Friday, November 8, 2013

Cash or Credit: The Value of a Photograph

We'll Give You Credit

More and more I receive request to use my photographs for free. "Unfortunately we don't have a budget for photography".

That is unfortunate, for you.

The thing is I have poured my heart and soul into my work. I've dedicated countless hours and quite a bit of money in my work. Yes, it is work.

In lieu of money I'm often offered photo credit.

What Is Photo Credit and Does It Have Value?

Photo credit is when the name of the photographer appears next to the photograph wherever the photograph might be published. That sounds like a reasonable offer. The project will get a lot of views and people will see the photograph and that will drive traffic back to the photographer.

Does it work out like that? No!

What it does is make the website, ad, graphic, article and so on look great. That's it. The photographer is left holding his out of date camera wishing he could upgrade his equipment or go out and get more beautiful photographs. Better yet, take his kids to a movie or on one of his adventures.

How do I know this for sure? I've been there. I've had my work shared nationally, actually internationally. My photography has appeared on major news networks and been shared over and over again by millions, maybe even more. My Flickr account has tipped past 1.5M views!

That is a lot of attention. I must be up to my neck in photo credit, right? Yep. I have so much photo credit it is ridiculous!

Photo credit is a given. It has no value other than to let the reader know who captured the image they are looking at.

How Do You Spend Photo Credit?

You don't. Once again, it has no value! It does not make money in any way and cannot be spent anywhere.

I cannot use photo credit to put fuel in my car to go get more photographs. I cannot replace an aging camera with photo credit. Worst of all I cannot support my family with photo credit.

Does A Photograph Have Value Then?

YES! In fact the request I receive tell me that photography has value. Why else would I be showered with compliments? Why else would the request be made?

Photography can, and does, bring businesses profit. Profit, as it turns out, is where the budget comes from. Funny how that works.

Don't Be That Person

Would you ask a contractor to build your house for free? Probably not. But you could tell everyone you know just how great his work is. Heck, you could even put a sign in the yard that lets everyone know who built your house. You'd do that for a free house, right?

Don't be that person. Seriously, you get a paycheck, the web designer gets a paycheck and the janitor gets a paycheck. Don't ask the photographer to work for free. Especially the photographer who has four beautiful children and a wife that has supported him so faithfully.

Why Write This Post?

In a way I'm getting it out of my system. It's frustrating! Also, the future request will be sent here. Because I know there will be more request. *Sigh*

How Much To License An Image?

Not much. I like to work with people and see my photography help their project look its best! I'll work within an honest budget so we are both happy. Heck, you can even throw a number at me to get the ball rolling. If you really have a budget it's going to be less than I'm hoping for anyway. So there is no fear of giving me, or any photographer, too much for their hard work.