If I’ve directed you to this page, the chances are you’ve asked me for free photos, or at least offered no reasonable compensation. Photography is my job, and whilst I do enjoy it, it also costs money. If you’re following the RSS feed, or e-mail, feel free to skip this post.
I am normally pretty fine about sharing smaller, watermarked jpegs (like the ones on the site), unless of course the photo is going to be used commercially. What I’m not OK with is people expecting me to send them photos, without even asking me nicely. I have also on occasion been willing to donate my time (and photos) for a charity project. I’ll just go over a few points, and hopefully, after reading you still feel like you’d like to work with me.
Photography Is My Job
If you want to use a photo, that means there is some value to the photo. This means my hard work, deserves compensation. How do you feel playing shows without getting paid when people obviously enjoyed you?
You Can’t Afford It
Then don’t use photos. Or maybe you can afford it but would rather try and get something for nothing? I know in my time in bands I paid photographers for promo shots, I spent a small fortune on amps, basses, strings, leads, travel, recording time, CD duplication, rehearsal time, and no doubt many other little things that build up. If you need to use photos, make room for it in your budget.
Before you start with the argument that photo credit is a suitable reward, there are a few things you should think about.
- If photo credit alone is enough payment, when can a photographer actually earn any money?
- Have you ever tried paying your rent using photo credit? Shockingly, most landlords don’t accept this form of payment.
- When you’ve been looking through a music magazine, have you ever actually looked for who shot the photos? No? As far as exposure goes I’m afraid it’s really not worth it.
Photo credit is a given. It goes along with the payment, not instead of it. My name has appeared alongside photos in plenty of local magazines, national magazines, and even occasionally internationally. Do you think I’ve ever had someone e-mail me saying “I saw your work in X magazine”?
Personally I feel that walking up to a band member after a show and saying “Give me a free CD” is pretty disrespectful. It says I want your music to listen to, but don’t value it enough to pay. In the same way, sending a photographer a message saying “Send me some photos!” is just as disrespectful.
You may not realise that copyright is exactly the same for my photos as it is for your songs. So have a think, and tell me if you’d appreciate someone asking for your songs in the same way.
I’m a laid back person. I know bands can’t afford much to show fans pictures of every show. I’m not evil. So if you’d like photos, feel free to send me a short note saying you’d love to use some photos, you can’t afford to pay, but want to share the photos with your fans. As long as you’re polite, and show respect to the value of my work, more often than not I’ll be happy to send you a few shots, low res, watermarked. If you want it for something commercial (like an advert), send me a message, tell me your budget, and we can work out something reasonable that won’t hurt your music career, or damage my career.
This post may well be updated should people send really weird requests that I feel need to be covered.