Tag Archives: advertising

Pressing A Button Is Not Photography

I went to see Salvador in the cinema, in 1986 or 87.


If you haven’t seen it, it’s about photojournalists covering the civil war in Salvador. Highly recommend you watch it! Also, there’s a spoiler coming up, so if you’re going to see it, stop reading, now and return once you’ve seen the film!!

In the film, the main protagonist is a photojournalist played by James Woods. As he’s trying to leave El Salvador to get back to the States, he’s stopped at a check point and roughed up. He was trying to smuggle out films of the civil war and these ‘soldiers’ find the films and rip out the film from the cassette, ruining the pictures.

As this happens, I jumped out of my seat and screamed out ‘NO’! To say my friends were shocked (all non photographers) and the audience most concerned, would be an understatement. My eyes were filled with tears and my heart was pounding. I had been a hobbyist photographer for around two years and this was roughly two years before I started working as a photojournalist. Having dedicated every penny to buying film and every spare minute to reading about and looking at great photography, already brought a deep association with important, quality work.

As photographers, we have a very deep connection to our work. It’s part of us. Its not a job.

The Less Than Thoughtful Client

I had a client a year or two ago, really trying to low ball some work and massively over play the usage, well above the license agreed and paid for. The response during the ensuing discussions, was “its nothing personal, its just work”!

I’ve had clients, trying to con me into giving away copyright, accept very low pay for it, with the almost definite lies of more work in the future (Which never appears. A cheap or dishonest client never steps up and each time one of us accepts such a deal, it affects everyone else after us and for us, the client will never return. The entire industry takes another step towards ruin). Unprofessionalism and dishonesty, never right themselves. Every time we give in, we encourage and enforce this behaviour as being acceptable.

So the concept of a truly passionate, dedicated creative professional looking at their calling in life, be it photography, film making, music, poetry, writing and so on, being ‘just a job’, goes to show extreme ignorance in understanding what we do, how we think and how we are.

Long term partnerships nurture amazing work, which in turn makes the person booking the creative work look great and retain their client or job. Happy boss / client, happy middle person and happy creative.

The sad fact that more and more, only cutting corners seems to matter, even be a priority and quality of work is no longer an issue for these types of people, means that society’s appreciation of quality is diminishing. Quality and thought can be in a great advert. It can be an Instagram campaign. A Facebook sponsored post. A point of sale poster in a shop. The client pays, the middle person takes the biggest cut, the actual creative making the work, gets cheated.

A few years ago, I had a huge multi-national company trying to get me to work for free, as they felt paying for my vision, creativity, experience, time and skill, would pollute the purity of the work and this brand only wanted to work with truly passionate people who believe in the brand. My response to this person was in the form of a compliment; praising that they seemed extremely passionate and dedicated, so I was certain they must be working for free. Needless to say, this was met with astonished silence.

Just because someone can push a button and accepts being conned, does not make them a pianist, a writer or a photographer. No one who truly cares for their work, will disrespect their own creation and devalue it.

Some Advice For Young Photographers

If you’re new to the world of photography, my first piece of advice is to research and never agree to a fee or license on the spot. Most dishonest clients will try the line that they’re right up against the deadline etc. This is a pressurising technique. Promise of more work as there’s a low budget, is also a trick. When faced with such things, I always promise to do an amazing deal on the fifth booking. This type of client never comes back for a second booking, let alone a fifth, as they are purely out to take advantage.

As for rates and what to charge, there are various licensing calculators, like fotoQuote or the AOP’s online usage calculator. These are complied from prices paid, for similar work and an agreement between clients and photographers. These are industry standard rates. You can use these as a basis to either quote directly from, or to negotiate near to figures. If your skill and work is unique, you can negotiate upwards, for example. There are also several photographer’s groups online, where advice can be garnered before making an agreement.

Copyright. This is yours by law. Its not the client’s. If a client wants a buyout, this can be arranged and negotiated. Never give this away for free. Ever.

Value your work and that of the industry.

PR & Commercial Photography

PR Professionals, You Should Bookmark This Page

Alex James, bassist from Blur turned cheesemaker, is launching an exciting, innovative line exclusively with Asda entitled Alex James Presents.The range, on shelves from August 22nd, includes deliciously creamy cheddar blended with wonderful flavour combinations, such as Cheddar and Tomato Ketchup, Cheddar and Salad Cream and Cheddar and Tikka Masala. Alex with a huge sandwich filled with sliced cheeses from the new range. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Picture the scene; your client has spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds on the launch of their latest product or service. They have hired your PR firm to generate interest and spread the word. Months if not years of R&D, planning and hard work have gone into this moment when the product is to be revealed to the public. It’s a make or break moment. You yourself have spent weeks or even months planning, writing press releases, talking of strategies and when it comes to one of the most crucial aspects, the actual reveal to the public, you choose your photographer without much thought and skimp on budget, trying to cut corners for what is a tiny amount in the grand scheme of the project. The result? All this effort and expense goes to waste; the papers don’t give your client coverage, the product fails and you and your company not only look bad, but risk losing that account.

Grey Goose vodka and Virgin Atlantic have today announced the opening of the world’s best airport bar – the Grey Goose Loft at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow. The luxurious bar will offer Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers a bespoke experience and a level of service which until now could only be enjoyed in the top cocktail bars in the world. A Grey Goose Signature Dry Martini. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

I can be of help. I’ve been a press photographer also covering PR and commercial photography since 1989. I’ve weathered two recessions – not through dropping prices or doing silly promotions, but by producing great, award winning photography – consistently. On several occasions my PR photography has made it into the papers’ “Pictures of the Week” and been given the space good photography deserves. I can be involved at the early planning stage by being a consultant (essential and often overlooked), advising on what will make a strong photographic campaign and what the picture editors will go for, all the way through to the actual photography and getting the pictures out there to the papers.

Nell McAndrew wishes UK National Lottery players the best of British luck for the record breaking £100 million EuroMillions rollover jackpot. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

This is a post you should bookmark and even more importantly, here’s my PR and commercial photography website which you definitely should bookmark:

www.commercial.pix.org.uk

I look forward to hearing from you on your next project. Your clients deserve the best photography, so don’t let them down and get in touch.

Feature on the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) in Stanmore ahead of the launch of their fundraising appeal. The Imaging Department is one of the departments that will benefit from the redevelopment. Superintendant Radiographer Marubini Mamphwe carries out a Scoliosis X-Ray on patient David Chapell. Photo: Edmond Terakopian