Every now and then I get asked, “Hey Anthony, did I pay too much for these photos?” I normally respond with “I don’t know, are you happy with the them?” We all hire photographers for different reasons, personal or financial benefits. Let’s unpack each one to get a better understanding on whether you paid too much or not.
Photos for your Personal Use
What that means is you will not sell these photos to anyone for profit. So, how should we measure if you paid too much or not? It’s simple. Out of all of the delivered images, does any of them speak to your soul or connect with you in a special way? If not, you might have spent too much money on your photography. The way I see it, photos that are used for personal use are measured by their emotional attachment value. The greater the attachment, the greater value it could be worth to someone.
Photos for Financial Gain
First, you must have permission to use a photo in a way that allows you to sell something. Normally, you would want to purchase a commercial license from the photographer. So, now that you have the proper licensing, how do you know if you spent too much or not?
Quite simple actually, but this part requires math. Let’s say you have a product, and that product is a VIP Sponsor Package. Let’s apply a value of $10,000 to one package with a maximum possible selling 30 total packages. It goes without saying that you included great benefits within your packages, but you need a few powerful images to help sell these packages. We know that 80% of people are more likely to buy when there is a strong photo attached to the product, versus the other 20% of people when there is no photo attached.
According to our math, you have the potential to earn and additional $240,000 more when using the right photograph! How much would that be worth to you? Would investing $10,000 for a license to potentially earn an additional $240,000 sound good? Or does $10,000 still sound too expensive?
It all really depends on what kind of use you are trying to get out of your images. If you are only using them for personal use and there is no connection between you and any of the photos- then I would say you spent too much on your photos.
If you hired a photographer and you purchased a commercial license to help sell tickets to your next big show and your profits were 80% greater than the cost of the license, then that was a smart investment. If you lost money, then you might need to look at your marketing strategy or choose a better a image. Basically, a license is typically going to be in the ball park of 10% or more of the profits you could be receiving on its use. Which is why a commercial license is normally more expensive than any other license in photography.