Frequently Asked Questions

“Production” is a term that encompasses a broad range of services offered to international photographers, television commercial companies and advertising agencies when they conduct shoots on location. Production companies coordinate the equipment hire, hotel bookings, car hire, selection and management of models and crew, the management of permits, visas, carnets and other relevant documentation, as well as the day-to-day production requirements of each shoot.

Producers travel overseas to source clients and promote Cape Town and South Africa as a location for photographic shoots. Once the potential client has been persuaded of the value of Cape Town as a location, the client will request quotes from a number of different companies for the job. Quotes will also be sent to competitive production companies in different countries. Generally the most competitive quote wins.

The Stills Photographic industry is made up of a number of different sub-sectors, based on the way the end product – the photograph – will actually be used. These include:

Catalogue shoots are used to photograph models wearing the clothes for sale through the in-house publications of clothing companies. These days, catalogues are printed in hard copy and distributed via traditional mailings, and also available online at the company’s website. Catalogue shoots therefore have one usage already built into the day fee.

The central element of any advertising shoot is that someone, somewhere will be using the resulting pictures to help sell a product or service. Advertising shoots are therefore closely tied in to the product. The straight shoot fee may be less than catalogue, but the upside is that a usage fee is usually applicable, the down side is that sometimes the pictures are not used and therefore usage is not payable.

A photo-library shoot (also known as stock library) captures images that DO NOT advertise a specific product and can be purchased by consumers and used in in-house publications, newspapers, magazines etc. They are royalty free images, however the day rate is generally higher than catalogue. Because there is no product with a photo-library shoot, no usage is payable. (tip: if the Photolibrary shoot uses branded goods, call your agent.) The photographs are generally of a ‘lifestyle’ nature and are stored in a photo bank such as Getty Images, Image Source. Many photographs never get used at all.

Editorial is the use of a picture in an illustrative or journalistic manner in a book, magazine, encyclopaedia or other printed literature not intended for promotional or advertising use. Because it really is just illustrative, it is used once, it is not tied to a product and will not be sold on for use as photolibrary images.

A day rate or day fee is what your child will receive just for turning up on the day and performing in front of the camera.

A usage fee is usually paid to talent featured (fully recognizable) in certain stills shoots & commercials. The usage fee is based on a percentage of the day fee, but that percentage varies according to the ways an image is used, and the client’s budget. Advertising campaigns usually have the highest usage fees. What’s more, the usage fee changes according to the territory or number of territories in which a picture is used. And finally, the duration of the usage period can also affect the final percentage being charged. Some children may be cast in featured roles, and some as background ‘extras’ (where usage fees are not applicable). There are no usage fees or royalties for movies.