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Author Topic: Where did she go wrong?  (Read 18698 times)

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hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« on: September 10, 2009, 17:07 »
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http://fashionphotographyblog.com/2009/09/ultrahip-magazine-flaunt/

Interesting article and experience, and many questions!

1. Where did she go wrong? (I think I know, it involves the word free)
2. Is it professional to blog about these things?
3. Should this treatment be expected in this industry? What if the magazine was suddenly given exclusive images of Angelina Jolie (or someone!) and had to make a cut-throat decision, should we the photographer be told in advance? What about the credits?

It's a really good link you should go read, and GORGEOUS pictures.. just, stunning.


« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 17:25 »
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That article was too long.  What was the point?

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 17:33 »
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That article was too long.  What was the point?

Something about people that love to crap all over other people's efforts.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 17:33 »
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Where did she go wrong?

It sounds like she assumed everything. She didn't set any upfront agreement about what she expected in return for doing the shoot. And now she's mad that the outcome didn't match her assumptions.


hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 17:37 »
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Where did she go wrong?

It sounds like she assumed everything. She didn't set any upfront agreement about what she expected in return for doing the shoot. And now she's mad that the outcome didn't match her assumptions.



Yeah, I'm really divided about it, I think because she did it for free, the credits became too important.. and then when the credits and other things went wrong, she hit the roof. I'm in two minds about blogging about it though.. I wonder if she contacted them first before blogging, or will the blog be the first they hear of it.. so yeah I'm not sure a blog rant is the way to go here, and I think if people had been paid it would have been a non-issue!

lisafx

« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 17:52 »
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This should never have been done for free.  Is that common in the industry?  Professional photographers, assistants, stylists, models, etc. all working for free?  If so, no wonder the industry is going down the tubes. 

It's a very harsh lesson, but one we all learn, regardless of our profession.  My husband was an electrician for 20+ years and got suckered into doing free work for people based on promises a couple of times early on.  Unsurprisingly the promised "future business" never materialized. 

Bottom line is don't do anything for a by-line, a credit, promise of future work, etc.   Micro is a bit different in that we are shooting on speculation and hoping for sales down the line, but at least we are shooting our own concepts in our own time.  If you are following someone else's brief and schedule everyone involved should be getting a paycheck.  Period.

« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 18:17 »
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Pretty crappy way to be treated, but even if it was free they should've had a contract stating that credits etc. etc. would be given in return.. Trust isn't a good business word..

helix7

« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 18:52 »
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Quote
In the 23 years Ive been shooting editorials, this has never happened to one of my shoots before. Never.

23 years in the business and she's doing shoots for nothing more than a credit? I don't get these types of people.

I've worked for similar types before and never understood it. They'll all brag about how long they've been in the business, how experienced they are, how sought-after they are, and yet they do spec/free work.


« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2009, 02:47 »
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I didn't read it, but watched the video (i'm young, short attention span, 21st century fried my brain etc.)..

Every now and then when dealing with certain modelling agencies, stylists or location people, i come across this sort of wishy-washy unproductive, don't-really-want-to-commit-or-care-about anything, attitude. Is she surprised things went badly? and then seems to really making a real drama about it now.

Its different in stock, the successful ones are committed and have a lot of energy and burn for what they do.

Bit of a rant.. just glad not to shoot fashion.

Thanks for sharing!

« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2009, 11:56 »
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To Helix, Tubed, LisaFX, Paulie Walnuts and Others: You do realize that 95% of fashion editorials are done without contracts?? Usually a verbal agreement, phone or email from the magazine is all that is necessary for this type of gig.

Also, regarding not getting paid, 99.99% of all magazines of this caliber never pay a dime to any photographer. The work is strictly for tearsheets and promotion. The photographer spends money to make the shoot look good, just as they would printing promo cards every year and sending them to potential clients... Its advertising....

As with many artistic fields... Interior designers do "Showcase Homes" and spend thousands out of their own pocket just to make them look good so that when people go for a viewing they can see the designers talent.... or maybe even get their rooms photographed in a high-end magazine.

Anybody here talking about contracts or "shooting for free" has no experience in the Fashion Photography field... 

PS. about 23 years experience and still shooting for "Free". You do this for advertising campaigns that pay 120,000 day rates, which Melissa has done ;) Also, ever hear about "Keeping your art alive"??? You can't just sit around all day and wait for the money gigs to come to you.... Its about constantly reinventing, recreating, and learning more, everyday... Anyone in an artistic field should know this...


« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2009, 12:13 »
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Doesn't sound like the "Fashion Photography Field" is anything I'd ever want to get into.

« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2009, 13:18 »
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To Helix, Tubed, LisaFX, Paulie Walnuts and Others: You do realize that 95% of fashion editorials are done without contracts?? Usually a verbal agreement, phone or email from the magazine is all that is necessary for this type of gig.

Also, regarding not getting paid, 99.99% of all magazines of this caliber never pay a dime to any photographer. The work is strictly for tearsheets and promotion. The photographer spends money to make the shoot look good, just as they would printing promo cards every year and sending them to potential clients... Its advertising....


^^^ I'm astonished to read this and, like Sean, have no plans to offer my services for free shoots any time soon. I'm struggling to have much sympathy for Melissa either to be honest __ if she was doing the shoot to 'advertise' her services then writing that blog, naming names and specifying the magazine, etc must surely have just trashed her reputation within the industry forever.

I'm no expert on 'fashion shoots' but isn't the main point to actually show off the clothes? The images might be very moody and arty, if you like that sort of thing, but I can't see much detail of the clothes at all __ they're virtually silhouetted in most of the images. Maybe the editor used fewer of them because of this?

Of course Melissa herself has an 'intern' too, which seems to be the modern term for 'slave'. I wonder how many interns are able to reflect positively on their experiences sometime later and consider that they were appropriately rewarded or benefited with training/opportunities for their services?

« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 13:41 »
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if she was doing the shoot to 'advertise' her services then writing that blog, naming names and specifying the magazine, etc must surely have just trashed her reputation within the industry forever.

No, not exactly, just with magazines that don't pay, seems like more of a gain to me ;) Advertising clients don't give 2 cents about flaunt magazine or magazines that don't pay for that matter...

I'm no expert on 'fashion shoots' but isn't the main point to actually show off the clothes? The images might be very moody and arty, if you like that sort of thing, but I can't see much detail of the clothes at all __ they're virtually silhouetted in most of the images. Maybe the editor used fewer of them because of this?

Editorials are more about telling a story, not entirely showing off the clothes... That's more on the "look-book" side of things. Anyways this is completely besides the point, the fact is what was promised was not delivered... Nor discussed... Nor credited...

Of course Melissa herself has an 'intern' too, which seems to be the modern term for 'slave'. I wonder how many interns are able to reflect positively on their experiences sometime later and consider that they were appropriately rewarded or benefited with training/opportunities for their services?

I've interned for many people and have learned great great things... It was quite a positive experience... Usually people who are smart when looking for an internship will go after the people they admire the most... Hasn't there been a time in you're life you'd love if the person you looked up to the most could teach you a coupla' things? I'd much rather refer to it as a "Mentor"... Its extremely common in a lot of industries...

lisafx

« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2009, 13:49 »
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To Helix, Tubed, LisaFX, Paulie Walnuts and Others: You do realize that 95% of fashion editorials are done without contracts?? Usually a verbal agreement, phone or email from the magazine is all that is necessary for this type of gig.

Also, regarding not getting paid, 99.99% of all magazines of this caliber never pay a dime to any photographer. The work is strictly for tearsheets and promotion. The photographer spends money to make the shoot look good, just as they would printing promo cards every year and sending them to potential clients... Its advertising....


^^^ I'm astonished to read this and, like Sean, have no plans to offer my services for free shoots any time soon. I'm struggling to have much sympathy for Melissa either to be honest __ if she was doing the shoot to 'advertise' her services then writing that blog, naming names and specifying the magazine, etc must surely have just trashed her reputation within the industry forever.


Add me to the list of the astonished  ::)

Hard to believe that an entire industry of the magnitude of the fashion photography industry manages to hum along without anyone getting paid or any contracts being signed (99.9% of the time).  Seriously - very hard to believe.  

But if this is the way it is normally done in the fashion industry, then I guess the photogs and others know this going into it, right?  

If this is really how the fashion industry operates, color me happy I am not in that business.  At least if one of my images is used in a magazine I got paid for it.  Not much, but certainly not for free.

This blog should be considered a cautionary tale for doing business without contracts or payment.


No, not exactly, just with magazines that don't pay, seems like more of a gain to me ;) Advertising clients don't give 2 cents about flaunt magazine or magazines that don't pay for that matter...

So then why on Earth would a professional photographer with 23 years experience get suckered into working for such a low caliber rag for free?  

Sorry, but you seem to be saying on the one hand that this is how it is done 99.9% if the time, "tearsheets and promotion", and then saying that advertising clients don't read these magazines.  How does it work as "promotion" if the paying clients "don't give 2 cents" about these magazines?

« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 13:53 by lisafx »

wilddingo

    This user is banned.
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2009, 14:44 »
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I think its a good time for you microstockers to pause and thank heavens that youre part of an industry where high-quality contracts that reward you handsomely for your work are the norm, an industry where 99% of you do not work for free, an industry where getting published without a credit is so rare, an industry where agencies are so fair and sensitive that its truly hard to understand why anyone would want to be someone elses photography slave, an industry

« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2009, 15:24 »
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I think its a good time for you microstockers to pause and thank heavens that youre part of an industry where high-quality contracts that reward you handsomely for your work are the norm, an industry where 99% of you do not work for free, an industry where getting published without a credit is so rare, an industry where agencies are so fair and sensitive that its truly hard to understand why anyone would want to be someone elses photography slave, an industry

Always so much to say about everyone else's business, but nothing to say about his own ...

« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2009, 15:51 »
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wilddingo...I know what every one of his posts are going to say and I have hit the ignore button. But it's like a train wreck...I have to look! But then, it's the same old tune.  ::)

I watched part of the video and skimmed through the blog and looked at the photos. Sometimes I think these things are all pre-planned marketing gimmicks. After badmouthing the magazine that way, would anyone want to hire her again? If this is an industry standard to work this way, why is she making a big case out of it?

Screams publicity stunt to me, but hey, just my opinion.


lisafx

« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2009, 15:58 »
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wilddingo...I know what every one of his posts are going to say and I have hit the ignore button. But it's like a train wreck...I have to look! But then, it's the same old tune.  ::)


LOL!  Me too, exactly!  Have him on ignore but sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me.  Nothing new there, though. 

« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2009, 16:16 »
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Wilddingo is correct on this one. I was thinking (but didn't post earlier) that for us to can someone else's business model as unworkable when ours has come under so much criticism for the same reason seems a little sus. Looking at the istock contrib charts, only 4000 out of approx 30,000 contributors are silver or above. The rest are subsidising the agency by buying their own equipment and training. Of the 4000 how many are actually getting a good return on investment (time included)? Like most entertainment industries, the rewards can be great for the few who make it, which is what many of us are aiming for but relatively few will achieve.

lisafx

« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2009, 16:24 »
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Wilddingo is correct on this one. I was thinking (but didn't post earlier) that for us to can someone else's business model as unworkable when ours has come under so much criticism for the same reason seems a little sus.

The title of this thread is "Where did she go wrong?"

So presumably we are being asked to comment on, you know, where she went wrong.  Or at least what she might have done to avoid this situation.

I don't see how suggesting that getting a contract and/or getting paid for your efforts is "canning someone else's business model".   ???


« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2009, 16:26 »
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Wilddingo is correct on this one. I was thinking (but didn't post earlier) that for us to can someone else's business model as unworkable when ours has come under so much criticism for the same reason seems a little sus.

The title of this thread is "Where did she go wrong?"

So presumably we are being asked to comment on, you know, where she went wrong.  Or at least what she might have done to avoid this situation.

I don't see how suggesting that getting a contract and/or getting paid for your efforts is "canning someone else's business model".   ???


See your previous post but one. Just because something went wrong once doesn't mean the business model is unworkable. Also, by generating publicity about what happened she has probably done better out of it than if it had all gone as expected.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 16:30 by averil »

« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2009, 16:31 »
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See your previous post but one. Just because something went wrong once doesn't mean the business model is unworkable.

What business model? Working for free without a contract appears to be the norm.

« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2009, 16:32 »
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See your previous post but one. Just because something went wrong once doesn't mean the business model is unworkable.

What business model? Working for free without a contract appears to be the norm.
It's called advertising Sean. She probably gets the odd commissioned job out of it.

lisafx

« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2009, 16:35 »
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See your previous post but one. Just because something went wrong once doesn't mean the business model is unworkable.
[/quote]

Maybe you can explain to me how working for free and without a contract (95-99% if the time, according to crimsonverbs) is any kind of "business model"?  Doesn't the term "business model" imply that money will be made at some point?  

From Wikipedia, the purpose of a business:
The owners and operators of a business have as one of their main objectives the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for work and acceptance of risk.

« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2009, 16:38 »
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It's called advertising Sean. She probably gets the odd commissioned job out of it.

Sounds like a great system.  Working for free for 23 years to get the odd commissioned job.

« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2009, 16:42 »
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It's called advertising Sean. She probably gets the odd commissioned job out of it.

Sounds like a great system.  Working for free for 23 years to get the odd commissioned job.
Comparing microstock with fashion photography:
Microstock - you only get a few bucks for an image that might have cost thousands to make - BUT - volume sales
Fashion - work for free/credits - BUT - get well paying commissioned work as a result of the exposure.

I think one is only in a position to criticize a business model if one knows enough about how it plays out in the long term. There are probably as many successful fashion photographers as microstockers, and as many unsuccessful ones.

lisafx

« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2009, 16:43 »
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Sounds like a great system.  Working for free for 23 years to get the odd commissioned job.

One good thing about working for free is you will always have plenty of work ;D


« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2009, 16:45 »
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Sounds like a great system.  Working for free for 23 years to get the odd commissioned job.

One good thing about working for free is you will always have plenty of work ;D
Hey Lisa, you can upload as much as you like to the stock sites too.

« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2009, 16:46 »
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Fashion - work for free/credits - BUT - get well paying commissioned work as a result of the exposure.

Not what she said earlier:
"Advertising clients don't give 2 cents about flaunt magazine or magazines that don't pay for that matter..."

« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2009, 16:51 »
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Fashion - work for free/credits - BUT - get well paying commissioned work as a result of the exposure.

Not what she said earlier:
"Advertising clients don't give 2 cents about flaunt magazine or magazines that don't pay for that matter..."
I think this was stated IN THE CONTEXT of the photographer in question having bad-mouthed the magazine via her blog. My interpretation is that advertising clients don't care about the REPUTATION or angst caused to them (the magazines) by disgruntled photographers, not that they don't look at such magazines to see the work the photographers are producing. However, you are free to interpret it in a way that makes nonsense of her intention to get exposure if you wish.

lisafx

« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2009, 17:03 »
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My interpretation is that advertising clients don't care about the REPUTATION or angst caused to them (the magazines) by disgruntled photographers, not that they don't look at such magazines to see the work the photographers are producing.

So then what you are saying is that deep-pocket advertisers are lining up to pay money to work with "angsty disgruntled photographers"? 

Come on - giving away work for publicity makes sense for a newbie photographer trying to establish themselves.  Not for someone with 23 years experience. 

Even in the case of free work,  some sort of contract should be in place to specify the nature of the exchange (credits for everyone involved, number of images used, layout approval, etc).  Without a contract you leave yourself open to exactly what happened in this situation. 

Besides, any publicity gained from this experience is completely offset by the tirade on the blog.   

« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2009, 17:15 »
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I think this was stated IN THE CONTEXT of the photographer in question having bad-mouthed the magazine via her blog. My interpretation is that advertising clients don't care about the REPUTATION or angst caused to them (the magazines) by disgruntled photographers, not that they don't look at such magazines to see the work the photographers are producing. However, you are free to interpret it in a way that makes nonsense of her intention to get exposure if you wish.

Perhaps.  It was a confusing reply.

grp_photo

« Reply #32 on: September 11, 2009, 17:23 »
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I think its a good time for you microstockers to pause and thank heavens that youre part of an industry where high-quality contracts that reward you handsomely for your work are the norm, an industry where 99% of you do not work for free, an industry where getting published without a credit is so rare, an industry where agencies are so fair and sensitive that its truly hard to understand why anyone would want to be someone elses photography slave, an industry
LOL that was a very good one ;D :D

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #33 on: September 11, 2009, 18:53 »
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C'mon. There's gotta be more to this.

So let me see if I got this right. Because from a business standpoint this is a trainwreck.

An entire industry segment has a common practice of paying entire teams of people nothing, while directly profiting from the outcome, for the potential of someday maybe getting some work down the road. And these photographers fork out major money up front for Hasselblad rentals, props, and everything else (???)

And when I said agreement, I didn't necessarily mean a written contract. I just meant setting expectations up front. Even verbally. Such as "if I'm going to invest my time and money on this I'm expecting at least a ten page spread in return, agreed?"

But now having heard how the industry works I doubt expectation setting means anything. These photographers have no leverage to ask for anything and can only hope for something good to happen so they can maybe get more work. That's pretty amazing if that's how it really works. How did it get like this?


grp_photo

« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2009, 01:04 »
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How did it get like this?


extremely over-saturated market!



from the photographer side of course ;-)

« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2009, 01:23 »
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One or two people say that not getting paid is the norm and we take it as gospel? I just don't believe it.

grp_photo

« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2009, 02:39 »
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One or two people say that not getting paid is the norm and we take it as gospel? I just don't believe it.
Not paid is may extreme and only count for this artsy and hip magazines. But fashion editorial is really not well paid its more like pocket-money it doesn't hold up for your own expenses, you make your money with catalogues and advertisement, I did really enough fashion editorial to assure you that it is impossible to survive solely on fashion editorial.


« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2009, 15:53 »
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I contacted an east coast friend of mine late last year about the possibility of shooting some editorials for the national magazine where he was an editor.

He liked my shots, and gave me the information I needed to bid on shooting for the cover.
I was a bit shocked that he was talking to me about the cover, when I had said that I was interested in illustrating an editorial.

He response: "Well, covers are the only shots that anyone pays for."

True story.

lisafx

« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2009, 18:40 »
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Thanks for weighing in grp_photo and nosaya. 

I am still really surprised that this is how things are done, but at least it is good to have independent verification that it is true.

helix7

« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2009, 23:29 »
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To Helix, Tubed, LisaFX, Paulie Walnuts and Others: You do realize that 95% of fashion editorials are done without contracts?? Usually a verbal agreement, phone or email from the magazine is all that is necessary for this type of gig...

Do you actually read what you're typing? It's like taking a job as a garbage collector and then complaining that job literally stinks. YOU TOOK THE JOB. No one is holding a gun to your head saying you have to do any job. If the fashion editorial market is so bad, why bother?

I'm amazed that people take these no-contract no-pay jobs, knowing in advance what they are getting into, and then they complain about them afterwards.

« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2009, 00:14 »
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Welcome to the "more creative" side of the business folks.

As for doing "freebie" gigs for exposure, etc... its true, it can work in your favor over the long run especially if you do it heavily with younger upstarts who could one day finally be "somebody's" in the business. Freebie gigs are more like "interactive networking". One of my first demo reels, filled mostly with footage from freebie gigs, landed me a long term realationship as a Director of Photography with TIME Magazine, which I still happily maintain. I doubt I would have even gotten a phone call from them without that footage.

As for these fashion mags, I suspect many have a hard enough time paying their staff, just like the majority of indi films have a hard time even breaking even after years on the market.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2009, 18:11 »
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So does the creative side automatically discard the most basic of business rules? It looks like this has become commonplace simply because photographers as a whole just gave in.

This is awesome.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a8TRSgzZY[/youtube]
« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 18:13 by PaulieWalnuts »

« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2009, 18:28 »
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So does the creative side automatically discard the most basic of business rules? It looks like this has become commonplace simply because photographers as a whole just gave in.

This is awesome.


Seems to me we can only deal with reality.  The "invisible hand" of the market setting the prices according to the supply and the demand - with as little government intervention as possible.  What alternative would you suggest?

fred

« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2009, 19:36 »
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What alternative would you suggest?

fred

I think I'd start by not working for free __ easy really. Go and do jobs that actually pay a reasonable rate or give up doing it at all.

I'd never, ever, ever, ever do a shoot for free no matter what promises or suggested (possible) benefits may result. Those that do have no-one to blame but themselves if they get screwed and they fully deserve to be left as destitute and worthless as they have valued themselves. Simples.

« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2009, 19:50 »
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What alternative would you suggest?

fred

I think I'd start by not working for free __ easy really. Go and do jobs that actually pay a reasonable rate or give up doing it at all.

I'd never, ever, ever, ever do a shoot for free no matter what promises or suggested (possible) benefits may result. Those that do have no-one to blame but themselves if they get screwed and they fully deserve to be left as destitute and worthless as they have valued themselves. Simples.

It can make good business sense to do free shoots.  If the market you are in expects it you pretty well cannot avoid it.  Free work is a risk.  All of business is a risk.  Some risks payoff some don't.

It is sort of like stock options trading.  Something like 80% of all options contracts lose money but there are many traders that make a good living trading options.  They just have to make sure they make more on the 20% of their trades that are successful than they lose on the 80% that are not. 

In some fields free work is the best way to find paying work.  If you are one of those fields then you survive by making sure that your paying work covers your expenses for your free work.

I don't think it works in microstock though.

fred

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2009, 19:55 »
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So does the creative side automatically discard the most basic of business rules? It looks like this has become commonplace simply because photographers as a whole just gave in.

This is awesome.


Seems to me we can only deal with reality.  The "invisible hand" of the market setting the prices according to the supply and the demand - with as little government intervention as possible.  What alternative would you suggest?

fred

I know nothing about fashion photography so I don't know what to suggest. Maybe in that industry giving freebies really does work out okay in the end with getting new work elsewhere.

It's just kind of surprising to hear because that type of stuff would never work in my day job. That would be like a company saying "We need you to do a software implementation for us for free. And in return we'll allow you to do a write-up about the project you can use to try and attract more business."

If one of my potential clients proposed something lopsided like that where they get immediate value and we get nothing, we would nicely let them know that's not the way we work. Then we'd nicely suggest a couple of alternative approaches that work for both of us.

Like if they proposed we work for free in exchange for a write-up I'd say something like "A write-up sounds great. If you'd be willing to do one we could offer you a discount".

Or if they proposed we do free work now because there's huge future work coming I'd say "Great, let's talk about that future work now. If you'd be willing to do all of the current and future work together under one agreement now we would be willing to offer a discount on our services."

If they still insist on some free deal, we evaluate it. If there's no immediate value we thank them for their time and suggest they find someone else who's a better fit for the way they work. If they go to a competitor that's fine. If a competitor wants to work for free they most likely won't be a competitor for much longer.

But my day job isn't fashion photography and I'm getting the impression these types of conversations would get you laughed right out of a fashion magazine company because it's against what has become the norm.

« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2009, 20:06 »
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So does the creative side automatically discard the most basic of business rules? It looks like this has become commonplace simply because photographers as a whole just gave in.

This is awesome.


Seems to me we can only deal with reality.  The "invisible hand" of the market setting the prices according to the supply and the demand - with as little government intervention as possible.  What alternative would you suggest?

fred

I know nothing about fashion photography so I don't know what to suggest. Maybe in that industry giving freebies really does work out okay in the end with getting new work elsewhere.

It's just kind of surprising to hear because that type of stuff would never work in my day job. That would be like a company saying "We need you to do a software implementation for us for free. And in return we'll allow you to do a write-up about the project you can use to try and attract more business."

If one of my potential clients proposed something lopsided like that where they get immediate value and we get nothing, we would nicely let them know that's not the way we work. Then we'd nicely suggest a couple of alternative approaches that work for both of us.

Like if they proposed we work for free in exchange for a write-up I'd say something like "A write-up sounds great. If you'd be willing to do one we could offer you a discount".

Or if they proposed we do free work now because there's huge future work coming I'd say "Great, let's talk about that future work now. If you'd be willing to do all of the current and future work together under one agreement now we would be willing to offer a discount on our services."

If they still insist on some free deal, we evaluate it. If there's no immediate value we thank them for their time and suggest they find someone else who's a better fit for the way they work. If they go to a competitor that's fine. If a competitor wants to work for free they most likely won't be a competitor for much longer.

But my day job isn't fashion photography and I'm getting the impression these types of conversations would get you laughed right out of a fashion magazine company because it's against what has become the norm.

That makes sense.

I don't know anything about Fashion phtotography either but I do know there are fields, investing, property development, etc. where you put a lot of tiime in on work that gets you nothing or nearly nothing so that once or twice a year you can have a big killing to make up for it.  I think fashion photography could be like that.

fred


« Reply #47 on: September 13, 2009, 21:52 »
0
Photography - as a whole - is overwhelmingly "market subsidized". What I mean by that, is its a huge ocean of people who only shoot as a side job and they can afford to charge below market rates because of their daytime job. I refuse to gripe about that however, its a tactic other business conglomerates use to get new business's off the ground without having to take, or at least reduce the need for, new lines of credit or a loan. It acts as a kind of "vampire" on the main supporting business, but the hope is one day it will reach critical mass and be able to fly on its own. Some eventually do fly on their own.

The new wave of the future for stock photography isn't paying for images, its paying for the ability to easily, conveniently, find and download images. Yes, photographers will get commissions on work downloaded, but whats really being bought and sold are the agency services. Why do you think iStock is so massively more successful than the other agencies, with vastly more images? It's their superior search engine options. As much as I hate their submissions process, its worth the effort to actually be found by those who need your work.

« Reply #48 on: September 14, 2009, 00:30 »
0
its a huge ocean of people who only shoot as a side job and they can afford to charge below market rates because of their daytime job.

As that song goes... "sad but true"... My photography is a side business, I couldn't live from photography the way I do from my main job, no matter how hard I tried.  My main business pays for equipment, many times I get things that are not necessarily important, but that I want (as a full time pro some would not make any sense at all).  Sometimes I did work for below market prices (not for kicks, but to learn and try new things) but I found that it is hard work most of the time and the last job I got I decided to charge almost market rates (and got paid), next time I will charge market rates, even if I dont get the job.  Free is not in my vocabulary anymore.

« Reply #49 on: September 14, 2009, 01:08 »
0
its a huge ocean of people who only shoot as a side job and they can afford to charge below market rates because of their daytime job.

As that song goes... "sad but true"... My photography is a side business, I couldn't live from photography the way I do from my main job, no matter how hard I tried.  My main business pays for equipment, many times I get things that are not necessarily important, but that I want (as a full time pro some would not make any sense at all).  Sometimes I did work for below market prices (not for kicks, but to learn and try new things) but I found that it is hard work most of the time and the last job I got I decided to charge almost market rates (and got paid), next time I will charge market rates, even if I dont get the job.  Free is not in my vocabulary anymore.

I should add something important.

Prices are subjective, and furthermore, determined by the CUSTOMERS, not the producers.

The fact that you charged more and still got the customer to pay only illustrates the point. Micro prices are actually rising, how much is inflation VS the market looking for the real price, I can't say, if anything its just one more argument against constantly printing cheap money.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #50 on: September 14, 2009, 05:10 »
0

Prices are subjective, and furthermore, determined by the CUSTOMERS, not the producers.


Kind of. It's still supply and demand.

Prices are determined by the median point at which customers are willing to pay and producers are willing to sell.

If producers all give in to requests for free work, than the median price is free. If producers as a whole refuse to sell below a certain price point, and there is customer demand for that product/service, then that price becomes the median. 




« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2009, 08:31 »
0
Working for free is common in other professions as well. Im running a healthcare-related shop, where people more or less expect me to counsel them for free- I earn money if I sell something, but general opinon is my time is worth nothing.

People get in, want advice for free, it takes minutes, sometimes up to an hour, then they just smile, say thank you, and order the stuff in the nest internet shop (where they dont get this advice) for less money, and expect me to be happy about still having them as customers, albeit not paying ones...

And because everybody tells them they are fools if they pay for things they can get for free, they think its normal, they did alright.

I have to work for free and still must smile and be happy if a tiny little number of them, maybe in the future, one day, perhaps, actually buy something. There are many times I would like to do a rant myself (like now).

So- whats the difference to said fashion photography?

« Reply #52 on: September 14, 2009, 09:59 »
0

Prices are subjective, and furthermore, determined by the CUSTOMERS, not the producers.


Kind of. It's still supply and demand.

Prices are determined by the median point at which customers are willing to pay and producers are willing to sell.

If producers all give in to requests for free work, than the median price is free. If producers as a whole refuse to sell below a certain price point, and there is customer demand for that product/service, then that price becomes the median.  

Yea supply and demand matter, but customer subjectiveness matters most. Just because a good is scarce doesn't mean its valuable, its only valuable when a person is willing to pay high amounts of money for it and there is no guarantee a mob of people will increase the value . It really all boils down to the subjective value the customers have for the good in the first place. If the costs are above the customers subjective value, then the producer failed to predict the subjective value of the product. Supply and demand are more like influences on the customers subjective value, so they still factor in, but in the end the real price setter is the customer.

Free stuff isn't always bad, neither are low prices. I hear lots of photographers complain about the low commissions but never about the falling price of computers and storage they use.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 10:08 by cardmaverick »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #53 on: September 14, 2009, 22:43 »
0
I understand subjective value. But you seem to be saying buyers rule the market. I disagree. If a product or service is in high demand then the seller is in control. If there is little demand, the buyer is in control. It's balance. If you have something of value to offer then there is an equal exchange of value.

If you're selling something with no value it's time to find a niche to create demand or exit the market.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #54 on: September 14, 2009, 23:02 »
0
Working for free is common in other professions as well. Im running a healthcare-related shop, where people more or less expect me to counsel them for free- I earn money if I sell something, but general opinon is my time is worth nothing.

People get in, want advice for free, it takes minutes, sometimes up to an hour, then they just smile, say thank you, and order the stuff in the nest internet shop (where they dont get this advice) for less money, and expect me to be happy about still having them as customers, albeit not paying ones...

And because everybody tells them they are fools if they pay for things they can get for free, they think its normal, they did alright.

I have to work for free and still must smile and be happy if a tiny little number of them, maybe in the future, one day, perhaps, actually buy something. There are many times I would like to do a rant myself (like now).

So- whats the difference to said fashion photography?
If you have something of value to offer you should charge for it.  Why give free advice so they can go buy on the internet? In my day job (consulting) I charge for advice.

"I would be glad to help you but the guidance you're asking for is typically billable. Would you like to set up an hourly agreement?"

EDIT: Revised to tone it down a bit  ;D

« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 06:04 by PaulieWalnuts »

« Reply #55 on: September 16, 2009, 02:35 »
0
Why I dont charge anything?
Easy.
Nobody in my profession does  (at least not in my country).
The moment I charge my customers money for my advice they are gone. Next retail is directly on the other side of the street.

Its just a sad reality in modern business that sometimes you have to work for free. Nevertheless I like my profession, and I knew about this before I started, so I wont complain too much...

« Reply #56 on: September 16, 2009, 05:02 »
0
Why I dont charge anything?
Easy.
Nobody in my profession does  (at least not in my country).
The moment I charge my customers money for my advice they are gone. Next retail is directly on the other side of the street.

Its just a sad reality in modern business that sometimes you have to work for free. Nevertheless I like my profession, and I knew about this before I started, so I wont complain too much...

How is this a "profession", when you don't make any money?


hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #57 on: September 16, 2009, 05:29 »
0
Why I dont charge anything?
Easy.
Nobody in my profession does  (at least not in my country).
The moment I charge my customers money for my advice they are gone. Next retail is directly on the other side of the street.

Its just a sad reality in modern business that sometimes you have to work for free. Nevertheless I like my profession, and I knew about this before I started, so I wont complain too much...

How is this a "profession", when you don't make any money?

She does make a sale if they buy from her after she gives her free advise.

It's the EXACT same as giving away a free photo of the week or whatever it is on Istock.

Or you know what else it's like, it's like using those 'idiots' over at sxc that are fool enough to give away their photos in order to promote your work. But you won't say no to that out of principal will you? No. Because it serves your own interests and that is ALL you're interested in.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 05:39 by hqimages »

« Reply #58 on: September 16, 2009, 05:37 »
0
She does make a sale if they buy from her after she gives her free advise.

It's the EXACT same as giving away a free photo of the week or whatever it is on Istock.

Or you know what else it's like, it's like using those 'idiots' over at sxc that are fool enough to give away their photos in order to promote your work. But you won't say no to that out of principal will you? No. Because it serves your own interests and that is ALL you're interested in.

I think you're mixing up posts.  Your quote was from the original post about doing an entire photo shoot for free.  You've munged that about to be something about selling product based on giving out advise.  Of course, someone selling product wants to draw in customers by giving advice on the products they sell.  Was that your point?  I can't tell.

Hey, if you want to give away your work to promote mine, why would I say no?  Doesn't seem very sensible for you, but I can't control your desires.

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #59 on: September 16, 2009, 05:42 »
0
She does make a sale if they buy from her after she gives her free advise.

It's the EXACT same as giving away a free photo of the week or whatever it is on Istock.

Or you know what else it's like, it's like using those 'idiots' over at sxc that are fool enough to give away their photos in order to promote your work. But you won't say no to that out of principal will you? No. Because it serves your own interests and that is ALL you're interested in.

I think you're mixing up posts.  Your quote was from the original post about doing an entire photo shoot for free.  You've munged that about to be something about selling product based on giving out advise.  Of course, someone selling product wants to draw in customers by giving advice on the products they sell.  Was that your point?  I can't tell.

Hey, if you want to give away your work to promote mine, why would I say no?  Doesn't seem very sensible for you, but I can't control your desires.

Well what's the point in attacking Carla about giving advise away for free, when you're happy to ride on the back of your peers work that THEY give away for free. Why is your point of view valuable to us at all, since if what she did benefited you, you wouldn't tell her to stop doing it then would you?

« Reply #60 on: September 16, 2009, 05:48 »
0
Well what's the point in attacking Carla about giving advise away for free, when you're happy to ride on the back of your peers work that THEY give away for free. Why is your point of view valuable to us at all, since if what she did benefited you, you wouldn't tell her to stop doing it then would you?

Sorry, I mixed up her post and someone else's.  Of course you don't charge for advise when you are selling product.  But that's not "working for free".  That's part of the business overhead and time that should be figured into the cost of the product.  If you're selling product at a loss and standing around all giving out advise, well, then maybe that isn't the best business model.

btw, "attacking"?  A little dramatic, don't you think?

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #61 on: September 16, 2009, 05:53 »
0
Well what's the point in attacking Carla about giving advise away for free, when you're happy to ride on the back of your peers work that THEY give away for free. Why is your point of view valuable to us at all, since if what she did benefited you, you wouldn't tell her to stop doing it then would you?

Sorry, I mixed up her post and someone else's.  Of course you don't charge for advise when you are selling product.  But that's not "working for free".  That's part of the business overhead and time that should be figured into the cost of the product.  If you're selling product at a loss and standing around all giving out advise, well, then maybe that isn't the best business model.

btw, "attacking"?  A little dramatic, don't you think?

Quote
How is this a "profession", when you don't make any money?

Not when questioning someone's professionalism no.. and I am glad you didn't address that to Carla, because I think her business model is real, and it's what we all have to do.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #62 on: September 16, 2009, 06:00 »
0
Why I dont charge anything?
Easy.
Nobody in my profession does  (at least not in my country).
The moment I charge my customers money for my advice they are gone. Next retail is directly on the other side of the street.

Its just a sad reality in modern business that sometimes you have to work for free. Nevertheless I like my profession, and I knew about this before I started, so I wont complain too much...

So if you give free advice and they go buy on the internet, how do you make money?  It sounds like you might be in retail sales.

If the advice is not worth paying for why don't they just get the information on the internet where they buy their products?



« Reply #63 on: September 16, 2009, 06:00 »
0
Quote
How is this a "profession", when you don't make any money?

Not when questioning someone's professionalism no..

"profession" != "professionalism"

profession = "occupation or career"
occupation = "An activity that serves as one's regular source of livelihood"

So, you see, questioning whether working for free qualifies as a "profession" is questionable.  Glad I could clear that up for you.

Quote
and I am glad you didn't address that to Carla, because I think her business model is real, and it's what we all have to do.

She said she sells medical related products in a store and gives out free advise on those products.  I'm not sure that's what "we all have to do".  I do give out "free" advise to iStockphoto buyers on my blog, but I have that figured into my overhead costs.  If I weren't making enough to spend the promotional time on it, I would shift gears to something that would cover my paycheck.

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #64 on: September 16, 2009, 06:13 »
0
Quote
How is this a "profession", when you don't make any money?

Not when questioning someone's professionalism no..

"profession" != "professionalism"

profession = "occupation or career"
occupation = "An activity that serves as one's regular source of livelihood"

So, you see, questioning whether working for free qualifies as a "profession" is questionable.  Glad I could clear that up for you.

Quote
and I am glad you didn't address that to Carla, because I think her business model is real, and it's what we all have to do.

She said she sells medical related products in a store and gives out free advise on those products.  I'm not sure that's what "we all have to do".  I do give out "free" advise to iStockphoto buyers on my blog, but I have that figured into my overhead costs.  If I weren't making enough to spend the promotional time on it, I would shift gears to something that would cover my paycheck.

You questioned her RIGHT to call her chosen career her 'profession', because she gives advice for free. And you don't know that this 'advise giving' isn't factored into her costs, you are presuming.. and you also ride the back of other people's free work without advising them not to do it, so your opinion is worth nothing.

« Reply #65 on: September 16, 2009, 06:23 »
0
You questioned her RIGHT to call her chosen career her 'profession', because she gives advice for free. And you don't know that this 'advise giving' isn't factored into her costs, you are presuming.. and you also ride the back of other people's free work without advising them not to do it, so your opinion is worth nothing.

Sigh.  Again, I crossed her post with someone else's when I questioned whether how you it was a "profession" if she was working for free.  Again, as I mentioned, a "profession" is something one does to earn a livelihood.  So if she is selling product, that is her "profession" - the advice is something she does towards that goal.  Again, this all falls under the "crossed post" note.  Clear yet?

I'm not advising anyone to do anything.  Apparently you're having a bad day.  I'd suggest another few hours of sleep.

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #66 on: September 16, 2009, 06:31 »
0
You questioned her RIGHT to call her chosen career her 'profession', because she gives advice for free. And you don't know that this 'advise giving' isn't factored into her costs, you are presuming.. and you also ride the back of other people's free work without advising them not to do it, so your opinion is worth nothing.

Sigh.  Again, I crossed her post with someone else's when I questioned whether how you it was a "profession" if she was working for free.  Again, as I mentioned, a "profession" is something one does to earn a livelihood.  So if she is selling product, that is her "profession" - the advice is something she does towards that goal.  Again, this all falls under the "crossed post" note.  Clear yet?

I'm not advising anyone to do anything.  Apparently you're having a bad day.  I'd suggest another few hours of sleep.

lol! I'm having a great day. I just know exactly what you are. And I do understand you mis-posted, I responded to your inability to understand how the word professionalism relates to profession, they aren't poles apart you know..  :)

Suggest moving swiftly on.

_______________________________

Thanks to everyone for their point of view by the way, I've been reading this over the last few days and your opinions have been really helpful!!!


« Reply #67 on: September 16, 2009, 06:49 »
0
I think everyone in business, at some point during their work week, gives away advice for free. But when doing the free stuff starts using so much time that there isn't any left to do the stuff that pays, that, for me, is when it is time to move to another career or do something drastically different with the business model.

If I have 600 pictures in my portfolio, and I want to offer one for free for 30 days, I'm still making money on the 599. That still earns me a living. If I offer 599 pictures for free all year, and only one makes me money, well you see what has happened.

I think this is the point Sean was trying to make.

Carla is in a bad position...everyone else offers exactly what she offers, free stuff. Carla will need to find some way to change the balance of free vs paying. It might be very difficult for her to do that. Maybe offer more tangible products that are higher in demand and no one else carries that will earn her money to cover the free advice she gives?

For what it's worth, that is happening EVERYWHERE. Isn't that the exact same discussion we have here on the forums every once in awhile? The "professional" photographers think microstockers have ruined the industry because they sell a photo for $1.00 instead of $100.

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #68 on: September 16, 2009, 07:26 »
0
I think everyone in business, at some point during their work week, gives away advice for free. But when doing the free stuff starts using so much time that there isn't any left to do the stuff that pays, that, for me, is when it is time to move to another career or do something drastically different with the business model.

If I have 600 pictures in my portfolio, and I want to offer one for free for 30 days, I'm still making money on the 599. That still earns me a living. If I offer 599 pictures for free all year, and only one makes me money, well you see what has happened.

I think this is the point Sean was trying to make.

Carla is in a bad position...everyone else offers exactly what she offers, free stuff. Carla will need to find some way to change the balance of free vs paying. It might be very difficult for her to do that. Maybe offer more tangible products that are higher in demand and no one else carries that will earn her money to cover the free advice she gives?

For what it's worth, that is happening EVERYWHERE. Isn't that the exact same discussion we have here on the forums every once in awhile? The "professional" photographers think microstockers have ruined the industry because they sell a photo for $1.00 instead of $100.

It's not quite the point Sean was making, because he would never give away an actual image for free, and considers those that do so to be idiots pretty much! But I do get the point that YOU are making, which is that free is relative, and actually, this really applies to the topic.. in the case of microstock it might be giving away one photo, with the balance of 599 left, in the case of fashion photography, it's giving away one shoot, with the balance of (unknown number) paid shoots..

I guess really what it comes down to is having a great business sense and financial tracking, unfortunately most photographers struggle with this! It's also to be expected that if you give something away, people will not value it, and that's just an unfortunate aspect of human psychology.. so you might well get no thanks (or a door slammed in your face after they take your free image and run), sad but, the more they pay, the better they treat you.. it's a balance everyone needs to find..

« Reply #69 on: September 16, 2009, 07:33 »
0
I remember seeing something on TV years ago. They tried to give fivers away on the street to passers by, not catch, over half were to suspicious to accept.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #70 on: September 16, 2009, 07:33 »
0
I think everyone in business, at some point during their work week, gives away advice for free. But when doing the free stuff starts using so much time that there isn't any left to do the stuff that pays, that, for me, is when it is time to move to another career or do something drastically different with the business model.

Well said.

Yes, I do give away some time. But the purpose of that is to give the potential client an idea of how I work and my level of expertise so they get comfortable with me. So I give a little advice and then at some point I nicely let them know if they want more it's time to pay. If they're not willing to pay then that's exactly the point, all they want is free advice. The problem comes when they keep asking for advice and you keep giving it. They're not going to stop until you do. At some point it's time to shift the conversation to doing business.

And like you said, if this isn't realistic for the industry and you're not making money, something needs to be done to change the process or it's time to change industries. Like become recognized as an absolute expert in the product. So when someone says "well nobody else charges for advice, why do you?" You can say "because nobody else knows as much about medical equipment and how it can help you than I do."

I was at a trade show yesterday and there was a photographer there doing free headshots. This could be a good way of getting new business. But what if the people who got the freebies kept coming back later saying "can I get just one more free headshot? It will only take a few minutes and not cost you anything, right?" And the photographer just keeps doing free shots hoping someday someone will eventually pay. Pretty poor business practice.

« Reply #71 on: September 16, 2009, 09:25 »
0
Well, at least Cathy understood what I was saying.

And this whole thread was not about doing one free shoot in return for an unknown number of paid shoots.

« Reply #72 on: September 16, 2009, 12:21 »
0
No, I didn't get that the thread was about doing one free shoot in order to get more business. I got that the thread was about working for free just because the industry says so.

And if someone does think that's ok, they can't really post a blog about how awful the company that they did the free work is. They should look in the mirror and place the blame where it's due.

« Reply #73 on: September 16, 2009, 12:55 »
0
I think its a good time for you microstockers to pause and thank heavens that youre part of an industry where high-quality contracts that reward you handsomely for your work are the norm, an industry where 99% of you do not work for free, an industry where getting published without a credit is so rare, an industry where agencies are so fair and sensitive that its truly hard to understand why anyone would want to be someone elses photography slave, an industry
you are dripping with sarcasm, right?

« Reply #74 on: September 16, 2009, 13:22 »
0
Her complaint, as I understand it, centered around the fact that
A) Her editorial got hacked to pieces and more importantly...
B) She DID get credit but the others who were part of her creative team did NOT.


No, I didn't get that the thread was about doing one free shoot in order to get more business. I got that the thread was about working for free just because the industry says so.

And if someone does think that's ok, they can't really post a blog about how awful the company that they did the free work is. They should look in the mirror and place the blame where it's due.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #75 on: September 16, 2009, 19:36 »
0
Well, at least Cathy understood what I was saying.

And this whole thread was not about doing one free shoot in return for an unknown number of paid shoots.

I'm pretty sure the overall theme was someone doing work for free with the assumption she would get something out of it that would land her and the team more work in the future. And she was disappointed when she didn't get what she didn't ask for.

And I'm pretty sure the OP asked for our opinions on what went wrong.

So, yes, this whole thread seems to be leaning toward what can happen when you do stuff for free hoping something good will come out of it.



 

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