Magazine contracts for photographers

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    I've been photographing for business, trade and consumer magazines for a long time, and it's clear that the golden age of editorial photography is behind us.  Grinding economic pressures in the publishing industry have seen many magazines shut down, and those that remain are increasingly stingy about spending money for high end photography.

    Negotiating a reasonable agreement for a magazine shoot has never been more difficult.  One example is a recent contract being forced on photographers by Reader's Digest.  Read this post for a primer on typical magazine contracts and how to interpret the terms.


      Unfortunately we as photographers tend to deal only with art directors and photo editors.  They do not set their companies terms, and are squeezed between pressure from their bosses and the grief heaped on them by the creative community. Remember, publishing houses have teams of lawyers coming up with contracts that favor only the publishers.  Any contract is negotiable, and photographers must educate themselves and work to change terms that are detrimental to our industry. In fact, we should have our own terms and inform the publisher that since we are the supplier we'd like to use our terms for the assignment.

      Many photographers do not understand how to negotiate and what they should expect and demand of an agreement, the result being a downward spiral of fees for those supplying the art.  If you're new to photographing for magazines, start with a trip to to begin educating yourself. You owe it to yourself and to the photo industry.

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Great post. Thanks for the link!

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This page contains a single entry by Dwight Cendrowski published on December 7, 2009 8:33 AM.

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