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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Asking for Free Photos
Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 11:42 AM on 06.01.09
->> I received this email this morning from a newspaper wanting images from a game last Saturday. I have edited out all names as to not cause any embarrassment.

My name is ********* and I'm a sports writer for the *******News. ****** gave me your e-mail address, and I wanted to know if you could send me two photos from ***** national championship. I wanted a picture of pitcher ***** and Coach ***** We would give full credit for the photos, which will be in our paper tomorrow. If you could send them right away, that would be great. Thanks.

And this was a portion of my response:

Thank you for your email and I would be happy to send you some images for your paper, but we would have to be compensated for them. I would be happy to negotiate a price with you. While giving photo credit is nice, we have to pay bills too. We are a professional news agency and cover over 500 games a year across the country and we cannot give away our photos.

Now, all you photogs who are up and coming in the business, this is just ONE way to work and deal with someone asking for free photos. I'm sure there are many others. But whatever you do with your clients or potential clients, do NOT give away your photos. It is just plain unwise from a business point of you. It will hurt you and the entire photo industry if you do. Have restraint, be smart, be polite and most of all, be firm. Even if a deals fall through, if you are polite and business like, the client will have respect for you and might be able to pay you for future events.
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (1) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rob Kerr, Photographer
Bend | OR | US | Posted: 11:48 AM on 06.01.09
->> my gut wants to sarcastically ask what role a photo credit or byline in their professional journalism publication plays....

A) 'free advertising'?
B) credibility/attribution.
C) all of the above
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Philip Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Puyallup | WA | USA | Posted: 12:04 PM on 06.01.09
->> My name is ********* and I'm a photographer. ****** gave me your e-mail address, and I wanted to know if you could print 2 x 2 display advertisment. I wanted a full color ad. We would give thanks for the advertisment, which I would like in your paper tomorrow. If you could print it right away that would be great. Thanks.
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Shelley Cryan, Photographer
New England | CT | USA | Posted: 12:19 PM on 06.01.09
->> Willis, you're absolutely right. I'd have responded in a similar fashion -- and have many times. The only thing I would have added to a response email is a price for the two photos, with and without web usage (maybe you did that, too, and didn't mention it here). I would also have located a few horiz and vert images that fit their criteria and quickly put them in an online gallery, so they can see what I have.

Putting the price in the response email, along with a link to an online gallery, gets the ball rolling that much faster -- they need to decide right away if they want the pix for the next day's paper. The potential client can just take it or leave it, and I don't have to go back and forth with them, as the more the clock ticks, the less likely they'll be able to agree anyhow, because of time constraints. If they say yes, I simply follow through, and if they say no I go on with my other work.

In any case you're absolutely correct to advise colleagues to not give away their work for free to a money-making enterprise, and to be businesslike about being clear about your terms. It's just business.
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Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 12:24 PM on 06.01.09
->> I just heard back form the newspaper. Here is their email:

Thanks for getting back to me, and I'm sorry about the poor dealings you've had with our paper in the past. Unfortunately, I've been told by my editors that we don't compensate photographers, so I am unable to negotiate a price with you. Again, thanks for the response and I hope the opportunity will arise where we can work something out in the future.

And this was my response:

Again thanks for getting back to me on this. I understand where you guys are at, but Iím sorry, we just cannot give away our images. I wish you luck in the future and if you guys change your policy of compensating for photos, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to work with you.
Take care and again good luck.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 1:51 PM on 06.01.09
->> ...but you missed out on a PHOTO CREDIT! :-)

Ever notice how the people who ask you for free photos always have full-time jobs?
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 2:19 PM on 06.01.09
->> "Dear paper manufacturer,

"Thank you for your recent invoice. I'm sorry, but we don't compensate paper manufacturers. We'd be happy to give you a credit line in our next issue. How does, "This newspaper printed on XXXXX brand paper" sound?

"By the way, we need more paper to print this week's editions. It'd be great if you could send it right away.

Thanks!"
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James Escher, Photographer
Garden City | NY | USA | Posted: 2:26 PM on 06.01.09
->> Willis,

I thought you responded to their follow-up email appropriately. The only words I would have omitted were "I'm sorry."
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Jeff Martin, Photographer
wellington | OH | usa | Posted: 2:52 PM on 06.01.09
->> With so many willing free contributors, why wouldn't they ask for free photos?

I think your response was very business like, but I don't blame them for asking.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 3:00 PM on 06.01.09
->> Willis

What was the name of the paper?

--Mark
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 3:12 PM on 06.01.09
->> "the client will have respect for you and might be able to pay you for future events."...no, will not happen.

As newspapers become competitors to freelance photographers, the good old days of helping eachother as fading, and fading fast.

Willis, being nice is the way to go, no one needs to be rude. BTW, does your contact work for the editor for free &/or credit in the rag they run? Oops, I was not nice, sorry!
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 3:24 PM on 06.01.09
->> Willis even when tournaments or parents are WILLING TO PAY for the license to include a photo of their kid or tournament I've had papers turn down my license agreement. The license states that the fees are being paid by a third party and that the paper agrees to be bound by the terms of the agreement. The 'terms' generally state that the paper may run the photo ONCE in print and web use x7 days @ 600px. Only the paper(s) and website(s) named in the license are allow to use the photo, no sharing across multiple publications unless licensed. Photos must be credited to us, no "courtesy photo" tag. No reprints, and any unauthorized use will be invoiced at current industry rates for the publication in which the photo appears.

I've had 3 parents tell me that the papers (3 different ones with the same parent company) have stated that they will take photos only when no strings are attached. The parents have understood my position and supported us fully. I plan to place a copy of the license on my website so that I can stop emailing it out and just direct people to it.

As far as I'm concerned, if my credit never appears in a paper ever again, I'll cope.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 9:13 PM on 06.01.09
->> But they offered FULL credit!
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Tracyton | WA | USA | Posted: 12:09 AM on 06.02.09
->> Full credit does not do much these days unless you have the shot that everybody is america wants to see.

Stick to your guns and JUST SAY NO. When we start giving away free photos or taking less on photos we kill the market and once the market has gone down it will never go back up. Why would a paper want to pay if they can get it for free or why would they want to pay more down the road when at one time they got it for less then nothing.

We need to educate as many photographers out there that free or what ever money they can get is BAD BUSINESS all around.
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 12:22 AM on 06.02.09
->> I would have sent them a photo.....a photo of one my fingers.

just being sarcastic.
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Jeff Jones, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 2:45 AM on 06.02.09
->> I don't understand how these newspapers are able to "give credit" when every other business is having a hard time finding credit... not to mention people that want to buy cars and homes. Maybe GM should talk to the newspapers and see if they can have some of that credit to keep them running.

We NEED credit sometimes, don't we?

(and yes, this is my SARCASTIC voice).
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Philip Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Puyallup | WA | USA | Posted: 9:08 AM on 06.02.09
->> Seriously though, excellent reply. No need to burn bridges, even if they never go anywhere.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Princeton | IN | USA | Posted: 9:49 AM on 06.02.09
->> Really though, it takes some mighty big balls to email somebody you don't even know and ask for something free. And on top of that, then telling them your policy is you don't pay photographers.

I may not have even responded to begin with.
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Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 10:03 AM on 06.02.09
->> Folks,
The reason I responded the way I did, was as Phillip and several others have stated. "No need to burn bridges". You never know when this particular person might be in a position at another paper or place that might be able to pay you at a much higher rate. (of course anything is higher than free) You have no idea how many times, I want to come back with a sarcastic answer or really tear into someone, but I hold my tongue and I stay polite and most of all....professional. You can still be a real bastard, but if you do professionally, it comes across as being superior. Which in my opinion is what you want in this kind of situation. Show then that you above anger or for that matter, sarcasm. Try and educate them as much as possible without making them feel stupid. It is fine line to walk at times. This particular person was polite and seemed to understand that we need to be paid for images, so why kill the messenger?
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Adam Vogler, Photographer, Photo Editor
Kansas City | Mo. | USA | Posted: 11:01 AM on 06.02.09
->> The person your dealing with is not the one who created the policy and was probably just doing what they were told by their superior who most likely also didn't create the policy. If you feel the need to be snippy with someone why not call the corporate office.

I've been in a similar position myself, not looking for a free photo but to pay substantially less than market rate while at a different paper than I'm at now. What am I supposed to do tell the editor and publisher no when they tell my to e-mail or call?

This seemed to have been handle perfectly. Others who have posted earlier are right, I have a long memory and in the future I would be much more likely to throw some business the way of someone who acted as a professional manner than someone who acted like a jerk because they disliked (I hated it to by the way) a policy I had no control over.

Times are tough. The person on the other end of this is probably wondering how much longer they're going to have a job. There's no reason to be rude to them and you never know a few years down the road they may be in a position to give or withhold work that pays what its worth.
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John Plassenthal, Photographer
Vandalia | OH | USA | Posted: 1:12 PM on 06.02.09
->> A friend and I were talking about the state of newspapers and with so many losing money, the main reason is lack of quality. Why would anyone want to read a paper that has poor grammer, lousy content, and crappy photos. The more "free" junk they load into the paper, the less people want it. As long as the bean counters keep focusing on $ instead of quality the decline will continue.

As a side note, we were speculating about when a newspaper will get a bailout and follow the route of GM and become a state run business. but that is fodder for another time and a different thread.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 1:25 PM on 06.02.09
->> In a less serious note - careful about knocking papers concerning their poor "grammer", John.
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Dave Breen, Photographer
Somerset | PA | USA | Posted: 5:05 PM on 06.02.09
->> I believe Kelsey is the only one who spells it that way.
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Dave Breen, Photographer
Somerset | PA | USA | Posted: 5:07 PM on 06.02.09
->> And I should have added I'm with Willis 100%. Sarcasm and an "up yours" attitude may fly in a forum, but not when dealing with a potential client.
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Thomas Campbell, Photographer
Houston/San Antonio | TX | USA | Posted: 12:27 AM on 06.03.09
->> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a8TRSgzZY
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:29 AM on 06.03.09
->> I shake my head. The cuts just keep on, the loss of quality is accelerating, and yet the geniuses that make these decisions keep wondering why things are getting worse.

Getting more quality than you pay for is the secret. Cutting your best people is the business version of pouring gas on the fire.

Willis, my friend, you handled it well.

Michael
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Daniel Hayduk, Photographer
Kelowna | BC | Canada | Posted: 2:03 AM on 06.03.09
->> Along the lines of Thomas' link...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

"Would you go to a gas station and ask for free gas?"

cheers-
/daniel
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James Madelin, Photographer
AKL | Auckland | New Zealand | Posted: 5:47 AM on 06.03.09
->> quote: "No need to burn bridges". You never know when this particular person might be in a position at another paper, etc.

just curious, but has anyone ever known this to happen. ever? it's certainly never happened to me or any shooter i know. people used to getting stuff for free will ALWAYS expect it for free in my experience.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 6:46 AM on 06.03.09
->> I really try to be polite about it when it happens, and not from a "burning bridges" perspective. Many times the person you are talking to is not a person who can change the policy. They're just doing a job...and if they're in a position where their boss is asking them to hit photographers up for free photos, you know the rest of their gig can't be that great.

It's sort of like yelling at the kid at McDonald's for making a mistake on your order. He's making minimum wage serving greasy food, and the food you just bought cost more than he's going to make in an entire hour. Why in the world would you yell at someone in such a position?
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Kevin Sperl, Photographer
Gilford | nh | USA | Posted: 9:54 AM on 06.03.09
->> The other day when food shopping and after the cashier had finished ringing up the food I suggested to her that if she gave me the groceries for free I would be happy to tell everyone that I knew where I got them.
She looked at me kind of funny.....
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Dano Keeney, Photographer
Greensboro | NC | USA | Posted: 7:49 PM on 06.04.09
->> "You have no idea how many times, I want to come back with a sarcastic answer or really tear into someone..."
Yes I do... I interned with you. Hahaha.
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Steve Samoyedny, Photographer
Clark Mills | NY | USA | Posted: 8:14 PM on 06.04.09
->> This has been happening for some time now--ever since newspapers and the local television stations have gone online. They can't afford to pay their own staff to go and get the content they need to fill all the space so they ask the public to send in news photos and free sports photos for a chance to see their name in print.

Those of us who are legit and trying to eek out a living are having to compete with this mentality.

I agree with W Glasgow--be polite, say thank you--but please don't give away your work!!

The other side of this is: I have so many people come up to me at games that I'm shooting at and they want me to tell them my settings, what's the best way to shoot action, how do I do this?? Now I respond, trying to be polite and funny, I charge $50.00 cash for a ten minute seminar, do you want to start now?

Steve
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 12:26 PM on 06.05.09
->> Steve, when a gwc wants advice, I tell them to keep shooting and try different settings, and read their manual. If you ask me to set their camera for them, I politely say: "My attorney does not allow me to touch other people's equipment." Which is actually true!
But I have found that most people who spend a ton on "fancy" cameras will continue to buy from us.

The only newspaper guys who I am dealing with outside of the paper they used to work with are shooters looking to take my business. Layed off editors and writers I have no idea where they go. I am still amazedhow many papers use my images, with a copyright on the back, and just put submitted photo on it.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Princeton | IN | USA | Posted: 12:45 PM on 06.05.09
->> David, I understand your point. It seems useless to get upset with some teenager who makes min. wage. I don't see anything wrong with talking to the kid at the counter at McDonald's.

Concerns have to have a way of reaching the management and the kid is the first contact, or in our discussion regarding the request for free photos, the photo editor emailing you is the initial contact. If he shares Willis' polite but defined response with the editor, they will get the message that not everyone is giving away their work.
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Rick Rowell, Photographer, Photo Editor
Vista | CA | USA | Posted: 1:56 PM on 06.05.09
->> James Madelin. It has happened to me a few times in my 26 years of photography in the Los Angeles area. People change careers and jobs open and close all the time. I've picked up work from newspaper editors that became photo agency editors. newspaper writers that became freelance public relations and magazine writers. So on and so on..... If their is one constant reality about the news and entertainment business, it's CHANGE !!! It may never happen to you, but here in this country where newspapers are falling one after the other, these editors and writers are going to go somewhere else. Will they remember you as a good person to work with or as that smart ass know it all that pissed them off. You decide.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 2:24 PM on 06.05.09
->> I agree with Sam. Some of my best customers have been moms with cameras. Not all the time, but in general, these are also the same people who know how hard it is to make great photos.

I have been getting quite a few requests for my license agreement. So rather than to be a slave to the mailbox here is a link to it.

http://www.bridgewatersports.com/main%20site%20html%20files/license.html

This is a modification of a license that I used for newspapers for many years. Truthfully THIS ONE has not been reviewed by my lawyer. It is in a pile of other documents to be revised/reviewed later this summer. It must be good as 3 of the last 5 newspapers have turned it down. Maybe the other 2 didn't read it ;)
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 6:19 PM on 06.05.09
->> If the kid behind the counter screwed up my order, damn right I'm going to yell at him.

However, I'm not going to yell at him because of subpar ingredients or because they've changed the policy on condiments.

Just because somebody makes minimum wage doesn't absolve them from doing a decent job. Doing a good job at minimum wage is what gets you out of minimum wage jobs.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 11:15 PM on 06.05.09
->> If the kid behind the counter screwed up my order, damn right I'm going to yell at him.

Yelling at someone that screws up your order does nothing but make you feel better. It has nothing to do with teaching the kid ANYHTING. You're not their teacher, their boss or anyone they even respect. You're just a person who at this point is out to make their life more miserable than it already is. The kid on the other side of the counter just never wants to see you again. Chances are, the manager feels the same way.

Orders get screwed up, and yeah, it's annoying and they should fix it. Everytime I've asked they always have...and many times they'll toss something in for free for the trouble. But yelling at them over screwing up an order for a few bucks of greasy food? C'Mon. Life is definitely too short for that kind of nonsense.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 11:16 PM on 06.05.09
->> Should be ANYTHING. Typos are so much worse in all caps. :-)
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 6:35 AM on 06.06.09
->> I have no problems making myself feel better when I'm paying good money for bad service.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 8:35 AM on 06.06.09
->> Of course the 35 orders prior to yours that he did correctly aren't significant. It's just yours - the one he screwed up - that matters.

For me, I like to get to know someone before I spend time YELLING at them. Find out if they're really a screw up. See if it's a trend. I can't really make that call in a single 2-minute encounter.

Yelling is an artform. Don't waste it on a stranger.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 10:03 AM on 06.06.09
->> I have a policy about yelling at food service people...a little OT but good advice. NEVER yell at people responsible for bringing you food. Especially at a fast food restaurant.
If you're upset be calm, rational and polite, NEVER yell. Trust me, you just never know what a minimum wage teenager might do to your order to get revenge and satisfy the need to one up a rude customer.....
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Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 1:33 PM on 06.06.09
->> Dano,
I meant with clietele....not with interns. Interns are especially fair game for sarcastic remarks and ripping in to......LOL
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 6:29 PM on 06.06.09
->> "NEVER yell at people responsible for bringing you food."

The movie, Waiting, right Chuck.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 8:23 PM on 06.06.09
->> David,

I see you're taking the word "yelling" quite literally. I don't yell. I communicate in the fashion most suitable to the task at hand.

Chuck
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Thread Title: Asking for Free Photos
Thread Started By: Willis Glassgow
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