Aug 9, 2012

A Kick In The 'You Know What's'!

Sometimes this job is so rewarding; with awesome testimonials from happy clients or someone like Carol Butler who created an amazing work of art from my Bonavista Lighthouse photo!

Then there are other days when i feel like i just received a huge kick in the 'you know whats'!

I'll begin with the statement that there is so much wrong with the photography industry today.

With so many photographers willing to work for free or give out the rights to use their images just for the 'exposure' it makes it just about impossible for a working professional like myself to eek out a living. Guess what happens when you give away all your work for 'exposure' then try and get a fair price for your hard work a few years down the road when you have a family to feed?

Maybe you'll remember my blast from last winter when Newfoundland Tourism had the nerve to ask me to work for 4 days for zero pay yet they wanted me to blog about the festivities daily and provide them with the images i took for free for their own marketing purposes? I certainly have no issues with telling the world about such BS as i don't think i've ever been so insulted in my life. I wrote the Minister of Tourism to divulge my disappointment in what transpired but never did get a response. And yes, i was polite and civil in my letter.

Here's another fine example. This specific request came in a few days back.

"I am a professional ____ _____ _____ under contract with the Town of ____ ___ to complete a Municipal Plan Review. The Town's Logo is a replica of a ______.

I have been viewing some of your excellent photos online on your Webpage. As part of the cover for the new Municipal Plan, I am requesting your permission to use one of your _____ photo's for the new cover. You would receive acknowledgement in the text.

Wow! The first and last line are hard for me to swallow. What really got under my skin was the line about the individual stating they are a 'professional'.

So, let's see how this works. I paid over $500 in travel/lodging/food and drove 2 days to get to the location and back home. I spent several days sitting in the cold waiting to get the image. It cost me $10,000 for the lens that took the photo. The camera was about $3000. I'm sure i was using another $1000 in accessories (flash, cords, cards, etc). The computer and software i processed the image in cost me at least $3000. And it took me about 7 years of my life to hone my skills enough to get the said image.

And i would 'receive acknowledgement in text'.

Let's think about that for a minute.

Would i ever have the nerve to ask my dentist to clean my little girls teeth in return for praise the next time i'm out with friends? How about asking the local mechanic to fix my brakes for free? Hell, i'll tell the world on facebook what a great job they did in turn for free work and parts! And what about that incredible cook down the road? I'll just ask them to whip up some surf and turf using their own ingredients for my family to eat for dinner tonight. Cause ya know we're going to tell the neighbors that their steak is out of this world and that'll be worth their time and associated costs right?

As if!

I'll be keeping my photo, thank you.

ps...FYI, i did reply very politely to this individual stating that i too was a 'professional' and that i would gladly provide the image for a fee and would do my best to work within their budget.

I've yet to hear back from them. :)

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