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Thread: They Want My Negatives......

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    They Want My Negatives......

    I have been contacted by a rock band and asked to take pictures for magazines and promos and possibly an album cover...

    Everything would be allright if it wasn't for the fact that they want to be the sole proprietors of the negatives.

    I do mostly fine art (how they call it) i have dealt with clients before but this is the first time i have been asked such a request, which i do not like . I need a feedback from somebody.......Thank you.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2001

    They Want My Negatives......

    I think your answer should be: "You gotta pay to play". Only after they pay a huge sum for the images, they can have them. Otherwise, the images should be on a 'per use' basis.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    They Want My Negatives......

    You are certainly not the first to be pressured into situations like that. These days, it is a buyers market with so many starving photographers clammering for a shrinking market. The matter is entirely up to you. If you bend to their demands, you risk loosing self respect plus damage the industry as a hole. If you say no, they very well could go find someone who will do what they want. If they won't bend, you have to decide whether you really need the work or not. You could charge as much as 5 times your normal rate. But to encompass all scenerios and possible future sales is difficult.

    Money may not be the issue. They may be trying to protect their own image by controlling the pictures, so to keep them from being published where that image could be hurt, especially if they are already famous. If they are up and coming stars, then keeping control of the negatives could provide you with lucrative future revenues.

    Just some things to consider.

  4. #4

    They Want My Negatives......

    A buy out of all rights is not a good idea without healthy compensation. Most pros would negotiate this away and still have the deal, otherwise refuse the job. THis is a common tactic to get photogs to hand over rights for far less than they are worth. Just imagine if you shot a 13 year old Britney Spears and handed over the rights to your film. Seven years later, you'd be kicking yourself.

    Check out the wealth of inforamtion at A search should turn up something on a rights buy out. My opinion is that you talk with them and let them know why giving all rights and the film away for cheap is a really bad buisness practice on your end (and on theirs too) and get an agreement that gives you a fair rate and satisfies the proper buisness practices of a photographer. If not, walk away, you have skills that are worth compensating, and an industry that is worth upholding a minimun of value.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    They Want My Negatives......

    Unless they are throwing major money (like 10-20x your shooting fee) at you , the answer is: no. And also no to exclusive usage or copyright transfer. Big shots in the entertainment industry like KISS or madonna or The roolingStones can get away with such deals because; a. theyy hire the best in the business and they pay very large amount s of money for that exclusive usage. And that is what anybody who hires you as a photographer for is paying your for; the usage. not the factthat you own a camera and maybe some lights, not for your creativity, they are paying for how they will use the images you create.

    They can ask, and you can be flattered by their asking but you don't have to screw yourself (or your client, really) in the process.

  6. #6

    They Want My Negatives......

    Hi Domenico,

    Like that general in Bastogne, surounded by the germans and asked to surrender, say (and it's a very polite way) : NUTS !

    Why would you give away of your property ! Author's right is a Wall you don't cross, that's all we have. Some agencies and magazines try to impose that and I strongly think we have to resist.

    Anyway after that brilliant sentence...ask that band to sell his songs just one for all. A package...A good price...It's only a couple of songs, come on ! I don't think they would apprieciate. Guillaume.

  7. #7

    They Want My Negatives......

    Even the established rock bands know better. If magazines want images, deal directly with the magazine. If the band wants promo images, let them buy limited rights. You can also negotiate for limited time rights: Let them do as they wish for a year or so, then have the rights revert back to you.
    "I meant what I said, not what you heard"--Jflavell

  8. #8

    They Want My Negatives......

    Ask them if a recording company gets all rights to their music when they make a CD. It might help to talk to them as if it's their work that's at stake. If you can get them to be upfront about their needs and fears, you may be able to negotiate an agreement. If not, double your fee and consider yourself well-paid enough to forgo any future income. However, you should ALWAYS reserve the right to use the images for your own self-promotion, regardless of any other circumstance (just shoot enough film for both parties).

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2000

    They Want My Negatives......

    Remember Napster and the music...? why they don't let us do what ever we want with the cds we bought and then they want to do what ever they want with the negs. we make....> think about that....

  10. #10

    They Want My Negatives......

    You could ask them why they want the negs, then you're in a better position to negotiate. You say magazines, promos and album cover, all those will be final digital products ... perhaps they are simply trying to have your creative input on the shoot, and remove you from the output production.

    There are no good reasons to give a client the negs, and many good reasons for you to hold them, both for the client and yourself. You need to talk again with your client to see whats going on.

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