No photos for you…
It’s the start of the regular season so that means it’s the start of stocking up on images people will be asking for all year long, hopefully. You’ll see them on trading cards, magazines, newspapers, web sites, programs, schedules, DVD’s, just to mention a few. The great thing about that is all the places you will see my, or any Four Seam Images, images is that they will be paid for by the company using them – none of them will be handed over free. In fact, if you check out our site it says no free usage on every single page so nobody will contact us asking for free images…right?
Quick and easy answer is no, they’ll keep asking and we’ll keep on denying them. I get these emails often in every aspect of sports photography, be it baseball oriented with FSI, high school, college, or just stuff I shoot on my own and post to my PhotoShelter account so potential paying clients can find it. Each e-mail is eerily similar like it was passed around as the how to on getting free work.
Each of them contains all the basics…
1) It will be good publicity. Well, the simple two words I want to say to this are not family friendly so I will go politically correct and just say that’s a lie. Nobody is looking at the byline except friends and family, and they’re usually the first in line to ask you to work for nothing! You talk to any editor and they could care less about where you’ve been published! Good editors care about the work you do and if you meet their needs, not your tear sheets. There’s a few photographers that are part of FSI that I can honestly say I have no clue where they’ve been published except for the usage that has gone through us. There’s a few new photographers that started within the last week or two and I can not honestly name one publication they were in because we judged them off their portfolio and if they knew Photo Mechanic along with having the gear to shoot in bigger stadiums, not client list. The publicity offered for a third party using my work does not exist.
2) We’ll give you credit! This of course goes along with the publicity factor. I don’t know where in history this became something to trade images for but whoever first proposed it must be put away for life, if they’re still alive. Of course you’ll give me credit, I created the work! Since when is it a privilege to be given credit for something I created? Watch any TV show, or movie, or buy a CD or DVD – all involved are getting paid and guess what, they’re all getting credit for their work!
These same people offering credit are the ones who put their name first in any creation. Want proof, check out a teams program. The SID or media director in charge is always first in the credits, and rightfully so. Of course you should remember they were on the clock and getting paid for putting that creation together so they’re being paid while expecting us to work free.
3) We don’t have a budget. Again I’d like to use those two simple words but will stay PC. This is short term thinking by the person asking in two ways. First is they didn’t think ahead to budget for the project the year before when they should have been putting in the numbers and planning. Second is they want cheap or free and don’t think of the old saying “you get what you pay for”. Cheap/free usually, not always, equals low quality – that in turn equals not as good products – that in turn creates less desire for the product – which in turns leads to less people buying. The simple fact is another old business saying, “you have to spend money to make money”.
Try this excuse with anyone else, seriously! Walk into the car dealership and say you want the new Lexus but don’t have the budget; go down to the local sub shop and say you want a 12″ sub loaded but don’t have the budget; call the gas and electric company and tell them you want their service but don’t have the budget; tell the IRS you’d love to pay your taxes but don’t have the budget! Good luck with it, honestly, maybe you’ll let me have a bite of the sub while driving the Lexus.
Response: It’s easy, I’m a professional photographer and my work is worth something. If you want to use my work then you’re paying a fair amount for it – not over priced, but fair. I like my job, though it’s not easy, very stressful, and only about 15% of the time is actually creating images, I still like it and would like to continue to do it. You want me to work for free so I can’t pay my bills and that would leave me searching for a new job because your short sightedness left me unemployed. NO THANKS!
Now, this is just for those emails asking for one time random usage – doesn’t even discuss the rates people ask photographers to work for, pennies on the hour that would violate any labor law if we were given such rights to begin with. That I will add to this in the next few days to address some other issues that come up.
Fittingly, I will not post any images this entry…