At sell my story website Featureworld we pride ourselves on getting our clients some of the highest payments and widest publicity in the media industry.
But one of the key issues we come across is managing an interviewee’s expectations. So many people come to us to sell a story or a photo believing a newspaper or a magazine will pay them tens of thousands – when the reality is that as with any business, the press too have tight budgets.
And while editors will still dig deep in their budgets for a world exclusive story they really want, most people will not get the tens of thousands – or even thousands – they often believe they will easily be paid.
So we were interested to read an interview on this very subject in the press industry journal Press Gazette with celebrity picture agency Rex.
Rex, which enjoys its 60th birthday this year, was founded in 1954 by a husband and wife team and has grown over the decades into one of the biggest picture agencies – it is credited with producing the first photo of Prince Charles and Camilla together.
But in the article written by Paul McNally, Operations Director Rick Colls laments that although 10-20 years ago the number of sales made for £20,000 or £40,000 were ‘numerous throughout the year’ now ‘it’s very rare you ever hear of a picture going for that amount these days – it’s a real rarity.’
Meanwhile, although the digital age has made the process of actually producing photographs cheaper (for example, they don’t have to be developed in a dark room and can be quickly emailed to newsdesks): ‘The price that a newspaper or magazine pays for an image is probably a fifth of what it was five years ago…
‘There are many more photographers, there’s much more competition, speed is of the essence and because of the ubiquity of material the client can play off Rex, Getty Ap, Reuters (other picture agencies) – and obviously try to do a deal at the cheapest price point.’
He goes on: ‘There’s the whole rise of citizen journalism where plenty of titles now are trying to get readers to send in their material. It really is a way trying to generate content at no cost.’
On a lighter note, Mr Colls says that contrary to popular opinion, many celebrity photographers have good relationships with celebrities (probably because any celebrity knows they are only as good as the amount of publicity they are generating in the press.)
He says: ‘Victoria Beckham will happily pose for our photographers because they’ve build up a relationship over the years … and if they’re asked not to take pictures, they don’t.’
You can read the full article here: Rex Features at 60
And on the subject of price for your story, you can get a realistic idea of how much you could earn by contacting Featureworld for free and confidential advice using the form to the right of this page >>>