Ok, so you’ve done the easy bit and caught a great image, negotiated a good exclusive and got an image used in the National Press or a Magazine, so how do you go about getting paid.
If you are a one off contributor you will probably have to raise an invoice for the publication concerned. When invoicing a Newspaper or magazine you should always include the order reference number (many newspapers state that they will not issue payment without it, however most do).
The Invoice should contain details of the image, where they used it, page and date of use. The Invoice should also have a unique invoice number. Most publications will want to make payment via BACS (Bank Automated Conciliation Service) direct to your bank account, so include your account details on your invoice, including account name, number and sort code.
Most publications pay the month following the month of publication with few exceptions. So the maximum wait for payment could be 3 months (allowing for cut off dates for their accounting system).
If you are, or planning on becoming a regular contributor request that the publication sets you up on their self billing system. The self billing system is something that has been approved by the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise, and means that invoices are a thing of the past, basically whenever you supply an image or story they will automatically credit the your account with the agreed amount, and at the end of the month settle the account either via BACS or by Cheque. The advantage for the user is no invoices and you receive a single statement each month from each publication, showing your income and VAT liability. The publications also produce reports for the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise, for each of their suppliers, so make sure that you declare all of your income and VAT.
If you wish to ensure that the payments are made correctly it may be useful to send each publication a statement of account (not an Invoice as the self billing system does not permit the sending of invoices as it complicates the VAT accounting). I however prefer just to check the monthly statement and then send a reminder if anything is missing.
If you are PAYE, you must remember to declare any money made from supplying images as part of your income for tax purposes, also remember that any expenses incurred in getting the image, or negotiating it’s sale is deductible from the income, however be sure to document the expenses and retain any receipts.