Frequently Asked Questions

About Jim Hargan

Where are you located?
My wife Kasey and I lived in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of North Carolina for 16 years, from 1994 to 2010; we now live in Coos Bay, on the Oregon coast.
How long have you been a freelancer?
I earned my living as a full time freelance photographer from 1994 to 2010, and I am now restoring my practice from a new home base on Oregon's Pacific coast. I sold my first photo licence to a major media market in 1987 — a photo of Texas's Big Bend National Park, in the New York Times. British Heritage magazine published my first article in 1998; since then, more than 80 of my articles and eight of my books have been published.
Are you the Jim D. Hargan who wrote Searching for Thirty Seven?
Definitely not. Jim D. Hargan is a security guard in Minnesota who writes about Last Times. My middle initial is "A", and I do not write on religious subjects. He is not me, and is not related to me.
What do you mean by "photos and stories about places"?
No species has ever altered their world the way we humans do. Every place on Earth closely reflects the values and aspirations of the people who live and work there. In this way, each place tells a story, completely unique and individual, about the people who created it and inhabit it. I became a trained geography because of my interest in this.
So you're, like, a travel writer?
Yes, I am like a travel writer. A good travel writer tells a story about a place, let's you know what it's really like, and tells you where to find the real thing and avoid the bogus. A bad travel writer gives you the TripAdvisor listings, padded out. I am very good at travel writing and travel photography. I'll show you that place, and you'll finish knowing why it's important.
How do you go about becoming an expert on places?
I am a geographer, with an MS in Geography from The Pennsylvania State University.

Jim's Photography

What do you shoot?
Up through 2010 I shot 35mm Fuji Velvia film, using Olympus OM-4 bodies. I now use a Nikon D7000. I always use a tripod and cable release for maximum resolution, both for my older film and my current digital work. Older transparencies may be on Kodachrome.
What kind of resolution do you get?
Very, very high. I always shoot every image from a tripod, using a cable release. I use professional tripods rated for medium and large format cameras, even though I use one of the lightest 35mm SLR cameras ever made.
How do you deliver high resolution digital images?
I produce high resolution images up to 4000 by 6000 pixels (24 megapixels, or 13 inches by 20 inches at 300 dpi).

Purchasing Stock Photos or Text

What's special about your stock library?
My 26,000 stock images are tightly focused around a single theme: the character of a place. Within this theme my library specializes in deep coverage of a few areas — North Carolina, the Southern Appalachians, Great Britain, parts of the American South, and Oregon's Pacific Coast. When you need sharp, colorful coverage that tells the story of one of these places, my library has the images you need.
How much do you charge to license usage rights?
It depends on the usage, and the rights you wish to purchase. My prices always conform to industry standards given in Fotoquote, and I work with clients on volume purchases and rights packages.
How fast can you get a submission to me?
If it's a rush, I can get it out in 24 to 48 hours. I do not charge rush fees.
Do you charge research or holding fees?
No! I charge no fee for you to consider my images for your publication.


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, viewed from north over sand dunes. Location: NC, Dare County, The Outer Banks, Hatteras National Seashore. [ref. to #233.A29]
But it's no longer there! The National Park Service moved Cape Hatteras Lighthouse inland, out of sight of the beach, in 1999.
Are you available for assignments?
Most definitely!
Aren't stock photos and text cheaper than assignments?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Stock purchases are a great way to save money when you only need one or two photos. Likewise, stock ("second rights") text is a great way to save money on content, particularly if there is little or no overlap between your customers and the text's original audience. And being able to buy text and photos together is a major time & money saver!

That said, there are good reasons to give assignments:
  • The more photos you buy, the cheaper assignments get. After all, you really can't escape paying assignment costs, not if your photographers are professionals. You just get the costs buried, invisible, inside the stock fee.
  • Are your photos up to date? Would you illustrate a New York travel piece with a skyline shot that shows the Twin Trades? OK, that one's obvious, but how about that image of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse by the beach? Stock images can slide out of date without you, or even the photographer, knowing it. (I do not, however, submit out-of-date stocks, and I always check before submitting.)
  • Call the shots. Impose your ideas, and shape them into exactly what you want. Make the photos match the text, with exactly the right subject mix. As an assignment pro, I'll make sure you get the photos and text you desire.
  • In-house costs — and chaos — can exceed stock savings. In order to illustrate an article using stock photos, you or your staff must contact multiple stock sources, wade through piles of extraneous material, then negotiate fees with multiple suppliers. And you must do this without creating a Gordian Knot of rights licenses. Assignment photography frees your staff to do their jobs.
How much do you charge for assignment work?
When you hire a consultant to develop a product for you, you will pay that consultant for fixed costs, salary, and rights to use the product. In this sense, hiring an assignment freelancer is just like hiring any other product development consultant. Compared to using stock images or text, the big difference — and advantage — comes in the rights to use the product, the licencing fee. As you would legitimately expect from any custom product development, you pay a lot less and get a lot more, including exclusivity up to the publication or kill date.
I run a small operation and can't really afford assignment fees, particularly for travel. Can you work with me?
Yes. What you need to remember is that, when you purchase stocks from professionals, your stock fee must cover his fixed costs and salary costs just like an assignment. If you are purchasing enough images your assignment fee will become lower than the sum of your stock fees. This means that, if you manage it properly, assignment work can cost less than stock purchases while producing a better product.

Give me a call. In all likelihood, you can get assigned photo-text packages, tailored to your market, for less than you pay for stock photos plus text.
Photos and Stories about Places
Coos Bay, Oregon
e-mail:   photos@harganonline.com
Copyright ©2010, Jim Hargan. All rights reserved.
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