I have a question for professional web designers. When you are creating a website for a client and it is going to require some images (say, for example, of a downhill skier), do you go on the hunt for the images or ask the client to provide them? And if it is you the designer who tracks down the images, do you require up-front payment for them?
If you are a designer and the client doesn't pay you, you are out your time. But if you pay for images and don't get paid, then you are out of pocket real money.
I want to know what standard industry practice is.
In my experience (both for myself and watching others work) the norm is to source images yourself from something like iStockPhoto and then add that to your client invoice. An alternative is to ask the client to sign up with a service like that, add some credit, and either find the images themselves or still get you to do it. You will probably have a better idea of what images fit with the design, but if the client is picky, it might be best (and quicker) to get them to choose the images. My 2¢.
Your best option is to just use comps for any images that you may use for a client's website. They will have a watermark on them until you purchase the full rights, but that is all the client should need to get a feel for the design. I never purchase stock photography up front, only once the client is absolutely sure they want that photo. Even if they say they like it, I may wait until near the end of the project to actually purchase and replace the comp image with the final.
This will also allow you to bill the client for the stock photography before the final launch (as I usually break up a project billing cycle into separate milestones). The selection of the photography is around the mid-stage of a project so those would be billed before launch anyway.
Finally, even if you will be billing the client for the photos in the final payment, I would assume that you have a solid enough contract that you shouldn't have to worry about non-payment? Now I'm not saying that's a guarantee that you wouldn't have problems, but I'm saying that it should be solid enough that it's not in the forefront of your thinking. A solid contract and good communication with a client should keep any thoughts that they're going to skip out on a project and leave you without payment ... for the project or any stock photography.
My experience is similar to LiquidReflex, the designer sources the images. Often, the image is an important element of the design. Letting a client hunt down an image can just lead to problems, unless perhaps the image is a photo of the client's product in action, in which case the client might have a better shot.
Of course, I am really addressing clients with decent budgets who also expect to pay for images. The guy who is operating on a shoestring may be an entirely different story.
OK, thanks for the info.
I will assume that a similar situation applies for paid scripts like paid CMSes and such: the web designer/developer pays upfront and bills the client.
That's right. If you're aiming at having a longterm relationship with your client, then it makes sense to purchase a CMS license yourself and bill your client for it. If it's a one-off freelancer job, I'd ask the client to purchase the CMS license himself.
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