Friday, February 13, 2009

You are seller; they are buyer

"If the agency provides its own contract, I cross everything out that is duplicated in my agreement, only letting stand things that are not covered in my agreement. As the photographer, you are the seller; they are the buyer. The idea that they should dictate the terms by which you run your business is ridiculous. However, so many photographers have given in to this practice that it has set a terrible precedent. Don't perpetuate this practice by allowing it." --Ira Gostin

As an emerging photographer and an experienced assistant, I still struggle with pricing, standing up for myself, and asking for what's fair. But, imagine walking into Kmart and saying "I don't really want to pay $40 for these pants; I only have $15... Oh, and if you could gift wrap that for me at no extra cost, that would be swell."

It's a hard lesson to learn, especially for those of us early in our careers. We're so eager to land a job that we're willing to work for pennies. But, as we get more experienced and realize that those pennies don't go very far, we start to curse the next round of newbies doing the same thing.

We should ask ourselves if doing the job for less than the more experienced photographer means the client will accept crummy pictures. I don't think so. If they expect a high quality result, they should pay for it, no matter how many years the photographer has under his belt. We should also ask ourselves how we'll feel in ten years when we see that image that we gave away still being used by some company, that paid us nothing to make it.


Virginia photographer said...

Yesterday, as I swore and cursed my way around my disorganized garage, I internally pondered now proud I was of two young photographers I had just talked with. Both repeated conversations they had with buyers and both said..." I asked them what the usage was...." Words of wisdom and experience, it was music to my ears.
I'd like to thank my young friends for the hope they provide for a prolonged and healthy profession.

There are so many factors to pricing these one-of-a-kind jobs but usage is huge.. Hopefully we can follow it up with a quality product - but those jeans you mentioned have a lot behind them from just appearing magically on the shelf. Respect other peoples prices and you'll respect your own.