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How Much Should You Charge a Blog to Use Your Photos?

by Dan Bailey on March 28, 2011 · 6 comments

How much should you charge someone who wants to use your photo on their blog? That’s easy, just open up your stock photo pricing guide and plug in the numbe -

Oh wait.

It’s not in there.

For some reason, the specific use “blog” is often left out of many stock price guides and calculators. “Website” is certainly in there, but a blog is not really a website. On a blog, images tend to appear on a main page, then eventually drop into an archive. In that sense, a blog is more like a magazine, with the archive being the equivalent of a magazine’s back issues.

For that reason, when I’m asked to price one of my photos for blogging use, I’ll start in the Magazine section of my price guide. From there, I use the blog’s traffic numbers, which correlate with a magazine’s circulation and exposure, to establish a price.

Thanks to search engines and retweets, popular posts can have a healthy viewership after they’re archived, sometimes for months and possibly years afterwards. That said, it’s hard to try and factor this into the price, since you have no idea how well a blog post will be received, and you can’t really charge for “reprints” as you can with other uses.

But what if it’s a blog that has a low profile? Small blogs usually don’t have budgets, so it’s likely that you’ll run into a situation where the blog owner wants the photo for free, or for trade.

In that case, go for trade. There is no such thing as free in this business. Even if you’re just starting out, everything is worth something, and if you can’t get money, then you can at least get a watermark photo credit on your image with a link back to your site. That’s pretty much how the whole blogging thing works anyway.

If you have to trade, try to establish a relationship with the blogger. Maybe they’ll keep using your work, which can result in regular traffic to your site, or maybe they’ll even have some paying work for you in the future. All of that has worth, and so if you look at it like that, “free” is not really free. It’s marketing.

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Senior contributor Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.
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