What Are My Pictures Worth?


Well-Known Member
As a lot of people here know by now, I work at an FBO and always have my camera with me. Recently, the general manager of my FBO (my boss's boss) stuck a customer service girl with the task of designing an informational brochure to try to sell hangar space at our North Central (SFZ) location, as well where I work at OQU (our hangar is under construction right now and should be complete in winter/spring 2009). The fact that this girl has no graphic design experience, no information regarding either hangar, and doesn't know where to begin is apparently not a factor, but she showed him my pictures and when he saw the copyright watermarks he realized he couldn't just use them without my permission.

He's interested in using them and is willing to pay me, but I have no idea how much to charge. First off, I'm not a professional with a $1,500 DSLR; I'm just an airplane geek with a 6 MP Canon PowerShot S3 IS. I don't take them with the intention of selling them, I do it because it's fun. However, if someone wants to use them for marketing/commercial purposes, I want to be fairly compensated. At the same time, I'm afraid that if I ask for too much, he'll use the "Well, you were on the clock..." argument.

At any rate, I know we have some photographers on here and I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions.


Well-Known Member
I'd say $100 to $200 and one thing to consider is the use there after. You need to make sure that your boss can't come back and later claim he owns your images. He's paying for the right to use them.


Well-Known Member
When did you take the pic of the CG C-130 1502? I fllew through Quonset in early July returning from an ICE Patrol mission in St. Johns.

Pretty cool pics by the way, definitely should be worth more than 100 bucks!


Dunning–Kruger Observer
You're right that you are on an interesting bit of legal ground because you took the photos while you were "on the clock". I have exactly the same problem with photos I've taken while flying in a USAF jet.

If the owner wants to pay you a small sum to use them, go for it. These photos are being used for an "informational brochure", not for the cover of Flying.

Take a couple copies so that later you can pull that brochure out and say, "hey, I took that photo".


Mama Bear....
Staff member
question is... is he paying for the right to use them just on that brochure or like forever?

that's something you'll have to make clear in your contract or sale papers or what not. cuz he could pay you your asking price and then use them in another piece of literature if you don't specify.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies everyone. I figured $100-200 sounded reasonable. I'm not even sure if it'll end up happening; it's just something that he wants but is delegating to a part-time employee who doesn't know where to begin. I don't even know which ones he was interested in using, or if he wants to leave that up to us.

I don't even know how many copies would end up being printed; from what he told me there are several business aircraft within 50 miles or so that he is trying to attract to be based with us but wants to be able to show them something. Therefore, it won't be a big thing, but if my company wants to use my photos to generate revenue, I want to be sure I get something for it.

And to answer CGFlyer's question, that particular photo was taken on 4/12/2008 but as I mentioned in the caption, they come in from time to time.


Well-Known Member
Honestly I'd say $50 per picture and unlimited use of the picture you give him. If you go too high he can just stand there and take the shots himself.


Pays to fly
You might not like this reply, but, frankly, if it is your employer asking about using them, and even though they are willing to pay you for them, I would just say:

"Nah, no charge, just use them; anything to help the business".

Maybe you might regret saying that, then again, maybe not! ;)

If you wish me to explain my reasoning further, feel free to ask.


Well-Known Member
I too usually let people use my photos for free as long as I get photo credits and if it's for a respected publication. When I do charge, of course it depends on usage. They usually end up being $50-$200.


Well-Known Member
Really good pictures!

There should definitly be some money involved if they will be used by someone else.


Island Bus Driver
My god people... a thread about a corporate pilots undercutting others or a gulfstream thread goes 20 pages and here people are saying "oh, just use them for free or next to nothing"? There are professional photographers out there trying to make a living and the barriers of entry to THAT field are a hell of a lot lower then to flying.

So, if he thinks your pictures are good enough to use in a brochure he sure as heck should be paying you for them. As others have said, it depends on how he is going to use them. What happens if he puts the brochure on the web? Does he own you more for that? In general, I wouldn't give him rights to the image, but giving exclusive use (meaning you won't allow anybody else to use it) for a set period of time is certainly fair.


Well-Known Member
wow nice pics. i think you must mess w/ the app settings or something... i wish i knew enough to do stuff like that. like the time i was wing to wing w/ a f16 of the thunderbirds for like 20sec. (no i wasnt being intercepted). (we were like 100ft away)
my pic turned out crappy.

anyway, i think bobdduck is asking too much. but i do like his idea of exclusive use on individual projects. Tell him he can use this 1 picture on this 1 brochure for x amount of time. and charge him soemthing based on that. i think 100-200$ sounds reasonable. He's not going to want the majority of the costs for the brochure to go to your one picture!


New Member
Offer a reasonable amount. Don't act like your images are worth 50 bucks a pop or something. For that kind of money, your boss could just go out and buy a camera of his own and take the pictures himself. No offense of anything, but we're talking about point and shoot pictures of airplanes, not exactly something rare or hard to obtain. Your boss is kind of doing you a favor by asking to use your images. I suggest an offer of no more than 100 bucks for full use of all your images.


Well-Known Member
I think I can understand where loubetti is coming from - also I see BobDducks point. The question is if he doesn't throw you a little cash for your pics, will he actually pay market rate for a professional photographer's pics? If so, you should be compensated like anyone. If not, you really aren't undercutting anyone. I would think you could be a really popular guy at work if you traded him rights for the one-time use if he buys lunch for your team (something worth $50-100). That would be good form.


Well-Known Member
My god people... a thread about a corporate pilots undercutting others or a gulfstream thread goes 20 pages and here people are saying "oh, just use them for free or next to nothing"? There are professional photographers out there trying to make a living and the barriers of entry to THAT field are a hell of a lot lower then to flying.

The barriers to enter professional photography are pretty high. It is not as simple as going down to Walmart, plunking down $100 for a camera and sending your photos off to Flying Magazine. The original poster selling his photos to his boss for $100 or even giving them to him for free does not really undercut pro photographers. Very few photographers would be willing to go out and do this kind of job because the pay for it would just not be worth it. I charge $100 an hour for my photography time with a $300 minimum. There is no way his boss would be willing to pay that for some simple airplane photos. This is not comparable to Challenger pilots working for $20,000 a year IMO. Now if the boss wanted him to spend some serious time putting together a real photo shoot of numerous airplanes that would be different.



Well-Known Member
Not sure what to say about this one. When I worked for LGB Ops I always had my camera. The job itself even inspired me to finally purchase a DSLR after years of having a digi point and shoot. That job was the most fun I have had so far in terms of employment. I had great access to the airport and aircraft. When they asked if they could use my photos in the Noise Brochure for the community I jumped. So the photos were published and the city which operates the airport didn't make any money off the photos. I was just happy to have them published even if it were in a simple brochure.

If he will make money from your photos you should charge him. This is the site I use and they have a thread about the business of photography: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=23
Good luck. BTW great photos! And FYI for others here unless his boss has some understanding of photography he wouldn't be able to simply recreate the photos by running out and picking up some digi camera. Just not that easy. You should submit some of your shots to airliners.net or some of the other aviation photography websites!