As a photographer living of the images I photograph with my camera, it can sometimes be hard to accept the terms or price that buyers are offering. More and more often the terms are so bad, that I at the end decline the offer even if it means less money into the bank account. The last couple of weeks, this has already happened three times. I understand that the buyers run their own business, and they as well try to profit as much as they can. My problem is more that photographers seems to be the only link in the production of whatever product that there is an acceptance, or even expectation to get to work for free or virtually nothing. As little as the magazine editors expect to print their magazine for free, I don’t go to the local food store and expect to get my bread for free. I bet the editors themselves would never accept working for free. I don’t either.
Since everyone nowadays own their own digital camera, it seems that many people think that anyone can go out to make ”that” picture. That is not true. Taking high quality images needs a certain skill, and not the least time. To take picture of a certain animal or bird might take me days or even weeks of work before I get anything near an end result that I am satisfied with. Traveling to different locations, and keep my photography gear updated is quite demanding from my bank account’s perspective as well.
Unfortunately the trend seems to be buying photograpies for less, but I hope photographers can work against this by working as a team and clearly demand a good price for your images. Even if accepting a bad price or a bad term of condition for a sale might mean a few quick dollars into you bank account tomorrow, accepting bad conditions today will only bite you back in a few years when editors and other picture buyers expect to get images for less and less. Getting paid for an image will be virtually impossible, and photographers will be in the loosing end of it. It is no one but the photographers ourselves that can set the standard. I hope next time you have a potential sale, that you don’t let the thrill of seeing your image on print prevent you from demanding a decent payment for your work. Let's work together on this!