Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Money for Nothin' and your Photos for Free?

Last night I attended the Media Bistro "networking" event up on Seattle's Capitol Hill. People were wearing their game faces. After a little digging, however, I learned that many were unemployed writers looking for paying gigs. Too bad writing gigs don't pay anymore. One woman I spoke with said she is going to start a petition online, asking writers to commit that they will not work for anything less than $50 an assignment. I admire her principled moxie.

I too am standing my ground on "give away" photography. I simply won't have it. It scares me, freaks me out when a company like Disney calls and asks if one of my most seasoned photographers would be willing to shoot 100 images of five different families interacting on various locations, all for $5,000 (a fee that includes all production and model fees). While the client contact said the images would likely be used on the internet only, she wanted the photographer to sign an unlimited use, unlimited time contract "just in case." Yeah, and I would like to buy a Mercedes for the price of an old broken down bug. "Are you !@#$%^&* high?"

I have an idea, a win-win thing. How 'bout Disney giving me use of 100 Mickey images for $5,000. I'll probably just use them online but I'd love to have unlimited use, unlimited time, just in case.

I didn't say what I was thinking, instead I politely declined the offer and told her that we don't do that kind of work.

The criminal here is the photographer who takes the job. Iyiyi.

And so we (my photographers and I) have walked away, not just from one ridiculous request but from several. It begs the question...when it comes to photography online what is the value anyway?

I recently listened to a podcast with Wired's editor Chris Anderson. He was discussing with Terry Gross his new book Free: the Future of a Radical Price. Anderson argues that sometimes in order to make money you need to give something away for free. Hmmm, 100 images? I don't think so.

1 comment:

glam.spoon said...

they are lucky to have such a protective rep!