View Full Version : Need advice on permanent sale of digi negs

10-19-2006, 03:09 AM
Hi Folks ... need some advice here ...

Last Friday I did a photo shoot (about 80 shots) of a fellow. I edited and posted the best of them (12) to my website for him to look at on Sunday and sent him an email to give him the link to it. http://suethomsonphotography.com/henri.htm I had not heard back from him so I called him tonight and he said he got the link but had not looked yet. He is on dial-up, but I made them low rez to speed it up (and so he couldn't use them for great prints straight off the web). Now he would like me to send him the digital negs in RAW form to have a look at and he said he will see which are useable for his purposes - brochures and other publications and his website. He wants exclusive rights to them. I am not sure if I have a problem with selling him the digital negs, but I'll be damned if I just send them on a disc for him to look at. There are a number of reasons for this - theft being #1, but also because he would be seeing them unenhanced and unedited and also then he could butcher the image and it would reflect on me in a negative way.

So ... I can't email the pics because of his dial-up, so I have to send something on disc to him. The question is what??? Edited pics in jpg but made from the original without cropping??? Most are SOOTC without cropping but some are cropped and some have things removed from the background.

My second question is how much should I charge him? He doesn't just want prints made, so that kinda puts me in a rocky place because he wants to own them. The only reference I could find tonight (actually OT found it for me) was this one at the very bottom of the page ... http://www.taphilo.com/photo/webuse.shtml

Now, I just know this guy isn't gonna pay $400 per image, so what would be reasonable for an average guy. I want the sale. But I don't want to just "give" them away, either. He gagged at a sitting fee of $150.

Has anyone here ever sold their digi negs? If so, how did you present them for viewing, and how much did you charge for them?

Should a person EVER sell their digi negs? Or should they only sell the edited and/or enhanced versions???

The more I think about this, the more confused I get ...

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Sue :heart:

10-19-2006, 08:23 AM
This is an interesting subject Sue, (and a tough one)
I came across this forum via google
If he is on dial up and needs to see the "proofs", rather than put them on CD, maybe you can print a thumbnail sheet with "" plastered across them?

You may want to remind him that if he takes digital files to be printed, some places will not print them if they believe they are professional and possibly "stolen". He will have to present proof of copyrights, to sign the release form.

I may have more info for you later.

10-19-2006, 11:04 AM
Thanks, damar. I had already found that link and had decided it didn't really fit this situation, as wedding pics and portraits are usually just wanting prints for framing and photo albums, not for commercial use.

We are not talking prints here.

I would be interested in anything anyone can suggest, because I have another shoot on Sunday for a jewellery designer, and the same prob is going to arise - she will want the pics for commercial use, too.


Sue :heart:

10-19-2006, 11:23 AM
Hi Sue,
I looked at other sites and the more I read, the more I discovered a mixed bag of how photographers approach this.
If it were me, I would not hand over raw files.
(after all, they don't have to know which format you chose to shoot in)
I would process them and convert to highest quality jpg or tif and give them that, and tell them that the negatives (raw files) will be deleted after a short period of time.
The jpg's would be ready to print from any source, but that would require the photograhers time in post processing. (and would they be willing to pay for that service?)

Maybe look or post over at Nikonians of Nikon Cafe (which I was going to check on later).
Hope you can find some answers.

10-19-2006, 11:26 AM
Personally, I don't sell negatives of any kind... good or bad ones. I've had newspapers ask for that to make halftones from and I've said no. I would send them prints or make the halftones for them, but would never send the negatives.

As to sending him raw files unmanipulated, he is asking for the moon and can't have that either. Photographic studios show you proofs, at best, never the actual negatives nor the finished products until you CHOOSE what you want from proofs.

Maybe he is ignorant of how photographers work or maybe he wants something for nothing. Either way I'd not allow him to have the raw files just to "look" at. If he wants to buy them all and "own" them, then it's up to you to sell them or not. But don't "give" them away for some ridiculous small price.

I've lost a few sales the same way you have described, however, it really didn't make a dent in my lifestyle by losing a sale or two. It's more the principle of the thing than anything else. Too many people want something for next to nothing, and it's annoying as well as professionally insulting.



Ron Biggs
10-19-2006, 12:47 PM
Hi Sue, I've never tried selling any photos, (it's just a fun pastime for me) but I have to agree with Ron(RAE99) don't send or sell him the RAW files.

I give slide shows on DVD that they can watch on TV or Comp.
I use http://www.photodex.com/eid8314/products/proshowgold/a/slideshow.html
you can copy protect and time protect the show.

Then if they want prints I send them (in your case sell them) the Jpeg or prints (normally family or friends).

kaleidoscope eyes
10-19-2006, 03:19 PM
Hi Sue, first of all I agree with Ron - no way do you send him unedited RAW files. I suggest you send him a printed proof sheet rather than anything on CD, there's no reason he can't look at the sheet and choose his shots. Then send him the shots he has chosen on CD in edited jpeg or tiff format; he can then have whatever he wants printed in his brochures etc.
Him having exclusive rights isn't really a problem as he has a) commissioned you to take the pix and b) who else wants shots of him anyway?
As for your price hmmmm...... always a conundrum. As you're starting off there and would like more work don't put too high a price on them but don't sell yourself short either; what I would do is figure out an hourly rate that you are happy with for shooting and one for editing, that way you can easily work out a quote for other jobs that come along.
Hope this helps :)

10-19-2006, 05:15 PM
Sue, first of all.... well done! Those are gorgeous portraits!

I would send him TIFFs for print, and jpegs for the web on CD of the files he has paid for, and if he wants to own the copyrights, I would double the price. I would have no problem selling the rights to these photos.

Pricing is based on licensing fees for intended usage. Basically, the more people that see it, the higher the price. I get my prices from the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. But, the prices in there are just that, a guideline, and they vary a lot! It also has contracts.... and a lot of good information on copyrights. I recommend it highly.

Hope this helps!

10-19-2006, 09:51 PM
so charge him 150. try and find a reasonable ground since you won't be getting prints obviously from him.

I love the photos, but on my screen some seem a little blue.

10-19-2006, 11:09 PM
I can't add to the cmments I am learning too. I wanted to say good job on the portraits.

11-01-2006, 06:47 AM
I wouldn't sell my RAW files, only high quality processed jpegs. RAW files are the unfinished product, and as such are not representative of my finest work.

I would also not sell my copyright for pennies either. He can either buy a lease on the images for a number of years, or he can pay five times as much and get the copyright, if you see what I mean.

11-03-2006, 02:43 PM
Sue, i've been a wedding photographer for 14 years...and that issue comes up often...I charge $500 for negs and that has ALWAYS deterred them from buying and they end up ordering from me. I'm with Charlie...never give them the negs/raw images - it isnt your final work and doenst show your best...you NEVER want bad stuff put out for the public. I recently let my "guard" down and did something for my husbands' boss and got burned on it...they were in a crunch and I allowed them to use a photo to make postcards, not thru me, the post cards (although they liked them) were DREADFUL and my name is across each one...oh my gosh!!!!!! Nope, dont sell your rights unless you get well paid for it. Give him a disk of your retouched photos, low res with a clear copyright across it adn tell him that is how it is done! end of story! Maybe he will walk, but that's his perogative..you got your $150 sitting fee and sometimes business ends there. They all want something for nothing!