Suby & Sins House

23 Jun 2008 2,591 views
 
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photoblog image Free Is Killing Me

Free Is Killing Me


Here is an article by Matt Brown on http://www.sportsshooter.com/ that we came across that sorta surmises some of the anger we feel towards those who think photographers & writers should and must always/sometimes work for free. Also take the time to watch this video talk by Harlan Ellison, one of the greatest American fantasy fiction writers of our generation on working for free at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE quite educative and informative.

Next time you're in the local hardware store, ask the salesman to give you free tools and tell him in return you will tell all your friends you got your tools from his hardware store.

Or try it at the grocery store. I can see it now, standing at the check at line:

"That we be $102.85, sir."

"You don't know me but I will tell everyone I know to shop at Ralph's if I can just get my groceries for free".

"Sure Mr. Brown nobody knows about us yet, here's your food and have a nice day!"

Sweet!

Can you send me a photo? Can I get a photo for free? We will give you credit for the photo! How many times have you heard that?

Free! Free! Free!

I've had CBS.com, Wilson Sporting Goods Global Marketing, Fox Sports, ESPN.com, ABC, CBS, Fox, Rivals.com, Baseball America, college websites and yes, newspapers, magazines, all ask for FREE photos. Some are even willing to give me photo credit.

Wow! Give me photo credit for a photo I created! So these companies can take it and make money from a product I provided free. Yes, money. The bottom line here is money. Give me your photos for free and I can post them on their company website or run it in a publication... what a concept!

I received an email the other day from a CBS College Sports Network production assistant. Here is the exchange:

"Matt,
I hope all is well. Can you email me six Cal State Fullerton Baseball action photos from this season?
Thanks,
Mr. X"

I replied that day:
"Mr. X,
There will be a charge for use of the photos.
Matt"

The response:
"Matt,
My boss said no due to the fee...sorry.
Thanks,
Mr. X"

At the same time I was emailing Mr. X, he was emailing Mr. Greenlee, the Sports Information Director at Cal State Fullerton asking if he can get me to waive the fee because CBS just doesn't have the money to buy photos. Did you know what David Letterman makes a year? Dave signed a contract in 2006 that makes him a reported $38 million a year! Why can't CBS buy my photos ($50 each) for their website?

I emailed Mr. X and asked if CBS ever pays for photos. What he wrote back was shocking:

Matt:
Cal State Fullerton was the 1st school that we came across that charges a fee to use photos. Other schools just gladly give them to us for free and we credit the photographer or sports information from the school…whichever they prefer. I have yet to see CBS College Sports pay for photos to use.

Mr. X"

Well that answers why can't CBS buy my photos ($50 each) for their TV show: Because you or your boss is handing out photos for free! Maybe you don't know this is happening or you just like seeing your byline on a website. But it's just bad business.

I never had anyone call me up after seeing my photos on ESPN.com and say we NEED you to shoot our annual report or our next catalog.

Maybe schools have something worked out with their photographers about handing out photos to websites. Maybe the photographer gets paid extra for the ability to hand the photos out. Just make sure you know what is happening to your work. I have a feeling a lot of photographers don't know what happens to their photos.

I had another jaw dropping moment when a former athlete from one of my schools who now works in the SID office at a PAC-10 school, told me when athletes ask her for photos, she would just burn them a CD full of photos.

MY TWO SCHOOLS
Two of my bigger clients are Division I schools, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. I have established the rules for working for them and the do's and don't of using my work are set in writing. 1) I own all my photos, not the school. 2) Photos can go out to local newspapers and the newspaper of the hometown of the student athlete. 3) No photos go to magazines, websites, players, family or fans and all referrals go through me.

One school follows the rules with no trouble. The other school is hard headed. I have found photos on the websites and magazine and I get the line: "We should have the ability to publicize our programs." I understand their point of view. But here's my point of view: If the schools just hand my photos over to another source they are going to make money from my work and I am getting nothing in return. Isn't it reasonable to expect to be paid fairly for photos?

HURTING A FRIEND
As you know, we work in a small community, which is getting smaller everyday. A good friend of mine, Larry Goren does freelance work for Baseball America. He covers Major League Baseball, the minor leagues and college baseball for them on a regular basis. Larry covers 4 - 5 Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton baseball games a year. Baseball America would call Cal State Fullerton or Long Beach State and ask for free baseball photos for its website or magazine. By getting photos from the schools for free they wouldn't have to pay Larry for his photos.

I put a stop to it after locking horns with Baseball America a couple times. Remember we are working in a small community and we must lookout for each other. We can help or hurt each other's bottom line.

LOSING OUT TO THE WORKING
Last week I had two schools, Purdue and Nevada, email me about shooting the NCAA Women's Softball Regional at UCLA. I gave them a cost for shooting per game. I sent samples and waited to hear back from them. You would think if someone goes out of their way to get in touch with you, it might be a done deal and they are serious about hiring a professional.

The next day I heard from them: Both schools are going with someone else. I asked them who the photographer was and how much was he charging and I was told it was a professor from the UCLA Science Department.

I know some people at the campus and made some calls. I found out his name and did some homework on being a professor at UCLA. This Weekend Warrior makes over $90,000 a year, loves taking sports photos and regularly hands over free photos to schools. He just picked up the phone and called the schools looking to shoot for them during the playoffs. The cost he was asking: $100. Not per game, for the entire weekend! That's 3 or 4 games for $100 total!

I emailed Joseph Rudnick, Dean of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCLA, asking if could work at school on Tuesday and Thursday for free because I just love science. I told him I received an A+ in Biochemistry in college.

Think about it for a second. We have people who just love taking photos for free or dirt-cheap as a hobby and think that they can do what you do for a living (as a professional photographer). I went to school for photography and I have busted my ass to get where I'm at and for what? So some professor can do below average work for cheap? Why can't I teach biochemistry for little or no cost? I never heard back from the dean, too bad ... I was really looking forward to teaching biochemistry at UCLA.


We definitely are still Suby & Sinem - Creative Photographers

"Ars Longa, Vita Brevis"





Free Is Killing Me


Here is an article by Matt Brown on http://www.sportsshooter.com/ that we came across that sorta surmises some of the anger we feel towards those who think photographers & writers should and must always/sometimes work for free. Also take the time to watch this video talk by Harlan Ellison, one of the greatest American fantasy fiction writers of our generation on working for free at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE quite educative and informative.

Next time you're in the local hardware store, ask the salesman to give you free tools and tell him in return you will tell all your friends you got your tools from his hardware store.

Or try it at the grocery store. I can see it now, standing at the check at line:

"That we be $102.85, sir."

"You don't know me but I will tell everyone I know to shop at Ralph's if I can just get my groceries for free".

"Sure Mr. Brown nobody knows about us yet, here's your food and have a nice day!"

Sweet!

Can you send me a photo? Can I get a photo for free? We will give you credit for the photo! How many times have you heard that?

Free! Free! Free!

I've had CBS.com, Wilson Sporting Goods Global Marketing, Fox Sports, ESPN.com, ABC, CBS, Fox, Rivals.com, Baseball America, college websites and yes, newspapers, magazines, all ask for FREE photos. Some are even willing to give me photo credit.

Wow! Give me photo credit for a photo I created! So these companies can take it and make money from a product I provided free. Yes, money. The bottom line here is money. Give me your photos for free and I can post them on their company website or run it in a publication... what a concept!

I received an email the other day from a CBS College Sports Network production assistant. Here is the exchange:

"Matt,
I hope all is well. Can you email me six Cal State Fullerton Baseball action photos from this season?
Thanks,
Mr. X"

I replied that day:
"Mr. X,
There will be a charge for use of the photos.
Matt"

The response:
"Matt,
My boss said no due to the fee...sorry.
Thanks,
Mr. X"

At the same time I was emailing Mr. X, he was emailing Mr. Greenlee, the Sports Information Director at Cal State Fullerton asking if he can get me to waive the fee because CBS just doesn't have the money to buy photos. Did you know what David Letterman makes a year? Dave signed a contract in 2006 that makes him a reported $38 million a year! Why can't CBS buy my photos ($50 each) for their website?

I emailed Mr. X and asked if CBS ever pays for photos. What he wrote back was shocking:

Matt:
Cal State Fullerton was the 1st school that we came across that charges a fee to use photos. Other schools just gladly give them to us for free and we credit the photographer or sports information from the school…whichever they prefer. I have yet to see CBS College Sports pay for photos to use.

Mr. X"

Well that answers why can't CBS buy my photos ($50 each) for their TV show: Because you or your boss is handing out photos for free! Maybe you don't know this is happening or you just like seeing your byline on a website. But it's just bad business.

I never had anyone call me up after seeing my photos on ESPN.com and say we NEED you to shoot our annual report or our next catalog.

Maybe schools have something worked out with their photographers about handing out photos to websites. Maybe the photographer gets paid extra for the ability to hand the photos out. Just make sure you know what is happening to your work. I have a feeling a lot of photographers don't know what happens to their photos.

I had another jaw dropping moment when a former athlete from one of my schools who now works in the SID office at a PAC-10 school, told me when athletes ask her for photos, she would just burn them a CD full of photos.

MY TWO SCHOOLS
Two of my bigger clients are Division I schools, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. I have established the rules for working for them and the do's and don't of using my work are set in writing. 1) I own all my photos, not the school. 2) Photos can go out to local newspapers and the newspaper of the hometown of the student athlete. 3) No photos go to magazines, websites, players, family or fans and all referrals go through me.

One school follows the rules with no trouble. The other school is hard headed. I have found photos on the websites and magazine and I get the line: "We should have the ability to publicize our programs." I understand their point of view. But here's my point of view: If the schools just hand my photos over to another source they are going to make money from my work and I am getting nothing in return. Isn't it reasonable to expect to be paid fairly for photos?

HURTING A FRIEND
As you know, we work in a small community, which is getting smaller everyday. A good friend of mine, Larry Goren does freelance work for Baseball America. He covers Major League Baseball, the minor leagues and college baseball for them on a regular basis. Larry covers 4 - 5 Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton baseball games a year. Baseball America would call Cal State Fullerton or Long Beach State and ask for free baseball photos for its website or magazine. By getting photos from the schools for free they wouldn't have to pay Larry for his photos.

I put a stop to it after locking horns with Baseball America a couple times. Remember we are working in a small community and we must lookout for each other. We can help or hurt each other's bottom line.

LOSING OUT TO THE WORKING
Last week I had two schools, Purdue and Nevada, email me about shooting the NCAA Women's Softball Regional at UCLA. I gave them a cost for shooting per game. I sent samples and waited to hear back from them. You would think if someone goes out of their way to get in touch with you, it might be a done deal and they are serious about hiring a professional.

The next day I heard from them: Both schools are going with someone else. I asked them who the photographer was and how much was he charging and I was told it was a professor from the UCLA Science Department.

I know some people at the campus and made some calls. I found out his name and did some homework on being a professor at UCLA. This Weekend Warrior makes over $90,000 a year, loves taking sports photos and regularly hands over free photos to schools. He just picked up the phone and called the schools looking to shoot for them during the playoffs. The cost he was asking: $100. Not per game, for the entire weekend! That's 3 or 4 games for $100 total!

I emailed Joseph Rudnick, Dean of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCLA, asking if could work at school on Tuesday and Thursday for free because I just love science. I told him I received an A+ in Biochemistry in college.

Think about it for a second. We have people who just love taking photos for free or dirt-cheap as a hobby and think that they can do what you do for a living (as a professional photographer). I went to school for photography and I have busted my ass to get where I'm at and for what? So some professor can do below average work for cheap? Why can't I teach biochemistry for little or no cost? I never heard back from the dean, too bad ... I was really looking forward to teaching biochemistry at UCLA.


We definitely are still Suby & Sinem - Creative Photographers

"Ars Longa, Vita Brevis"





comments (26)

  • ray
  • Thailand
  • 23 Jun 2008, 03:25
This is a beautiful image, Sub&Sin...wonderful stop-action, fantastic lighting from the window, and some sense of the dynamics and noise of infants at play.

Regarding the reprinted article...I think I get a sense of frustration that might be felt by professionals who have to compete against bumbling amateurs...like me.

However...I feel there is another side to it. I am not as good at this as you are...the difference can be measured in the beautiful high-art quality of your compositions, and in the proportion of good:bad images shot.

Of course...I get lucky occasionally, and so I could pull together a thin portfolio of images that most people would have no difficulty in praising. Also camera technology has now reached the point where it is easier for a guy like me to take a few good snaps...and, digital technology means there is little cost for me in banging away in the knowledge that 1 or 2 pics from each outing will turn out to be ok.

I have shot 3 weddings [and 1 funeral] in the past 2 years...for free...and have no regrets about it whatever. At 2 of the events I was the only person present with a camera...at the other 2 there was a professional working, but seemed to be only shooting predictable formally posed pictures, and I like to wander about grabbing candid images, so there wasn't much overlap in our portfolios.

Sub&Sin...you folks will be successful professionals because people can look at your work and easily see value in the works of art that you create...your success does not depend on you trying to convince amateurs like me to stop giving away our modest output of wannabe photo-art.

I think you are seeing something similar to what has been happening in recorded music...we all used to want to listen only to high quality recordings on high quality hi fi systems...along came MP3 formats and P2P distribution networks...most folks dropped their desire for hi fi, when they found they could have large libraries of lo fi for free...now there is the beginning of a flight back to hi fi.

I think it will work out fine if you concentrate of high quality art...there will be enough discriminating customers for you to not feel the need to beat up on amateur enthusiasts like me.

Peace!!
Suby & Sinem: Thanks for the kudos on the image Ray, all we can say is shooting kids ain't as easy as it seems smile but it is very rewarding when viewing the final images smile

We are not trying to discourage the amateurs from trying to better themselves when it comes to thier work, but with everything in life, there are professionals and then their are amateurs, if you want to build a house, I guess one goes not to the part time builder who built his DIY shed in the garden, but approaches a professional who builds houses for a living, same with photography, it's annoying that the big businesses and corporations or individuals who know that professional photographers and writers who make their livelehood from writing or taking pictures have the nerve to ask these same people to do work for them for free or next to nothing while they reap the benefits of these work.

Nothing stops the amateurs from also providing work in our opinion for next to nothing or nothing, but it irks when people approach a professional and want something for nothing.

Remember when this was done as a hobby, we could afford to do a gig where if we got paid £50 we counted ourselves lucky cause at the end of the month, our real professional job we did Monday to Friday was going to pay us. But now we do not have that luxury, we get paid or we do not survive, simple as that.

But at the end of the day, it's this simple, when businesses, mags, corporations or people want a certain degree of quality and professionalism, who do you turn to?
  • Stan
  • 23 Jun 2008, 06:21
Great capture! I do like the sense of freedom and motion captures here.

As for the article, I completely agree. If I choose to shoot something for free, thats my gift to give. Part of the problem I believe is that its pretty easy to take a picture (though not so easy to take a great one) and so some people (even those that should know better) attach little value to photography.

No one ever walks around saying things like "thats a great pen, you must write great stories" or "those are very nice football boots, you must be a great football player" yet we hear people make comments like "thats a great camera, you must take wonderful photos"

I don;t shoot professionally but I believe my work had value. Next time i'm asked to shoot professionally for free I'll ask for some free products or services and see what the response is!
Terrific capture and the placement of the front foot is a delight... Of course no need to say anything about the black and white conversion.

On the giving of freebies...
My gut feeling is that goodwill will be exploited but it will also bring harvests in the future.
Bite the bullet S & S and be optomistic. At least you are being true to yourself ...even if the gas bills don't get paid.

Cheers richard
  • The Chameleon
  • Planet Earth
  • 23 Jun 2008, 09:13
this is just cute!
Somethang different! Can't read all that text sha, I'll let the picture do all the talking for me.
This problem has been made worse since digital cameras DSLR's have become in the price range that most people can pay. So now everyone thinks they are a pro. Micros stock sites selling pictures for under £1.00 are taking business from the established picture libraries and for what a quick buck. Even Getty Editorial images have reduced prices in the media market by doing deals and offering pictures at cut rate prices, if they use Getty pictures in preference to another picture agency, irrelevant of how much better another picture may be. At least you guys have the creative edge to stay ahead of the game. That makes a huge difference.
My former career as a stained glass artist had a similar problem where hobbyists would sell items very cheaply. Each time I approached one to tell them that I was trying to make a living they would tell me that they were selling for next to nothing to pay for their glass. They were killing me. Their quality of work was always hobbyist quality but....because of the dollars, people would buy theirs and pass mine up.
  • Chichi
  • United States
  • 23 Jun 2008, 12:25
The picture is a good one, the the article is superb. The combination of the two deserves a likey. I feel your pain homey.
TV companies do this all the time and not just to photographers. They want to be given your product in return for all the publicity you will get. In reality the publicity is minimal and the only winner is the TV company.

I agree with your article. You guys are professionals. I take pictures for my own enjoyment and put them on SC in the hope that others will like them too. I have received no formal training( ok I know it showsgrin). I don't want to be a professional. I enjoy being an amateur. I take what I want when I want.

Mind you if I got a picture of a member of the government at it behind the bike sheds...I might just become a professional for a day!
Good morning Suby and Sinem. Hope you are having a wonderful day today? This is your adopted daughter fron New york. FEED ME!
Ok enough crap from me.
I enjoyed reading your article. It's a shame really. They should try shooting their own stuff and see what comes out of it. You guys are doing a great Job anyway and it's paying off. When I look at your work, I don't just see a beautiful picture I see the love and dedication you put into what you do. That's what makes a great product anyways. Love the lighting and the little child is a beauty. I hope my own experimentation comes out right!
  • PhotoSam
  • United Kingdom
  • 23 Jun 2008, 17:09
one of ym faves from you, truly wonderful...
im hoping its merit and merit alone of individual photos that will speak loudest...
  • Martin
  • United States
  • 23 Jun 2008, 18:17
You know you can just say No if somebody wants stuff for free smile In my day job I tried to give things away for free for a (short) while. I found that people don't value it if they don't have to pay for it, so now we don't have any free stuff anymore. Some people don't like it, but the majority respects you for charging for your services. I assume this is true in photography too.
Great,great image. Those little chubby pumping arms and titled head perfectly broadcasts movement and life. The b&w treatment is just contrasty enough for tonal dimension. Expert hand at this, eh?. Wonderful!
I fully agree with your point.
I have also found the converse happens most of the time, where people not from a business want some portraits or something, and insist that they pay for it, even if I'm not confident that I will achieve the desired result. Which is nicesmile
I like the pic, I enjoy taking pics of kids as they are nearly always natural.
  • anniedog
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 24 Jun 2008, 23:38
Love this image - the light on the little girl, the sense of movement. Great stuff. Regarding the working for free - it's amazing that people think they can get something for nothing in this life. You normally get what you pay for and if they can't see that, then they're stupid!
Ingrid
  • cako
  • Germany
  • 25 Jun 2008, 00:39
Beautiful scene. I like the b&w and the grain.
Delightful mood and lighting.
  • Urv
  • United States
  • 25 Jun 2008, 09:59
I think the other problem is when people begin in photography so many people are "selling" the opportunity to get more experience and visibility, that amateurs make the mistake of selling themselves short because they think its normal. Then when those same people get to the higher levels their success is hampered by people doing the same thing and selling themselves short, undercutting the true value of the work.
  • Urv
  • United States
  • 25 Jun 2008, 11:41
prompted by the thoughts I had after reading your post I posted this on my other blog: http://uniterandomvisions.blogspot.com/
While I realize I'm also part of the problem of not always recognizing the worth of my labor, hopefully this is a step in the right direction to acknowledge it.
Preciosa foto.
i like this shot
i like
the lighting
the mood
the composition

i have no complaints not because i'm trying to be nice, but because this time, i actually have no complaints.
maybe when i improve in photography i'll see more...



love the article posted

i spent donkey years studying medicine in nigeria all the while nurturing some kind of creative talent or other

i decided finally that whatever i chose as a career would have to involve creativity, so clinical medicine, as we know it in nigeria, was out

i however partake in the occasional free medical outreach as there are people who frankly can't afford it

my point is that there's room for business and there's room for charity even with photography

the problem is that charity an the word 'charity' can be abused

if a corporation like cbs asked for free photography in the name of charity, without some attendant charity program, like 'operation feed the hungry', they'd be abusing it

cbs was playing on the fact that they're cbs and everyone would want to play to their good graces...

this brings me to another angle...

people don't pay for 'professional' quality work as much as they pay for a name

yeah it's all in the name

they wouldn't think of asking a world renowned celebrity photographer for free work in place of recognition cos frankly he don't need no recognition (and he's sooo recognized, he probably doesn't even have their time)

another problem is that we photographers make the mistake of overrating the recognition in the first place

case in point, if for some reason, cnn asked me to do some free shots for a news article that would be aired with credits to the photographer, i'd probably jump at the opportunity at this stage in my career


this is my longest post ever on sc, hope you don't mind
Suby & Sinem: Thanks for the read Dr, we believe in charity here ourselves, and give back whenever we can either with our time our with material things, but sometimes photographers or writers or whoever have to get paid before they themselves become charity cases smile

Thank for taking the time to post your thoughts smile
  • shiv
  • india
  • 27 Jun 2008, 16:21
i'm kind of battling with this same thing right now,
no one seems to want to pay for photographs...!
most people tell me to shoot for free since they are giving me experience in return..!
Suby & Sinem: Well someday, the bills will have to get paid, hope they can be paid with "free", but if you have another job, then it's just an expensive hobby smile
  • Dotun
  • United States
  • 29 Jun 2008, 19:29
I feel you on this one, I wish I could print this out for my folks who always want free stuff.
Suby & Sinem: Thanks Dotun, so when is this your new blog going to be ready?
  • zohre
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 30 Jun 2008, 06:54
Very nice capture and beautiful lighting smile
Suby & Sinem: Aaaww, thanks Zohre grin
Due to future! Nice!
Suby & Sinem: Thank you and also thanks for the visit Bahar smile
a good freedom feeling

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