Getting Paid on Time

Photographers, we’re like banks. Paying on the spot for hotels, cars, rental equipment, and assistants if you’re good. Then waiting for months to recoup payment. Last year at some point I wrote a quick ditty asking how photographers deal with chasing overdue payments after licensing photos, wanting to know what folks were charging for interest rates, and especially (sorry Europe, I love you) how to chase down payments from European magazines who DGAF the moment your image hits their server.

Since then, based on that feedback, I’ve implemented a non-negotiable, pay-up-front rule across the board for licensing images, no matter the region, and its worked wonders. I just spent 2 hours writing emails (often the 3rd or 4th) to non-paying, non-responding mags, from before that time. It’s a terrific way to get into a shit mood and waste time. Soooooooo just sharing what seems to be working.

Also, I have been calculating what I thought was a whopping 5% compounded monthly interest on some old invoices, and it’s a very very tiny amount. Like $25-50 over 6-9 month. Nobody will care enough. So my recco, if a magazine can’t swing upfront payment, would be that your invoice stipulates 15-20% compounded monthly interest, that you get the photo editor to sign and send back to you, so there is written agreement on terms. And if you end up spending time chasing payment, you’re at least recouping a little of your time.

In regards to getting paid on time for editorial assignments, I’m a stickler for sending the photo editor your own estimate that acts as a contract, with the terms that you will be charging monthly compounding interest at X% if the invoice isn’t paid on a Net30. Make sure that photo editor signs it. This is your point of recourse. As a note, you do need to make sure that you haven’t signed a contract that clashes or overrides those terms. 

Ok that’s all. Stronger together.