PetaPixel

A Man Can’t Live on Image Credit Alone

So, from time to time, I receive requests to use my images for various purposes — like on a blog or a pamphlet or a calendar or the side of a zeppelin or for a urinal cake. Typically, if they are nice and they’re not going to be making a load of cash off where they’d like to use my image then I’ll let them use it as long as they give me credit. I’m especially generous with environmental interests and non-profits and ice cream manufacturers offering vouchers for all-you-can-eat tours.

But then there are the chumps (and chumpettes) who will be making a substantial amount of money off of the use of my image and I send them packing unless they pony up a fair amount of money. The latest version of this repetitive saga really got caught all up in my craw and so I felt the need to write a bit about it.

I should say here that this is 100% legitimate, the company that contacted me exists and has a rather impressive retail footprint in the US. The emails below are word-for-word with names removed to protect the company. The underlying issue I discuss does not begin and end with this example or company, it is much larger.


So, Monday morning I awake to an inbox message on Flickr that reads:

SUBJECT: Saint of the Wildflowers

Your photos are breath taking. I work a a company called [Company Name] located in Michigan. We always produce a landscape calendar for our customers to purchase. We match up scripture with the beautiful landscape images that God has provided.

This is a very low print run and only around 20,000 calendars produced. I was wondering if you would give us permission to use some of your photographs? I would be able to give you credit for your photograph. Please look at this an opportunity for you to reach a possible customers.

I have a meeting at the end of this week to present images. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks
L

Lead Graphic Designer

20,000 calendars is a low print run?! Can you see the dollar signs lighting up in my eyes? Wooooo!! Surely they must have a budget for the artwork — they have a lead graphic designer after all! So I reply after checking out the going rate at Getty Images to get an idea of what the market should bear:

SUBJECT: Re: Saint of the Wildflower

Hello L,

Thank you for the kind words regarding my photography and for contacting me with this opportunity.

I would love to be a part of your calendar, but I can’t allow my work to be used without monetary compensation. (It is work after all!)

I believe that fair compensation for use like you’ve described above would be $550 per image. That would cover use of each image at full page size for a one year run of your calendar.

Thank you,

Jeff Swanson
www.interfacingnature.com

I hear back quickly.

SUBJECT: Re: Saint of the Wildflowers

Thanks Jeff

Your very talented photographer and thanks for taking the time to respond. I completely understand your point of view and I do realize how much time and equipment you have into each photo.

This price is out of our budget for project.

Thanks
L

So I’m thinking, hmm, they have a budget after all. Let’s probe a little more and see what it is.

SUBJECT: Re: Saint of the Wildflower

Hi L,

Thanks for understanding that there is indeed a lot of preparation and skill involved in landscape photography.

If you’d like to make a counter offer that will fit your budget, I might be able to work with you on the price.

Thank you,

Jeff Swanson
www.interfacingnature.com

And again, she replied quickly and this is where the my jaw drops:

SUBJECT: Re: Saint of the Wildflowers

Hi Jeff

I have a very little budget. I don’t think we will be able to work together.

I have 100.00 for all photos. I’ve been finding some of them for free.

Thanks again
L

$100 for ALL THE IMAGES! WHAT!? That is HALF A CENT for all the images in each calendar. Let’s do some math here to show how painfully out of whack that is:

The calendar run is (only) 20,000. Say they can sell the calendar for $12.99 or so and have to pay $1 each for the printing of the calendars (a rough estimate from uprinting.com). That leaves $11.99 to cover the rest of the costs associated with producing and selling a calendar and some profit for the company. That comes out to $239,800 left over to cover the rest of the costs and some profit. Of that amount they have only reserved a little more than four one hundreths of one percent for compensating the artists that produced the artwork that will actually sell their calendars (when’s the last time you bought a calendar because you liked the font?)

This is appalling and I’m sure it happens all the time.


So here’s the message: I’m not a professional landscape photographer. I’m not relying on this business to feed myself and cover my rent. So, in theory, getting credit should be plenty for me. But here’s where that doesn’t work anymore: I know many landscape photographers who ARE making a living at this and every time I (or you or ANYONE) accepts an image-credit-only offer for publication it is effectively taking food off of their plates. What happens is that more and more companies start resorting to this method all the time because they are successful at it. So I implore you to think twice about your actions the next time you are approached with a similar deal. Don’t help to erode the market for high-quality artwork just because you’re not relying on that market to feed yourself.

Next, don’t believe the schtick they feed you about exposure. When’s the last time you saw an image in a calendar or on a urinal cake and said “Gee whiz! I like that enough that I want to track that artist down and send them money!” See what I mean? They already have your image to look at (or pee on) anytime they want. Plus, you can’t take image credits to the grocery store or gas station or zeppelin store. “Sorry Bill, I can’t pay you for this gas, but I will tell anyone that asks why my car is running so well that I bought it here from you at Bill’s Gasoline and Urinal Cake Emporium, that cool?”

See how absurd that sounds when you aren’t talking about art?


About the author: Jeff Swanson is a California-based photographer who specializes in dynamic landscapes. You can check out his work by visiting his website, blog, or online gallery. This article was originally published here.


 
  • Seriesrover2

    Exactly what I was thinking…this line, “These types of people wreck the market, no matter how good their images may be” left me gobsmacked.

    An image is just a collection of pixels – that is what is getting delivered. Whether that person has studied and made it their profession for 30 years, or is a “shuttermom” makes NO difference if they deliver the same image.  I’m sorry, and I loathe this fact, but photography as a profession is becoming harder and harder to maintain and people have to not become delusional over this.  People “wrecking the market” by another name is anti-monopoly…its called competition…whether you think it is fair or not will not make the problem go away.

  • Seriesrover2

    And at some point in history being able to read was a valuable commodity…and all that literacy education that gave the skill to  everyone wrecked THAT market too.

  • Seriesrover2

    Actually the OP said [if you HAD bothered to read the comments] that this is a for profit company that has a tiny proportion of religious products – so it has nothing to do with ‘God’ per sae.

  • Russ Gillespie

    You’re absolutely on this money with your response. The market is changing in ways that many traditional Photographers do not like, and they will be left behind unless the buck up their ideas.

    Working for free and gaining exposure is fundamental to building your portfolio and client-base. Every photographer should embrace these opportunities, especially if they’re in the early stages of their career.

    The arguments I’ve read here about talking money from ‘real photographers’ who charge for the photographs is the biggest load of rubbish I ever heard.

  • http://twitter.com/jwpeddle Jason Peddle

    You can’t pay rent with exposure, you can’t eat exposure- you can die from exposure! ;)

  • http://twitter.com/mikecane Mike Cane

    Go to YouTube.  Search forthe Harlan Ellison video, Pay the Writer.  Solidarity.

  • Eee

    I couldn’t reply to one of your other comments, so I am replying here….

    How is this at all like a broke college student expecting to buy a porsche at the price of a Kia? The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of people who are willing to pay Porsche prices for a Porsche. Irrelevant of how much you think a photo is worth, many people CAN and DO get high quality photos for little or nothing. If I were someone responsible for buying photography, why would I pay top dollar for something I can get for nothing?

  • jbscpa

    Question:

    Would you swap your fee for calendars?

    Just a little math:$550/$12.99 is 42.34 calendars per image.

    If you sold 6 images then ($6  X $550=$3,300) or 

    255 calendars at $12.99 (retail) is equal to $3,300 (roughly)

    Would you accepted 43 calendars in exchange for one image?

    Would you accepted 255 calendars in exchange for the 6 images?

    Would they offer you 255 calendars as payment in full for the 6 images?

  • http://twitter.com/IEBAcom Anthony Burokas

    Interesting discussion, another thought in the mix is the entirety of the “offer:”

    ” I would be able to give you credit for your photograph. Please look at this an opportunity for you to reach a possible customers.”

    People who buy the scripture calendar are not customers for the photographer. They wanted a calendar, they wanted to have scripture readings presented nicely in their home. 

    It’s like the car company wanting to get the leather for the car seats for free because it would be appreciated by “possible customers.” :)

    It’s either a failure to plan by the publishing company (and 20,000 calendars is a really small run if it’s national, or it’s a lie) or its deliberate abuse and taking advantage of the fact that images are so readily available now that they fully expect to not pay for them, so there is no appropriate budget. In that case, it’s nice of them to contact first, instead of just stealing it, but they should just start looking in Flikr’s CC section if they have so little to spend as opposed to looking at all the great images and then having issues with the price. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=631695795 Luis Cardona

    Well said, I am one of those people who entered the market within the last 2 years and don’t even have a system yet. I have only rented and I have local photographers angry that I’ve “given away” commercial work to experiment with the format and build a brand.

    This happened in the music industry about 5 years ago where I was making a living. Now, I work as a full time IT professional. What I offered as a middle of the road solution to many musician’s requests for mixing and mastering died because they all of a sudden could buy a $500 Pro-Tools rig with a couple of monitors and voilà! an album on CD Baby. I did not provide something exceptional aside from a niche product in electronic music where the “clients” did not have a budget to support a business, aggregated with a geographical location where the population and demand for this type of service was low, resulted in making a hard decision at the time.

    The good news is that, in music, after the decimation of the industry as a whole, the Phoenix of Quality has again risen. This is due to once again having a clear separation between an amateur and a professional’s keen sensibilities. The result is products that have a distinguishable signature of quality that cannot be replicated easily or for cheap.

    Natural selection will take care of the middle that are not offering something unique, relevant or that can command a demand. The beginners, weekend warriors and enthusiasts will not be affected because they do it “for fun” anyway. The High-end Pros, Masters and Unique Brands that exist in the industry will need to continue to provide a top quality product, plus up their game to an unreachable level to reap the reward: Doing what they love for a living.

  • Root

    He *completely* gets it.  You are the one who is fundamentally confused.

    The market value of a thing is what someone wanting to buy and someone wanting to sell can agree on.  Unfortunately for photographers, that value has become exactly 0 for a lot of content.  It has happened to varying degrees in the fields of journalism, music, software, and pretty much anything that can be replicated and communicated digitally in perfect quality.

    I make no judgement as to whether this is right, or good for society in the long run, but it is the reality of the world you live in.  Accept it, or take it upon yourself to change it in a very real and meaningful way.

  • Root

    “Umm”, this is just muddled thinking.

    As the user of a product for browsing the web,you have the option of going with Safari – goodness knows why – or Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or IE (and a few less common alternatives).

    *You* picked one that happens to cost you nothing.  Most of them are indeed free, but not all.  *You* have chosen to not pay.

    As a user of photographic content, the person putting together the calendar is shopping around for options.  They’re inquiring as to whether the content that they found, which they liked, is free.

    When a price was suggested, they said it was out of their budget.

    Whether it’s Apple paying their developers to work on a product that is given away for free, or Mr. Swanson being asked to give away his time and work for free is immaterial – it is exactly the same thing.

  • Root

    IT WASN’T “EXPECTED” TO BE FREE.

    The inquirer did not hound Swanson, or beg, or cajole, or try to bargain with him.The inquirer was looking to fulfil a need with a (practically zero) budget. When the answer came back that was way out of line with his budget, he politely declined.  Swanson then tried to re-open the conversation with another angle, which makes it painfully obvious that the market value of a photograph, in this day and age, sadly, really is almost zero.  The inquirer was polite, up-front, and was unable to commit to the price.It sucks, but this is reality.

  • Root

    Very prescient.  It’s sad, and painful, and very disorienting, but you’re absolutely right.,  This is a change in the landscape that is very difficult to see changing in the near term if ever.

    This has happened in journalism, music, software, and just about every other industry that a piece of work can be digitally copied and re-transmitted in perfect quality and effectively 0 cost.

    Whining about it will not turn the tide.

  • Lockyy

     However, you could contact flickr and tell them that it is infringing on your copyright.

  • Root

    Sad, but true. 

    Anyone who is still railing against this *needs* to understand this simple truth, in the very core of their being.

  • Root

    I don’t think it’s really the *camera* that makes the difference, so much as editing software vs traditional film development.

    Because that’s really what devalued skill.

  • Evan Moses

    What you’re asking for, Jeff, is called a “cartel” or a “guild” .  It’s the same thing that happened in the middle ages:  a group of professionals got together and said “We respected tapestry-weavers have been making quality work for years, and now these upstarts are selling shoddy tapestries for half of what we charge.  This must stop, it’s driving our prices down.”  So they lobbied the nobility for exclusivity, got together to fix prices, and shut their competition out.

    I know you’re not asking for the same sort of legal exclusivity that a guild relied on, but you *are* advocating price fixing.  Market distortions like that almost never work, because there’s always someone willing to charge a bit less in order to outsell their competition, and it will continue to be driven down until it hits a price below which there’s no one willing to produce it.  That’s the definition of a market price.  If you can’t sell it for the price you want, then it’s just not worth that much money.

  • Root

    Have you considered producing calendars – or urinal cakes, for which you seem to have an unusual preoccupation – instead?

    Seriously, contrary to popular opinion, Darwinism – which is what capitalism is, at its cold heart – is not about “survival of the fittest”.  It’s about the slaughter of the weak.  Seriously.  Don’t be that guy, Swanson, or any of you other fine and good and decent folks trying to make a living as a photographer.  You owe it to yourself to be better than that.  You’re at an evolutionary dead-end, and it’s time to adapt to your new surroundings.

  • Steve J

    Yes, comrades.  Solidarity amongst smug, turtle-neck wearing, cappucino-sipping, Macbook-wielding wienies.

  • Root

    You do realize, that the exact same mechanism that allows you to easily set up a cottage industry on the web, accessible to anyone in the world, is really what is driving down the value of stock photography?

    It’s bizarre to me that people don’t realize that the Internet, and the general spread of very powerful, very cheap high-tech tools, has both enabled new industries as well as decimated others.

    You can’t be delighted that your network-connected iPad lets you edit your photos and sell your knick-knacks online, while simultaneously being angry that a million other people have the same opportunity to do the same.   That’s why the value of stock photography is dropping.  You’re not the only one who can do it for a lot cheaper than you used to.

  • Nick

    Do goats need a model release form? If you contact Flickr and file a copyright claim, you’re the one doing something illegal. The image isn’t yours and you have no rights to it since it was taken in a public location.

  • http://profiles.google.com/peter.andersen Peter Andersen

    I would think the starting point is the real issue – since when is it OK to open negotiations with “Can I have this for credit only”?  I can’t think of any other profession, other than those in the arts, that are forced to deal with an opening of “Can I just *have* that?” – I’m sure musicians are faced with this all the time, both in performing and recordings.  The stigma needs to be changed, and companies need to be respectful enough of any profession to at the very least start the conversation with a quote for rates, then they’d be free to try to haggle downward.  Starting low (basically at the bottom) is a poor way to begin any negotiation – it will almost always end badly.

    Of course there are many examples of when it’s prudent to consider an attribution-only payment – someone back in the comments mentioned help-portrait.com, for instance.  But like about half of you have said already, a for-profit company should know better and not come out of the gate insulting someone’s craft or the value of what they produce.  They should at the very least start asking about a price then try going down from there.  We need to fix the assumption that it’s OK to ask for something for free first.If you need a better example of what can happen when companies think it’s OK to do this – try here: http://www.popphoto.com/news/2011/11/cnn-fires-photogs-amateur-content.  If this is where the market is apparently going, I can’t wait to see what happens when hobbyist doctors and dentists start popping up.

  • http://twitter.com/mikestanley Mike Stanley

    Great post – thanks.

  • Donfelipe

    A poor choice of a livelihood if you are bested by people willing to do your work for free. Wake up! It isn’t a livelihood if someone can do what you charge large sums of money for free of charge.
    The equipment isn’t free to make the image, but it is free to distribute and transfer that image. People who are not paid to shoot already own thousands of dollars worth of equipment. That is why I called it a hobby. Hobbyist own that equipment and can make images and can give them away for free.

  • Donfelipe

    None of this has to do with stealing others images; that is a different subject entirely. This post was about a man who thought his image was worth money and was upset when someone thought otherwise.

  • Donfelipe

    ‘I can’t think of any other profession, other than those in the arts,
    that is forced to deal with an opening of “Can I just *have* that?”‘
    Art can’t be a profession. Professions are held by professionals. A professional has obtained a degree from a certified body and in many cases certified by the state. Photography is not in the least analogous to a real profession.

    Now that we’ve settled producing an image isn’t a profession, why is it not okay to ask for something for free?There are reasons why doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, etc are well paid. Even though they are well paid, do they also not give services out free of charge? Have you ever asked a doctor, lawyer, or engineer for personal advice applicable to their training and work? Have they scoffed at your request and asked you to pay them their hourly rates? Would you be upset if they did?

    How is this situation different: the image has already been created, it requires nothing for you to transfer a digital copy to someone else. If you don’t want your image to be used, don’t allow it.

    It isn’t immoral for me to give my image to someone else because another guy thinks that recipient should pay him for his image.

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    If Angie owns the goats, then the photographer needs a property release form…  So it wouldn’t be a case of copyright infringement as much as a matter of use of her property for the image.  It would be the same if someone were taking a photo of her uniquely identifiable boat, or other owned object.

    Believe it or don’t a fair isn’t a public space (fairgrounds are typically rented for fairs by vendors and groups).

    She doesn’t have the right to simply “take” the photo if its copyrighted, but nor does the photographer have the right to use the image commercially if he hasn’t gotten a property release.

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    Angie,

    Check to see if they have the image as a copyrighted image or a Creative Commons image – If its CC, then you can likely use it on your website (but not on t-shirts or business cards). You would need to come to an agreement with the photographer about that.  Agree to trade him a property release (so he can sell the image commercially) in exchange for usage rights to sell on t-shirts, and to use for your marketing. 

  • http://twitter.com/prayagpal Prayag Pal

    I visit this site regularly, but hardly ever make comments ’cause it takes time to make responsible/well researched comments.

    If you want a shorter version of what I would want to say, you can read comments by “Joe Cascio”, I believe he summed it up the best.

    And here goes my longer version,

    Its quite obvious that Jeff + lot of other esteemed professional photographers feel that following are simply wrong,

    1. The Lead Graphic Designer asked for the photo for free [plus Credit] or eventually shared that all he had was $100 budget for a calendar expected to sell for 20,000 copies for profit.
    2. The market is flooded with people who don’t value their work or just don’t create as much value, resulting in this scenario where ‘for profit’ companies have the audacity (and is able) to ask for ‘free’ IP when they actually plan to sell and make profit out of it.

    Since the post talks a whole lot of about cost, value, profit etc, we need another careful look at the simple maths that was worked.

    Having worked in manufacturing company (and also product development) my knowledge of that process says any product that’s ‘created/manufactured’ (not grown/harvested/extracted) and is sent through a multistep distribution channel (warehousing,logistics,retail margin,shelf cost,returns/discards + taxes etc etc); the MLO cost should be 10% to 30% of the final retail price on shelf. MLO = Material + Labor + Overhead

    Interestingly, Jeff estimated the cost of printing ($1/piece) from uPrinting. I’m guessing not ’cause they are exceptionally uniquely talented lot, but mostly ’cause they can deliver ‘good result’ for ‘least cost’.

    So in this approach, the final budget to produce this calendar could come down to $50,000 + printing cost to still make profit. The Graphic Designer has to somehow fit all expenses within that. And in that process, either him/someone above him has decided to stick with $100 to get the images for calendar.

    Irony is, our choice of printer [uPrinting] seem to suggest that even Graphic Designer is unnecessary for great product/result. You could use their online designing and get rid of the designer entirely. We don’t see the designer complaining about that, he understands the drift and wants to stick to $100 to source his material to still remain profitable at a level that makes sense to him.

    And I guess that’s where lies the simple issue. While lot of us disagree that we can’t get good work for free or peanuts, the reality is we can actually get quite close to them.

    With a budget of $100, someone could fire off some of these minions + amateur shots and get a decent job done.

    http://fiverr.com/joshtheman/add-10-photoshop-actions-to-your-photo
    http://fiverr.com/sfphotography/fix-any-photo-to-improve-lighting-color-resizing-and-improve-quality-of-your-cherished-old-family-photos

    It most likely won’t be as good as what Jeff offers, but if they can get away with it, why would they want to pay anything more?

    These days, decent photography kit isn’t really as rare and there are loads of sites like PetaPixel that help anyone learn how to change to smaller lense opening and slow shutter speed to get that desired magical effect (for example). Some cameras will even have all these as built in preset options.

    I no way want to imply that Jeff should give away for free or even use credits when offered, but when a gentlemen politely asked for permission and both parties agreed to disagree, there’s no reason to make a Blog Post out of it and claim how evil the big corporation is. Reality is, someone there understands the changing economy and still wants to remain relevant by adopting methods that are still legal and financially viable.

    Its time for professional photographers to reinvent ways to stay ahead of the game.

    For example, looking at this graph [http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2011/12/29/how-photographers-actually-spend-their-time/], instead of spending only 11% of time in taking photos, why not hire help for most of the other work [hint: fiverr.com] and have better returns due to better throughput/more work done.

  • http://kathleenbradenlifewealth.com/ Kat_braden

    Ice Cream Man!  Glad you are friends.  Well-written piece.  I was in Greece with Sam five summers ago.  Kat

  • Dave

     You haven’t settled anything. Just because you can make up a definition in your head, doesn’t make it true. I’ll send you off to the dictionary now to look up two words: opinion and fact. They don’t mean the same thing whether you like it or not, and particularly in your case. Websters defines profession as:

    “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation”

    and their secondary definition is:

    “a principal calling, vocation, or employment ”
    These definitions perfectly describe what a professional photographer is, or has done to get where they are today. I received most of my training in college and trade school. Your incessant trolling does not equal real world knowledge obviously because you seem to argue for the sake of arguing. It is evidenced by your routine inaccuracies. And who gets anything free from ANY doctor? Answer: no one except maybe their family. Of course you ask questions about your health while you are in his office. You are being billed for that. You do realize that don’t you? If you ask him about it on the golf course, he has every right to say “make an appointment and we will talk about it”. You suggest that people routinely ask professionals for advice free of charge. Who does that? Not me, or anyone I know, that would be stupid. Would we be upset if they scoffed at us? Of course not, I would be surprised if they didn’t. You have a vivid imagination.No one should ask any PROFESSIONAL, or amateur for that matter, to offer their trade for free. Not a dentist, a car repair company, police officer or anyone else particularly if they will profit from said trade or product. It involves ethics. A professional will refuse to give away their valuable work, and if they have time explain why their product is not free. An unscrupulous buyer may choose the free route and it will show in their finished product.Your final line takes the cake. It isn’t immoral for you to give your crappy pictures away (I say this because you are clearly new at this, if a photographer at all). It is immoral for someone besides your mother to ask for it for free. It is stupid to give it away, but not immoral. And stupid is about what we can expect from you after reading some of your posts.

  • Mike

    Responding to your above post, he/she doesn’t need a property release for Flickr.  Posting something on Flickr doesn’t constitute “commercial usage.”  Even if he/she was going to sell it for commercial usage, it is doubtful anything would come of it since property releases are usually used to avoid being sued by a trademark or brand owner if you use one of their products in an advertisement.  Example: A person holding a Coke can or a Ford Mustang being shown in an ad to sell jeans.  A goat is not a brand and because goats look similar, it would be hard to prove that the photographer is infringing on the goat owner’s trademark or intellectual property.

  • Mike

    It was “EXPECTED” to be free.  Read the post one more time…their initial communication states:

    “This is a very low print run and only around 20,000 calendars produced. I was wondering if you would give us permission to use some of your photographs? I would be able to give you credit for your photograph. Please look at this an opportunity for you to reach a possible customers.”

  • Mike

    If you need another source of income you are not good enough. It has never, ever been easy to make a living taking pictures.  In fact, as a shooter who has been pro since 1987, I find it EASIER to make a living now.  None of the social marketing available now was around back then and it was near impossible to get your foot in the door of a large agency if you weren’t willing to wear kneepads during the interview.  If you think there is more competition now you are dead wrong. There have always been hordes of wannabes who think they have the talent of Ernst Haas and could be famous if only they could get the right connections.  The problem is the internet has given those idiots a “voice” now and we hear about them more.

  • Mike

    “Working for free and gaining exposure is fundamental to building your portfolio and client-base.”

    I disagree with this (I have been shooting pro since 1987). You never give your product away for free.  Ever. You can TRADE something other than money, but never for nothing.  “Gas, Grass, or Ass” as bands used to say if you wanted to ride along on tour with them.  This has not changed.  You will make no clients from anyone who does not want to give you something for your work.  Once you’re free, you’ll always be free to them.

  • Mike

    “There is no time involved in reproduction or transferrring of images. The equipment and skill required to make said photographs is no longer rare.”

    Please post a link to your images.

  • Mike

    You are obviously a sub-intellect.  It is not “free” to distribute or transfer an image if the photographer has decided his work has value beyond “credit.”  If he wants to charge for his work, that is his choice and should be respected.  It’s like saying money is free because I could choose to “transfer” it to you.  Paper money has no intrinsic value, yet we have decided it has value every time we exchange it for a product or service.  Now while I believe photography is art and therefore does have intrinsic value, I can appreciate that you are a Philistine and don’t feel it does.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth something, especially to the creator of that piece of art.

  • Mike

    Hear hear!

  • Mike

    What’s the point in getting credit if you’re not going to get money from it?  If you start by giving your work away for free…it will always be free.  Only a fool can survive on the shortlived ego boost of seeing their name in print with nothing monetary to show for it.

  • Mike

    You’ve got some weird, faulty logic in your posts here.  School is not a job.  You are paying for a service a.k.a. “being provided an education by a professional teacher.”  The teacher providing the instruction is being paid, since he or she is the one actually WORKING to provide you a service.  Do you think teachers would do it for free just to get “credit?”

    If you were given a job after completing university that didn’t pay, would you do it…for a couple of years?  Maybe five years of working 5 days a week without pay but you got to see your name on your paystub next to the big fat zero?  Many photographers have gone to school to learn how to be professional photographers, why should it be any different than any other trade or discipline?

  • Mike

    I find it amusing that you are responding to Tony Sweet without having a clue who Tony Sweet is. You are lecturing a very well known professional photographer on “how it works.” HA HA HA, now I really know you are a moron.

  • Mike

    They’ve always been a dime a dozen.  As well, there is less assignment work now than there was before.  National Geo has one staff photographer when they used to have a dozen. Mary Ellen Mark, Nevada Wier, etc all complain about how magazine work doesn’t pay anymore.  Where did you get your facts?

  • Mike

    Have you shot slide before?  Ever seen it developed?  I have. It was mindless.  Provided it’s magic hour, you show up, take the photo, get it developed…done. No retouching, no “editing” as you call it (being a layman I presume since no pro calls retouching “editing” – “editing” is sorting your photos into piles for the trash bin and the selects)

    Photography is actually harder now.  It’s the marketing that has changed.  It has nothing to do with equipment.

  • Mike

    Very good point.

  • Russ Gillespie

    “You never give your product away for free”. That’s an old fashioned approach. Product-based photography is fast disappearing, and the industry is moving towards services. Your view is precisely what I’d expect from someone who’s been doing it since 1987. Times are changing.

  • Russ Gillespie

    That website is an opinion, not an answer.

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    Mike, I would suggest you read my note before replying, and a little more education on the types of releases used in the business would be helpful (not being snarky here – I’m truly hoping you find this helpful).

    I never stated that the photographer needed a property release to POST to Flickr, but the photographer IS prohibited from selling the image commercially, or even giving the image away for commercial use (via CC) –  Hence why I stated “so he could sell it commercially”…

    Because no agreement was made beforehand, this may be an equitable trade for both parties (she gets the image to of her property commercially, he get to sell the image properly and legally.)  It’s not optimal, but it beats neither of them being able to use to the full potential of the images.

    Images of Pets and Farm animals (which are owned) DO require the use of property releases for sale of their likeness (just like buildings and unique properties such as uniquely  recognizable assets) – of course the animal cannot contract on its own behalf (nor can a building, boat, etc.); the owner of the property holds the rights to the use or release rights of the likeness.

    Where you are getting confused in your “Jeans/Mustang/Coke” analogy is that this is a use of Trademark. For the use of all of these items (in your analogy), all of them were likely cleared by their respective trademark owners (Ford, Coke, etc.) – this is just SOP.

    In the case of uniquely identifiable property (e.g. a building, sailboat which can be recognized by its registration number or unique sail, a plane which can be recognized by tail number or paintjob, a pet or owned animal), the use of LIKENESS must be released (by the owner) for commercial use.

    Copyright applies to the use of others original creative work.

    So we have three different legal and practical concepts here;

    Trademark, likeness, and Copyright.

    Property releases are used in the case of permission to use likeness of a person or property (though there may be overlap if the property is also a work of art, or contains trademarks).

    IANAL, but I’ve been a commercial photographer (PJournalism, advertising, and corporate) for 27 years; and I’ve dealt with these issues in the real (not the abstract) for many years.

  • Seriesrover2

    He was offering credit in exchange, which makes the “expectation” non-free.  Now, one may think it isn’t worth it, as the poster does, but ‘L’ made an non-monetary offer nonetheless.

  • Seriesrover2

    One can disagree and be civil Mike.  No one person has supreme authority over how best to work – its not a one size fits all and each person creates an angle that works for them, as clearly Tony Sweet has done.

    The point Tzctplus is making is that the profession has changed and people have to adapt.  The key difference between the skills of Doctors / Teachers / Plumbers / Gardeners and photography is how you distribute your skill.  Photography has gone from print / negative media to mostly digital – that is a huge shift.  Coupled with the advance of digital photography it is of little surprise that the whole channel has been made widely accessible to those that otherwise would’n’t have even thought about it.  Now, if you’ve been in the profession a while and made a name for yourself then you can hang your marketing hat on that, but for those that are trying to break in they need a different kind of game plan.Software is going through the same thing, as is gaming – many are getting into the “smaller” cost-of-unit and trying to sell more units as per the AppStore / Google Marketplace.  And some, gosh they must not value their work, are giving “free” software away.  Now, there is still plenty of room for high quality software, but its a harder game to get into, especially if you haven’t made a name for yourself.So, how all those that are downloading low-cost or “free” apps to their mobile phones (perhaps including Jeff the OP, you and Tony Sweet?) different to “L” that had requested usage of photos for credit?