Submitting Stock Photographs

by Gary Bernstein -


Subject: Sophia Loren
Client: Private Test Session
Stock Photo Sale: Good Housekeeping Magazine
Location: Gary Bernstein Studio, Culver City, California
Camera: 35mm SLR
Lens: 105mm
Lighting: 3 Photogenic Power Lights - 600 watt-seconds each
Film: Kodak Kodachrome 25
Exposure Metering: incident
Exposure: 1/60 at f/8

Classic, legendary, Sophia Loren was seated on a Denny Manufacturing posing stool about 10 feet from the white cove wall in my studio. Two lights at 45-degree angles (the angle is important so you don’t get flare) illuminated the background at an even f/8. The main light (a pan-reflector) was mounted on a boom directly over the camera--meaning it created a 12:00 catchlight in Sophia’s eyes. It recorded an f/8--matching the background exposure. The rest of the technical data appears above. But...

Let’s Talk About Submitting Stock Images...
Sophia mentioned to me, there were many publications interested in new images of her. One such source was Good Housekeeping with whom I've worked many times over the years.
It's an appropriate time to mention that I don't maintain a fixed day-rate, a fixed shot-rate, or a fixed price for the sale of stock images. Just as the parameters of a session are determined by a variety of constantly-changing factors, my pricing reflects an endless variety of changing parameters as well. In the case of stock photography sales of celebrity images, it's typically the demand in the marketplace and the stature of the celebrity that determines the license fee. To keep my business flexible and my options open, nothing is carved in stone (other than the prices I charge for portrait sessions and resulting portrait sales--and even those are conditionally subject to change).

I initiated this licensed cover sale by calling the art director at Good Housekeeping and mentioning that I had recently photographed a number of celebrities one of whom was Sophia Loren. He was interested but, naturally, wanted to see the images. I do not send out original images. This is discussed up front with all potential clients. Consequently, there are a variety of ways to allow the client to see the images. With today's computer systems, images can be scanned and downloaded or sent via floppy disk, zip or jazz. My favorite option over the past ten years, however, is significantly more analogue i.e. producing instant 4x5 proofs from the original 35mm chromes. I like the fact that the small-format image is slightly softened approximating what a finished version will look like. In the case of a potential client who needs a better look, we'll produce Type R prints or with other (often commercial) clients, we'll go to interneg and Type C prints. Very often my determination as to which way to go is not so much a matter of what the potential client wants, but rather a decision on my part as to whether I want reproducible unretouched images of my celebrity clients floating around.

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