What would you charge for your photography?

Chris Benson

Elite Refuge Member
Jan 24, 2002
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Been into waterfowl photography for about 12 years now, have a Nikon D500 with a Nikon 300mm f2.8 and a 1.4TC. Recently a couple of artists have seen some of my photos and expressed potential interest in using my photos as the subjects for their prints. In case you are unaware, many times artists use photos to basically copy the birds from the photo (with some minor detail that are changed) and then put them into suitable background for the environment they want to depict that bird in. It takes the guess work out for the artist of what the bird should look like, position, and other small details.

Artists who do this need permission from the photographer so they can't just look on the internet and copy random pictures off the internet, much like you can't take a photo of a painting, then develop it and sell the photos of that print as your own. The photos in their entirety are still my intellectual property. The question I have is what would a photographer charge an artist for something like that?

The big thing here, these artists aren't just local people doing it for their own enjoyment. These are the same people who are featured in DU prints, compete for the duck stamp competition, and are fairly recognized in the industry. One friend who is "in the know" said $3,000 - $5,000, but I really don't know!



Elite Refuge Member
Sep 4, 2000
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the world is home to the Wu Chang Clan
well Chris…..I don’t know anyone in the know but I will throw my hat in the ring

WARNING…..Long post and may not lead you to any resolution to your question

The number of reference photo books/collections for sale and the number of same royalty free are numerous and impact the price

The fact that your images are potential reference for folks that do the Duck Stamp and prints used in DU dinners etc kind of puts you in a different level than the generic references and you should probably calculate that into your price.

My personal experience is whatever I would sell a retail framed print is what I would sell a reference print.……or a license based on certain criteria.

I helped a friend license an image to a home decoration company based on an initial fee with number of prints sold intervals,whether it was exclusive or non exclusive and for how long. The print she was licensing was for wall art/sofa size and was for a pretty large company. I think she ended up with $ 1K base fee for a license period of 2 years with intervals at every 500 prints.
Sorry, but I don’t know what her take was per print but I think it was 5% of retail for the first 500 and dropped at each interval.

Not sure her situation and yours are apples to apples

Some of my images used in a couple of regional magazines did not come anywhere near the prices your in the know friend threw out but…….like I said above you are dealing with a different market than most photographers.

Considering most nature photographers these days don’t really make money on prints or magazines but on photo instruction/travel tours/workshops, your mileage may vary.

As a point of reference (no pun intended) DU magazine years ago paid about $800 for a cover and had around 700,000 issues. That was actually pretty cheap but……there is certain cachet to being on the cover of DU magazine……..and there are a lot guys that are not professional (per IRS standards) that are more than willing to give for free what you or I would offer for sale.

Here are some sites that you might want read/see if they offer any insight…….

otherwise, see if your friend in the know would be your agent. That might be you best bet

Good luck and let us know how it works out


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