In 2009 I took a weekend trip to the Westman Isles off the South Coast of Iceland, the ferry was an ordeal both there and back on 6 hours of rough seas. The weather was lousy also, so I wasn’t getting any shots. But then just before our ship started loading passengers for the mainland, I stopped at this old harbour and set up an HDR in the only sunlight of the day.

Westman Isles harbour

Thankfully, the exposures were successful and after some hours of work I had this beautiful image.

Front cover
About 6 months later I had a bunch of phone calls from All-Iceland.co.uk who were looking for photographs of Iceland to start their company. I knew Jorunn through a friend, so I offered several images for internet use for free. Their graphic designer contacted me and said they needed a high res image for the front cover of their Guide book. This book was to be released throughout Iceland in Hotels and information centers, it was packed with adverts from Icelandic companies. It was a big, quality book. The graphic designer said that they need the image (above) quickly and that I could send them an invoice later. I prepared the file and sent it to become the cover of the book.

Doing business
Shortly after, I prepared an invoice for the image. This was exciting for me because I was just starting to make my living from photography (but in a tiny studio apartment with no window). I research prices for front cover usage, at the time it was upwards of a thousand pounds (GBP). As they were friends of friends, I halved the market price and sent them the invoice (I think it was less than 500 quid). This was the image that launched their company.

AllIceland replied
We weren’t expecting an invoice for the image! I thought we could use it for free because you gave us the small ones for free. I thought we were friends. We offer 100 pounds.

Offended
I felt that 100 pounds was offensive, this didn’t even cover my travel costs! As my picture circulated among Icelandic guesthouses urging guests to try products from the various adverts, I was sat in my small studio apartment without a window – but glad I had friends in the travel industry now!! I told All-Iceland that I wasn’t going to do anything if they didn’t pay this would be on their own conscience. They offered some sound advice to me and I would like to share this with my readers so that they can learn from my mistakes –

“Always agree on a price first”

Some friends, thanks!

My advice back to AllIceland is that every picture is worth a 1000 words and I hope things work out with google rankings after this.

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