Forums > Photography Talk > Promo Images For A Band

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

So there's this dude I kinda/sorta know from the past as he used to be in a band with a couple guys I went to high school with.  Now he's in a new 3-piece group and they're looking for promos pictures.

He's interested in hiring me.

With that in mind, his story is typical:
"Just paid for recording; budget is tight."

I heard about a horror story from a friend that makes me hesitant to even consider shooting this.  It was about a guy who did a cheap, $200 photo shoot for a band that actually ended up making it.  They used his work for anything and everything as there was no limit to how it could be used, etc.

I checked these guys' music out and it's actually good.
I just don't want to be kicking myself in the ass in a year.

At the same time, I don't like Ramen noodles.

Thoughts?

Nov 06 13 10:59 am Link

Photographer

Leonard Gee Photography

Posts: 16423

Sacramento, California, US

B R U N O wrote:
At the same time, I don't like Ramen noodles.

Thoughts?

Fresh, hand made noodles in home made stock is good.

Get a limited usage contract, vetted by a competent lawyer and signed by the entire band. Something like the first 5,000 CD covers, news releases/press kit and posters for the 1st year only inside the USA. Renegotiated each year thereafter.

Do not write the contract yourself, nor accept one from their lawyer. Include the contract fee from a good IP lawyer in your price.

Nov 06 13 11:11 am Link

Photographer

TA Craft Photography

Posts: 2877

Bristol, England, United Kingdom

A job is a job, charge your rates less a bit for a friend, if they make it great. 98.9% of bands don't make it big time.

If a young model come to you for a portfolio would you change what you charge just because she might, just might make it big time?

T

Nov 06 13 11:12 am Link

Photographer

Fusion Imagery

Posts: 525

Centerville, Ohio, US

This same thing happened to a guy I know as well.  Now I guess he still gives the 'local band rate', $200 or whatever, but also is pretty explicit in his usage agreement (time, market, # of uses,...).

Nov 06 13 11:13 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

Leonard Gee Photography wrote:

Fresh, hand made noodles in home made stock is good.

Get a limited usage contract, vetted by a competent lawyer and signed by the entire band. Something like the first 5,000 CD covers, news releases/press kit and posters for the 1st year only inside the USA. Renegotiated each year thereafter.

Do not write the contract yourself, nor accept one from their lawyer. Include the contract fee from a good IP lawyer in your price.

Good call.  Only problem is that I pay for that and am left with basically nothing since the budget it relatively not much.  On the plus side, I'd have the document to use for the future.  But I don't exactly shoot many bands, if any at all.

Nov 06 13 11:36 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

TA Craft Photography wrote:
A job is a job, charge your rates less a bit for a friend, if they make it great. 98.9% of bands don't make it big time.

If a young model come to you for a portfolio would you change what you charge just because she might, just might make it big time?

T

I don't really take on portfolio shoots for young, non-agency models.  That kinda work pays nothing when you consider the work involved - especially if you're like me, not wanting to put your name on anything that sucks.

Also, he's not really a friend.  More just someone I know.  And the fact that 99% of bands don't make it will make it sting that much more IF, by chance, they do.

Nov 06 13 11:39 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

Fusion Imagery wrote:
This same thing happened to a guy I know as well.  Now I guess he still gives the 'local band rate', $200 or whatever, but also is pretty explicit in his usage agreement (time, market, # of uses,...).

Good usage agreement... coming up.  Gonna find someone to write this up for me.

Nov 06 13 11:40 am Link

Photographer

Leonard Gee Photography

Posts: 16423

Sacramento, California, US

B R U N O wrote:
Good call.  Only problem is that I pay for that and am left with basically nothing since the budget it relatively not much.  On the plus side, I'd have the document to use for the future.

Reasonable lawyer can modify a boilerplate contract for $50-$250. Plus $200-$600 for photo session and a image is perfectly reasonable compared to recording session + mix prices.

Don't screw up the contract. The little things can get you.

Nov 06 13 11:41 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

Leonard Gee Photography wrote:
Don't screw up the contract. The little things can get you.

Thanks, Leonard.  I'll keep that in mind as I proceed.

Nov 06 13 11:48 am Link

Photographer

Mikey McMichaels

Posts: 2313

New York, New York, US

B R U N O wrote:

I don't really take on portfolio shoots for young, non-agency models.  That kinda work pays nothing when you consider the work involved - especially if you're like me, not wanting to put your name on anything that sucks.

Also, he's not really a friend.  More just someone I know.  And the fact that 99% of bands don't make it will make it sting that much more IF, by chance, they do.

I shot photos for a band right before their third major label release. They decided they wanted to use some and end up very upset when the idea was presented that they couldn't use as many photos as they wanted for any use for a flat day rate. One member told me they'd never heard of paying based on use.

The thing is, that's possible, since most major label album art shoots are buyouts and the label pays for the artwork. The point is, a band can have an emotional reaction that can affect your relationship with them permanently.


In other words, these days, clients can end up with the upper hand through ignorance.


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush in this case.

Nov 06 13 04:07 pm Link

Photographer

LisaTiffanyPhotography

Posts: 59

Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Another vote for the limited usage contract. My main work is with bands both on shoots and on the road/live. I've shot plenty of bands where I've handed over samples from a show only to find them show up not just on CD and EP covers but even endorsing equipment such as amps and guitars. I'd say 80% of the bands I've shot this year were on the level and stuck to the deal but the other 20% are the ones I wish I never dealt with. An example from this week alone is a band I shot maybe 4 months ago, I was doing a backwards image search to randomly see where certain images may have showed up and one of them was an official equipment endorsement - not only did they give the site the picture they never gave me a photo credit.

I'd say be very careful when you do agree to shoot a band even if they are local and seem fairly easy going, when a label does get involved they will use any imagery they can get their hands on and then forward it onto PR companies who send it anywhere they please. With CD's especially if you agree to do a shoot for say $200 and that band have a major break through they are not obliged to pay extra since you already signed off on the photo's. I've seen my work show up on sites for companies like Orange (amps) Ibanez, Gibson, Yamaha (guitars) and a few more without any permission even asked, when it comes to any form of music shoots of publicity make sure you are covered and get the proper fee from the get-go.

Nov 06 13 06:36 pm Link

Photographer

Loki Studio

Posts: 3023

Royal Oak, Michigan, US

Bands are notoriously cheap customers.  You can limit use to 1 year and exclude any retail products such as digital downloads, CDs, or tshirts without an additional fee.

When any customer wants a discount, you should make it clear that the value of your service must be reduced.  I usually reduce the number of final edited images, reduce the use time period, or exclude some uses such as retail products.

Nov 07 13 03:53 am Link

Photographer

Darryl Henick

Posts: 31

Davis, California, US

Pay attention to Leonard.  I did photos of a Hall of Fame NFL lineman when he was in college, now his rookie cards are selling on ebay.  I didn't see a dime anywhere since i didn't do any kind of contract. 

The plus side is i'm still friends with the player, but get a good lawyer to write up something, never know where the band might go.  Tell them to take you on tour as their photographer if they go worldwide.

Nov 07 13 05:48 am Link

Photographer

Mortonovich

Posts: 5554

San Diego, California, US

B R U N O wrote:
Thoughts?

Be sure to go to a couple of their shows first and see how hot their groupies are.

lol

Nov 07 13 08:33 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

Loki Studio wrote:
Bands are notoriously cheap customers.  You can limit use to 1 year and exclude any retail products such as digital downloads, CDs, or tshirts without an additional fee.

When any customer wants a discount, you should make it clear that the value of your service must be reduced.  I usually reduce the number of final edited images, reduce the use time period, or exclude some uses such as retail products.

Yeah, this shoot just isn't going to happen.  The lead singer wants usage for CDs and "typical band stuff" (AKA merch) and the payout he's offering me strikes me as insulting at best.  On top of that, he keeps including, "All we need are some cool black and whites.  No big deal, right?"  Well, if it's no big deal, I figure he can go take his Starbucks check equivalent amount of cash and splurge elsewhere.

Nov 07 13 10:12 pm Link

Photographer

Mikey McMichaels

Posts: 2313

New York, New York, US

Nov 07 13 11:41 pm Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

B R U N O wrote:

Yeah, this shoot just isn't going to happen.  The lead singer wants usage for CDs and "typical band stuff" (AKA merch) and the payout he's offering me strikes me as insulting at best.  On top of that, he keeps including, "All we need are some cool black and whites.  No big deal, right?"  Well, if it's no big deal, I figure he can go take his Starbucks check equivalent amount of cash and splurge elsewhere.

Send them to me or send me their contact info. I'll shoot it.

Nov 07 13 11:44 pm Link

Photographer

PhillipM

Posts: 6555

Martin, Tennessee, US

quote him a price 25% less than your norm... Let him know that. 

He might bite, and appreciate the offer.

Tell him you just bought some new gear and money is tight.  smile

Nov 08 13 04:24 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

MC Photo wrote:

Send them to me or send me their contact info. I'll shoot it.

... or you can go find your own clients. borat

Nov 08 13 05:53 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

PhillipM wrote:
quote him a price 25% less than your norm... Let him know that. 

He might bite, and appreciate the offer.

Tell him you just bought some new gear and money is tight.  smile

He's not coming up with his budget.  He thinks I'm both stupid and desperate.

Nov 08 13 05:54 am Link

Photographer

David Kirk

Posts: 4502

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

B R U N O wrote:

... or you can go find your own clients. borat

If you're not interested in shooting this (for the money they are offering) then why not refer them to someone who is?

Nov 08 13 06:57 am Link

Photographer

Loki Studio

Posts: 3023

Royal Oak, Michigan, US

David Kirk wrote:

If you're not interested in shooting this (for the money they are offering) then why not refer them to someone who is?

huh??

Why would a real professional help a potential client who sees little or no value in quality photography?  Would another photographer be less taken advantage of by unreasonable terms simply because they have less experience?

You will meet many people who simply want everything for nothing.  I have told them "For that price, you can rent my gear and take the photos yourself"

Nov 08 13 07:22 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

David Kirk wrote:
If you're not interested in shooting this (for the money they are offering) then why not refer them to someone who is?

Because those people are the downfall of the industry as far as I'm concerned.  Anyone willing to take $150 to shoot band promos for "typical band stuff" (reason I was given) with no cap on usage is a fucking idiot who needs to find another job.

Nov 08 13 07:30 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

Loki Studio wrote:

huh??

Why would a real professional help a potential client who sees little or no value in quality photography?  Would another photographer be less taken advantage of by unreasonable terms simply because they have less experience?

You will meet many people who simply want everything for nothing.  I have told them "For that price, you can rent my gear and take the photos yourself"

Exactly.  Thank you.

Nov 08 13 07:30 am Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

Loki Studio wrote:

huh??

Why would a real professional help a potential client who sees little or no value in quality photography?  Would another photographer be less taken advantage of by unreasonable terms simply because they have less experience?

You will meet many people who simply want everything for nothing.  I have told them "For that price, you can rent my gear and take the photos yourself"

Because professional photography is a service, not an art.

This band has no choice but to find someone they can afford. Convincing them of the value will not increase their budget. Making a great photo that actually promotes them and leads to a bigger fan base, might and that's where the real value of the photo is.

It may be because of less experience, or it may be because of more experience. My experience is that jobs like this always lead to more money. Sometimes from that client, but more often from new clients generated by that job or the next band formed by one or two after this one breaks up.

I've expressed and interest in a rejected job. They need someone who will do it. Not making the introduction on principle shows the kind of thinking that does not lead to success.

Nov 08 13 10:11 am Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

B R U N O wrote:

Because those people are the downfall of the industry as far as I'm concerned.  Anyone willing to take $150 to shoot band promos for "typical band stuff" (reason I was given) with no cap on usage is a fucking idiot who needs to find another job.

The downfall of the industry is a result of the change in advertising, which has decreased budgets.

It's also a result of an inevitable change in technology which removes the need for technical skill, and leave only the need for artistic skill.

If a photographer could assure a certain sales figure through their photos, the band would find a way to come up with the money, or offer back end. There are photographers who have a track record of doing that, and make a lot of money shooting advertising. 

It may not be the photos that they're not valuing, it may be you.


They're going to find someone else. You have the choice of getting nothing out of it, or having a band and a photographer owe you a favor.

Nov 08 13 10:18 am Link

Photographer

David Kirk

Posts: 4502

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Loki Studio wrote:

huh??

Why would a real professional help a potential client who sees little or no value in quality photography?  Would another photographer be less taken advantage of by unreasonable terms simply because they have less experience?

You will meet many people who simply want everything for nothing.  I have told them "For that price, you can rent my gear and take the photos yourself"

Maybe you'll have to educate me on what a "real professional" is then.  In my opinion, when someone comes to such a "real professional" and asks for a product/service that they don't offer at a price the customer can afford then the "real professional" should refer them to someone who does.

It's not a matter of another photographer being taken advantage of.  It is a matter of referring them to a photographer that has a business model which provides them what they want.  Is it exactly the same product?  Of course not, but it is one they can afford.  Not everyone can afford a Lexus and many times a Hyundai is good enough. 

Another photographer has expressed interest even after reading this thread.  That ought to tell you something.

Nov 08 13 11:10 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

MC Photo wrote:
The downfall of the industry is a result of the change in advertising, which has decreased budgets.

It's also a result of an inevitable change in technology which removes the need for technical skill, and leave only the need for artistic skill.

If a photographer could assure a certain sales figure through their photos, the band would find a way to come up with the money, or offer back end. There are photographers who have a track record of doing that, and make a lot of money shooting advertising. 

It may not be the photos that they're not valuing, it may be you.


They're going to find someone else. You have the choice of getting nothing out of it, or having a band and a photographer owe you a favor.

First of all, I disagree.  And I'm entitled to my own opinion just as you are.

2. This guy asked me to do photos for him last year when he was in another band and he's doing it again now.  Either he loves my work (doubtful but possibly practical) or he can't find anyone else to commit to the gig as thankfully most people feel as I feel.  Also, comedically enough and for what it's worth, I do think it's a particular style (or art) he's after.

3. Consider that, while may share a city of residence, I travel.  And since the holidays are here, I'll be heading back to Chicago for a bit where I have family.  That's why in my initial post I mentioned dudes I attended high school with.  They're from back home.  So even if I wanted you and them to be in debt to me (but I don't), I couldn't make it work.

In fact, thinking further about my second point...
NO ONE legit in Chicago would do this for less than $500.

That's probably why he's back to me cause he knows I'll at least consider.

Now, instead of insulting me and bagging on my logic or whatever, why don't you think about why (as a part of bands who make solid music) this guy can't get promo images done for either of his last two bands in a year's span of time?  Lemme know what you come up with.

Nov 08 13 11:32 am Link

Photographer

Leonard Gee Photography

Posts: 16423

Sacramento, California, US

David Kirk wrote:
Maybe you'll have to educate me on what a "real professional" is then.

A real professional may ask for a referral, but when the other person doesn't - they don't get into a fit and start a extended discussion on the reasons, the logic or the motivation. They allow the other person to have their opinions, even if they disagree.

The reasons on either side all may be valid.

Nov 08 13 11:33 am Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

Leonard Gee Photography wrote:

A real professional may ask for a referral, but when the other person doesn't - they don't get into a fit and start a extended discussion on the reasons, the logic or the motivation. They allow the other person to have their opinions, even if they disagree.

The reasons on either side all may be valid.

Sounds about right...

I think my mom taught me something like that when I was 7.

Nov 08 13 11:35 am Link

Photographer

David Kirk

Posts: 4502

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Leonard Gee Photography wrote:

A real professional may ask for a referral, but when the other person doesn't - they don't get into a fit and start a extended discussion on the reasons, the logic or the motivation. They allow the other person to have their opinions, even if they disagree.

The reasons on either side all may be valid.

Everybody has their reasons and that's cool.  I was only reacting to the comment made that a "real professional" should obviously not offer a referral in such a situation.

Nov 08 13 11:52 am Link

Photographer

Solas

Posts: 9537

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

My head is spinning, you guys are way overthinking this. This may help.. and other similar reading, http://www.themarketingguywhodrivessale … /psell.htm

I just looked at your profile,

B R U N O wrote:
About me
I should make it known that I don't shoot just to shoot.
I shoot girls I'm attracted to and people who inspire me.

...which lets me and anyone else viewing it know you're less than serious about pursuing this as a profession...so why go through all the complexity of treating it as such? ... which of the band members are you attracted to? Do it for a date with a groupie! wink

I agree with David Kirk, you should let this one slide. Or just do it for the hell of it for the buddy. Maybe you can get beer money or negotiate free concerts for life, everywhere they play, front row seats. That'll impress the girls smile

Nov 08 13 12:03 pm Link

Photographer

Brooklyn Bridge Images

Posts: 9785

Brooklyn, New York, US

B R U N O wrote:

Agree with your plan to take a pass
Cheapo clients usually turn out to be the most difficult and demanding.

Nov 08 13 12:11 pm Link

Photographer

Leonard Gee Photography

Posts: 16423

Sacramento, California, US

1. A band should understand the value of a song. They don't sell a song to another person for $7.50 and allow that person to make 5,000 copies to distribute. Like wise, paying $100 or $250 for some B&W images and they using them for life on whatever and however many items to make a profit of zero to 10s of millions is not a great business model for the photographer.

2. Any photographer can decide what they want their images are worth. No one wants to debate how much you think your images are worth.

3. A referral or no referral is up to the photographer in question.

4. How much business a referral is worth is has no answer. Some jobs have no interest for me and aren't worth my consideration. If you think every referral has value, berating me into that concept is a waste of time.

Nov 08 13 12:24 pm Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

B R U N O wrote:

First of all, I disagree.  And I'm entitled to my own opinion just as you are.

2. This guy asked me to do photos for him last year when he was in another band and he's doing it again now.  Either he loves my work (doubtful but possibly practical) or he can't find anyone else to commit to the gig as thankfully most people feel as I feel.  Also, comedically enough and for what it's worth, I do think it's a particular style (or art) he's after.

3. Consider that, while may share a city of residence, I travel.  And since the holidays are here, I'll be heading back to Chicago for a bit where I have family.  That's why in my initial post I mentioned dudes I attended high school with.  They're from back home.  So even if I wanted you and them to be in debt to me (but I don't), I couldn't make it work.

In fact, thinking further about my second point...
NO ONE legit in Chicago would do this for less than $500.

That's probably why he's back to me cause he knows I'll at least consider.

Now, instead of insulting me and bagging on my logic or whatever, why don't you think about why (as a part of bands who make solid music) this guy can't get promo images done for either of his last two bands in a year's span of time?  Lemme know what you come up with.

Wouldn't it have been easier to say that it's in Chicago rather than writing a bunch of hostile replies in the first place?

Nov 08 13 12:25 pm Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

Leonard Gee Photography wrote:

A real professional may ask for a referral, but when the other person doesn't - they don't get into a fit and start a extended discussion on the reasons, the logic or the motivation. They allow the other person to have their opinions, even if they disagree.

The reasons on either side all may be valid.

The only person having a fit is Bruno.

Nov 08 13 12:27 pm Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

Karl Johnston wrote:
My head is spinning, you guys are way overthinking this. This may help.. and other similar reading, http://www.themarketingguywhodrivessale … /psell.htm

I just looked at your profile,


...which lets me and anyone else viewing it know you're less than serious about pursuing this as a profession...so why go through all the complexity of treating it as such? ... which of the band members are you attracted to? Do it for a date with a groupie! wink

I agree with David Kirk, you should let this one slide. Or just do it for the hell of it for the buddy. Maybe you can get beer money or negotiate free concerts for life, everywhere they play, front row seats. That'll impress the girls smile

Close but no cigar, Karl.

My profile is what it is because this is Model Mayhem.  What I've written limits my contact to only those I'd potentially wanna work with and quite successfully in recent times.  So maybe you should reconsider your thought process before you go basing my entire career plan off it.

But, anyway - yes, I'm taking the advice of David and all you guys who agree with him.  I've already responded to the singer and have since kindly declined his job offer.

Nov 08 13 12:28 pm Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

MC Photo wrote:

Wouldn't it have been easier to say that it's in Chicago rather than writing a bunch of hostile replies in the first place?

Because that wasn't even relevant until you included yourself and made it so.

Nov 08 13 12:30 pm Link

Photographer

Solas

Posts: 9537

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

B R U N O wrote:
Close but no cigar, Karl.

My profile is what it is because this is Model Mayhem.  What I've written limits my contact to only those I'd potentially wanna work with and quite successfully in recent times.  So maybe you should reconsider your thought process before you go basing my entire career plan off it.

No disrespect meant man, to be honest I've never heard or seen of you before, your work is unfamiliar to me and your website goes nowhere..so I have to wonder, what "career plan" are you referring to?

My thought process is, based on first impressions of your profile, you have none...and want none...so why go through the nonsense of trying to figure out what to charge?

I sure as fuck wouldn't, personally, yaknow? big_smile

Nov 08 13 12:31 pm Link

Photographer

BOYWITHCAMERA

Posts: 1865

Los Angeles, California, US

MC Photo wrote:
The only person having a fit is Bruno.

Is that what I'm doing?  I thought I was just sitting here, enjoying a documentary on Anton Corbijn and a nice chat with my Model Mayhem friends over a cup of chamomile tea.

/shrug

Nov 08 13 12:33 pm Link