In my experience as a photographer if you fail to charge your clients for the use (usage) of your images by specifying (license) the exact allotted use and time of use then you are leaving money on the table.
I'll make my point and I'm sure Ashley will make his.
Markets and clients are different. You are from New York. I'm from small town Indiana. Others everywhere in between. What a customer is willing to pay and for what will vary everywhere.
My market demands certain things. Any given manufacturer I shoot for will want unlimited usage. Print, web, PR, editorial (trade and consumer pubs who request product images, which the manufactures see as PR) Dealer usage ( for their retail advertising) and even letting suppliers use the images for their own trade advertising (which the manufactures consider PR).
I'm not alone in the number of guys who have tried to sell in this market by usage. And we all saw the clients stop buying photography from us. You can "educate" until you are blue in the face but they want what I listed about and they ultimately dictate the price they are willing to pay for it. Within reason, even if they really like the images you make, money talks and BS walks. So you choose, work within the system or find another client base.
Do I license my work? Of course. At least we have gotten THIS far and the term buyout does not get tossed about much any more. But quite frankly this is 'feel good" verbiage for me.. A blurb from a fact sheet of mine.Usage Rights
We understand your clients needs are vast and varied and can change at a moments notice.
We grant unlimited first and second party usage rights for all RV images we produce. Your client and their dealers may use these images for all of their needs, including web, editorial, and advertising. We also grant the agency unlimited usage rights for self promotion. We do however ask that third party usage such as trade show displays or advertisements by a supplier to your client, only be granted usage rights after contacting us. We many or may not assess a licensing fee.
I don't care about the length of time, simply because the images we produce are useless after a model year.
There is simply no money here left on the table because the end user simply won't pay for the multiple usage licensing model. And if I did my part correctly they call me the next model year to shoot here products all over again.
BTW, that was written for agency customers, but quite frankly I'm not working directly for the agency much anymore, but rather direct for the manufacturer and I generally get paid in 15 days.
That's what works for ME. And quite frankly I do pretty well with this model. I net low 6 figures, which might not be a lot in NY, but its a very good living here where the cost of living is among the lowest in the country.
I don't chase more traditional b to b, or other local advertising work because the rv, and marine stuff keeps me plenty busy. But I do know that paying by licensing is is not a staple. One of the more prominent agencies in the area ( I was shooting for an RV company and they were producing the print and web for them) told me they were surprised I could bill like I was. Their standard was to pay day rate and require all the raw files. And they had no trouble getting photographers to play.
Would I like to get paid MORE for the use of the images I make? Of course, but that's not going to happen if I continue to work for the clients I have. And at 60, I'm not really interested in looking for a different niche.
Is there money left on the table ...here? Nope.
One size does not fit all.