Archive for the ‘Ask An Agent’ Category

Ask an Agent / Hair & Make-up for ‘Real People’

June 26, 2015

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

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This month we have a great question from a freelance designer about using a hair & make-up artist on shoots when a very natural look is required.

Dear Ask an Agent,

I need to commission photography for an annual report of several employees. I have got a few quotes in from photographers, some of which include a hair and make-up artist. I don’t want the employees to look over made up though, what’s your take on this? I know a lot of your photographers shoot some very natural images and that you also represent hair and make-up artists. Is it a good idea to have one on a shoot?

Brian Philips. Freelance Designer.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for your question. Nice to have one from a designer. This comes up a lot actually on these kinds of shoots and a lot of people share your concern. When commissioning photography of ‘real people’, and not professional models, the brief is usually to keep everything natural. Some clients even specifically request ‘no hair and make-up’ thinking this will help make the end result more authentic. However, the opposite can often be the case!

In our experience, when people know they are having their picture taken they turn up to work all dolled up, perhaps even after a trip to the hairdressers and looking nothing like they would do at work normally! The job of our hair and make-up artists is often to to ‘de-glam’ the subjects and start again.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 16.46.12© Patrick Harrison / Hair & make-up by Claire Portman

The key is to get the right hair and make-up artist and brief them correctly. Our division LPA Style represents some great artists who have tonnes of experience making people look ‘everyday’. I would wholly recommend you do retain this option on your shoot if budget allows.

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions sent to Ask an Agent.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent / Advertising Agency Hit List

June 1, 2015

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

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This month we have a question from a photographer about targeting both email and printed mailers to the right person at advertising agencies.

Hi Ask an Agent, 

First off ‘Ask an Agent’ is brilliant and a constant source of advice and inspiration. Thanks. I have a question regarding Email marketing, and to some extent physical marketing.

I’m sending out emails and physical mailers each quarter, or so, with a varying degree of success. Some have resulted in face to face meetings, some (I expect) have landed in the physical or digital bin! I’m constantly trying to hone my technique and method of marketing, one area I struggle with is who to contact.

I’ve noticed that a lot of Advertising agencies employ multiple people in the art buying department/process, for example: Head of Art Buying, Assistant Art Buyer, Junior Art Buyer, Art Buyer & Creative Producer, Senior Project Manager and Project Manager. When sending out emailers I’m conscious to avoid ‘blast’ emailing an entire team with the same email and come across as lazy, yet I still want to get it to the right person and engage with them in someway.

With so many people involved in the art buying process it’s difficult knowing who is the right person to contact. Can you shed any light on your experiences with this issue? Is it worth contacting everyone or targeting it to a specific person, and if so any advice on who is best to contact?

Many thanks,

Mark Salmon, Photographer.

Thanks for your kind words and your question Mark. You are right to be conscious of trying to engage with potential buyers on a more personal level, however, a huge ‘blast’ of emailers can also be effective. I know that sounds like a bit of a contradiction, but firstly, it can sometimes be very difficult to identify who is more likely to commission you above someone else, and secondly, it also depends on what you are sending.

The roles you have mentioned are all relevant people within advertising agencies who are integral to sourcing photographers. You can in fact add to that a plethora of other job titles- creative service director, art producer, senior creative producer, head of print, print producer, creative resources manager, project director, and let’s not forget art director, head of art, creative head and creative director ! The list goes on and new positions are being developed all the time. Different agencies have different structures, and even someone with the same job title might have varying degrees of responsibility in the commissioning process from one agency to the next. A junior art buyer in one agency, for example, might only be responsible for stock searches, whereas in another might be highly influential in sourcing talent to commission. So, you see, it can be extremely tricky to pin point the best person.

When sending out physical mailers, aside from the cost issue, I would advise sending them only to a very targeted list and certainly not to every person in the art buying or creative resource department. If possible send your printed promotion to those who have shown an interest in your work, whose agency seem really relevant or who you know commission photography like yours. Failing this send to the head of art buying or the most senior person. Most art buyers sit in the same room and share what has arrived in the post, pin it on the wall or have a central filing system. There’s a team of 6 of us here at LPA, for example and from personal experience, it just seems a bit odd, not to mention a waste of money when 6 or more identical mailers from photographers, model agencies or other suppliers turn up in the post on the same day.

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Julian Love/ Printed Mailer

Digital promotion is slightly different and I think a 2 tiered approach is called for here. Again, it’s a very good idea to target certain people and make them feel like they’ve been singled out, and I also think it’s crucial to build on previous communications as part of an overall marketing strategy and to nurture relationships. But, in my experience a ‘blast’ can certainly also bring in lots of commissions. There are potentially thousands of people in advertising agencies who are worth contacting (and that’s just in the UK) , mostly who hold the positions mentioned above. As you may know you can buy an off the shelf database that is updated every few months, from places such as Bikinilists.com and Filefx.co.uk. You can also enlist the services of bespoke email service providers, like our team at Image Access who work with Magic Mail, enabling you to send out bulk emails and monitor who has looked at your emailers. As Mike Laye from Image Access points out, ‘it’s NOT a good idea to send out large amounts of emails from your own regular account – you’re likely to get blocked as a source of “spam”!’

hiya

LPA/ Digital Mailer

In my experience both a personal approach and a ‘blast’ bring in more work. We are constantly building on a tailor made database of contacts, so we send emailers (and printed promos) out to contacts with whom we have an existing relationships and target particularly relevant agencies with certain accounts (food and drink or sports for example) But we certainly also adopt a more scattergun approach for general updates of work which enable us to consistently reach out to new agencies and contacts.

Of course who to see is only the tip of the iceberg when talking about email marketing etiquette and effectiveness. The content, quality, consistency, frequency and timing are equally important. And most importantly, this direct marketing approach should be integrated into a bigger strategy to build the visibility of your brand. I remember an art buyer moaning to me once that they received so many emailers from someone, another agent actually, but that this other agent never bothered to call them or try and arrange a meeting with them. These art buyers can be difficult to please sometimes, but they had a point!

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent / Shooting Without Mains Power

May 1, 2015

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

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With the LPA Futures 2015-16 launch fast approaching we’ve asked Lloyd Barker, General Manager at our sponsor Direct Photographic, to answer a question from a photographer wanting advice on shooting outside without mains power – a challenge which can easily be tackled with a little forward planning.

Dear Ask an Agent,

I’m a lifestyle photographer and need some advice on shooting outside with no power. I’ve been approached about an exciting job that involves several locations with no access to mains power. Could you tell me what I need to consider in terms of equipment to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day?

- Debbie Morrison

Powering a location shoot with no mains power is a challenge my team and I face every day. We have several options, depending on lighting requirements.

First off, the biggest piece of advice I can offer is to always start with an equipment list that includes and takes into account the production list – the need for hair and makeup areas, or a simple base for crew, for example. Secondly and very importantly, perform a recce at the location. It is absolutely essential to know what the location areas look like, how many areas will need power, and the distances between these areas in order to request the proper amount of cable.

The reason that the production list is so important is because small things that aren’t necessarily at front of mind like hairdryers, steamers, tea urns and catering equipment can quickly escalate power requirements. It’s always important to take power requirements into account for the entire location.

With the above-mentioned in mind, you’ll be able to quickly get to a budget and equipment list that works, and power options become very simple.

Battery

When batteries are required, it usually means that a recce isn’t possible. The up side to using a battery is that it’s easier to stay within a tight budget and be very mobile, shooting in multiple locations throughout a single day. In this scenario, a battery is really the only viable option.

Our range of battery options covers everything from flash to continuous, daylight to Tungsten, from speed-guns with dedicated TTL to the latest battery solutions from Profoto and Broncolor. The new B2 system from Profoto is 250ws; the Profoto B4 Air has excellent recycling time, is perfect for freezing motion, and can output 1000ws; the Broncolor Move will do 1200ws and comes in a rucksack.

When it comes to continuous, we carry 1×1 Bi-Colour LED Panels, LED Ring Lights, Tungsten Sunguns, Daylight Pocket PARS, and Joker Bugs. And new in from Kinoflo, we carry the 200 and 400 Celeb Bi-Colour battery-powered LED panels, which are punchier than – but just as soft as – the well-known Kinoflo Fluorescents.

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Behind the Scenes / Michael Heffernan

Portable Generators

For greater power we move to portable petrol generators. Long duration shooting is better powered by generators and if you need the performance of a mains powered flash but are away from mains power, this is the answer.

In our range of portable generators, Direct Photographic carries a range of Honda EU10is, EU20is, EU30is, EU65is and most recently the EU70is.

The smaller 1kW and 2kW models are perfect for location digital equipment setup. They supply more than enough power for a laptop and screen, and will run reliably without trouble for several times longer than an external battery.

The 3kW generator will run a 2.5 HMI or a Profoto Flash Pack and the 6.5kW generator will run a 4kW HMI or a couple of flash packs.

The new Honda EU70is portable generator (shown in photograph) is very exciting because it offers more choice. Two of these generators linked and running in parallel provide 11kW of power. In terms of production cost, having this amount of light on set for this cost and with such a small amount of equipment was previously unheard of.

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© Direct Photographic

Vehicular Generators

There are several reasons to choose a vehicular generator, among which are the need for a great deal of power between equipment lists and production requirements, and the need for reliable, steady power in several different places.

We most commonly supply models from our own fleet that range from 60kW up to 200kW. As an example, a 60kW vehicular generator is ideal for two 18kW HMI’s, carrying the head stands and cable as well as production elements like E-Z Up tents, trestle table, etc…

This particular generator is used regularly on large campaigns where clients require an exterior, completely self-contained studio-grade operating environment. This level of power works when you perhaps need six shots in 30 minutes, and therefore you have six times the amount of equipment running at once.

There are several costs associated with vehicular generators that aren’t always apparent which we can provide guidance on. For example, this type of hire necessitates that we supply HGV licensed crew who are trained and certified electricians.

Budgets

“How long is a piece of string?” The size of a budget depends on what you are shooting, where and with what.

As every shoot is different, and therefore every budget is different. At the same time, if our teams are given the principle information to check off, they will be able to provide a quote quickly in order to give an initial idea of costs. When providing a quote, the essential information elements are:

- Lighting equipment list

- Production equipment list

- Location

- Call time & Wrap time

- Layout of the location so that cable can be estimated if required

Direct Photographic carries a wide range and large amount of equipment, from high directors chairs to makeup mirrors, steamers, irons, E-Z Up tents, trestle tables, gold brollies and more. For out of town and even mobile in-town shoots, we can provide a Man&Van service as well.

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent / Getting Your Personality Across

March 30, 2015

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

Lisa

For this month’s Ask an Agent we have a question from a photographer on face to face meetings and how to get your personality across if you can’t get to actually meet people.

Dear Ask an Agent,

Buyers are happy (at least most) for me to send my book over for them to show the creative team but I’d like go a step further and try and get some face to face meetings without a job being necessary being involved. Do you think busy buyers are likely to take the time for this? I’m thinking not in which case how might a photographer sell his personality along with is work?

Simon Plant, Simon Plant Photographic Productions

Hi Simon,

If your work is strong enough and relevant, I would say a wholehearted yes that buyers will take time to meet you. It is an important part of their job.

Art directors and designers (the creatives) in particular like to meet photographers. If they like the work and think they can use it, they usually want to find out more about the person who created the images, the inspiration behind them and also see if they can get on with the photographer on a shoot. If a project reaches a stage where photography needs to commissioned, reassurance that the photographer of their choice will be a helpful part of the team in bringing their ideas alive and a good collaborator is just as important as shooting great images. And so you can see why they think meeting photographers is important as well as just being aware of the work.

Having said that, I won’t pretend it’s easy or that you’ll be able to book a meeting with every email or phone call. Here at LPA we try and see a certain amount of people a month, some days we can make several appointments and some we might make 20 phone calls and get nowhere. So be persistent, perhaps email some relevant images a few days before, send a great mailshot, try and grab their attention before you try and arrange the face-to- face. When you do speak to an art buyer, designer or art director it will help if you get to the point and immediately come across as someone that might benefit them, as opposed to the other way round.

And finally to answer your second point, how might a photographer sell his personality along with his work? You don’t necessarily need a face-to-face meeting to get your personality across. A photographer’s brand is their personality and should come across in all communication touch points. Social media can certainly give you a voice.

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As can a printed promo, the tone of voice in a newsletter and the words you choose to describe your self on your website.

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Being consistent in your marketing messages will help get your personality across and will also hopefully help you nail some of those face-to-face meetings!

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent / What’s a Chemistry Meeting?

March 2, 2015

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.comQuestions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

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© Andy Smith / Cassie at LPA

Dear Ask an Agent,

I recently quoted for a shoot for an ad campaign and have now been asked to go into the ad agency for a chemistry meeting. I wondered if you could tell me what this is it and what they will be expecting from me?

Andrew Sullivan, Photographer

(more…)

Ask an Agent / What’s the Best Way to Make a Folio Appointment?

January 30, 2015

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.comQuestions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

This month’s question tackles the tricky of business on how to get your foot in the door at top advertising agencies. I thought I’d turn to one of the LPA team to give us his tips on his one. Over to Tom , Head of Marketing and PR , who is  very good at making lots of appointments to show the LPA Photographers portfolios.

TomGallagher

Dear Ask an Agent,

I’ve been struggling to get my folio seen by the right people – do you have any advice on how to get appointments at top ad agencies?

Rebecca Wilson

Making folio appointments can be quite a repetitive experience but you have to remind yourself to be patient and persevere. Creatives in adverting and design agencies are nearly always busy and it’s just a matter of catching them at the right time when they can chat with you.

For a start, the most important thing to do is to make sure that you are after the right person. The majority of larger agencies won’t transfer you unless you have the specific name of who you’re after. There are certain companies such as Bikini Lists and File Fx who can provide a database of contacts within the creative industries – globally as well as the UK. I would always recommend checking the contact is still there before you ring and Linkedin is often the best way of doing so. The ‘People Also Viewed’ on a contact’s page may also help to give you some additional names who you can try. Usually the best person to see is the Art Buyer if there is one. If not, Creative Producers, Creative Directors or Designers (at Design Agencies) are also good people to have your book seen by. For editorial clients, see the Picture Editors. Make sure you keep all of these contacts in a database so you know who you’ve seen or who maybe it’s time to see again.

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© Lisa Pritchard Agency

There isn’t really a right way to make contact but I personally find that phone calls are the best way of securing the appointment as an email may get lost. Remember to be patient and understand that there will be hundreds of other photographers doing the same thing. People often ask you to ring back in a month or so when they have quietened down so make sure you do. Make a note of any leads and make sure you follow them up. Seeing photographers’ folios is part of a creative’s job but it needs to be at a convenient time. We’re often given slots for 6 months away so make sure you put it in your diary! If you prefer to email then keep it short and sweet – reams of text with loads of images attached are likely to be ignored.

For the larger agencies, once you’ve made an appointment its worth seeing if other people in the company want to see you too at the same time.

Appointments are often cancelled the last minute due to varying workloads so make sure you follow up with these and get a new date in the diary.

Hopefully that gives you a little bit of guidance on what to do – just remember to persevere and you’ll start seeing the time you put into making appointments pay off!

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent / Twitter Competition / Keeping Warm on a Photoshoot

December 19, 2014

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

For the last Ask an Agent this year we are tackling how to stay warm on winter shoots. We turned to Twitter for some help from the LPA followers, offering a Christmas Hamper to the best idea!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com.

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Dear Ask an Agent

I’ve been commissioned to shoot a large group of people for a big client over the Christmas period. It’s a three-day outdoors shoot and some shots need to be taken at night. I want to make sure everyone on set is as comfortable as possible, so I was wondering if you have any tips on how to keep warm on a winter shoot?

- Malcolm Clark, photographer, Derby.

Thanks for the question Malcolm. Here at LPA we’ve braved all manner of weather conditions on set over the years, and as producers we’ve organised few similar outdoor shoots this winter for our photographers. Shooting in cold temperatures can be tricky and involves a bit of foresight when it comes to making sure the crew and clients are comfortable and your equipment is fully functioning.  Warm clothes and hot drinks are a good starting point but we have a few more handy tips courtesy of some of our Twitter followers.

Thanks to everyone that got involved, we had a great response and it was hard to pick just one winner but eventually we decided on this suggestion from photographer James Lightbown. Well done James, a Christmas Hamper is on it’s way to you!

“Making sure there’s hot food. I’ve been known to make enough chilli for double helpings and took a slow cooker. Happy team…oh & another…Don’t let the team who are wrapped up warm complain about the cold in earshot of the talent in summer clothes!”

- @jameslightbown

 We thought James’ answer was really original and we particularly like the second part – it’s really important to consider the comfort of the models who may not be wearing weather appropriate clothing!

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© Jonathon Nixon / Behind the scenes on a chilly Julian Love shoot.

Here’s a few more of our favourite tips for shooting in winter, starting with Wayne Lennon who came in a very close second with these clever technical tips:

“Hand warmers in the camera bag do wonders for keeping batteries charged…Sticky back pain pads (that heat up) are great on the @Profoto B1 battery to keep them warm in harsh conditions…Transition equipment between heat extremes slowly, to stop condensation forming inside the kit.

- @WLennonPhoto

“Obligatory star jumps every ten minutes.”

- @emilyphoto

“Fingerless gloves and dancing to the music while shooting.”

- @BeQuirkyBeYou

“Make sure caterers know you’re out in the cold so appropriate warming menu! And that the crew know details of shoot so wrap up!”

- @davebirdphoto

“For assistants, fingerless gloves with mitten attachment so you can do the fiddly little bits. 2 pairs of socks & a wooly hat”

- @EdwardFuryPhoto

“Double up on socks, thermal undies, a toasty woolrich jacket, hand warmers and lots of tea and I’m good to go!”

- @Claire_Portman

“Production team equipped with never ending supply of tea/ coffee and melted cheese based snacks…and windproof trousers”

- @thisisdanross

“From a stylists point of view I always take hand warmers and hot water bottles! And not just for the models!”

- @emmalightbown

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent/ Does it matter who pays me?

December 1, 2014

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.comQuestions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

This month an interesting question about a client having a change of heart on who’s paying!

Lisa

Dear Ask an Agent

I’ve been in discussions about a really nice shoot for the last few weeks with a small marketing agency and I’ve just got the go ahead. Now I’ve reminded them that I need the production expenses covering in advance of the shoot they’ve said I need to invoice their client directly as it will be quicker. Should I agree to this? What are the pros and cons? There are models and locations and quite a few other shoot expenses on this one so I’m in a bit of a vulnerable position.

Anonymous

Thanks for getting in touch. There shouldn’t necessarily be any cons to this as long as you are diligent with the small print, although it’s not ideal that your client has moved the goal posts this late in the day.

The thing is, this issue isn’t simply about ascertaining who is going to pay you, it is about determining who you are entering into a business arrangement with. Usually the person who pays you is also the person that accepts your terms of business (and vice versa) as these are attached (or should be!) to your estimate and your invoice. So if it’s the marketing agency’s client, they are not only now taking on the financial responsibility but also all the responsibilities that come with commissioning a photoshoot.

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Behind the Scenes / Julian Calverley

Let me just clarify a bit more. Any estimate or invoice you send out should not just include costs, it should include a full set of your business terms which should be accepted (or negotiated) by the client along with the costs. You payment terms is part of this, but a photographers business terms should include several key things to protect your business including cancellation terms, specifics about the usage licence, who is accepting liability of third party clearances and lots of other important stuff.

So, you’ll need to start from scratch in a way. Resend your original estimate, addressed to the your ‘new’ client and once your costs and business terms have been agreed by them, and not before, you can crack on with the shoot.

I hope that helps. There is some more information and a full set of photographer business terms and conditions in my book “Setting Up a Successful Photography Business’’ which will shed a bit more light on this very important area of your business.

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent / Halloween Special with Guest Blogger ‘Super Lawyer’ Charles Swan

October 31, 2014

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s very own Agony Aunt!

This month we bring you an Ask an Agent Halloween special. Lisa invites lawyer supremo Charles Swan, from leading media and creative law firm Swan Turton, to advise on trademarks in Halloween masks.

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Charles Swan from Swan Turton

Dear Ask an Agent,

I’ve been asked to use Halloween masks in a shoot for a new soft drink and I’m just wondering if there might be any potential issues with trademarks and copyrights? For example what if I featured Frankenstein or Dracula? And whose responsibility would this be, the advertising agency’s or mine as the photographer?

Robbie Brown

Thanks for your question Robbie, I believe there could be some issues with particular masks whose characters might have trademarks. I remember being asked to produce a shoot featuring Batman once and indemnify the client against any third party claims. I was heavily advised by a lawyer not to do so, as the trademark for Batman is owned by the Walt Disney Company/Marvel Entertainment and associating Batman with another brand could be seen as falsely claiming that a brand is endorsing another brand.

In terms of whose responsibility this is, it needs to be made clear from the onset in writing. We incorporate in our terms and conditions the following clause to cover us just in case.

INDEMNITY. The Photographer and LPA shall only be responsible for obtaining clearance in respect of third party copyright works, trademarks, designs or other intellectual property if this has been expressly agreed in writing before the shoot. In all other cases the Client shall be responsible for obtaining such clearances and will indemnify the Photographer and LPA against all expenses, damages, claims and legal costs arising out of any failure to obtain such clearances.

And we also have a paragraph on the front of all our estimates and invoices headed ‘Important Information’ to reaffirm points like this for those clients that don’t read the ‘small print’

However, it shouldn’t simply be a case of passing the buck. As a professional photographer you should be aware of the potential hazards of shoot production and at least flag up the fact that there might be an issue to your client before they land themselves in trouble.

Anyway, I’m not a lawyer and sometimes it’s worth consulting one. So I asked Charlie Swan, one of the country’s top media lawyers and partner at Swan Turton, to shed a bit more light on the matter. Here’s what he had to say…

‘Although Frankenstein and Dracula are characters from out of copyright (public domain) novels, there is artistic copyright in specific versions of their appearance created for movies, comics etc. There might also be registered trade marks and using particular masks in a soft drink ad could indeed provoke a passing off (false endorsement) claim by the rights owner.

The key here is to make sure you warn your client, in writing, of the possible risk and get your client’s confirmation, again in writing, that they will be responsible for any necessary third party clearances. Most photographers’ terms and conditions will include an indemnity similar to your clause, but you should still put this in writing – to avoid arguments further down the line about who said what.

One thing you must avoid doing is saying anything to your client that might be construed as legal advice. It’s the agency’s job, not yours, to get legal advice about potentially risky elements of advertising photographs. If a client asks you whether something like a mask or a building or a designer sofa is ok to include in a shot, you should explain to them that they need to get their own advice. Otherwise, if a claim does materialise, the client may try to pass liability on to you. When the sh** hits the fan, everyone in the room tries to hide behind the next person!’

foto1057© Oliver Haupt. For illustration purposes only.

Charles Swan is a partner at Swan Turton LLP, his clients include leading advertising, marketing and design agencies, advertisers, trade associations, image libraries, photographers, agents, publishers and artists. Charles heads the firm’s Advertising & Marketing and Photography & Visual Arts Groups. He is rated by Thomson Reuter as a UK Super Lawyer and by Chambers & Partners as a Band 1 Advertising & Marketing lawyer, is Honorary President of Adlaw International, a member of the Advertising Lawyers Group and is a director of the Association of Photographers.

Whether you’re a creative director or a student, a photographer or a designer, an art buyer or an assistant, if you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com.

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

Ask an Agent / Model fees for Moving Image

September 30, 2014

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column that answers all your dilemmas about the business of photography – like a photography agony aunt. Whatever area of the industry you are in, or at whatever level, if you have any questions you’d like to ask please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com

Lisa

Dear Ask an Agent,

I am preparing an estimate for a shoot which involves stills and moving image. My question is, apart from my own fees and equipment for moving image do I need to allow for extra for the model fees?

Darren Orange, photographer, Leeds.

Hi Darren,

Whenever you are preparing costs or booking models be very clear about the final usage as this is the one area that can come back and bite you on the bum!

The thing to do is put the exact end usage in an email to the model agencies when you are gathering your costs. So even though it may be online and digital content, 2 years, for example, you should also clarify that this will involve stills and moving image. Then if you do get the job, put the usage in writing again along with the fee available based on your previous research and agreement with the client, and check the model booking forms have the correct information. I know I might sound a bit paranoid but I’ve had several instances where models have attempted to charge more after the shoot as they misinterpreted the usage, and if it’s set out in writing they don’t get very far.

JL_201308_Simple_2682

© Julian Love

Some model agencies might not charge any extra for moving image whilst some will, and it’ll be sods law that your client will want to use models from the agency that charge extra. As with any suppliers, we always get a number (usually 3) of quotes to check that we are in the right ball park and quote the client somewhere in between, or what we think is achievable within the clients budget and nature of the shoot.

I was recently quoted a day rate of 18K from one model agency for a small corporate job which involved moving image on the clients website, needless to say I didn’t think it a good idea to include this figure in my estimate if I ever wanted to hear from my client again! As I say most agencies quote pretty reasonable fees for moving image for digital content and at the end of the day it’s going to be your client who dictates the model fees available, not you – something which model agencies often fail to acknowledge.

Please Note:

We reserve the right to shorten questions due to space constraints.

We reserve the right not to enter into on going correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only. Lisa Pritchard and LPA take no responsibility for any omissions or errors. Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.

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