The digital age, its great isn't it? Its opened up the world to photographers everywhere from the working, to the amateur, to the instagramer never interested in photography, to hipsters taking photos of their food and even to hipsters taking photos of hipsters taking photos of their food! But with all this photo sharing and online posting have business' come to the conclusion that they no longer need to pay for photography?
Recently there's been an influx of stories about disgruntled photographers discovering that their work has been pulled and used without consent and payment, street artists suing major car companies for using their work as backdrops in adverts without gaining permission and while we're here lets not forget the s***storm thats brewing from major professional contributors to Getty who are currently pulling all their work over term changes that essentially means the whole of Flickr can be resourced-Getty receive 80% of the fee you get 20%. Where once the professional would have got £250 for an image they now get £50 along with the guy who took a photo of his cat piggy back riding a dog. Fair?
Nate Thayer is a journalist who had been asked to contribute to The Atlantic magazine, on enquiring about how much he would be getting paid for his work he was met with: “We unfortunately can’t pay you for it, but we do reach 13 million readers a month” and of course the line im sure many of us have heard: "use our platform as a way to gain more exposure". Aaaah the old exposure line. Of course, you get work for free and i get exposure, it sounds like a good deal right? But really, how many jobs/hits are you going to get from that exposure? I have contributed a few times in the past for said exposure, once in a magazine that has "biggest circulation of any men's lifestyle magazine in Britain" and a couple for an online news outlet and quite honestly while i might have had a few extra hits on my website i definitely didnt get any work from it and it definitely didnt go towards paying the bills that month.
So, the "no fee but exposure" option, is it just companies being cheap and seeing what they can get away with? And is it really beneficial for us to contribute for free? Do we really gain anything from doing so?
Fee or Free? Thats is the question: I know what my answer is............ but i wonder what yours is?
You can read Nate Thayer's story here: http://tinyurl.com/cjh58bv