Photo Attorney

Dec 19, 2008

Q&A - Copying Pricing Structures

Q. I'm starting a new photography business. May I use another photographer's pricing structure to set my own?

A. It's difficult, even for the experienced photographer, to know what prices to charge for your services. Fortunately, there are many resources to help, including these:

- fotoQuote Pro is an industry standard pricing resource.

- Stock Photo Price Calculator is a free resource provided by photographersindex.com.

- John Harrington provides great information about pricing photo services in his book, "Best Business Practices for Photographers," and on his blog.

- Heron's and MacTavish's book, "Pricing Photography."

Whether you can "copy" another photographer's pricing structure is subject to an analysis similar to whether you can copy contract language. While each situation is different and must be examined on its own, it's difficult to imagine a situation a pricing structure that would be subject to copyright protection since there are few ways to express one and it probably would be deemed an idea, procedure, process, or system.

Nevertheless, you must avoid any antitrust or price fixing activities. For more information, read my blog post on "Antitrust Activity and Price Fixing by Photographers."