so this just happened

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First to Jacqueline who is assistant editor for Fit Pregnancy.  For those of you who don’t know, Fit Pregnancy is owned by American Media, Inc.  AMI owns Playboy, OK!, Shape, The National Enquirer, Star, Globe and quite a few others.   They are hardly a start up or non-profit.

Dear Jacqueline assistant editor for Fit Magazine,
Just a couple of things.  You say  that Fit Pregnancy magazine is “unable to pay for photos at this point”.  I find this to be the most interesting thing you’ve said yet!   First the word. Unable.  Just for kicks, Jackie, stand in front of a mirror and say it out loud, “We at Fit Pregnancy are Un-ayyyyyyyyyy-bel to pay for photographs at this point”.  Did you say it with a straight face?  You did?  You are awesome!   But is it true, Jacki-O?  Is Fit Pregnancy Magazine, really “unable” to pay for photographs at this point?    Because the last time I checked, your rag was chock full of professionally composed and lit photographs.  You even had a photograph on the cover!   So now that  you know that I know that Fit Pregnancy  uses real-life professional  photographs, do you still want to stick with “unable”?   Maybe another word would work better.  Let’s see, “UNWILLING” seems to fit!  You’re a writer first, Jack-jack.  I checked your Linkedin account.  You know more than I, that words matter.  So let’s be clear.  Fit Pregnancy magazine is UNWILLING TO PAY for photographs at this point.

It’s probably a fluff piece.  I get it. Something to bulk up the issue without costing you any extra money.  And there’s the pickle, ey Jax?  So you composed this very complimentary email to me and at least one other photographer I know.  How many more did you send it to?  My bet is quite a few.   I can only imagine how the morning editors meeting went.  Here’s the dilemma:  How can we avoid paying the costs of doing business?  And then…..   BAM!  Someone came up with the perfect plan!  let’s compose an email that goes something like this…..

And so, Jay Jay,  you wrote to me:  “we need hi-res, professional shots, we’ve decided the best way to round up some photos would be to go through the photogs themselves.”

Allow me to do my best to translate your email, Jo Jo.  Just my take here:  “I am the assistant editor to a very large and famous magazine.  I know, I know.  I’ll pause so you can take a deep breath and pinch yourself.   [pause pause pause pause pause pause]  Ok, now, we need to bulk up our issues with some fluff pieces and we need beautiful, high resolution, professional photographs.  We, however,  don’t want to pay for them.  You understand.  If we were to act professionally and go through a stock agency or a real commercial or editorial photographer, we would have to pay real money.  We don’t like paying real money.  So we thought a good use of our time would be to troll smaller scale portrait photographers, like you.  Photographers without experience in our industry.  Photographers without representation. We figure that if we copy and paste this message to enough photographers like you, someone will bite. Someone will be impressed with our very big, fancy and famous name.   Really, all we need are just a few talented suckers (hopefully you) who will  be flattered and star-struck enough to give us their work for free.  This could be you!”  (Oh goody).

Just so you know,  Jeranimo,  I don’t have any dreams of grandeur here.   Strategies like yours aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  A sucker is born everyday.  Still, I don’t like apathy, Jaycee.   It’s a quality I loathe most in a person.  Either you are part of a solution, or you are part of the problem.  You, my dear are part of a problem.  Congratulations.  You made me an offer of zero dollars for my work.  For my art.   You and your company attempted to use your power and fancy name to take advantage of me.  Do you  know what this officially makes you?  It makes you a step below WalMart.  WalMart at least offers minimum wage or poverty wages overseas.  You are offering absolutely zero.  And the photographers who take you up on this offer?    You are taking advantage of them.  This is within  your right, I suppose, but it doesn’t make you any less of a jacka__….nevermind.

Congratulations to you.  Job well done.

Sincerely,
Trish Reda

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Dear other “photog” whom Jacqueline contacted and is excited about her offer,

I won’t take up too much of your time.  You are most likely a very small business, possibly a one woman/man show like me.   You have a lot of work to do.  It is highly possible that you do the shooting, editing, ordering, re-touching, marketing, bookeeping, and general secretarial work all while furthering your education so that you remain relevant and cutting edge.    You have to make sure you’re always working enough to make enough money to support your family, plus pay for your insurance, office expenses, marketing costs, lab fees, online subscription fees, equipment, and so much more.   You have a crap ton on your mind.  I get it.

So real quick.  If Fit Pregnancy or any other major publication wants to use your photographs in any way, this means you are good enough to be paid for your work.  That is a pretty awesome accomplishment.  You’re rad.  Tell everyone.   I mean it.  TELL EVERYONE!  If you read above, you know that media outlets such as Fit Pregnancy are not hard up for cash.  Paying for the photographs they use in their issues  is simply part of their cost of doing business.  If they are unwilling to pay you, be skeptical.  Don’t fall for the flattery of a very fancy assistant editor lady.  It is highly likely that every other contributor in that magazine is paid along with a receiving their name in the credits.  This is standard practice.

Now, if you are trying to build your business, and you need exposure, I can pretty much promise you that nobody reading Fit Pregnancy or any other major magazine is going to say, “wow, awesome photograph.  I wonder who took it?  Maybe I should look up their website!  Oh, her website is so cool, I think I’ll call and book a session!”.    I am speaking from experience here.  This is not a good avenue for growing your business.  No matter how cool it sounds.

You want to build your business and you’re itching to give your work away?  Share it with a local kids  boutique.  Let them use your images with credit and a link in their newsletter.  Let them use it on FB with a plug back.  Build relationships with local businesses who truly like your work and you like theirs.  Refer to each other.  Save the free work for local non profits who truly need your expertise.  Be sincere.  Be generous with your time and talent.  But be generous to the people and organizations who truly need and deserve you.  Not some corporation who is trying to shave a little off of their bottom line.

When a company  like this comes at you with flattery and then asks for you to hand over your beautiful art for free, resist the urge.  It’s tempting, but resist.  For one thing, you are totally worth more.  You truly are.  But you know what?  So am I and so is the next up and coming photographer.  They will never buy our cows, if we keep giving away our awesome,  organic, raw grass-fed milk for free.

You are incredible and talented and an important part of this industry.  Don’t ever take anything less than what you are worth.  It annoys me when you do that.

Thanks for your time. Rock on.
~Trish Reda

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear photographers, writers, illustrators, musicians and all of the other artists that Corporate America is quietly trying to screw over,

Many of us are solitary by nature, but I think it’s important that we’re not alone.  Let’s have each other’s backs, shall we?  I am going to continue to edit this area and add links to stories related to this topic.  The more we out these corporations and people, the better off we all will be.

Peace out
~Trish

Required Reading

*Whitey’s angry letter to Betty TV
*A fun little rant by Harlan Ellison
*How Esty designers are being ripped off by a giant and unoriginal corporation
*Artifact
*No marketing budget for bloggers.
*Slaves of  the Internet Unite.
*
 Grab a cup of coffee and learn.  Mike Monteiro.  Bravo, dude!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • a follow up. - […] am stunned that my letter to Jacqueline made the rounds it did.  I am a small, local portrait photographer in Los Angeles.  I normally […]ReplyCancel

  • Anette Mos - Hi Trish,

    so brilliant written and you hit all nails, and there are many, straight on their heads.
    Fantastic. I do have those free image request as well, even writing photoshop tutorials and much more. The best I got so far was, to write an adventure story of my self-drive trip in Africa for a commercial company. Make as much as possible commercial for a tour/safari company, their client (even got sent an example how to write). Find newspapers, magazines…etc. MYSELF to publish my so called “commercial story”! On top I “must” get at least 3 pages for the adventure story/ commercial stuff in the media!
    Looks like a new theme/possibility for commercial companies to find some “free” easy targets, save the $$$$$ and charge the client biiiiiig $$$$$.

    I refused, since my payment was 0.- $$$$$, Euro, GBP, CHF…

    You wrote it so great

    Thanks so much for this

    Ciao
    AnetteReplyCancel

  • Asher Almonacy - Thank you for sharing your experience! No free photography in 2014!ReplyCancel

  • Alan Ottenstein - My car needed to be fixed yesterday and the shop actually wanted me to pay for it. I told them that if they fixed my car for free I would tell all my friends, and it would really help their business in the long run. I can’t believe they told me they would not do the work if I wouldn’t pay for it. Who do they think they are ?ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - brilliant! I just can’t get enough of this thread. I could spend all day but alas I have to edit images and design albums today. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked to do things for free by commercial entities. i have even been asked to work for
    $1.99 ( many years ago) which i was told is the equivalent fee for stock images or some crap and STILL never received payment from that “job”
    No more. I never work for free and life is much better and I make more and I don’t work for people/companies who cannot afford me. I don’t work as much as some photog but when I do I am compensated fairly and so life is good .Getting paid what I am worth allows me to have a life. I can spend time with family. Isn’t that why we work? I don’t think that is asking too much of our “entertainment” business world.
    My Motto: Pay fair rates for others services and be paid fairly for your services.ReplyCancel

  • Kevin Westenbarger - This post is great. If photographers keep giving them images for free for that page, why would they ever start paying? If no photographers had ever, in the history of the world, given away a free photo, then nobody would ever ask for a free photo. I bet nobody EVER calls Wallmart and asks them for a free camera.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Schaaf - Hmmm, I just listened to Lindsey Adler talk about commercial work and she said she doesn’t get paid for editorial…so I was under the impression that is industry standard and while no one will read a byline, you can bet your bottom dollar your clients would be impressed when you post all over your blog and website “As Seen in Fit Magazine.” I do think that has some marketing value too. So yeah, no one would ask, but I would most certainly do it!!ReplyCancel

  • Michael Corbin - Trish is so right. End of story.ReplyCancel

  • Lamb Taylor - Let’s face it. Free photos from any source that are published in the media mean that photographers will have an even more difficult time to make a living. It’s up to us to make sure that more inexperienced photographers realize that giving away photos to publications such as this one is of no long term benefit for anyone but the publisher. As people have already said there are other ways to get exposure.ReplyCancel

  • a follow up. - […] am stunned that my letter to Jacqueline made the rounds it did. I am so appreciative of the comments, tweets, emails, and the stories you […]ReplyCancel

  • Aaron Lynch - Um, The only fault I can find with your letter(s) is that you actually give Wal-Mart too much credit. In Mexico Baggers work for tips. Wal mart does however have the good grace to put up a big sign that tells people that is the case and tries to shame customers into paying their baggers’ wages

    So I mean if they gave you a byline explaining that they were too cheap to pay you but that the reader should send you a quarter if they enjoyed your work: THEN they would be equal to Wal martReplyCancel

  • Editor - I completely agree that you and all other artists deserve to AND should be compensated for your work. Period. But the public shaming of this poor editor, so not cool. Assistant editor is practically an entry-level position. She had no authority to pay you or ask the powers that be to make this one exception just for you. Also, sooo many editors have started out as UNPAID interns, myself included. We worked for credit, we worked for the experience and, yes, worked for that precious byline.ReplyCancel

  • Richard Harrington - Enjoyed your article and feel the same. Care to contribute a post on this to our site? I think your opinions are well formed and I can relate.ReplyCancel

  • Bill - Hey “you’rerudeandcreepy” (or should I say Jacqueline) – NOTHING you say in your post is true or “industry standard.” I’m sorry you are so offended by Trish bringing the truth to light.

    1 – I’ve been shooting for 30 years and doing steady editorial jobs for 10+ and I always get paid. In fact I rarely have to negotiate because their going rates are usually fair (based on circulation and page space/quantity).

    2 – Sales I’ve made in countries other than the US have generally paid more than here and payment is usually faster as well. I’ve made my biggest sales in Australia, Sweden and New Zealand. Way to go USA. leading the race to the bottom.

    3 – Many publishers have fair contracts that don’t abuse the rights of their content providers, imagine that!

    4- Many of my publisher clients actually pay me again every time a new edition of a book is published, and I don’t even have to bother them about it, imagine that!

    People – photography is more valuable and important to these publications than ever, don’t be conned by these charlatans who say it isn’t!

    PS – Trish, your photos are beautiful and unique, bravo.ReplyCancel

  • Lee Hawkins - Thank you for sticking up for yourself and educating photographers who don’t know better. Everyone expects to pay a lawyer for legal advice, it’s totally unprofessional to expect a photographer to license their work for a profitable mass media company for next to nothing in return.ReplyCancel

  • you'rerudeandcreepy - Your vicious attack on Jacqueline is a lunatic, horribly self- centered and unprofessional response to what is standard practice in editorial. If you were really an accomplished photographer you would know this already. Your overblown response just speaks to your inexperience and deluded sense of the relationship between photographers and editors. There are lots of reasons why you might consider sharing a photo for credit only: Mainly, to establish a relationship with a major media company who might be in a position to book you for a paid shoot in the future and/or recommend you to colleagues. It’s a résumé item. It’s a feather in your cap. Future clients may be impressed with this credential an decide to hire you because of it! A competitor magazine might see the credit and book you for a shoot! Your horrible rant should have been addressed to the editor in chief or the owner of AMI (again, another testament to your utter cluelessness, cowardice and ugly, bitter attitude (and you shoot children?!!!) Do you think Jacqueline is any position to create or change policies? Why would you launch such a personal attack on someone who is just doing her job? I was a magazine and website editor for more than a decade, and really, don’t flatter yourself: that email and its contents would never ever come up in an editorial meeting because it is standard practice! No strategizing or scheming necessary because this is how magazines are made.
    You are a shortsighted, unsophisticated industry outsider and I think it’s going to stay that way. If I were Jacqueline’s boss I would recommend that she get a restraining order against you. You will get other requests like this. Next time try handling it with some grace and humility and politely decline.ReplyCancel

    • Trish Reda - Hi Amy… I mean “you’rerudeandcreepy”, thank you for contributing to the discussion. I appreciate your comment. I didn’t allow your other comment through because it was a copied and pasted version of your last. Your points are taken. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Bill - Thanks for this Trish, kudos to you! I think the best way to deal with these people (besides ignoring them) is to just pretend you didn’t read the email correctly and immediately ask about budget. Or give them a price based on their circulation and page space (yes, you look this up). Of course I find the negative comments above from amateur photographers kissing corporate ass hilarious! “You have to be nice” “the corporations don’t have the budgets” OMG, I hope you all enjoy cashing your unemployment checks. I’ve been in this business a long time and I make more money than ever from editorial work. Yes, I get paid real money, often quite a lot for editorial work. Even the tiny local magazines that are given out free at the grocery store and community center find the money to pay. Please anyone reading this – if you want to sell the usage of your photos join an org like ASMP.org or http://www.editorialphoto.com and learn how to do it right, giving it away is corporate welfare. Other business people will respect you more if you demand compensation for your work, otherwise they are just rolling you and laughing all the way to the bank (theirs). Excuse me while I go deposit a check from a publisher that just arrived in the mail……ReplyCancel

  • Ariel - I find it insulting that such a large publication would ask you for photos without paying. I have worked for two small local publications that give their magazines away for FREE and I always get paid as well as getting my name in the magazine…if a very small local company can afford to pay a photographer, surely these companies that SELL over 500,000 copies of their publication can afford to pay a minimal fee for a photographers hard work and “beautiful photographs”.
    On the other side of this, I feel like putting the assistant editor on blast is kiiinda unprofessional as well. While I read and laughed at it…I feel like getting the word out to other photographers could have been done in a more professional manner. I do agree that whoever accepted this “deal” was in desperate need of being informed because they do muck it up for the rest of us that know better, I just feel like it could have been handled differently.ReplyCancel

  • jm - While a bean counter in a suit might be the one responsible, it was unprofessional for Jennifer to include the “other photographers are excited for the credit” part. Clearly she’s experienced such resistance.

    In the context of a print publication that claims they’re “unable” to pay for content, note Shutterstock’s Enhanced License plans: http://www.shutterstock.com/subscribe.mhtml?enhanced=1
    This might not reflect the author’s rates, but AMI could just as easily use stock photography.

    It’s very interesting that some people here are defending the magazine’s hardship claims. AMI is based in NYC. Let’s say you consider even a low end salary of an on-site creative in this environment; net take-home daily pay would be between $300-400/day (associate-mid level). Gross pay is obviously more, and on a typical rate card when a client is billed, the agency will charge about $125-150 per hour for this position. Are they really claiming they can’t afford between $200-450 for a PRINT article’s visual creative content? Their salaried creatives would already be putting in enough time in that a licensing fee would be insignificant in comparison.

    I’ve worked in print and web content, as well as in advertising. Budgets are bloated by executive account managers, creative directors’ excessive travel, inefficient management, etc. Trust me, there’s enough in Fit Pregnancy’s budget to pay for original photography. They’re just trying to get away with not doing so, and those of you eager to jump at the chance for “credit” are doing so at your own loss.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Jacqueline has only worked for the magazine since August 2013. Plus she just earned her editing certificate in 2010 – three almost four years ago. As such, she might not be the person has control over whether images are paid or not.

    Here is the link to her background.

    (deleted for privacy)

    Before you go on a rampage demanding payment for photos, find out first if the person has the capacity to make those decisions. Did you ask her if that was within her job scope? Did you ask who had the authority to make those decisions? No.

    Just because she doesn’t automatically cave to your wild demands warrants this horrible posting about her? Really?

    Then there is the issue of admonishing others who wish to use the opportunity for exposure and are not asking payment. There is nothing wrong with earning a reputation for work and cultivating an interest before demanding payment. Otherwise, every person who received a compliment on a photo they took would classify themselves as a professional photographer. If a smaller business wants to relinquish rights to some photos for exchange of publicity, that helps the business. Not hurts them. I cannot believe that someone touting so much business experience does not know this simple fact.

    Your behavior makes you look extremely unprofessional. If you wish to be taken seriously as a professional photographer, then act it.

    Send a letter of apology before your “name” is trashed throughout the photography industry.ReplyCancel

  • Daniel - Right on!ReplyCancel

  • Damali Conceptuals - I am sorry, while I agree with everything you are saying as far as a technical scope today? (Nobody can refute what you are saying and I am not.) I think it shows more the lack of vision you possess for understanding just what it takes to become a highly successful artist for tomorrow. You got on your emotionally filled and passionate soapbox without any regard for what this could do to your brand.

    I’m a professional photographer as well. However, I started off in the music industry. I was also a professional spoken word poetry performer who toured all over the country. I am not very successful at photography yet, but I am following the same blueprint that did make me a lot of money in the music business and even poetry. The main thing and most important two things about attaining success is networking (and building positive relationships) and sacrifice. Your email back to Jacqueline will not lead to a positive networking relationship and your unwillingness to sacrifice will hurt you as well.

    Poetry is very obscure and most people would probably think you could never make any decent money doing it, but they would be wrong. When I first started doing poetry I performed at every open mic and coffee house I could. I performed on street corners, beauty salons, anywhere I could, for free. I met people, I created a brand, and I moved people with my talents. Even when I was making $4,000-5,000 a show for poetry, I performed for free, everywhere I could.

    Did a lot of these clubs make good money off of me without compensation? Absolutely! Did I ever focus on what I was losing instead of what I was gaining? Absolutely not; because running a business is exactly like gambling and professionals do not focus on how much they are losing or what they lost, they focus on what they are gaining.

    With all due respect, if I was Jacqueline, I would never work with you. If another editor from within that magazine or any other magazine who is a part of AMI brought your name up? I would recommend them not to work with you because you are “difficult” or could be “trouble”. You probably just branded yourself as a troublemaker and there are millions of photographers out here in this world, so why bother with you?

    Too many “artists” are focused on their short term wants verses their long term needs. Too many “artists” are focused on their personal feelings instead of handling business. Too many “artists” are more concerned with a few dollars today, instead of developing their brand for the long run revenue generation of tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - I love you. Just saw this shared by a photog on Facebook. WAy go to. Bravo! Love it!!! As a freelance writer, I hear it too, and have a the same reaction and response.ReplyCancel

  • Steve at ProPhoto Tech Support - A test comment on your latest post.ReplyCancel

  • Meg - Not to be the naysayer or anything, but just because your specific publication (or company) is part of a larger entity does NOT mean you have the same sort of budget. That is simply NOT the case. Creative departments have been cut around the nation and those staffing them are forced to seek any means necessary; if she had a reasonable budget, she would have simply hired a model. My company is owned by a MASSIVE company, and we ourselves are owned by a subsidiary of that company – which is equally massive – yet we have an abysmal budget for many things we need – like videos and photos.

    Just wanted to put some perspective on it, from the perspective of “Jacqueline”.
    MegReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Serious kudos on this! A friend of mine posted your blog on Facebook cheering you for this – and I immediately had to share the story because I share your sentiments. Yes, I would initially be star struck, but my day job is to be a marketing professional, and this kind of behavior from corporate giants makes me want to headdesk. All. The. Time. I’m glad that more artists are speaking out about this.ReplyCancel

  • Xana - This is pure awesomeness. So honest and genuinely wanting to make the industry a better place for everyone. I’m a new Grad from Communication studies and I’m always thinking working for free will get my work recognized. But after reading this I have so much more confidence in my work. Thank you so much.ReplyCancel

  • Everardo Keeme Photography - LOVE IT! Sadly while it may not change much it’s not because of the editors or publishers faults (ok well partially) but rather “professional artists” who don’t value their own work, time, blood, sweat, tears and instead would rather be a starving artist and give away their work, all for what… a photo credit? Bahaha I enjoyed this post a lot and am happy to share 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Mo - Fabulous piece, well said!ReplyCancel

  • Christina - GOOD FOR YOU! I love that you are getting tons of support by people posting on Fit Pregnancy’s FB wall!

    I just had Shari’s Berries contact me with a similar ploy, “we want you to do a specific post with x,y and z requirements” oh and lucky me, Shari’s Berries people will choose a few fortunate bloggers who will have their posts “shared on social media”!! OMG! That’s totally going to help me pay the extra ins. premiums this month due to them increasing by 225% due to obamacare kicking in! Thank you SO MUCH, Shari’s Berries! Awesome offer. NOT.

    Hope you get some great paying gigs from this “slap in the face” from Fit Pregnancy! Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Bilodeau - This is a great response to an all to familiar problem. I applaude you on standing your ground and filling everyone one in on the cheap trick they are trying to play. It’s people like you that make this industry what it is. Well Done!ReplyCancel

  • hurley - ive never been prompted to respond to a blog before.. until now.
    YOU ROCK!
    you are my hero this week,maybe even this month…
    this is why i turn down more jobs than i take..this attitude of we are doing you a HUGE favor by taking advantage of you..
    and what i do (media consultant) isn’t a creative occupation in the least compared to what u do to make a living, which i wish more people would respect, and step up, and write a check.
    cheers..
    HURLEYReplyCancel

  • Catherine Karnow - Trish,

    I posted and shared on FB this exchange. I am boiling mad too for you, for all of us. The language this Jacqueline uses is just…my face is turning red as I write. She wants to “reach out.” Oh how damn touchey feeley. She is doing you such a huge favour, Trish! The whole photo community (whatever that means) needs to see this. This is all too common and this is in some ways just another banal occurrence, banal only because it is so every day, but you know, it it like everything else. One day, a black woman says I am not sitting in the back of the bus anymore. I want your posting to “go viral.” And this business about, everyone else is so excited to get a credit. WTF?
    Anyway, good for you, for posting the whole exchange and “outing” them. They are fools. GRRRRRRRRRRR!ReplyCancel

  • Christopher Cudworth - Good post. I may reblog to one of my blogs. With credit, of course.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - Thank you so much for calling them out. They are making a profit selling their magazines yet don’t want to pay anyone for their content anymore… So sad.ReplyCancel

  • Brian Mays - I forgot to add a resource I recommend. http://www.nospec.com. It deals with this very thing.ReplyCancel

  • Brian Mays - This is great advice for creatives of any field. I love Harlan Ellison’s salty response.

    If there is one other thing I would add to what you’ve posted it would be this: Creatives, beware of potential clients offering you a promise of more work if it’s available. This is another form of flattery, and a little bit of a scare tactic too. If you invest time in these and they don’t pan out you’ve missed the opportunities out there with people who already value your work.ReplyCancel

  • gwendolyn alley - Thank you for calling attention to this practice. As a writer, and as a poet, I feel your pain.ReplyCancel

  • Brian Molyneaux - You are brilliant. That is all. Thanks.

    BrianReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline Haessly - Great collection of posts.
    Great analysis, too.

    I still remember when a wise woman encouraged me to add a few words to my conversations with people interested in offering one or more of my workshops on Peacemaking.
    She taught me to say “And my fee is_____!”

    I like the comment by Arlo Guthrie, too.

    When asked to sing for free for an up-coming conference, he said, “My fee is ____!” To which the concert sponsors replied, “But it is for a good cause!”, to which Arlo replied, “I do not sing for bad causes, and my fee is _____!”

    Important to value ones own work.

    Peace, JackieReplyCancel

  • Jacques - Good for you Trish. To many photographers give away their work for free. This is damaging for our industry because there are really good photographers that give their work away and then these publishers expect from everyone. One way or another they will get a good photo and not pay for it. Then these guys ask why cant they make it and thinking the credit will open doors but as you said, it does little. Nobody look who is the photographer.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Hi Trish,

    I’m sure you’ve been deluged with messages about this, but I just wanted to add mine to the pile and say great post. I wrote a post about the same issue on my blog a few months ago but it’s nowhere near as witty as yours: http://2summers.net/2013/10/31/my-photos-arent-free/

    This issue is so infuriating and frustrating, but hopefully if people like us keep talking about it, other people will start to listen.

    Well done and good luck,
    HeatherReplyCancel

  • Chris Jensen - What she said…ReplyCancel

  • Sheila Smart - Nice one, Trish. I get so sick and tired of large corporations crying poor and unwilling to pay for their content. Even more extraordinary is that many are willing to risk an action for copyright infringement by stealing my work and publishing on their various media outlets rather than negotiate a reasonable license fee thinking that they will never be found out by photographers but now we have the Google Search by Image function and they soon discover that they WILL be found out and then have to pay ten times what they would have paid for a legitimate license. Its all down to greed and I despair of them.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Hawes - Boom!
    Love it!
    Everything you said is correct.
    The language used, “…at this point” implies that they might pay in the future?
    bwahah…just funnin’…that’s not their intention.ReplyCancel

  • Wilfredo Y. Garcia - Nangyayari nga po ito!ReplyCancel

  • Jules - This is awesome Trish. Thank you for not being a part of the problem and thank you for speaking out. You are totally right and it is hard to resist at times, particularly when you are still trying to find your break like me. I work mainly as a commercial photographic assistant and I am still building my book and trying to get my name out there. I count myself lucky to have had mentors around me who have helped me to understand the value in what I do. I have learned that one must support the industry by not undercutting it. And giving in to unpaid “exposure” is undercutting. But at the same time, it is damn, damn hard. My own work is in fashion and beauty and I am hungry for exposure. I am fairly new and I have no reputation to leverage with, even though I know my work is good. I have to hustle incredibly hard and at this stage, fancy editor ladies know they are more important to me than I am to them and they will try their best to take advantage of it. It’s dirty. It sucks. And it is rife. The photographic content of one of the highest grossing local fashion publications here is made up of about 10% submission, 80% “commissioned but not paid” work and only the remaining 10% would be commissioned and paid. This is no secret either… most industry people know it, yet they are still never short of contributors. It makes me sick when I see the owner driving around in his ferrari and when I see photos of all the lavish parties he attends on social media. Anyway… I can feel myself on a rant now so better cap it here. Thanks again for speaking out, and thanks for having my back.

    Cheers,
    JulesReplyCancel

  • John Moore - While I have never had this happen to static imagery or work that I have done, I spent a couple of years trying to see if making “Independent Films” was something I wanted to do… needless to say, the exact situation you are describing is rampant in the “independent film” industry, and now- the dependent film industry. So much talent out there is being used to work on projects for NO compensation but the hope that someday they’ll be paid for the sweat/blood/tears they go through. I’m sick of seeing art given away because the people with the money don’t want to pay for it any longer… stop giving away your work!

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Pedro Alicea - Yep, a quick lookup shows that she has been an associate editor for only about 6 months. Prior to that, she was a freelance writer for over 6 years. I would be interested to know how many “Free” pieces she wrote over that time.ReplyCancel

  • Jayne Townsley - Do they think bloggers don’t communicate with one another?ReplyCancel

  • lucian - He, he, he…no idea why yo get so upset, is general practice, I get 100-130 of that emails a year, everybody try their luck 🙂
    I remember few years back National Geographic bought one of my photos and the put it front cover…I was so happy…until the moment when I look in the sales…they pay $10.00 for it…well that was really something…..at least they pay 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Roopa Ravi - Trish,

    I am so happy that you had it in you to stand up to these corporations. I am equally fed up giving freebies away to promote my website. People take stuff for fee and never come back. Maybe it is just me. I almost end up buying half of the products i eat free samples off at Costco. I do not believe in free lunches anyway. Keep up your good work and best of luck in all your future endeavors.ReplyCancel

  • Edward Kotovski - Perfectly said! Thank youReplyCancel

  • x - Thanks for outing them. More of this needs to take place. People think we are in it for nothing and will source our income from somewhere else, but, heaven forbid, we insult them by asking for payment! They then pretend you are in the wrong and unprofessional when asking for compensation. However, those who won’t pay for material are only as professional as much as they’re willing to pay for professionalism of collaborators.

    I constantly deal with this in music, where musicians constantly complain about illegal downloading, but are parasites on those who work for free, demanding and expecting excessive amounts of free work beyond good will. Then their excuse is that there are others willing to work for free if you don’t want to. Then the best part is when they open their emails with such lines as “you’re the man with the FILTERS”. Accuse them of using something akin to ready-made filters when recording their music and these “artists” are up in arms, waiting to blacklist you.

    It turns out that these bands, particularly in rock and metal in Europe, THRIVE on stiffing and not paying anyone and only getting free services, which shows in how professional they are.

    Or aren’t, as the case truly is.ReplyCancel

  • Winter - Absolutely, 100% LOVE this post! Thank you so much for saying what all of us are thinking whether we are photogs or lowly mom bloggers our time is valuable. It really ticks me off that these people try to swindle moms they want to feed off and sell their magazines to.ReplyCancel

  • Paris - Your post “so this just happened” reminded me of this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/sunday/slaves-of-the-internet-unite.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0ReplyCancel

  • Monique - This statement – Fit Pregnancy magazine is UNWILLING TO PAY for photographs at this point – nailed it on the head.

    I am glad you stood your ground and hopefully others will learn from this and think twice before just giving their hard work to someone for free… especially when that someone is a magazine that has subscribers that PAY to read their stuff.ReplyCancel

  • Evangeline - Kudos to you and for sticking it to them! Here’s another photographer who stood his ground and said “NO” some of these cheapos….

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2013/10/your-real-estate-agent-would-like-some.htmlReplyCancel

  • Paul Conrad - Very, very well written Trish.

    The “Give us your work for free so we can make money” attitude of publishers needs to change.

    I’ve been in the publishing industry for almost 20 years working for newspapers full time and freelancing for magazines. I have see the decline in how and what a publisher, both newspaper and magazine, will pay for images.

    As late at 2008, newspapers I worked with paid $250 per image and were very selective. Now, they want “reader contributions” of breaking news events. Hey, why not. People are gullible and will give them free stuff.

    I’ve also seen magazines such as Aspen Sojourner go from $500/day assignments with additional income of published images to paying for piecework only. And those went from $2500 for a cover to less than $500. And they are a very profitable magazine.

    The industry trend is get as much as you can while paying as little as you can.

    We just need to stand together and keep pushing for the prices we’d like to get paid for our work.

    Thanks and Happy New Year.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Young - Thank you! I hope this gets shared everywhere!ReplyCancel

  • K.Lee Banks - Thank you for a very well articulated response to a common rip-off scheme perpetuated by companies and clients who are certainly ABLE to pay freelance contractors for their work…but as you revealed so succinctly, are UNWILLING to do so!

    The additional sad part of this is that there are some freelancers who WILL accept these kinds of offers, for no pay or low pay, which only continues to perpetuate the problem!ReplyCancel

  • Lennie Appelquist - That was simply one of the best things ever. I thought I could bit hard… WOW!

    Rock on Trish!ReplyCancel

  • Johanna - Bravo! Made me angry and then made me cry. I hope you continue to pursue not only your beautiful photography, but your incredible writing as well. Don’t even know you and I’m so proud of you!ReplyCancel

  • Zil - Hi

    thanks for a golly good read, 100% behind you on this.

    I trust you don’t object but I copied a link to my local photographic club.

    best regards
    Zil

    South AfricaReplyCancel

  • Mind's Eye Photography - I propose that we flood their subscription lines with requests for subscriptions that we are unable to pay money for at this time!!ReplyCancel

  • Emil H. Bosch - Dear Trish

    I am hugely impressed by your correspondence to the above parties!

    WELL DONE!

    As so many others, I’ve experienced exactly what you wrote about. It left me loathing the callousness of the media. It is very often the highly creative individual who (initially) lacks business acumen and / or insight into streetwise individuals.

    I look forward to more of your writings!

    Kind regards
    EmilReplyCancel

  • Riaan Roux - It truly disgusts me how good photography has been devalued. Just because almost every device out there today is capable of capturing images it does not mean that professional photographers work has become worthless. In my opinion the professional (and very good) photographer should be paid more because they have to produce much better work than was required for the market just 10 years ago.
    If you want to use my work in any publication you will need to pay good hard cash for it…and it is not cheap as I work hard to produce the quality required by my clients. “Credit” means nothing to me as I cannot eat it, it does not pay for anything and no-one even sees it.ReplyCancel

  • Gary - According to their media kit (http://www.americanmediainc.com/sites/americanmediainc.com/files/_Fit%20Pregnancy%20Media%20Kit%202014.pdf)
    they charge from $22,595 to $65,170 for inside advertising. But I’m sure they’ll waive the cost if you say you’re ‘unable to pay for advertising.’ReplyCancel

  • Rob - Hey Trish,

    I noticed that sweet 60’s Mustang on your home page. I was hoping you would let me use it for a large advertising campaign. I will not pay you for using it but you will get to see it in a magazine and show all your friends.

    ohh….and can you make sure the tank is full of gas and give it a good wash and polish before I pick it up.

    Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Mariana - Hi Trish,
    Thanks for posting this. As a photographer, I am exhausted by these well funded leeches as well. Creatives stay united and don’t give away your work!ReplyCancel

  • Kirk Nelson - Trish,

    I just read your blog post entitled “so this just happened…” and your comments resonate with truth and courage. I’m a professional graphic designer and illustrator working in the industry for about 15 years now. My work has been published over 200 times, and I’ve always received payment for it (with a handful of rare exceptions)

    But even with my experience and resume, I get approached about providing content without pay. It’s really odd how people tend to think that a trade that could qualify as a “hobby” isn’t something you should be paid to do. Even if we went to school, received a degree, and spent decades building up skills and business networks… it looks like fun, therefore you shouldn’t expect to get money for it!

    I hate seeing young artists get exploited and blinded by false hopes. In the design industry this has even led to a more concerning trend of crowd sourcing. Sites like 99designs.com offer design jobs in the terms of a contest… and only the winner gets payment. So even if 100 designers offer top level professional quality work, only one receives actual compensation. How terrible is that? Can you imagine that business model working in any other industry? “OK, why don’t 10 lawn care businesses all come cut my lawn, and I’ll pick the one that does the best job and only pay them!” It’s sad and frustrating to watch so many artists fall pray to such scams.

    Keep fighting the good fight Trish! There’s other of us out there still holding the line!

    Kirk Nelson
    Your Friendly Neighborhood Graphics Geek!ReplyCancel

  • Barry Kooda - As a musician and photographer, I’m often told that “We can’t afford to pay you but there will be tons of exposure…”
    Exposure…People die from that.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - beautifully written words of wisdom.
    Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - Thank you so much for deciding to share and post this.ReplyCancel

  • melina b - wow, really well said. What I like most though, is you don’t just outline the problem, you offer a brilliant solution; of course local exposure is going to help a local portrait artist more than something in FitPregnancy. You rock.ReplyCancel

  • Photographer - Should focus on your craft instead of ranting. I mean, do you even know how to color balance or are you simply doing “artistic” black and whites because it’s much easier. You’re not even shooting film, but just converting digitals. Weak.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - I loooove how you handled that. We are a portrait photo team who constantly have people trying to use our images and not pay for them. Sadly the few who actually fall for this hurt the rest of us!
    I’m reporting this to our Facebook page.
    Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Lana Strraub - Hi Trish –

    Thanks for saying what I’ve had on my mind non-stop for years. Freelance doesn’t mean free, and as long as those of us in the creative profession keep working for nothing – we will get nothing. At least waiters get tips. I think writers and photographers should start sending these guys 1099s for all the “in kind” work that we are asked to do. Or in the very least ask for a donation slip so that it would help our finances in some manner at least. Thanks for your rant – I agree with you. We all need to unite and just say no to low or free wages – I think the quality of writing and photography everywhere would improve to boot. Life is not an internship afterall…we all gotta eat and shouldn’t have to take a second job to do it!

    Your sister in the fight for decent wages for freelancers,
    LanaReplyCancel

  • Jim - AMI doesn’t own Playboy.ReplyCancel

  • Erik - How do you know they wont use your pics in fit pregnancy anyways?ReplyCancel

  • rj hinkle - Here here! Cheers to you Trish, you’re my hero!ReplyCancel

  • EMILY - YES YES YES! THANK YOU! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Pascal Depuhl - Trish,

    Just wanted to say I totally agree with you – I mean it’s fine to ask for free work – but you’re smart enough to know that this is not the place where your clients come from. Kuddos on standing up for yourself (and for all of us).

    There are however times where it pays of in spades to work for free – check out my blog post on the American Society of Media Photographer’s blog called “Strictly Business” and let me know, if you think I’m crazy to suggest this: http://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2014/01/work-for-free/

    You can follow me on Twitter @photosbydepuhl. Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Maryon Park - Sad thing is her past is as a freelance writer.ReplyCancel

  • Liesl Diesel - Thank you for standing by some industry standards and having the balls to write about it. So many companies ask for free work these days it makes me crazy!ReplyCancel

  • Jenna Michele Photography - *Applause*
    Seriously, no more needs to be said.ReplyCancel

  • Marshall - Awesome stand Trish! Way to fight the good fight. Situations like this really piss me off, and many small market photographers or new to the biz people would jump all over the opportunity to hand over their work for free.
    -MReplyCancel

  • Mitch Wojnarowicz - Hi Trish,

    One super simple thing every creative can do (besides saying NO to this sort of BS) is Google the rate card to the magazine in question.

    Fit Pregnancy publishes 500,000 copies bi monthly.

    They claim 4.5 MILLION average web page views per month.

    They charge $65,170 for a full page advertisement.

    This title is owned by American Media Inc. Their third quarter 2013 revenue was $85,000,000

    They have money to pay designers, photographers, writers, illustrators, etc.

    They just don’t want to.

    This crap of “it will be really great exposure for you” is a manipluation that all publishers have found work on a portion of the creative community. SO they continue to use it.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Canido - You are amazingly awesome for doing this!!ReplyCancel

  • Kevin - While not a photog myself a friend of mine is and it is via his facebook that I read your response to Fit Pregnancy. With the rates they charge for advertising you would think indeed that they could afford to pay for pics.

    Print Display Rates
    EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014 ISSUE
    RATE BASE 500,000
    4-COLOR BLACK & WHITE COVERS
    Full Page $65,170 Full Page $52,145 Cover 2 $74,905
    2/3 Page $51,090 2/3 Page $41,075 Cover 3 $71,680
    1/2 Page $41,305 1/2 Page $33,245 Cover 4 $84,710
    1/3 Page $27,905 1/3 Page $22,595ReplyCancel

  • Matt - Nice job, Trish. We’ve all gotten our share of these emails, all from companies which rake in millions and millions of dollars. It may be the equivalent of spitting in the ocean but each time a photographer does what you just did–stand up to this bullshit–an angel gets his wings.ReplyCancel

  • Prathmesh - Hey, I am from India and I run a small magazine with me and my friends. This was a very interesting and inspiring thing you did there. Me and my friends can’t afford to pay for professional work, so we learned on our own and use whatever content we can originally generate…we really understand the struggle one goes to create artwork…it’s the same for us when someone takes a magazine copy from us for free…thanks for raising your voice…keep on the good work…ReplyCancel

  • Mark Umbrella - Excellent! Thanks for posting and sharing!
    CheersReplyCancel

  • Hal - I love how you came up with a new variation of her name in every use! Bravo!ReplyCancel

  • Alicia Gresham - MAYBE Jackaye did get her beautiful Photography from another source and MAYBE the individual was even flattered by the whole thing…PUTTING MORE THOUGHT INTO THINGS CAN OFTEN GIVE YOU A CLEARER PICTURE!!! Some may read this and THINK this was a good opportunity, but I DO NOT THINK SO, considering the source and upon reading the full story. Corporate America did try to push the “EMPTY” envelope on the small business owner once again. The beautiful artwork of said Photographer was to get a mere credit for her time, talent, ART, blood, sweat and YES, as they say–even tears? This was a wise woman. KNOW YOUR WORTH or no one will! It makes me wonder IF they get their talent in the same manner? Maybe they creep about Social Media sites in search of “attractive pregnant women?” This is what is fitting for their particular agenda and just maybe Talent Agents can’t provide enough FIT PREGNANT MODELS FOR PAY! 😉 Flattery could get some Moms-to-be to grace the pages of a few “fluff pieces” as she mentions in the article below, but Models are a dime a dozen and they ARE available. This story is ALMOST like the guise of the “Talent Agencies” or “Publishing Companies” that NEED money up front for classes or promoting or whatever gets the credit cards out. SURELY EVERYONE KNOWS BY NOW these are SCAMS! Models and Actors are submitting daily to reputable agencies and those that are signed DO NOT NEED money out of pocket, because they sign “marketable” individuals knowing their money will come on the back end in a customary percentage from the work they get said talent. Don’t live a fool’s paradise and for your sake, KNOW YOUR WORTH! If you read this, continue to the next article about Etsy and further feel the disgust. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and endearing sarcasm used by this Photographer in her reply to the Corporation that wanted HER PRICELESS ART! Though she certainly doesn’t need it, there are opportunities for writing that she could likely consider as well as Gorgeous Photographic Skills! 😉 Maybe Jacques has job availability writing “fluff pieces” you could do on the side. haha! Good job Trish, well said! I enjoyed sharing this SO well and loved the other articles mentioned at the bottom of your story! THANKS for sharing.

    ~ AliciaReplyCancel

  • guest - I feel that you shouldnt have published this rant.
    Just because that yes they might be cost-cutting but it is bad to shame on other people. Perhaps you feel offended yes, but she did answer you in a tone that wasn’t offending. Face the fact, that is life. Shame on you for writing this article.ReplyCancel

  • Marisa - Bravo! I’ve been sharing this one around and getting some great feedback – this is a message that people need to hear! As a writer, the risks are similar in my world. Thanks for raising your fabulous, feisty, brave voice.ReplyCancel

  • Mike - Hi, Trish,

    Here’s an article I wrote about what to do when publishers request freebies from photographers. You might want to add it to your links at the bottom of your “So This Just Happened” post about Fit Pregnancy magazine.

    http://naturography.com/when-publishers-request-freebies/

    Cheers,

    MikeReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Thanks for sharing this. You can’t stop so many that would give their work away for free so exposing the Magazine is about all you can do for the industry. 🙁ReplyCancel

  • Ken Ross - Dear Jacqueline, We are unable to pay our staff anymore… We will however give you a published magazine credit for working here 5 days a week, 40 hours as before…. Most of our staff has agreed to this…ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn Sebade - Simply Excellent response!!!ReplyCancel

  • John Slemp - Hey Trish!

    Well done! Nuke ’em till the glow!

    JohnReplyCancel

  • Rafick Khan - Wow, you just slayed her. Thank you so much for those words that speak for the millions of artists struggling to make it. As a filmmaker (still trying to get his first feature sold) I don’t mind working for free on projects in order to gain experience and build relations, but I truly hate when the powers-that-be think “just to be in my presence is compensation enough!” is a ‘reward’ for working with them.

    You rock!ReplyCancel

  • av - I don’t know you but damn do I love you! This is a great response. I deal with this shit everyday!

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Kitson - Absolute and total agreement with every word you said 100%. Good for you to stand behind your principles, you are right that we deserve payment and recognition for our work, and not to be screwed over by big media outlets who can easily afford payment, but love to get people to give them images for free for their 5 minutes of fame that will do nothing at all for them (except perhaps more approachs from others who also wan to screw them over.

    Linda from DownunderReplyCancel

  • mark - No surprise here, sounds pretty much like every rag on the news stand. Business as usual.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Holand - Hi Trish,
    Your writing skills are also magnificent! Awesome responses – thanks for sticking up for all of us!!!

    I received this email recently. They sell a 1 year license of your work for a whopping $3 of which you would get a whole $1.50!

    Hi Shannon!

    I am an artist scout for PicsaStock and I saw your images and wanted to let you know that I think your photography is stunning.

    PicsaStock is looking for photography like yours to help build worlds best authentic image platform. This awesome project will provide a place where you can earn 50% commission from each photograph downloaded, retain full copyrights and be able to sell your work elsewhere through a non-exclusive licence.

    I would love to send you a starter pack so we can get the ball rolling.

    Let me know if you are interested.

    Thanks for your time.
    All the best,
    Jenna

    Upload & sell photos here: https://www.picsastock.com/#/account/start

    web: http://www.picsastock.com

    Facebook: facebook.com/picsastock
    Instagram: instagram.com/picsastock

    Schlesische Strasse 26
    10997 Berlin, Germany
    mail: artists@picsastock.comReplyCancel

  • Jodee Pedersen - LOVE this! Thanks for saying it like it is Trish… You’re awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Vera Marie Badertscher - Awesome. That is just an awesome reply . So many times I wish as a free-lance writer, I had said that in response to such an insult.ReplyCancel

  • Kate S - Thank you so much for this. For posting it, but more for writing it, and calling that editor on this shit in the first place. As long as photographers are willing to offer work for free to large for-profit corporations there will always be someone else as an easy fall back on for publications to fill space with. Stop the insanity!!ReplyCancel

  • Nichol Krupp - So well said and we definitely need more professional photographers and artists alike to take a stand on this. The reality is that those photo credits really never do a darn bit of good for a business. Thank you for enlightening us all on your perspective of this and I truly could not agree more. ~NReplyCancel

  • Yvette Roman - Good On You, Trish. Thx from all of us who are running actual businesses, with actual bills to pay… 🙂 xxxReplyCancel

  • Rich C - Trish, I just read this today after a friend linked it on Facebook. Way to go! You are my hero of the day.

    I closed up my studio a little over a year ago after fighting the good fight against too many free photographers in my region. I still do commercial work for clients that value unique images that are specific to their businesses. And I regularly get the request for free work from for profit businesses.

    Keep up the good fight!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Wright - Way to go Trish! I had a Vancouver magazine contact me many years ago to shoot their cover. My compensation was a free add. I turned it down.ReplyCancel

  • Diana - OMG. that was awesome. So sick of corporations wanting photographs for free. And just about as sick as photographers giving them away. Every photographer needs to “just say no” when payment comes in credit or “exposure.”

    Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Alicia White - As a graphic designer and photographer, I am happy to spread the word. This is something I’ve been fighting for years and it has only gotten worse. Thanks to SPEC work and contests, our work is expected to be just handed over and appreciate the “exposure” compensation.

    We as artists MUST place VALUE on our work and stick to it. I understand beginning artists reveling in the offer, but if you want to be valued as a professional, you must be compensated like a professional. Otherwise, you will be doing free work just for fun.ReplyCancel

  • annon - Thanks for posting this. What a joke. I’m not buying that magazine again. They fill their magazine with ads. We purchase the magazine. They do not deserve to have free photographs from talented professionals because they are unwilling to pay. Says a great deal about the people who work for the magazine.

    So glad you posted this! A friend shared it on facebook. I hope many people will read it.ReplyCancel

  • Stuart F - Hi,
    I can understand your frustration at Jo Jo/Jaycee/Jax etc. It’s not nice that some businesses seem to think creative people should be grateful for just a byline. Bylines don’t pay the bills.

    But I think you might be being a little harsh on her.

    I’ve been an assistant editor at a publication and have been FORBIDDEN from paying people for pictures. I was told there was absolutely no need to pay people for pictures while we had a contract with the likes of Getty. There was no way round this – any attempt to put a photographer payment through our payment system would have been spotted and I would have got in trouble – as happened when on occasion I accidentally used a pic which we ended up getting charged for.

    So sometimes if there was a picture I wanted to use for a specific feature I had a choice – use a crap, unsuitable picture or write a crawling email to a photographer, dreading their response and cringing with embarrassment when they asked about money. Some grudgingly allowed me to use the picture. Others told me where to shove it. I didn’t blame them.

    All I’m saying is that it might not necessarily be in J’s power to pay people for pics (so she’s UNABLE to pay, while it’s her company and/or bosses who are UNWILLING to pay) and so she has to ask people to supply pics for free if she wants to fill her pages. Photographers are quite right to politely say no, but I don’t think it’s right to (partially) name and shame a low-level, probably-low-paid editorial dogsbody who’s working with an impossibly small budget. (I’m guessing all this. Maybe J’s a total asshole with a massive budget.)

    It’s the managers and money-men/women at these companies to blame for this state of affairs, because they are generally the ones who simply don’t value creativity and care only about profit margins.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. Except I don’t have two cents. Will a credit suffice?ReplyCancel

  • David G - First, this is an age-old problem that won’t go away because photographers everywhere will crawl all over each other at the thought of being published. Until we collectively say “NO”, it will continue to happen. The weak link in this chain is that someone new will think it’s “great exposure” and cave to the request just to see their own name in print.

    On another note, I didn’t find Trish’s reply amusing. Asst Editor Jacqueline was not rude in her request. She simply asked the photographer if she’d be willing to provide images in return for a credit. Trish’s blog response – while probably amusing to many – was equally as rude. “Jay-Jay, Jo-Jo, Jax, Jeranimo . . . ” Completely unnecessary.

    The girl was simply doing the job she was asked to do, which is procure images. The title of Asst Editor is pretty meaningless in the world of publications. It’s a “promotion” that was probably handed out in lieu of a pay raise, or a title that was applied to a position that didn’t carry a great salary in the first place to make it more attractive.

    Sure, as professionals we need to stick together and say “our work is for sale, not for free.” We all know that we can’t pay the mortgage with photo credits, or that all the “exposure” we will get might possibly amount to a phone call from a friend who said “hey, saw your name in XYZ Magazine. Congrats!”

    However, we also have to act as a professional to be respected as one. Name-calling – as cute as it sounds on your blog – isn’t going to help the cause.ReplyCancel

  • The Airstream Chronicles Continued › Another for profit magazine looking for free photography - […] Full Post from Trish Reda here, responding to an inquiry from Fit Pregnancy Magazine. […]ReplyCancel

  • トリーバーチ 通販 - so this just happened
    [url=http://www.carbsaweigh.com/]トリーバーチ 通販[/url]ReplyCancel

  • Cherie Keel - Rock on Trish! You are so right but it is hard when you are struggling. Keep up the fight! We are here fighting along with you!ReplyCancel

  • Jodie Otte - Thank you Trish, for sharing this. What a bunch of morons to do this kind of thing for free. They can’t just ruin the portrait/wedding industry, they also have to ruin the editorial/commercial industry as well. This is exactly why I am back in college forming my backup plan after 10 full-time years as a studio owner/photographer. The last commercial shoot I shot, the art buyer said, and I quote, “If you don’t lower your price, we can get any mom with a camera to do it.” What a slap in my face. I haven’t heard from them since.ReplyCancel

  • Jodie Fraser - Well said!!!ReplyCancel

  • Paul S. Robinson - Thank you for sharing your story and for saying no to a large print organization with very deep pockets. This problem goes very deep and wide. The fashion industry, model agencies and entertainment industries are guilty of this we can’t pay for your work epidemic. The average Joe public is willing and can
    pay so why can’t big corporations pay as well?ReplyCancel

  • Jen Parke - LOVE every single word of this! I had a similar experience recently and that magazine had the balls to ask me to pay them!!!! Thank you so much for writing this!ReplyCancel

  • Lynne Audsley - Very well said. I’m just beginning a photography business but I’m doing that because I believe in my art and i believe I can continue to improve. That’s worth something.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Love love love this. You are so right. If we can’t value our work enough to demand to be compensated for it, why should a big company, that can TOTALLY afford to value it, do so!! Love your sense of humor too!ReplyCancel

  • Krystal Marie - Wow! That was amazing, inspiring !!!! So happy you published this… Very, very informative !
    Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Marianne drenthe - Rather brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • Photographer, but I'd rather not say - I’d go so far as to say this is an appropriate response to non-profits as well.

    One of my first jobs post-college was licensing photos for a non-profit (a museum) and I was very good at securing these licenses for free. But I had a budget to pay the photographers who held out. The 10-20% of shooters who played hardball generally got paid their asking price. If more photographers held out, I would have likely been given a bigger budget. They were NOT going to go without great photos.

    We had a $1.5 million annual operating budget. And I once saw this organization drop $700 to last-minute cater COFFEE to a board meeting (more money than I made in a week).

    Non-profit is just a tax status.

    Yes, I’m going to photographer hell.ReplyCancel

  • haylie D - Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! It’s so easy to get swept up in the idea of advertising and publications wanting to showcase your work – feeling validated and wanted.. What we lose sight of is our own value. What our art is worth and what we are worth. This article is a great reminder, and from a one-woman-show photography business to another I thank you so much for posting it. Huge cyber hugs of thanks, Haylie @ haylie D photography xxReplyCancel

  • Adam - I don’t disagree that professional work deserves compensation that reflects its value. You did the right thing by refusing to devalue your work. That being said, publishing this email exchange online via your blog is just juvenile and unprofessional. You had the high ground but lost it. Sad. ABReplyCancel

  • julie - just a FYI most fitness mag do not pay their models. its so sad that these girls actually let me do it as well a lot like you say are just excited to be in the magazines, all othe remodels else where are paid so what make it different in the fitness world?? I would like to know they work so hard to keep their bodies beautifulReplyCancel

  • Larry Arnal - Sorry you have been faced with this situation. I too, like most of us, have been faced with similar situations of no or low pay for second rights use of our work. Like you, I’ve said no.

    Fortunately for me this is a rare circumstance and I haven’t needed to call anyone out on it other than to say “I’m sorry, I appreciate your request and offer but your terms and mine don’t seem to be lining up at this time so I have to respectfully decline. Should things change in the future, I am happy to revisit working together with you and your publication”. This approach has actually lead to a respectful working relationship with some of these publications where commissioned work or remuneration for second rights has been quite satisfactory. I find it always best to rope off the bridge rather than burn it, you never know when someone may want to cross it in the future.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany Josephs - Shit yeah lol rock on!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa O'Dwyer - Thank you so much for this!ReplyCancel

  • Tanya Love - This just made my day! Thank-you!ReplyCancel

  • Dave - Trish – you forgot to mention one tiny little point. I will bet you dollars against donuts that said assistant editor is not working for free, and would be quite put out if you even suggested that she should just work for a credit line.ReplyCancel

  • Lauri - Bravo Trish! This has happened to me too, and I should have spoken up publicly. I’ve turned down these “offers” and let the editors know exactly how I felt, but they deserved to be called out publicly as you have done here. One time it happened, the editor of the nationally-distributed Romantic Homes Magazine, wanted to feature a local business that always had me do all of their photography. So I was asked to do the photography in this national feature. But the magazine wanted to use both of us… my client’s talents at decorating, and my talents to photograph it and make people want to buy their magazine… both without compensation. The local business was so excited about it, and they were treasured clients of mine. I couldn’t bear to prevent them from getting the feature. So I shot the photos. And unfortunately, my client had to pay me for the work, when the party who profited from those photos gracing their magazine, got away without having to pay a dime for them. Their magazine absolutely WOULD NOT SELL without photos; it is the beautiful visuals that make people buy it, and drive their subscriptions which, in turn, drive their advertising revenue. Imagine how rich I’d be if I didn’t have to pay for the components that go into MY final product! What a racket!ReplyCancel

  • jen - VERY GOOD!
    I am a stock photographer myself and I can’t help but think how much more I would make if photographers didn’t send their images for free for a “credit”. I mean, yeah, who actually goes on the website when they see a credit? I know I don’t. What are the odds that a client will see your picture, look you up, and say, oh they are in my area, I am going to book them! If we as photographers would stop sending our pictures to people for free, then they would be forced to PAY. I wonder if the magazine people would be fine if I told them I need their magazine in my store to give away free, but no worries, I will let people see the cover.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Holloway - I got this very same email and I’m ashamed to admit that I was one of the ones who ‘fell for it.’ You are so right though – we deserve to be paid for our art. I spent my time going through my archives and sent in some (web sized and watermarked) photos of some very cute babies, including 2 of my own. Only after taking the time to do this, was it made known that the babies ‘must be under the age of one at the time of publication.’ That said, she returned some images of 2 very sweet babies and said they were possibly interested in these photographs. I let her know that one of these babies was my now 2 year old, so he was probably too old. But the other was my now 6mo old so he should be perfect (as she had asked for babies in the 4-8 month range). I was then told that he ‘may be too old at the time of publication.’ When I reminded her that she had initially asked for photos of babies in the 4-8 month range and that he was a perfect 6 months, she said, “We’ll see what the editor says.” I have no idea why I’m rambling on about this, but needless to say, I’m embarrassed to admit that I was one of the suckers, but apparently, my 6 month old is probably ‘too old’ and will not make the cut, therefore, I have been spared from being ripped off this time and have been solidly hit upside the head with a good dose of ‘I deserve to be paid for my work’. Thank you for that! Lesson learned.ReplyCancel

    • trish - Don’t be embarrassed, Lisa. That’s why I wrote this. I’ve fallen for it, myself. Rock on.ReplyCancel

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