Why my images (deep-sky or otherwise) are not available “for free” or on the cheap

I have reproduced below an e-mail conversation from a rather persistent fellow representing a very well known Publisher.  For obvious reasons the Publisher’s name is crossed out as is the guy I’m having the conversation with – but all the same I think you’ll get the gist of it.


Urgent Image Request Dear Sir,

I am XXXXXX XXXXX, Picture Researcher with XXXX.

XXXX publishers (part of the XXXXXX Group) would like to use an image of Gamma Cas on one of our spreads of our educational children’s book XXXXXXX.

We have really liked your image on NASA website http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap091224.html. It would be great if you could give us the permission to use the image in our upcoming book.

XXXX always clears images for world, all language, all edition rights including E-books and Digital Spinnoffs of this book.

We have a very tight schedule so it would be great if you could get back to us on this as soon as possible.

Thanks and Regards



My New Forest Observatory http://www.newforestobservatory.com/ does provide deep-sky images, non-exclusively for publication purposes.  The images are not available for free.


Prof. Greg Parker


Re: Urgent Image Request Thanks a lot for your urgent reply but we are interested in using the image in the link I have provided earlier. If you can provide us that image at A4 size at 300dpi we are happy to pay you 20GBP as this is what we have been paying to the well known agencies we are registered with.

We will also give you a credit in the book. I hope you will give us a chance to work with you and agree to our rights and rates.

Also, we might get in touch with you again for other images we like from your collection.

Thanks and Regards


Thank you – I understand what image you require, it is the one I provided from the NFO to APOD.

Your rate I’m afraid is insufficient for an A4 size at 300 DPI.  Thank you very much for your interest.


Prof. Greg Parker


We wish to use the image at 1/4th size. It is not the final rate we can surely negotiate the prices. This is the rate we have been paying to our agencies. Please let me know what rate you want to give us the image at if it suits our budget we can use the image. The size of the book is really small and we have a really low budget on this project.

Thanks and Regards


Books are always “really small” and budgets are always “very low” but the images that are requested take many hours to acquire with very expensive equipment and very expensive programs (and computers) – so it looks like we will always have an impass here 🙂 🙂

Yesterday I sold a photomicroscopy image (about half the size of the image you are requesting) to Harvard Medical School for £196.  They considered this a “low” budget.  I think you can see that you will not be able to afford my image for your book, but thank you for your interest.


Prof. Greg Parker


And finally, thank goodness, this totally pointless conversation mercifully came to an end.

Please can I ask you – if you want some “free” or “cheapo” deep-sky images, to kindly go elsewhere







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2 Responses to Why my images (deep-sky or otherwise) are not available “for free” or on the cheap

  1. Earle Spamer says:

    I have worked in two research libraries, which provide images to patrons (for fees). I am stunned by the number — the great majority — of requests from publishers who “… have a very tight schedule so…” It takes usually a year or two to get a book into print, or months for a magazine article. Do they never plan ahead??

  2. Greg Parker says:

    No Earle – they never do plan ahead. What’s their excuse? Just plain laziness and ineptitude I guess.

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