'll help you reduce camera shake and make more effective use of slower shutter speeds. By letting a monopod hold the weight of your camera and lens, you will be slower to fatigue and your back, neck and arms will thank you the next day. Most importantly, youíll get more keepers out of you dayís shooting, which is what weíre after anyway, right?

3. Frame ItTight
Ensure that your framing shows what you want to get across and nothing more. Thatís very important in sports photography as we usually see lots of wide to telephoto shots when watching the game from the comfort of our living rooms.

4. Capture The Emotions
Emotions are everything in a game and every athlete displays them. Shooting these emotions during exciting moments can work out well to your benefit because it will help you with portraiture, street candids, weddings, etc.

In sports, itís all about the players. Basketball and tennis players always display emotions and itís easy to see because their faces arenít obstructed. In a game like football, it can be harder to capture these moments and it requires more from the photographer because body language has to be read.

5. Time Your Shot To Pull Off An Exciting Photo
This all varies on which sport youíre shooting. In baseball it can be a well-timed slide, the moment the ball hits the bat (or right before it), an excellent catch, etc. In basketball and football, the athletes can be in the air. Those are amazing shots to catch and require high shutter speeds and often high ISO shooting.

Granted though, if you pay attention well and predict the athletes movements you donít always need to shoot at 8fps. Iíve never shot above 3.5fps for sports. Itís all about looking through your viewfinder, framing in tightly to really focus on what youíre looking for and releasing the shutter button at that critical moment.

6. Use Shutter Speed To Show Motion
You can use shutter speed to help show off the action thatís going on in front of you. Whether you are using a fast shutter speed to freeze someone midair or using a slower shutter speed to convey a sense of motion by panning and creating a blur, shutter speed is a key component of the sports photographerís creative vision. Use it wisely and you will create motion within a still image.

7. Keep Your Eye In The Viewfinder (most of the time)
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. You need to always pay attention because you will never get another chance to get a shot like the one that you missed. Take your eye out of the viewfinder if you get lost and need to figure out whatís going on. After that, focus on what youíre going to shoot and follow that subject accordingly.