koha – A Fair Price

Low the Band live


I’m introducing Pay What You Want pricing model for licensing of images of small local bands for use on social media (facebook, instagram, twitter, webpage etc).  I’ll provide you a set of high resolution watermarked images taken at a performance and you pay me what you think is a fair price based on your circumstances, however little that might be.   We both trust each other to the do the right thing!  And I’ll give you a business receipt for the amount you paid.

Here’s a nice little article about the maori tradition of koha

For The Love Of Music

I love music and i love shooting bands and musicians playing live music. The more creative the better !

We can assume most musicians don’t make much money – they spend hours perfecting their art, they have equipment to buy, transport costs to cover, practice rooms to hire etc. They might get paid for doing a gig – perhaps a proportion of the door fees or bar takings, or maybe a fixed fee.  But it’s not a huge amount for sure unless they hit the big time.

There will be some people at the gig who will get paid – bar staff, the sound guy (possibly), bouncers etc, but photographers are unlikely to be one of them.  Photographers will typically be shooting for an online publication which itself is run on a shoe string and can’t afford to pay their photographers.  Usually the only ‘payment’ for the photographer is free access to the gig which they’ll enjoy, but because they are working they’ll not get a chance to fully enjoy it, and may have to leave early to edit their photos by the publication deadline (or because they have to get up early the next morning for work)

The Problem

Like musicians, photographers spend a long time perfecting their art.  Their equipment costs money, especially the stuff needed to get decent pictures of fast moving musicians in dark busy rooms, and they spend hours after a gig editing their shots down to something presentable. Sure the photographer gets to go to some cool gigs, but their time they put in on the night and afterwards is considerable.

I’ll typically spend a minimum of two hours editing photos after each gig.  i’ll usually be at the venue for at least two hours to capture both the support and the main act and with travel time that’s around 5 hours per gig.  You can work out the cost if those five hours were charged at even the minimum wage and that’s not including petrol, camera and computer equipment etc.

Photography is a profession, much like being a musician.  We both create something of value which is difficult to put a price on.   Photographers own the copyright to their images just like a musicians do for the songs they write.

The ‘problem’ with concert photography (compared to wedding photography for example) is the people who would be most interested in the images that have been created are also the ones with the least ability to afford to buy them.   There will be some bands who are profitable but there aren’t many of them and chances are you aren’t one of them if you are reading this.

The challenge is how to make those photos available to a smaller band in a way which is fair for both the photographer and the musician.

A Possible Solution For Small and Local Bands

So, i’m going to try a different approach.  If you are a local or small band, and if i happened to take photos of your performance because i was at the venue then i’m prepared to make those photos available to you for use on social media on a Pay What You Want / koha basis.  It’s up to you to think about whether you give me $10, $20, $100.  Or even nothing.  The choice is yours.  Just let me know 🙂

The practicalities

I’ll share the images with you first so you can decide if it’s something you are interested in.  I’ll usually give you a few more images than have already been published so you can choose your own favourites.  They’ll be a decent resolution, perfect for social media, and will have my davesimpson.org watermark on.

I’ll give you my bank account details (for Dave Simpson Photography Ltd) and you can make whatever payment you think is appropriate.  I’ll give you a proper business receipt with the photos so you can claim it back as expenses if you do a tax return etc.

If you want to use an image for something else (eg a poster, album art etc) then we can talk about licensing for that separately.

What do i get out of this?

I’d rather have people see my images rather than them just sit on my hard drive in the dark depth of the inside of my computer where all the dust lives!   Plus i’m keen to see small bands thrive and encourage more people to come along to your future gigs.  A bit of payback for that would be nice, but i recognise it’s not always going to be affordable.

And finally i hope you’ll keep me in mind if you need a band portrait or you want to commission me to take photos at a gig for you (we can talk about rates for that separately).

Any restrictions?

I shoot a variety of artists in a range of different venues and circumstances.  I have a more formal pricing structure for bigger bands who i consider should be able to afford to pay proper rates.  But everything is up for negotiation!