The first thing I would say is NEVER give photo's out for free until you've done some research. I'll not go in to the politics here because its been discussed on this forum many times. I get quite a few enquiries for use of photo's and the first question I ask is what will it be used for and by who? If it's a non-profit making organisation, a charity for example, then I might donate the use of the photo for free. If I know, or suspect they are a profit making organisation then there is no way I would ever give use of a photo for free. Chances are, they want it to promote their business and therefore using it to make profit. As the photographer, you should be entitled to a share in that profit. First bit of advice, do a bit of research about who is asking for the photo. It's nice knowing your photo's are in print and being used, but realistically you're never going to see it once it leaves your outbox and the people who you've sent it to will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Once you've made a decision on whether to charge or not, I have a standard email response which I send out. If they are serious about your photo and want it, they will expect to have to pay for it. How much to ask depends on the shot and its uniqueness. A one off shot will obviously demand more than a standard shot. As will a poster size print over a 6x4 or a national newspaper over a local rag. For example, my minimum charge is £20, but I've had over £300 for Tv. They generally try it on to try and get things for free. Imagine the brownie points they'll get from their boss if they do manage to get a photo for free, so don't be shy about mentioning money. After all, you've probably spent ££££ on your camera equipment and expenses. Look at it this way, if they had to hire a photographer to get the shot they wanted, it would be a lot more than what you ask.
This is the email response I sent out for a photo sale I made the other week to a local newspaper to illustrate a story they were running:
Thanks for your email and enquiry regarding the use of my photo on airliners.net for your article in the Cornish Guardian. I'd be more than happy to supply the photo for use in your newspaper. The standard fee, according to the National Union of Journalists (http://www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide/phonlrat.html) would run in to £100's per photo for use in this instance. However, since aviation photography is a hobby of mine, and granting permission for use of photo's helps to cover expenses (the camera and lenses I use cost £2,000!!), I normally allow use at £20 per photo.
I can supply the photo to your specification at anything up to approx. 3000 x 2000 pixels at 300dpi, or whatever dimensions you require. If you have any questions or wish me to supply the photo, I can do so via email straight away. The photo you refer to was of the aircraft (G-WOWD) landing in a crosswind at Manchester Airport rather than taking off. You can make out the tyre smoke of the starboard landing gear making contact with the runway.
Either ask them to make you an offer (some will have standard fees), or if you are happy with a certain amount, quote a figure and take it from there. If they don't want to pay, it's there loss, not yours
Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX