Value Your Work
During workshops, presentations, organised debates, on Twitter and so on, I often come across photographers who are happy to invest money into gear, invest time into learning how to create a good photograph and then are happy to either give away their creations for free or to charge a few pounds for it. This results in the whole industry of photography becoming devalued and those of who rely on it as our only source of income to suffer. Equally, it results in the creator of the image devaluing their own work. If these few pounds were lots of pounds, then think of how much more quickly one could buy that new lens?
Every image has it's own worth. PPY exhibition. National Theatre, South Bank, London. August 28, 2008. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
If a picture is good enough to be published or be used in any way, shape, or form by a company, then it has it’s worth. Regardless of one’s position as a pro or a talented enthusiast, images are worth money.
My thoughts are that sometimes it’s hard to know what to quote or charge and perhaps this is adding to the entire industry being devalued. Here are some great resources to look at when you need to see how much to charge for a photogaph:
NUJ Freelance Fees Guide
Nature Picture Library
If you have not yet read these short posts, they are on the same subject with some useful information and thoughts:
Value Your Work
Carrying on from my previous post on the value of photography, I had a photographer who was a participant in a previous workshop on the phone to me. He had taken photographs for a client and the design firm who had designed the product (forgive my vagueness – I don’t want to cause any hindrance to this photographer’s situation) was trying to bully him into getting full international usage rights to the pictures; they were apparently adamant on it. This firm has no rights to the images.
This young photographer got on the phone in a panicked state, not knowing what to do. As I explained to him, the licensing rights and the full copyright belong to the photographer; cherish these and do not be forced to give them away. You can negotiate a license of usage to someone who wants to use the pictures. To find out how much to charge, some good guides are to use the automated pricing structure on Photoshelter; go to My Photoshelter page and ‘BUY’ any image. Then click the Downloads tab and fill in the drop down questions to suit the purpose your client wants. This will give you an idea of what to charge. Another is to refer to the NUJ’s Fees Guide.
A favourite of companies trying to get freebies is to promise work in the future in exchange for things like licensing, or to try and get a huge discount. These are just tactics and it’s highly unlikely this work will come. I operate in a different way; I wait for a client to become a regular client who books me constantly; I then offer them freebies – but never at the expense of my core pricing structure.
Photography is just like any other business; everything has it’s price. Stand firm and produce quality work.
If you’d like to buy any merchandise with the poster design on it, please visit Cafe Press.
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: