Thursday, June 05, 2008

They Want Free Pics, And I Hate It

That's the reaction from Matt Brown over at If you read the article above now give a read to this article right here over at SportsShooter about people giving their work away. Don't ever give you stuff away for free (except to your vendor buddies, of course.) It's insulting to you and cheapens your integrity in the profession. Read the article right here and you will see what I mean. If you want to see another reaction to a request for free stuff, check out this link to Harlan Ellison's video reaction to such a request right here - it's a 5 star video on You-Tube but is an R-rated listen, but I feel completely on point.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. We are still trying to get all the computers back on line and the phones back up so hopefully today will be the day. Have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow. -David


  1. Intense and so very very true...

  2. Unfortunately you cannot comment on Matt Brown's original post. Very intense read indeed and I agree that people should NOT give away work for free.

    In the last lines of the articles he states though that some hobby photographer is giving away the pictures for (almost) free.
    I'm sorry, but this doesn't qualify as a rant for me. If the companies do not care about the professional quality of the picture (as he said he went to school to learn photography) and the hobby photographer's work is good enough - so be it!
    It definitely is not worth a comparison being a Chemistry teacher and being a photographer, because he omits the fact that as a teacher you work FOR the school - he himself is a FREELANCE photographer. FOR and FREELANCE are the big differences. It certainly is possible for him to go to the schools' announcement board (of the professor hobby photographer) and post an ad offering FREE biochemistry classes.

    There are more and more hobby photographers out there and they all get better and better cameras it is up to the professionals to raise the quality level and let companies ask for quality pictures with something special to them.

    Besides that I agree that professionals (!!) should know what they are worth and not sell under their worth!

  3. That's a great article you linked to David. As a rank amateur trying to improve and potentially looking at a part-time business I am very aware of the dangers of undercutting and/or giving things away for free.

    I did one wedding for free to get experience and it was with a couple that had already decided not to hire a photographer, plus they were friends.

    I also have casual friends in the community who are pros and very well known. Though my ego thinks I could produce similar quality work I would not want to do so by undercutting them although I couldn't and may never be able to charge what they charge.

    But I think there is lots of room for something different and that is where I would like to go eventually. I have another full time job so it is more about the dream than the money but one needs to be careful. Even at a level that I might work at initially there are the Wal-Mart studios, etc. It's about offering something different and of quality, things you talk about consistently.

    The bottom line is that even us rank amateurs have to be aware of the business side of things and be careful. I would not want to take away anyone's source of revenue.

  4. I can certainly understand and appreciate this point of view, I think that professional photographers (at least many of them) are going to have to face the harsh reality of the changing world. More and more people are going to be doing their own photos, giving away work for free, etc. The technology is better and the knowledge is much more available. Products and services that only professionals used to be able to provide are now able to be had from other sources, often at low or no cost. As an example, about a year ago my GE oven started malfunctioning. After about 20 minutes of research on the net, I found a person who had detailed the necessary repair, which required minimal, easy labor and no cost. If a professional had been called, it would have been a $300+ repair. I don't feel bad cutting the repairman out of the loop - one of us was going to lose money in this situation. This is not an exact parallel to our argument, but is similar. My day job is web development. I can't command near the rates I used to because there are more and more tools out there that individuals and businesses can use to do that work themselves. There are many other examples as well. Business models are changing, and I think we all have to face it.

  5. I have thought about this for quite a while. I have been a freelance writer in the past covering technology and travel. I would have never thought about working for free.

    Now I am looking to make some money off my photography. I will have to overcome numerous hurdles along the way. Once I get there I will have to find my place among amateurs who will work for free, stock photo agencies, and other professionals with far more experience.

    If I give away my work then it will be that much harder to get any money for later work. The precedent is set and hard to change.