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 Further, for over two decades, photo buyers and photo editors have pointed to the now outdated pricing guides, that ASMP was prohibited from updating.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.
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.Now, Cradoc has decided he wants to promote his software here, and advertise with us.
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.
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!
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