Would You Work For Free?

Would You Work For Free?

There’s an interesting conversation going on over at The Atlantic about working for free. The talk is among journalists, but it’s not much of a stretch to bring it into the photography (or really any creative) space.

It started last week with journalist Nate Thayer, who was asked by The Atlantic website to repurpose a blog post for free. The original article, “25 Years of Slam Dunk Diplomacy: Rodman trip comes after 25 years of basketball diplomacy between U.S. and North Korea”  was posted on NKNews.org. After it was published, an editor from The Atlantic emailed Thayer to ask if he would be interested in adapting a version for their website – for free.

Thayer took to his blog and posted his correspondence with the editor.

“We unfortunately can’t pay you for it, but we do reach 13 million readers a month,” said the editor in her email to Thayer. “I understand if that’s not a workable arrangement for you, I just wanted to see if you were interested.”

To that Thayer responded: “I am a professional journalist who has made my living by writing for 25 years and am not in the habit of giving my services for free to for profit media outlets so they can make money by using my work and efforts by removing my ability to pay my bills and feed my children…Frankly, I will refrain from being insulted and am perplexed how one can expect to try to retain quality professional services without compensating for them.”

The correspondence has since blown up in the media. James Bennet, editor in chief of The Atlantic, posted a statement saying, “Atlantic staff journalists write most of the stories on our sites. When we publish original, reported work by freelancers, we pay them. Our freelance rates vary, depending on the kind of work involved. We do publish some unpaid pieces, typically analysis or commentary by non-journalists.”

“It’s not a sustainable business model for journalism,” Thayer told New York Magazine‘s blog, The Daily Intel. “And journalism is vital to a free society. Someone is going to figure it out. I hope they do before I starve to death, but I’m not terribly optimistic.”

Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates, who got his start at the online Atlantic working for free, made his own response over the weekend. He speaks specifically about a time after his 12-year career in print media when he started freelancing for Slate and blogging on his own.

“In 2008, I was not some young fresh-faced college kid,” writes Coates. “I was 32.” When an editor at Slate asked him to contribute a guest post to their website for free (in an email titled “Lucrative Work-For-Free Opportunity”), Coates said yes.

“I agreed to write for Matt because I wanted exposure,” he says.

Coates doesn’t think Thayer declining to work for free is wrong, or stupid, or disagreeable. But he does think that Thayer is out of touch with the times. “I understand why someone might not want to do it for exposure,” he says. “I think journalists should be paid for their work. Even here at The Atlantic, I think it would be a good idea to provide a nominal amount, if only as a token of respect for the work.”

“Whatever The Atlantic isn’t, right now, the fact is that it currently employs more journalists than it ever has in its entire history. There are real questions about whether we will always be able to do that in this new world. But that is landscape on which all media currently tread. It’s not perfect. But it never was.”

This conversation doesn’t apply to writers only. Photojournalists M. Scott Brauer and Matt Lutton shared Thayer’s story on their blog, dvafoto, and noted that The Altantic doesn’t pay its photographers either. Altantic editor Alan Taylor was quick to reply, saying:

“It is true that I am not budgeted to pay for outside photographers, but that’s because almost all of my budget goes to pay for existing agency contracts. So there is significant money going out our door for photography, just not directly to the photographers…So I am now in a position (like anyone else) to either ask for more budget (which I have done), or cut down or eliminate one of our contracts, to free up money for freelancers.”

Alan Taylor’s blog In Focus is known for featuring large, 1280px photos of various news topics. The photos are almost always from agency photographers (i.e. Reuters, AP Photo, Getty, etc.). Taylor says that if a freelancer photographer approaches him asking to be featured, he’s up front about not being able to pay. “Since my budget hasn’t been expanded, and I have almost nothing to offer freelancers, I’m sort of stuck,” he says.

Photographers and creatives of all types are continuously asked to work for free. Does working for free in return for exposure reflect the current state? Is it fair? What do you think?

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There are 43 comments for this article
  1. Syl Arena at 10:09 am

    Working for free is always a double-edged sword. Like most shooters, I get asked to shoot for free on a regular basis. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the criteria I use to make the decision here on my blog, PixSylated > http://pixsylated.com/blog/i-want-to-work-for-free/ To a large degree, if the person doing the asking is getting paid, then I expect to be paid too. If everyone is pitching in pro bono on a worthy cause, then I’m open to shooting for free.

  2. Holly ( Simply Photographs) at 10:26 am

    As a photographer, I have yet to see doing shooting for free to be profitable…I have made connection, but my bread and butter is still my high end portrait clients and selling of prints..

    I think in the current society that we live in, you make money where you can.. and politley decline if the freebie will not benefit you.

    that being said.. I am not the blogger nor photographer that Nat Thayer is…

  3. Marlo Montanaro at 10:29 am

    The difference, to me, is who is asking. If I go looking to add my photos somewhere, in other words, if I am asking to be published, I can accept that they may not pay and therefore I have to do a freebee. But these are few and far between. It is in places, or for charities, where I believe the exposure will benefit me.

    When the media outlet comes looking for material, they need to lead with the money.

  4. David Moses at 10:31 am

    You can generally tell when people are taking the piss. If it’s good work and I want it and there genuinely isn’t money I’ll consider it. But I won’t work to pay someone else’s wage.

  5. Bob Fisher at 10:39 am

    Seems the idea of working for free is the hot topic among creatives the last few weeks. In addition to Syl’s excellent piece linked above, there’ve been a few other blog articles about the idea of working for free, when to do it, when not to of late as well, including one from Seth Godin, http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/should-you-work-for-free.html. I wrote a piece on my blog over a year ago on the same topic, http://rf-photography.ca/working-free/ and agree with much of what Syl said in his article. The article links to an interesting website set up by Tony Wu that a pretty large number of photographers have signed onto that deals specifically with the idea of working for free, http://photoprofessionals.wordpress.com/

    Statements like those from ‘The Atlantic’ such as ‘all our photography budget goes to agencies’ seems quite weak. If they’re not prepared to pay working photographers – or writers – they approach for the work they’re asking the creative to provide then they shouldn’t be asking. Prices for photography have dropped tremendously in the last several years. Although more work in creating in many cases, pricing for video footage is even lower than for still photography.

    If a creative approaches a media outlet then the situation is a bit different. But when a creative is the one being approached, the requester should be prepared to pay.

  6. Steve at 10:43 am

    I think if a for profit organisation is approaching you to do free work, this should be rejected. If you want to do free work for promotion purposes, it should be you approaching the outlet.

  7. john zumpano at 10:48 am

    Well, I’ve worked for free both in the motion picture business 30 yrs ago and in still photography, but only to get experience and learn my craft. And now I won’t and find it semi insulting. Any decent non profit will offer you something, you just have to ask.

    That said, How paying for your work to be shown? This was a new one one me. This email I received yesterday.

    Dear John,

    I visited your portfolio and I liked your work. I would like to invite you to submit work for inclusion in “International Masters of Photography”, a juried annual art photography publication presenting noteworthy photographers from all over the world.

    Please note that there is an inclusion fee if you are approved. The concept of the publication is different. We try to have a large distribution and the purpose of the book is to promote the artists in it. This is the reason the artists have to pay. Only artists that are up to the standards of our art committee are approved.

    If you are interested, I will send you more information or you can visit: http://wwab.us/index.php/Photography-Application/
    To get an idea of the quality of our publications, you can view other books of ours in their entirety on the same site.

    Contact us for more information.

    Best regards,

    The “inclusion fee” $850 a page.

    New world model. Pay to work.

  8. Brendan McGarry at 10:50 am

    There’s a whole bunch of factors. For me, I’m just getting going with my “career” and I’m fairly eager for opportunities. If a Non-profit conservation or environmental group (the type of photography I am involved in) asks me for work for free I’m all about it. I am a contributor of images for several non-profits because I agree with their mission, I get my brand associated with their work, and generally because I have a connection with them. But there’s no way I’d do something for free or even cheap if I know the money is there, even if there’s great promotion value. But then again, I’ve never been approached by a for profit company wanting to use my images (and writing), it’s always been NGOs.

  9. Xabier Mikel Laburu at 11:23 am


    Nor when I started nor now, I whon’t work for free, I don’t care if it is the National Geographic or the smallest magazine in town. If someone benefits of my work I think I deserve to benefit too from it. Anyone that comes and tells us that he wants you to shoot for free doesn’t have the intention to pay you now nor after, and for prestige, not worthed, there are many other ways to get prestige and some profit, I am not saying that you enter in this world and expect to earn a pile of money, but something minimal yes. If you are good in making pictures it is more worthed to try and put them in a stock agency that is minimally decent with it’s percentages and produce on your own with your own risk, rather then to do any asignment for free since the only thing you will get is a good laugh behind your back and help others pay their wage at your expense.

    I am a photographer since 18 years ago, and I recognize that if I would have to start now, almost from the beggining it is very hard, but it was too back in the middle 90’s, and even so I never did a job for free, I only spent more time and energies to find someone who would pay me and do things for those.

    Good luck,


  10. Jim Albert at 11:39 am

    I wrote on my blog about this the other week. In this case if was a major (MAJOR) hotel chain. They wanted images of one of their hotels in Philly. The long and short management of the franchise was told by corporate to “Hire a college student who will do it for free.” Let me get this right. Your multi-billion dollar a year corporation won’t pay for the photos it wants to use to advertise. Pisses me off to no end. Just say NO to free work. Here’s the link to my blog post: http://fullframefotography.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/state-of-the-photography-profession-or-lack-thereof/

  11. Marshall Bishop at 11:40 am

    I hate to admit it, but if the topic or subject is something that isn’t in my portfolio [or anyone’s as of late] then it’s work that needs seed projects to be exposed in the first place. I hate no being paid to work, but I love what I do. This becomes an evil monster that can kill what I do if I feed it too much. Some things must be done for free in order for them to be done at all. The terrible part is trying to decide where to draw the line and who’s the main beneficiary of the free work.


    I think it was the Joker who said, in “The Dark Knight” blockbuster movie, “If you’re good at doing something, never do it for free.” I start with this line because it’s contemporary pop culture and an iconic villain who actually made sense with this line given his relentless, wrathful, violent insanity.

    If my sister, my dad, my mother, or my best friend approached me to do some photography work, and I had the time to do the work, it’s unlikely that I would ever turn them down — nor would I bill them. Family and my closest of friends can always feel free to approach me comfortably.

    However. . .

    “Working for free” seems to be an oxymoronic phrase to a certain degree. For amateurs, and those who are just beginning to market themselves, I can understand how the lack of experience and naïveté could lead one to quickly agree to do work without any compensation.

    I do agree that it is presumptuous and inconsiderate for a photographer to be approached for her work and not be offered compensation. Many companies these days think they are doing the photographer a favor by saying, “Oh, we’ll give you credit by printing your name by the photo” as though that is worth a million dollars in gold. I know photographers who leapt at such offers only to see their name or website misspelled or not listed at all — and the publication has already been distributed to the circulation of five million readers. If some monetary compensation had been added, the blow of the mistake wouldn’t be so bad, but this bad business.

    This is not about greed for money. This is about being compensated for one’s services, talent, and value. Photographers should never be deceived into thinking their images or services are not of value. If a company is approaching you for your photograph, then it is of value to that company. It’s like being called in for an interview for a high-level position. The company won’t invite unless they were interested. They know you have something of value from which they can benefit. The same logic applies to our photography.

    It’s up to the individual at the end of the day. I’ve been told “Oh, you’ll get so much exposure.” That may be true, and it may be alright to engage every once in a while, if the photographer sees the benefit, but 9 times out of 10, do not do something for free. Don’t waste your talents on companies and groups who stand to benefit so much more from your work and not consider paying you your dues.

    Stepping down from my pedestal.

  13. Frank Medina at 6:33 pm

    I won’t do photography for free either. If I don’t get paid in cash, then I’d better get something of value like store credit, merchandise or free travel. I needed business cards so I took some pics for a gal that made business cards. I took pics at a restaurant and the manager liked the courtesy copies that I sent him so he gave me store credit which I used to treat a friend for lunch on their birthday.
    I had thought about doing pics for free but after reading the above comments, I totally agree that one should not give our work out for nothing especially when someone else will benefit from it.

  14. Dori Moreno at 11:14 pm

    Working for free or for exposure is not advisable in my opinion. It erodes at your self worth and the worth of the service and skill that you offer. It completely undermines the time, effort and cost you have made and incurred to get to know your craft. It leaves you feeling that what you do to earn a living is not seen as a creditable profession by others. It creates a sense of disempowerment.

    Surely it would be better for organisations and publishers to say, “I love your work. We would benefit a great deal from your being able to use your images. We are short on budget, but can we agree on a reasonable, equitable solution for both parties?” I am willing to bet that nine times out of ten the photographer will listen and enter into an arrangement that works for both parties and everyone walks away happy and with their sense of worth intact.

    It’s not only about the money. It’s about the emotional damage done to an individual too.

  15. Thomas Pickard at 12:30 am

    One of the reasons businesses ask photographers for free services, is because there are photographers in the world who agree to it.

    This might be hard to hear, but you can’t blame businesses for this.

  16. Mike Shipman at 1:16 am

    1. If it is a project/cause I support and others involved are also donating their time.
    2. If it is one of those extraordinarily rare instances (i.e. once in a lifetime) when “exposure” could actually be a legitimate and beneficial boost.
    3. If there is an agreed-upon and contractually bound negotiated trade for services or products I need or could benefit from in lieu of cash (rarely happens).
    4. Otherwise, no.

  17. James tarry at 4:56 am

    Nope, sorry, not having that. Like in much of life, you want something? Pay for it. The whole “but we have thousands/millions of readers/good for exposure” argument is tosh. I once gave my images to a magazine for those reasons-how many jobs did I get from it? none. I’ve never picked up (or rarely) a magazine and then thought of looking at the photographers name-the exposure carrot is just a flat out trick to get people to hand over images magazines et al would usually pay for.

    The problem these days lies with the fact there are so many people desperate to get into the industry and they are more than happy to hand over work, and hell, if you think you can get something for free you try it right?

    I’m a working photographer, I get asked to shoot and I quote them a price, they don’t want it to me up fine-plenty of more customers in the world

  18. Andrew Tomasino at 5:25 am

    Personally. It’s been very hard when trying to get a break or to be noticed as a young photographer. Many situations we’re put in are for “exposure” and for obvious reasons because no-one knows who we are. But to pursue your craft with 100% dedication and to not get compensated is enough to make most people fold up to the pressure of working for free.

    Here are things I really enjoy.

    -Being able to afford to a roof over my head

    Here’s what working for exposure forces you to do.

    -Take time away from shooting in order to e-mail, cold call, reach out to those who are giving you exposure. I understand that this is a large part of being a professional, however professionals get paid, which balances this time to take care of the pre-production stage.

    -Educate yourself in Copyrights, Contracts and the like in order to return that education to others who assume photography just goes from your camera to their unlimited use.

    -Get really good at scouting for change in your couch cushions .

    Notice how the former is not supported by the latter?

    This still doesn’t take away myself from doing shoots for free. In order to become better you must practice and I’m well aware. But when people sit in their comfortable office chair, getting paid for their time, with benefits, and the ability to not worry about bills …. then tell YOU that there is no budget for photography and that this is a great offer. It just hurts and -in my opinion- is incredibly disrespectful. I take the time to be a professional. I should be treated as one.

  19. Noah Stephens at 5:50 am

    In reply to working for exposure, I saw someone write a while back:

    “People die from exposure”

    I think that was cleverly poignant. Creatives really need to stop working for free.

  20. Bob Fisher at 12:15 pm

    @ Andrew Tomasino, working for free has little to do with your first two points. The first is something that pretty much every working shooter has to do. It’s part of a little thing called marketing. The second is something that anyone who presses a shutter button should be aware of, but sadly too few are.

  21. Don Giannatti at 3:07 pm

    So much depends on context.

    I photographed Ali for free for a local foodbank. They have no budget, Ali was doing it as a charitable event (few people even know he does it) and they arranged for me to meet Ali and shake his hand.

    What’s that worth. Well to me, it was amazing.

    However, being ‘asked’ usually doesn’t work for me. I may initiate something in order to get access (like a four day ski vacation in return for some room shots), or if the shoot would benefit me as much as the client.

    However, those times are rare.

    Yes, I will photograph Madonna if she asks me to.
    No, I will not shoot 12 shots of a manifold cover for your brother in law’s engineering firm.

    In between there is not much gray.

  22. Larry at 3:17 am

    You all may laugh at me but I will say it anyway. Computers are going to destroy our economy and our society. No, not like Skynet but in a very different way. Here’s why I say this.

    The more sophisticated computers (and cameras) get, the more software writers write programs that make it easier to produce goods and services. The easier it gets to produce goods and services, the more people will do it for themselves. When you have more people producing their own goods and services, those goods and services becomes less valuable. When goods and services become less valuable people eventually stop paying for those goods and services. When this happens…the profession will die because it isn’t possible to make a living in that profession any longer. I see it happening in photography right now as well as almost every legitimate profession in the world.

    What The Atlantic magazine did is only a symptom of the decline of our profession. It has gotten to the point where no one values professional photography any longer because it’s too easy to produce it yourself or hire someone with very little knowledge and experience for next to nothing or even for free. This is precisely what I am referring to above. We all should wake up.

  23. Gato at 3:14 pm

    I fear the problem grows out of basic economics – supply and demand. There are a lot of photographers out there, including a good many who can do pretty darn good photogaphy and are willing to do it for free – or so cheap as makes no difference. Our local junior college turns out 5 or 6 a year, and at least that many more in the area learn on their own.

    If there is a solution, I don’t see it.

    For myself I don’t work for free, but I will do trades and artistic collaboration. However, before I commit I ask the simple, selfish question; “What’s in it for me?” “Exposure” is rarely a good enough answer.

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  25. Cheyenne L Rouse at 7:00 am

    I have been a working Pro since 1989 and bottom line is “if you value your work then you must charge for it!”……..I am SO tired of this work for free world…I will NOT do it and NO photo credit has NEVER brought me biz…I used to fall for that when I was a newbie but if someone pulls the “I will give you photo credit and exposure” card on me now I walk – I tell them that if they want my work they will have to pay for it. I also tell newbies that once they start with a client for free they have pretty much sealed their fate…..it only hurts them in the long run and hurts ALL of us working Pros who are trying to make a living…so DON’T DO IT!

  26. john james wood at 7:05 am

    No, even the poor devils slaving in third world sweatshops get some remuneration. I also object to juried competitions sending invitations several times a week & asking for an entrance
    fee. This has recently become another business feeding off the gullible.

  27. gary rhodes at 7:26 am

    This is one of the most visited, topical issues in photography today. The market-place has been severely altered by digital photography, to the point that you have to be the best of the best to earn a living in photography. That means that you must be a proficient Photo-Shop tech, a lighting master, and a gifted creative with the camera; or be able to afford experts in those respective areas. On the positive side, the work being produced and paid for is phenomenal. The best, such that one has to be to demand $, are the cream that have risen to the top. If you can’t get paid for your work, and you won’t work for free, you’re stonewalled !

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  29. Tom Parkes at 7:53 am

    No, I won’t work for free or trade pictures for by-lines. Not that many years ago such requests were unheard of and I can’t think of any other area where people would be foolish enough to believe promises of jam tomorrow. Free photography leads nowhere other than to more requests for free photography until a market sector is destroyed.

  30. Theo at 7:56 am

    What if all slaves in ancient Egypt had said they would voluntarily work for a very big project? Ok, the slave owners at least had the decency to feed their slaves and the slaves were even given their tools, they did not have to buy themselves cameras and computers. When I voluntarily write & take pictures then for my own blog but surly not for a commercially operated website who on top of all this is throwing the money to these agencies which are becoming monopolists and killing the market for freelancer. That’s the problem with “news”, all what’s left is commercial photography.

  31. Graham at 8:28 am

    This is such a relevant and important topic. I’m an amateur musician and photographer – perhaps THE two fields where this discussion most applies. To the excellent point made by Larry above, technology and programmers have made it possible for anyone to record a music project, auto-tune it, punch in samples, etc., and at a very low price point. Similarly, photographers suffer from this paradigm shift to an even greater degree. Everyone with an iPhone thinks they are a photographer – and if they are serious, they can buy a serious DSLR for under $2K. To Thomas Pickard’s point above, all the competition quite simply results in many, many people willing to provide their work for free. For the “exposure.” As long as that is the case, someone trying to survive on photography (or music) is doomed to a very difficult struggle.

    Getting back to the music comparison, I live in Nashville, TN – home of thousands of unbelievably talented musicians. Guess what? Very few of the venues in town pays anything, because there are 10 people who will play it for free for every one who won’t. And “pay to play” is alive and well too. Several local restaurants charge the band to play – for the exposure. It’s crazy.

    In the end, it is the talent that matters. I DO provide photography for the non-profit I work for, and I do it for peanuts, but I get paid. It’s hourly work. I also have lent photos to a couple of album covers, and shot video for a kickstarter campaign, for friends who literally had no money to get their music produced. It helps them and it starts to build me a portfolio, but I would never do the same for an established artist or magazine, etc.

    It’s a matter of principle and skilled artists / craftsmen have to make a stand on it, or all but the very few will fail to earn a living. I bet that editor at the Atlantic who has “no budget” for photography makes a pretty nice wage himself.

  32. Martha Retallick at 9:32 am

    I’ve gotten more requests to work for free than I can shake a stick at. And you know what? Been there, done that, and had enough it on the working for free thing. Don’t ask me again, okay?

    As for the notion of getting exposure, well, guess what. You can get pneumonia from exposure. And, when you’re sick with pneumonia, you have to go to the doctor. More than once, in fact. (I’m speaking from personal experience.)

    Well, guess what. The doctor expects to be paid each time you see him or her. And don’t offer that line about getting exposure. Because the medical world runs on money.

  33. Rob Feiner at 10:29 am

    It takes a lot of balls for The Atlantic or any other company to ask a seasoned professional to offer their work for free. The thing is there are suckers that will do that. Screw the publicity! It’s about making a living. I freelance and I would charge a non-profit a reduced rate for work they want me to do for them, unless its something very close to my heart.

    Remember, that non-profit doesn’t mean that entity does not make money! They still have to pay their staff and administrative costs. But people seem to be fooled into thinking non-profit means volunteer work.

    I had a local public TV station approach me about an image they saw on my website they wanted to use as part of a feature story they were producing. When I was asked how much they would pay me they said “nothing” but I’d get a photo credit, as they’re a non-profit. So I asked if the news reporter was getting paid; if the news anchor was getting paid–of course they were. But I should offer my work for free?!? Give me a break!

    Companies who approach you to do work for them for free for the “publicity” or the potential of paid work down the road are handing you a load of BullS#it! They’ll just keep you on their list of suckers who will work for free. Meanwhile they’re not working for nothing! This topic burns me up as much as people who lift your work from your website or blog and post it on their site and claim ignorance when they are confronted with the fact that they just stole copyrighted material. Don’t get me started on that! A whole other issue we have to deal with!

  34. Richelle Forsey at 2:17 pm

    WORK: Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
    FREE: Without cost or payment.

    If I am working for free I receive no result but must put forth mental and physical effort to achieve an expected result for the person receiving my work without a cost.

    How can you command a value for your unique work when you give it up for nothing?

    Exposure is a bullshit concept. Your photo/article/illustration given for free use on a blog etc with a reach of 13 million readers won’t amount to a dime or a job, most likely it will lead to just another request for more free work. Why can’t cash-strapped, cheap, poorly budgeted publications/blogs/charities etc offer at the very least an honorarium or a tax receipt? Why do they always plead they’re too poor paying all their other staff but “would you please give us a picture/design our annual report/make us a website etc.etc. so our organization can continue to stay in business?

    Also. If you ask me for free work, how is it that I need exposure? You found me. You think my work has value and would look good on/in your website/blog/newspaper/magazine. Just saying.

    I echo the sentiment of many other working artists, photographers writers etc. When you give your talents and ideas away for free it makes it really hard for the rest of us trying to earn a living as artists, photographers writers etc. to command compensation for our work.

    Do everyone a favor. Turn down free gigs. Work for pay. Enjoy the money you earn and volunteer on your terms, when it’s convenient for you.

  35. Allan Johnston at 3:48 pm

    By undercutting the industry you kill the street price to a point where there is no longer a working price and we all go broke. Its not just hitting the pockets of the photographer but also the cameras manufactures along with all the add to the industry.

    One point I want to make is if you think Getty is going to fund your next shoot or new Nikon forget it as .80 cent for a years usage is a joke, Getty are not interested in anyone photography just what they can take and put in their pocket.

  36. Eric Victor at 1:11 pm

    There are three things in any jobs.
    The person for who you are doing the job
    The job it self
    The money

    If you get one out of three, be aware
    If you get two out of three, it is great
    If you get three out of three, it is called a holiday!

  37. Danielle Maggio at 7:59 pm

    Everyone needs to start somewhere. As a photography student with no big assignments coming may way, I did some “free” NGO work to gain some professional experience. Looking back, I think I got the better end of the bargain because I got on the job training. In the end, they really got what they paid for – nothing extraordinary in terms of images. As my photography skills grew, so did my business savvy. I learned that most NGO’s have budgets for communications and outreach and can pay you at least a nominal fee for your work if they value it. Sometimes it just takes some educating.

  38. Dusan at 1:12 am

    Well, here we are with an another try of large bussinesses, to use creative potential of others without paying them for its use. It is a fashion of today, not only in Media, but everywhere in the corporate structures, in every kind of industry, where groups of profit fetishists want allways more, without basic knowledge of global economy and social interactions, killing themselves without being aware of it.

    These Media but live from that creativity of others, and nothing else. Those creative people (whom they dont want to pay) are the fuel of their bussiness. What would happen with that Media, if there is nothing they can mediate, wothout articles and photos of the creatives? Empty pages? Yes, but no readers as well, and no bussiness – brand is suddenly not enough. Brand is becomming famous through the creatives work, not by itself. Think about it.

    It is not the brand readers pay for. It is the articles and photos of the creative people, the readers pay for, it is them who run their bussiness. The brand says only, what quality of articles and photos one can expcect buying the newspaper. And the articles and photos should be bought as well – isnt it?

    You know what? It is a chance. Make that attempts public, make it big, dont give anymore articles and photos to that vampires. They can put their brand on each page, and lets see what pays more. Make your own agency, newspaper…, with sign “we pay to artists”, with small icon under the piece, payed-confirmed from the artist. Easy…

    If you but dont do it, and let them to convince you to destroy your own market, by working for free, there will be no excuse for the art to deteriorate, and the blood of the art will be on hands of everyone who made it happen. Try to understand that corporations make it everywhere, in every corner of the world, in every industry nd you are just facing the same issue as others do.

    All this nonsense can continue only up to a point, where we believe we need them. It is oposite – they need us! Once we understand it, we can change it.


  39. Nigel Atkinson at 10:12 pm

    I remember being asked by a photo magazine editor if she could use my images for a supplement feature. After spending 5 minutes detailing her requirements she added “oh by the way we can not pay you”. My response can not or don’t want to, After which I asked if she would care to donate her monthly salary to a charity. She responded by putting the phone down. Funny the idea of her working for free appalled her.


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