Thoughts on Photography

I saw this article today and it got me all fired up about something I've been thinking about for a while. (Note, that I saw the article, and did not read it in its entirety, so maybe it argues against me somewhere. Still) I thought maybe posting something here would help spread the idea around like butter... Here is what I posted on Craigslist, where I see many of these offenses taking place:

Attention Photographers

I'm a photographer and I'm writing this post to ask you to consider STOP taking low-paying photography jobs.

When photographers accept $25, $50 or even $200 for a gig, they fuel the trend of clients paying us too little for a service worth far more.  Photography is damn hard, and time consuming.  It's not just the shoot - what about the brainstorming, client meetings, emails back and forth, editing, post-production, equipment, stress, your much goes into it. 

I saw a post for a gig offering to pay someone $25 to cover about 15 miles and make 8 stops to take pictures of surf spots, for the client to put on their membership-based website daily.  $25?! Are you kidding me? What a joke.

(You should be ashamed of yourself!)

If the industry as a whole decides to start demanding to be paid what we're worth, we'll all be better off.  I know the economy is rough and we are all trying to make ends meet.  But what happens when it picks up again? Clients will still be expecting their $25 photo shoots, believe me.

So, for all of us, tell them to suck an egg and demand to be paid what you're worth.

Maybe it's worthless for me to post this, but this is something I feel strongly about. I know, we all have to learn and grow as artists and build portfolios and these shit paying jobs can be part of that. But you know what else can be part of it? Creating work for yourself, about something you feel totally passionate about...I feel that will always be your best and strongest work in a portfolio anyway.   

If you're a photographer who agrees with this, take a second and help spread the word.  We need to ban together as an industry to make sure clients know our value.  And if you disagree, I'd be interested to hear why.  There are two sides to every story.

Thanks for reading :)


My husband so agrees with you - I will show him this post tonight. Good for you for talking about this!!
KL said…
I agree with you fully. Death to art directors with digital cameras..
Jess Demaria said…
Agreed, this goes for designers as well. People tend to think we just pull this creativity out of our asses and it's not worth more than a few bucks.
Unknown said…
Sadly, we live in a world where computers and social media have in many ways destroyed the value of being an artist. Give a camera/guitar/computer to 1,000,000 amateurs dying for some measure of fame and you get enough mediocre pictures, songs, designs to fulfill most business needs. Even some corporations have held contests to "write their advertising campaign", usurping ad agencies in their place.

As professionals, this is the death of many peoples' livelihoods. As amateurs, there has never been a better time to pick up something new and try and make some money. It's the brutal truth of the world we live in today. There is a great book called "The Long Tail" that explores these ideas.

Stand up for your creative integrity and demand the correct pay for your work. Someone has to!
Jair Bortoleto said…
Jair Bortoleto from Brasil.
Watson said…
Word. Agree, but I don't think it is because of the amateurs or art directors with cameras.

Many clients only need something "good enough." Everyone is on a budget and creatives have always been exploited. It is only happening more now because there are more media outlets and more artists, photographers, writers than ever before.

Don't look on Craigslist for photo jobs. Spiritually, it will break you. It is the Walmart of photo gigs and when clients are looking for the best possible deal it is an indicator that there will be other problems in the transaction. Your vision will get buried. Run like the devil.
Jaclyn said…
Totally agree! I saw that same ad. What a joke.
Anonymous said…
Photographers are joining the ranks of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and legal professionals in the downward spiral of rates. The devaluation of professional work is destroying our economy and livelihoods.

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