How Much Should You Charge for Stock Photography?

Stock photography is the provision of licensed photographs to users for a specific use. The photos in stock photography or stock photos are used much the same as stock footage in films. A factor that can dictate the rate of your stock photos is the licensing fees or agreement. Stock photography can be licensed under 2 categories - royalty free and rights managed.

Royalty Free Stock Photos

Royalty free stock photos are just what the name implies - the photos are free from any royalties every time the user or buyer uses the photo they bought. This type of stock photos is often the least expensive. You can charge your royalty-free stock photos from $5 to $25. However, you must remember that royalty free stock photos do not mean that the buyer is not purchasing the license. The buyer purchases the royalty ones to use the photo.

In short, the stock photo is only bought once and the buyer can use the photo multiple times for different purposes. The owner is essentially selling the rights or royalty to the buyer. There is, however, a limit on how many times the buyer can reproduce the stock photo referred to as print run. For any additional reproductions, the buyer should pay the owner of the photo. It is for this reason that royalty free stock photos are not suitable for production companies with large print run. You can request buyers to contact you for additional runs, charging a little more than the initial payment. Generally, you can charge $1 to $5 per photo for additional reproductions.

Rights Managed Stock Photos

Rights managed stock photos, on the other hand, are more strict and regulated. You can charge a little bit more for this type of photos. Essentially, the buyer is buying the right to use your photo for a specific purpose. However, the use of the photos can be broken down in several factors including usage, duration, specific use, print run, size, industry, exclusivity and territory or where the print will be used. For this type of stock photo, the buyer is assured that the image will not be used or sold to another user that may conflict with the interest of the buyer. In this sense, you can charge about $10 to $50 per photo, but make sure that you know where it will be used and how many times it will be produced or printed.

Resolution and Size of the Stock Photos

One of the main factors that can contribute to the price of stock photos is the resolution of the images. The better the resolution of the photo, the higher the price can be. High resolution digital photos are often sought after so photos of these types can be quite expensive.

The size of the photo can also determine the price. Often times, the bigger the photo size the more expensive it can be because it can be utilized for different purposes from magazine ads to commercials. A fair market value for a larger size stock photo is about $25 and around $1 to $5 for a smaller one.

Placement and Distribution of the Photo

The placement and distribution of the photo can determine how much you should charge for your stock photography. Placement refers to where the photo will be placed in an ad or page whether it will be a front cover, inside flap or back cover. Distribution, on the other hand, pertains to how many times the photo will be used or the how large the product will be.

The larger the distribution will be, the more you can charge for the stock photo. Same goes for placement of the photo. You can also charge for a higher rate if the photo will be used as a front cover or less if the stock photo will be used as a back cover. You can basically charge around $50 to $100 for an entire run. This rate, however, depends if the photo is free from royalty or is a rights managed photo.