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Common Cents Column On The Cost of Doing Business

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Portions of this column were originally written for the June 2015 edition of News Photographer Magazine.

Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.

The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.

September 2015, Volume 140
By Mark Loundy

"Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart."

— Thomas Fuller

The Good
Bullet The academic journal, Labor for calling a freelancer to confirm that she received payment. Unheard of.

The Bad
Bullet Creative and advertiser match-up site, Zooppa, for its all-rights and indemnification clauses in its membership agreement.

The Ugly
Bullet PRCA Properties' Pro Rodeo agreement. Indemnity clause, individual release requirement and worst of all, the clause, "Licensee understands and agrees that photographs will in no way cast a negative light on professional rodeo, its members or its events."
Bullet The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for its "Friday Night Lights" football camp gig. Fifty bucks for "50-100 edited photos," which are due the same night. That they are looking for a "student photographer" only makes it worse. Not only is the rate unconscionable, but also they're teaching students that work for a major metro is unprofitable. Wait, that's a good thing.

Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.

  • The next time you're negotiating with a non-profit, arm yourself with some information about how they spend their money. Check out
  • This past May, the NPPA offered membership in Blink as a new member benefit. Blink is distributed employee management platform that organizations can use to locate and hire freelancers, including photographers. Be sure to read Blink's terms of service, though. It contains an indemnification clause that would be a deal breaker for me.
  • There has been a lot of concern about how cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Amazon Photo deal with professional content. Petapixel went over the terms of service of five of the largest companies and gave them all passing grades. Phew!