In Plain English - Photography Quotations & Invoices

When receiving a quotation or invoice from a photographer, if you are new to the industry or process or even well versed in the business of photography you may come across certain terminology that you do not fully understand or that makes no sense to you whatsoever. I like to be as verbose as possible on the estimate and/or invoice to ensure nothing is lost in translation, but in some cases when dealing with multiple or large/complex projects, in order to make the estimate/invoice clean and easy to read for all parties that it may pass through, this is not possible. This article aims to explain to you in plain English what some of the more common terminology means and how it can be used.

Cloud delivery

Even in this modern day where almost everybody has a computer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody understands the terminology used in new technologies and methods of computing. ‘Cloud’ is a word that is used to describe a location for storage of data (another computer basically) that is neither physically located within the senders premises (the photographer in this case) or the recipients premises. 

This benefits both parties as the data (photos in this example) can then be uploaded to the ‘cloud’ by the sender at their convenience IE. when the photos are ready and can then be downloaded at any time by the recipient without the sender having to be online to initiate the transfer. The data in the cloud can then easily be made available for download to other parties that may require it, again, with no intervention required from the sender.


This can appear as ‘For exclusive use for ABC Ltd to use…’ or the opposite ‘For non-exclusive use for ABC Ltd to use…’. This determines whether or not the licensee - in this case ‘ABC Ltd’ - will have sole benefit of the photos for the period of the licence granted. So for example if the photographer shot an image for the client and this was then licensed to that client exclusively for 1 year, this would mean the client, and only the client, can use the photo for this duration. Even though the photographer has access to the image and in most cases would retain ownership and copyright of the image, the photographer can not sell the image to any other party or use it as part of their marketing.

The benefit of this for the client is that it would prevent any competitors being able to use the photo and/or would give them control as to who sees the image and when it is released in to the public domain. This would be especially useful for projects that contain sensitive content such as yet to be revealed innovations or spaces.

Media Use

Some media use is obvious and highly specific so no explanation is needed but for larger projects and campaigns where more flexibility is needed there are some categories of media that can be referred to that aren’t immediately obvious as to what they encompass. I have put together a short list below of some of the more ambiguous uses, that you may not have come across, unless you’re from a commercial/advertising background.

All of these refer to printed use of an image:

Ambient - this includes clean graffiti, backs of receipts, hanging strips in railway carriages, handles of supermarket trolleys, projection onto buildings, hot air balloons.
Collateral - includes compliment slips, business cards, letterheads, sales brochures, visual aids for presentations, web content, product data sheets, product white papers, sales scripts & demonstration scripts.
Marketing Aids - includes exhibition panels, company pens, umbrellas etc.
Out of Home (OOH) - includes posters, street furniture (bus shelters /kiosks / phone boxes), transit (buses / taxis / subway / lorries / airport / post / bus stations) & alternative (stadiums /bike racks/ petrol pumps/ rest areas).
Posters - include 96/48/16/12/6/4 sheet superlights, escalator panels, bus sides & panels, taxi wraps & seats, bus backs, tube/underground, client vehicles, garage forecourt, rail station and all public areas where advertising is screened (not cinemas).

I hope this article is of some use to some of you and please feel free to bookmark this post for future reference. If you have any questions about any of the above or I've missed something, please leave a comment down below. 

Further information on licensing and usage of photography can be found here -