By Mark Loundy
Since the industry is in jeopardy, this month, the category is "Potpourri."
Some photographers will accept an exciting assignment, no matter how poorly it pays.
Photo buyers have come to realize that many photographers are starry-eyed romantics who know little about business. Until young photographers realize that photo buyers see them as easy pickings to be had for little more than a photo credit, then this industry will not recover.
Why would anybody even want to work in a profession that offered them so little respect?
If you write and shoot, remember that both are billable services. Using one as a loss leader for the other is like leaving money on the table.
Veteran automotive photographer and writer Thom Cannell says, "Most magazines want writers to submit photos - ugh! Yet if you are a lousy photographer or cannot make photographs, they will hire a photographer and pay them. When I write, I get $150-$500+ per page. If I shoot I get X per assignment or whatever the contract is. If I write and shoot I (used to) get only page rate, not X + X, thus depriving me of additional income or a photographer of a job.
"Consequently I have stated to all my clients, 'If you want the kind of photographic work you are used to getting, my company supplies writers and photographers. Each is a billable service. It is your choice.' I have met no resistance on this point.
"So if you write and shoot," says Cannell, "please wise up and renegotiate, even with your old clients. They may well understand how your costs have increased (you're not going to tell them you've seen the Cost of Doing Business light!) and that you can no longer include extra services. If not..."
I'm mad as, uh, heck!
ARRRGGHH! I'm getting more than a little fed-up with photographers asking about what various outlets will pay for this and that. We are businesspeople. We have our own costs and our own fees.
The plumber does not come to my house and ask me how much I will pay to have my house re-plumbed. The checker at the grocery store does not ask me how much I'll pay for Reese's Pieces.
Conversely, if I think that one grocery store is too expensive or doesn't supply the services that I want, I go to another one. That's the way business is supposed to work.
This going to clients, hat in hand, and saying, "Please sir, can I have some more?" is getting old. It's time for it to end.