Should I Take a Low-Paying Photo Assignment from a Major Publication?

Should I Take a Low-Paying Photo Assignment from a Major Publication?

Getting a break, a big break, in photography is challenging. When you finally get a call from a major publication to photograph for them, you might run into a situation where the editorial fee is much lower than you expected. John Harrington, author of More Best Business Practices for Photographers, gave us a practical decision tree for taking or rejecting the opportunity.

“Anytime a photographer talks to me and says, ‘I don’t have a choice because I gotta pay my rent or mortage or my car needs to get fixed.’ I would never begrudge a photographer taking a low-end, undervalued, underpaid rate…The key is to not find yourself in that situation on a regular basis because it will ultimately hit a downward spiral that is just not going to serve you well.”



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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Pingback: Should I Take a Low-Paying Photo Assignment from a Major Publication?PhotoShelter Blog – The Click
  2. Frank Evers at 2:16 pm

    wrong answer. If you go cheap, then you are establishing a lower value for good work, which doesn’t serve anyone else. The advertisers paying for the ad space across the page from your photographs doesn’t care if you are a well-known or lesser-known photographer, they are paying the premium space rate that the magazine is charging. So, by agreeing to give the magazine your work for less, you are simply allowing the magazine to make an even bigger profit off of you. If your rate is going to make the difference between their making money of not, then the magazine is already dead…move on. Listen, everyone on the magazine side of the food chain is earning a decent salary, so why shouldn’t you? You won’t get what you deserve, if you don’t demand it. If you are struggling to pay the rent, get another job to cover that side of things, and keep shooting and holding out for the proper value for your work. If you are talented, you will actually get somewhere, If you are not… well, you should keep shooting because it is what you love to do. Either way, there is no short or long-term value in accepting pittance for your photography.

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