Negotiating in Tough Times

Cradoc fotoSoftware - photo software - Negotiating in tough times for freelance photographers

Negotiating in tough times is tricky. To stay in touch I’m constantly asking photographers how they are doing in this economy, and what works for them and what doesn’t.

I recently found out something that should not have surprised me, but it did.

I was in Tucson and spent time with an old friend, the photographer’s consultant, Mary Virginia Swanson. Swanee knows more photographers than anyone I know. She has been the workshop coordinator at the Ansel Adams workshops, Director of Special Projects at Magnum Photos and an instructor in the photo department at NYU and also owned Swanstock, my all-time favorite stock agency.

I asked Swanee what type of photographer was making it and what type wasn’t. She didn’t hesitate when she answered that the photographers she knew who were doing the best right now were the ones who negotiated the best deals when they licensed their work. They were the ones who agreed to lower fees in the short term, but who also limited their client’s usage in return.

Now the clients want to extend their licenses for these photos, either for more time or for more uses and they are re-negotiating with the photographers. The clients generally are happy because they were able to pay only for what they needed initially and are now willing to pay for the extended use. The photographers are profiting from their work, even in a time when assignments and stock sales are down.

Have you given away all rights to your work for a lower fee because the client asked for it? I hope not, but even if you did, it’s not too late to improve your negotiating skills. Negotiating skills are important, especially now, and understanding some basic principles can make a big difference in whether you are paid enough to stay in business through a rough economy. The need to be a great negotiator is why we have been so conscious of giving you more than just prices and categories in fotoQuote.

The usage tips and coach are loaded with negotiating tips for different situations. Please take advantage and read this information. It’s a different world out there, and the latest version of fotoQuote reflects that.

For more information on Mary Virginia Swanson:

Learn More. Other Blogs on the Art of Negotiation:

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