The cost of equipment rises daily and at the same alarming rate, our profession is devalued
I’ve been a professional photographer for almost 21 years; it’s a job which I love and an industry which I fell in love with instantly. Photojournalism has always been my passion; never well paid but satisfying morally with an income that would help one get by.
In all this time, I have never seen a photograph be as devalued as it is now. Most companies believe it is a right for them to steal pictures and use them for free. They even set up dodgy ‘rights grab’ competitions which thousands enter into, signing away their copyright or at best giving away rights of usage to the organisers. Young freelance photographers straight out of college easily sign away their copyrights to the papers, being made to believe that is the norm.
The companies who do want to pay, make up fictitious small budgets as a way to say that they cannot afford to pay more than a certain amount and try to bully the photographer into submission. The same people would never dream of trying that on in a shop, but for some reason, photographers are fair game.
My thoughts are that we need to stick to our principles; pictures have a value; our copyright and the rights to our images need to be cherished. Have your rate card and stick to it. Turn away a client who is trying to take advantage. If we don’t do this, our work will continue to loose value and the equipment which now days cost twice what it did a few weeks ago will be well and truly out of our reach. Even worst and most importantly, the power and respect that a photograph has will be lost.
This short video makes the point very nicely; thanks to Keith Meatheringham for bringing to my attention. Definitely worth watching: