This post is a part of our on-going look at pricing photography.
A photographer recently asked the following in a Facebook group:
“Someone wants to buy a high-res download (to print) of an image I shot for a newspaper assignment which they were featured in. I have copyright and am able to sell it but don’t know how much to charge/ what is standard and reasonable. Would love suggestions. Thanks so much.”
How Would You Price It?
We asked four photographers how they would approach the request.
Amanda Swinhart, Boston, MA
I haven’t sold a print in a while, but in the past, I charged $50 for an 8×10 print. I would sell a customer a digital file, and would charge $60.
Cory Lum, Honolulu, HI
Reprint of files $30-$40 for 8×10 / 8×12 print. We have a fabulous professional print lab here in Hawaii called Graphic Pictures located in Kaka’ako. It’s a small shop but meticulous and color is spot on.
Basically I don’t like to give out the raw/full sized digital files to clients. Clients get what they pay for.
Anonymous, Los Angeles, CA
Usually about $25 plus tax and shipping. That said I just did a rush order of 4 prints and quoted $40 each plus tax, that I’m hand delivering. Those cost me $5 each to print at a local lab. I would much rather use MPix or Adorama Prints to have the photos printed and shipped directly. Way less time sucked up.
That’s the big thing. The time suck. So that rush order after mileage and printing costs I’ll clear maybe $100? That’s a decent return – before tax and cost of business.
Kyle Lanzer, Cleveland, OH
I’m probably at the lower end of what most people would charge. For an 8×10 I would charge around $25, as far as a digital download of a photo it all depends what they are using it for. If it’s for personal use I would charge between $35-$50 for the full res version.
How Do Newspapers Price It?
- The New York Times: $79.95 for 8×10 of any photo.
- USA Today (Gannett): $125 and up for “Photo or graphic as originally published” through PARS.
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: $125 and up for “Photo or graphic as originally published” through PARS.
Many large newspapers have contracted with services like PARS to outsource reprints since it isn’t core to their business. As such, PARS needs to clear enough profit to support their costs. Our small sample size of five photographers across the country suggests that they are significantly underpriced compared to what their assigning newspapers might charge for a print.
As the anonymous photographer in Los Angeles pointed out, the time needed to print and ship a print can be fairly significant. Photographers seem to be basing pricing based on a multiple of the cost to make a print rather than also considering factors like time, expertise, gear, and experience. Granted, an individual photographer doesn’t have the same overhead as a corporation, but that shouldn’t necessarily explain a 5x difference between the lowest priced photographer and USA Today.