Advertising agency interested in my image. Please advise me!

Oct 5, 2012
Need advice from people who have experience selling/licensing their images!

Have a little correspondence that resulted in the following email:
(Agency representative masked for privacy)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Xxx Xxxxxx <>
Date: 6 November 2013 16:58
Subject: Re: FineArtAmerica: E-Mail from Visitor
To: Wing Yau Au Yeong <>

Wing Yau,
We are interested in purchasing the following image in your Flickr portfolio.

We are wondering what the cost would be for the following options

1) Purchase the image outright for Global use (complete buyout)

2) Global use for 3 years.

Please let me know.

Xxx Xxxxxx
Leo Burnett Chicago
35 W Wacker Drive
19th Floor
Chicago IL 60601
312.220.1126 | Fax 312.220.6552 | Cell 312.576.0459

I assume (1) means they own the copyright and (2) I hold the copyright. I suppose they will prepare the necessary paperwork after I pick the option. Any advice about the pros and cons of (1) and (2), and what is a reasonable amount I should expect to be offered? Anything in particular I should watch out for?



New Member
Jun 21, 2010
FAA is one of the most dreaded company a stock contributor will want to see in their monthly statement, because they pay peanuts. It can be as low as $0.09 for an RF image.

You are right about your assumptions above. I suggest you ask them to give you a proposed figure and you counter offer them after that. Pray that it's a handsome offer. You might want to look for similar type of photos from stock website to have a gauge on what to expect for #2.

For #1, after they buy out, you will no longer own the picture and they can use it in whatever manner they want, without seeking your permission. This option warrant a higher amount (and get be really really high in certain pics, 5 or 6 figures sum) if it is an extraordinarily rare and good picture. Some will just offer a $50 buy-out or even lower. So how special your pic is will determine the price. Item #2, you just license it to them and you own all rights to the pic. There is a huge difference in fees payable in #1 and #2 normally.

Normally when #1 comes by, it means the pic is quite special. Good luck to you in your negotiation with them :)


Staff member
Apr 26, 2008
Wow, Leo Burnett ;p

It sounds like it might potentially be huge. If you don't currently have a rep on your side, I'd really consider seeking some professional help with the negotiations/pricing.

I'm not sure about local outfits, but I've chanced across Wonderful Machine's regular posts on Pricing & Negotiation on the website (here's an example of one). No harm checking how much their services would cost.

Whether it's just a little stock picture or a full-blown ad campaign, we have the know-how to research, price and negotiate just about any project. We understand the value of commercial photography and we know how to structure licensing agreements and project proposals properly, and negotiate with clients effectively. Our producers have worked with a wide variety of editorial, corporate and advertising clients on projects large and small. And we can scale our services to meet your needs, whether it's simply to review an estimate that you've created yourself, or to build a proposal from ground up.
Pricing Guides There are a number of pricing guides that can help you determine assignment fees. Blinkbid makes pricing recommendations based on your licensing criteria and it allows you to output an estimate with prompts for your expenses. FotoQuote has stock photography pricing and extensive coaching articles on assignment pricing. Getty Images allows you to get a price quote on stock photography with comparable licensing terms as the assignment you&#8217;re quoting on. None of these guides can be taken at face value; they simply offer a starting point. You&#8217;ll have to use your experience and gut instincts to transform those numbers into reasonable prices.

Pricing Consultants There are a number of companies and individuals who offer a la carte pricing services for photographers, including Wonderful Machine, Frank Meo (The Photo Closer), and Seth Resnick. Freelance producers often work with photographers to generate pricing on production expenses, but not on licensing fees.

Last edited:
Oct 5, 2012
Thanks for the advices so far. I'm just an amateur trying to shoot better photos. Looking at some of the images on Alamy/Corbis/Getty, it is quite surprising how much some RM images are asking for in a 3-year license.

Maybe that's why they approach little guys like me. Strictly speaking it's not a "5-star" image, but maybe it has something that works with their concept.

Try to come up with something reasonable that does not "cheapen" the profession.... :p


Senior Member
Jan 4, 2003
Visit site
Leo Burnett is one of the world top advertising agency,they are one of the top three in Singapore.:cool:


Senior Member
May 16, 2012
a complete buyout would likely mean that they are gonna want that image from you, so its kind of totally sold to them.

most stuff on getty and stock sites work as RF (royalty free) images, so photographers still own the copyright to their image and as long as the photographers themselves don't use those images for commercial purposes, its ok.

complete buyouts happen for getty or other stock sites as well, and these stuff are normally not priced based on whatever pricing they have online. i think the photo should have some irreproducible moment, or, they just want something they can use for 3 years but they don't want to license through expensive stock sites.

my guess, you should try looking at pricing for rights managed images on getty, something similar to what you shot, and the put in all the duration etc etc and see how much its going to cost (they generate a pricing based on different categories eg web use, print, duration, area of coverage). it can serve as a guide (ps, dont think its going to be too low)

good luck. i think if they really need the shot, they will discuss with you (of course they will prepare all the papers for you). i dont know the rates for FAA, so no help there.


Senior Member
Jun 24, 2007
if this is a big agency then

1) find out who is the client
2) find out where is the usage (media)
3) find out the duration of the usage
4) decide on the complexity, time, money spend on getting this image

sometimes the rights itself for 1yr in SG can cost around SGD10k
so pls do your maths correct, there is always negotiations

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