Friday, December 14, 2007

Please Welcome fotoBiz & fotoQuote As Our Latest Advertiser!

One of the pieces of software that I find as indispensible as Photoshop and Firefox, and thus, is parked right on my Mac's dock next to them is fotoQuote - simply put, the best and most up-to-date pricing solution for photographers, and one which I rely on. I've been saying this for years in my presentations, and believe it to be just as true then as it is today, so, there's no quid-pro-quo here, I am a true-believer when it comes to how great fotoQuote (and it's larger sibling fotoBiz) are.

Back in 1992, Cradoc Bagshaw began a quest - to solve the pricing dilemas of photographers everywhere - and he has succeeded (and re-succeeded since then) in providing top-notch, real-world information. In 1993, after painstaking research, he released what I honestly feel was a landmark tool for pricing photography. The first tool was the ASMP pricing guide, which, while a milestone back in 1982, but which became problematic for them, as an organization, when the Federal Trade Commission slapped them with concerns about price-fixing. Further, for over two decades, photo buyers and photo editors have pointed to the now outdated pricing guides, that ASMP was prohibited from updating. Not Cradoc. He regularily updates his software.

(Continued after the Jump)

So, what's his story? Well, Cradoc began when he was just 15 working for the Anchorage Daily News as...get this...Chief Photographer! Following that, he worked for Life, Forbes, Time, and countless others, as well as having his work represented by Black Star, West Light, and others. Cradoc really has earned his stripes as a photographer.

Aside from that pedigree, he maintains a very active and engaged life, speaking at NYU, the International Center of Photography in New York, UCLA and Brooks Institute of Photography.

At right, is an example of the over 200 pricing categories that fotoQuote has - this one is for a retail book cover stock photography use.

But the software doesn't stop there, there's an entire coaching section, which is a must-read before you engage in a phone conversation with a prospective client or buyer. And it coaches you for every use category/type, it's truly a remarkable opus, at your fingertips, dealt to you piecemeal, just what you need for what you're negotiating on.

In one instance, in fact, one that appears in my book, I was negotiating with a educational textbook publisher, and I used the software to ask the right questions and, as you can see by the negotiations that ensued between myself and the client starting on page 192 of my book, I was able to move an offer from $275 to $950 each, for two images, all based upon insights from fotoQuote.

This was remarkable, because, in part, the negotiating coach section was developed with the help of a past ASMP National President, Vince Streano. In a prophetic citation from the a 1999 Central Virginia Newsletter "....How do you smoke out actual usage and budgets, and how can you tell how badly the person on the other end of the phone wants your image? Are you prepared to let a sale go for $200 that you might have gotten $900 for?" This is just what I did, and the ending numbers are remarkably similar. Crazy. But, crazy good.

Back in February of 1994, promoting one of the software updates, a press release from the company noted:
FotoQuote automates the process of creating a quote for stock photography submissions. “Our research has shown that when a price quote is given in writing instead of verbally there is a much higher chance of getting the asking price,” said Bagshaw. “ There are fewer problems, including copyright infringement or rights grabs, if the photographer is willing to take the time to send the client the correct paperwork outlining the exact details of the job, including usages and rights that are to be granted."
It goes on to report on how the pricing figures are researched:
All of the prices have been carefully reviewed from actual sales records, and raised or lowered to reflect the current market.
Their website goes on to note:
To get accurate prices we reviewed thousands of confidential sales records from national stock agencies and photographers all across the US. We built a price grid and then checked back with experts in each category to be sure the prices were accurate. As a last step, we again checked the prices against thousands of actual sales records from agencies and photographers.

We scoured all of the available online pricing that we could find, looking for new patterns and checking to see whether or not there was any consistency in those patterns or if they seemed to be a quick and dirty solution to the new pricing situation. We worked with a pile of our own email requests for help from users looking for pricing solutions that were new to the industry and finally we monitored stock photo news groups to see what kind of pricing problems photographers were having and the possible solutions that were being offered. Finally, after building a greatly updated pricing model we started calling industry sources to check the prices we came up with. As a result, we "rewrote the book". You won't find the pricing information in the new fotoQuote anywhere else.
Now, Cradoc has decided he wants to promote his software here, and advertise with us.

As a long-time registered owner of the software, I was upset to learn, in the same ASMP Central Virginia article: -
On a sourer note, the program’s author reports that there are many unlicensed copies of fotoQuote in use by photographers and agencies. If that is the best behavior we as professional photographers can muster, then we deserve what we get. Come on, you know who you are and just howhypocritical that is. Buy the program.
Yes, buy the program. Don't steal his efforts he's made for our benefit. Don't steal his software, it's just as much a creative endeavor as a picture you've made, and when someone steals your photograph, you get upset, so do the right thing and buy it. If you are using a copy that's not yours, now is the time to order your own legitimate copy. It's good karma (and the law!) to do so.

fotoQuote - $139.95 full version, with upgrade pricing.

FotoBiz -" If you need to get your paperwork out, keep track of your images, keyword and caption them, then this is the program for you." $299, full version, with upgrade pricing. (this includes fotoQuote in it!)


UPDATE: For our foreign readers, fotoQuote has listed the conversion rates for currency. Those shown at right are the default figures, but what with exchange rates fluxuating, you may change the rate as markets change. In addition, if for whatever reason, you think that these real-world surveyed rates need a tweak, you may make an adjustment to a specific use, or an across-the-board percentage increase to all the rates!

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

17 comments:

Tim said...

Hey John,

Are you able to comment at all on how relevant this software would be for use in the UK market? Are the UK and US markets roughly comparable when adjusting for exchange rates or would the figures from Photoquote need to be factored for local conditions?

Interesting software indeed!

Cheers

Tim

Anonymous said...

The reach of FotoQuote is longer than many think. The basis for the rights-managed pricing on PhotoShelter is FotoQuote. Cradoc and the good folks at PhotoShelter got together a little over a year and a half ago and integrated the Cradoc database into PhotoShelter.

Cradoc is a very good person who is sharp and knowledgeable about the the industry. What John missed in his history of Cradoc is also important.

Cradoc was one of the very first people to address the need for captioning on transparencies. His "Cradoc Caption Writer" was the standard for many people (along with Alan Goldstein's excellent - Caption Power). I know several photographers who still use these programs running under DOS or "Classic" emulation.

John Ricard said...

At the bottom where you list the prices for each program, I think you should mention that if you buy Fotobiz, then you automatically get Fotoquote for free. I don't think that is clear in your writeup.

Thomas Wiegle said...

Think about all the programs that have been written to help photographers. Studio Manager, ProBill, BlinkBid, InView,
Tom Zimberoff's Filemaker program, the APA template series plus a slew of others that have come and mostly gone.

Cradoc's program has stood the test of time and is pretty good. FotoQuote is a truly essential piece of kit and I use it quite often. Sometimes, I compare prices it suggests with the Getty databae or Seth Resnick's online quotes.
Mostly, I use to check my "gut" on pricing.

JeffreySnyderPix said...

I could not agree more with John on how vitally important FotoQuote is. I've been using it via my PhotoShelter account, and the software has helped me negotiate much higher licensing fees for my images with publishers. Thank you fotoQuote & PhotoShelter for making this available!!

TG said...

Just wondering how useful this is for pricing jobs that are not stock (I guess that would be assignment?).

It's definitely worth checking out and thanks much for posting!

John Harrington said...

Tim -

Thanks for the question. Yes, indeed, the software can be used to convert currencies, which is just something I don't ever do, but I realize that need for other countries, so, I've updated the blog entry with a screen grab showing the place where you can make those adjustments in the 'settings' area.

Anonymous wrote about Cradoc's caption writer --

Yes, before fotoQuote I too used his captioning software, but since it's not really being sold anymore (but if you must, I am sure he would find a copy to sell you!) I didn't include it, but it's worth noting if for no other reason than to demonstrate his longevity supporting photographers!

John - thanks - entry updated to include that!

Thomas wrote -
>>>Mostly, I use to check my "gut" on pricing.

This is a good thing to point out. However, what I would say is that most people who call me to help them with pricing (at which point I refer to fotoQuote and tell them that with what they earn on the licensing, they must go and buy fotoQuote!) have as a gut reaction that the prices are too high, so, if your gut is telling you it's too high, I would caution you to pause and question your gut!

--- John

Anonymous said...

Finally an improvement of a great product that has been helping photographers charge the right money for their work and earn a living.

I’m hopeful that these many whining photojournalists will spend the money on this helpful product, they shouldn’t instead be spending what little they have on photo stories that they might be able to get published, at less that the usual rate because they are desperate for cash flow. But hey; how many times can you go to a war torn country on your own dime, get shot at, not have insurance, and then brag about the experience with your peers?

Susanne McEnearney said...

My opinion is, that FotoQuote has helped more photographers "see the light" about business than all the trade industry pundits and groups together. A simple piece of software that tells it like it is. (up until the last downward spiral from the big boys and microstock)

Fotoquote has helped me fight against the ASMP rate mentality that festered for so long. I use it when quoting stock and for assignments in my niche market.

I feel that it is a very important program and am glad to see you have written Cradoc and his work. Maybe more photographers will start using FotoQuote in their business.

Enjoyable blog by the way.

Brian Larter said...

Is there any sort of demo? I think this sounds perfect for me, but would like to see it in action before shelling out the $300. As a student $300 isn't pocket change. And sadly know one around here seems to use it.

fotoQuote/fotoBiz said...

We at fotoQuote and fotoBiz noticed Brian's comments about student pricing and wanted to share information about the discounts we do offer.

Here are a few options for discounts when considering your fotoBiz and/or fotoQuote purchase.

The Educational Discount offered is for the fotoBiz Bundle which normally retails for $329.95, but teachers and students at the collegiate level can take advantage of the fotoBiz Bundle (which includes a free stand-alone copy of fotoQuote) for $159.95. To see if you qualify, please fill out the contact form at: Educational Discount

ASMP, EP and NPPA members are eligible for a discount. To qualify, please fill out the contact forms below for the respective professional organization.
ASMP Discount
EP Discount
NPPA Discount

PhotoShelter members are also eligible for a discount and can access that information from their site at: PhotoShelter Discount

FotoBiz and fotoQuote also come with a 30 day money back guarantee and you can download a demo of fotoQuote at: fotoQuote Demo

John Harrington said...

Yoink! I had no idea about all those discounts!

Now, there's even less reason not to get them!

-- John

Angell said...

I too was interested in how well this program works in the UK - so I emailed the support address and this is what they said...

"The workflow would be the same for you as the US market quoting/estimating, invoicing and billing as well as contact management and sales tracking of
your images. Some of the Terms and Conditions may need to be revised and
this can be done easily by creating and saving your own document/form from
the Communication Module with Terms and Conditions specific to your country.

The pricing structure for the fotoQuote usages are based on research
conducted for North America. There are however Coach topics with pricing
information for the UK and Japan. As far as fees and expenses for the
assignment side of the program, fotoBiz does come preloaded with pricing for
these various assignment line items. These will however vary by individual
(based on your own overhead and the specifics of the assignment, location
fees, production and post production costs, equipment rental, etc) and are
designed so that you are able to add in your own pricing structure."

Brian Larter said...

Thanks a ton. I will definitely be getting this after the holidays. After taking a look i am sure I'll be recommending it to my fellow students.

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