Lecture: Paul Herrmann

For this session, we were given a very constructive and practical lecture by Paul Herrmann, director at Redeye.

In the introduction, we offered an insight into the various prospects associated with Redeye.

Redeye is a photography network, a non-profit organisation run by photographers for photographers.

They cover a wide range of photographic areas:

  • Networking and advice
  • Portfolio sessions, lectures, workshops, symposia
  • Big projects such as lightbox, national photography symposium, look festival etc…
  • Volunteer opportunities – encouraging ethics and good practice
  • Membership – making contacts, networking, exposure and general opportunities.

Upcoming events include:

  • Career development weekend 9/10 Nov in Birmingham
  • Post conflict media – 1 Dec
  • Writing – alternative history of photography – John Blakemore.

Contact – Paul@redeye.org.uk

This then lead on to discuss more practical and hands-on issues related to professional practice, starting with market trends.

  • Royalties are down 20% between 2005 – 2011
  • Photo businesses have halved in the last 10 years
  • Staff photographers are declining
  • Well run businesses mostly fine
  • Internships/unpaid work is increasing
  • Photographers who retain copyright earn 33% more
  • Fine art prints, especially vintage increased over 30 years
  • Multi-media/cross boundary work is increasing

Herrmann then offered an overview of the current market

From this, we reached a very important topic of practical advice/areas to consider for post graduation – copyright & pricing.

  • Starting a business – employed versus freelance
  • You and your business are distinct from each other, a good balance is needed.
  • Having a business like approach, professional attitude and being punctual are all part of good practice
  • Get business help from – HMRC (contact them when setting up a business), find a good accountant (business link, launchpad)
  • Consider ethics – grown or sustainability?

He also highlighted relevant fees and pricing as well as the subject of copyright – e.g. when to use different licences.

  • Consult BJP or NUJ freelance guide for more specific information
  • Work out your minimum job fee, how to break even and avoid going out of business – Your total annual outgoings (fixed income) divided by (self guided salary, in this consider the expense of needed equipment and so forth) the number of jobs you can reasonably do within a year.
  • Other costs to consider are insurance, equipment as well as variable costs such as travel, studio rent.
  • Think about what situation you might charge less – personal favours for friends, family.
  • What jobs might not pay upfront but offer scope for future work
  • Be cautious of certain internships or unpaid positions when starting out
  • Loss leader/marketing – for use when there’s opportunities for the reuse of images

This lead onto the usage of images.

  • Object & image – the physical original and the reproduced ‘copy’
  • For images, image is everything so always retain the copyright – think 50 or so years ahead
  • Get used to licensing

Fees –

  1. Work out break even point
  2. Factor in usage
  3. Research & your experience
  4. Negotiate

There are three specialist areas

  • Stock/library
  • Print sales
  • Working as a educator

Herrmann also further discusses the subject of licensing

  • Issue a licence with every bit of work you do
  • It is a description of how you’re allowing your client to use your work


  • Media – time/number of times used
  • Geographical exclusivity

Doesn’t need to be complicated but it should always apply – e.g. work with usage stated for….for this (amount of time).

This related to whether or not we should sell copyright

  • Person/business who buys it has all control of the work
  • They can sell/give your work to other companies
  • I would generally say no – but licencing can be productive under your terms e.g. competitions that ask for copyright, agree upon self controlled licensing terms.
  • BBC are terrible for copyright – check the terms and conditions
  • Look out for clauses that claim ownership or work for free
  • Advantageous for a limited time but can’t replace paid work

Herrmann also mentioned such aspects related to stock photography

  • Similar pricing to commission, negotiate based upon that
  • Balance the advantages to the user and to you – generally 50/50 cut
  • Stock sites – Getty & Corbis are good, avoid Wrex

He then moved onto to talk about aspects related to photographing people in public

  • Why is it important? – Ethics & good will
  • Law – copyright (private/personal photos) e.g. weddings – can’t be used in public
  • Defamation
  • Data protection – law of misuse of private information e.g. reveal location of a protected person, identifying an individual who may lose money as a result
  • General ok to photograph public places and large groups but when you begin to highlight individuals you risk the possibility of exposing personal or compromising information.
  •  National Trust – when you buy a ticket, you sign over all rights of commercial use.
  • Contract law – permissions
  • Child protection act – restrictions – need a licence to portray a child as a model

He also elaborated upon this in a more worldwide capacity

  • Image rights versus human rights – Philip Lorca Dicorcia
  • Example – Bank advert used photos from flickr for free

Upon the groups request we were also offered insight into model release forms

  • A model release form is a contract between model and photographer
  • Model permit?
  • For financial situations it depends on the context – consent form or model release
  • Consent form – less formal, covers you for data protection and privacy
  • For news/public interest you don’t need a consent form
  • Issue – conflict between freedom of expression and the right to personal privacy
  • Fine to photograph permanent public display or building
  • Other businesses such as Tesco, can’t stop you from taking photos but can remove you from the location

Through this lecture, I learnt a great deal of useful information to consider within my ongoing and future practice.




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