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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Freelancing and Spec work .....
Doug Steinbock, Photographer
West Springfield | MA | USA | Posted: 7:15 AM on 07.26.07
->> So, I just discovered my work on ESPN.com and wonder why I never got paid. I'm now also wondering where else my work has appeared and I haven't been paid.

I freelanced for US Presswire back in 2006. It was suppose to be a 50/50 split. I guess I now know the meaning of "Free" in freelance.

I'm wondering how many other ss.members have had the same problems with this group.

Here is the link...

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/preview2006/columns/story?columnist=hays_grah...
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Dennis Wierzbicki, Photographer
Plainfield | IL | USA | Posted: 8:29 AM on 07.26.07
->> Doug,

I've wondered the same thing. How did you even find out about your image being used?

I periodically do a Google search with my name and the name of the wires I've work for in the search block, but that won't catch the images where the credit is embedded within the photo.

My supposition is that any wire service or other client for whom you've worked on spec. wouldn't be able to keep freelancers if they regularly failed to pay for work that gets picked up, so it's in their best interest to pay.

Is there any other way of knowing when and where your work gets published?
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Scott Schild, Photographer
Potsdam | NY | United States | Posted: 8:33 AM on 07.26.07
->> I shot for WireImage, they did not cut a check till my earnings reached $50. The only advantage to shooting was national exposure. There is little to no money to be made. All of the .com's have contracts with WireImage and get pictures for their websites for next to nothing, around $5....then we get our 50% cut. I say we all boycott its not worth our time...that is after we get one or two pictures published nationaly.
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Doug Steinbock, Photographer
West Springfield | MA | USA | Posted: 8:40 AM on 07.26.07
->> Hey Dennis,

" ...wouldn't be able to keep freelancers"

They don't!

The turnover is extremely high... yet, there is an endless stream of photog's willing to give it a shot. Of course, at their own expense!
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 9:06 AM on 07.26.07
->> scott, I hate to break this to you but "national exposure"? the one thing many of us in the business have found to be more often true than not is no one (except maybe shooters) look at photo credits. this may upset some folks but it's true. anyone who submits photos, for the $2.50 you alluded to, needs to have their head examined. all the fretting on this site about the state of the business is a direct result of cause and effect. if you "give" away photos, you demean and devalue everyone elses work. I totally understand the "trying to get a foot in the door" mentality but if you're not getting paid who are you hurting beside's yourself? everyone. if folks would stop giving away photos maybe things would get better for everyone. maybe not. I don't know. but they sure wouldn't get worse. and perhaps the sidelines/baselines wouldn't be filled shoulder to shoulder. a novel concept, heh?
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Karl Stolleis, Photographer
Santa Fe | NM | USA | Posted: 12:02 PM on 07.26.07
->> Now you know why there are so many strings on here devoted to NOT undervaluing your work. Folks working on spec, giving away work for "exposure" ect have been killing the biz for years. You have just experienced, in real terms, what all those folks have been talking about.
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Mike Brice, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 12:58 PM on 07.26.07
->> Chuck,

My mom always looked at the photo credits.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:34 PM on 07.26.07
->> mike, bravo to your mom! it always amazes me that lots of my friends, who KNOW I work for the newspaper, will talk about a photo they saw in the paper then give me an incredulous look when I say..."oh yeah I took that". it's sad but true...not many people read credit lines. I've been thinking about changing my name to Fabulous Photo. Then people could say "hey that photo is Fab"....call me "Fab" ...or even better..."Mr. Photo". 8)
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Tom Fluegge, Photographer, Assistant
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 1:37 PM on 07.26.07
->> Doug,

My suggestion would be to contact someone in the agency directly if you haven't already.

http://uspresswire.com/pages/ContactUs

Ed would be a good start.

Tom
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Vincent Johnson, Photo Editor, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 1:50 PM on 07.26.07
->> We need to start with making the future photographers aware of the shady side of this industry.

Any of you college students on Sports Shooter should ask your photo teachers to spend some more time on the business side of being a photojournalist or photographer in general. Especially the part about knowing when your getting the shaft.

The only business advice I ever got in 4 years as a photojournalism student was from the teacher of my stock photo class.

She said, if you start your own photo agency you'll have to decide whether you'll be shooting or doing the business side. Because there are only a very few people who have ever managed to do both successfully.

In 4 years that was it, short of put together a portfolio.

I know run my own company & do both aspects & it's nowhere near as successful as it would be if I only did one.
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Darren Carroll, Photographer
Cedar Creek (Austin) | TX | USA | Posted: 2:36 PM on 07.26.07
->> I'm not sure what our business is more littered with: "agencies" that take advantage of inexperienced photographers by promising them everything from credentials to financial success when asking them to shoot on spec, or those who, like Doug above, have learned the hard way how empty most of those promises turn out to be.

Vincent speaks above about the need to "mak[e] the future photographers aware of the shady side of this industry." A very good point. But keep in mind that there used to be many, many names you'd recognize who would come here and share the benefit of their significant experience with younger photographers in the hope that they wouldn't fall for things like this.

The problem is, whenever someone attempts to point out not only the futility of working (and I use that term very, very loosely) under such an arrangement, but also its impact on the business as a whole, he or she is dismissed (usually by those who run such agencies, or by the very rare photographer who manages to recoup most of his expenses working this way) as a "whiner," or an "old timer" or some such. I know of one case where a photographer was threatened with legal action and the implication of career trouble by someone who runs such an enterprise--his offense, apparently, being that he tried to warn others not to believe everything they read or heard about a particular agency.

Consequently, the very people who can make an impact on the situation, and who have the reputations to be taken seriously on the subject, don't post here anymore, presumably to the delight of those who can now run unfettered through the ranks of college kids and (talented, no doubt) part-time up-and-coming photographers as they recruit the ever-hopeful neophytes to replace those who have walked away, having come to the same unfortunate realization that Doug did: it just isn't worth it.

The inexperienced and unsuspecting, however, are now left to their own devices to learn a difficult lesson, as Doug has. As I have in the past, I can't help but commend him for having the good sense (and the cojones) to share his experience with everyone.

I can only hope people reading this who might be contemplating this kind of spec "work" take his experience to heart.
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Doug Steinbock, Photographer
West Springfield | MA | USA | Posted: 3:26 PM on 07.26.07
->> Darren,

Great comments...and yes, I've learned. Between event parking, tolls, and gas at $3.00 plus per gallon, it would cost me $50-$75 per game. Tack on 10-12 hours of my time and it just wasn't worth it to me. Oh, and let's not forget 2-MK II's, a 400mm, and an assortment of other gear.

Sure it's a ton of fun shooting the Sox at Fenway Park or the Pat's in the playoffs, but, a fella needs to make a living. From my experiences, and the many folks who have contacted me privately, You'll never make enough to cover expenses. Forget about making a living and supporting a family.

I have yet to see a single penny for my efforts shooting pro sports. I never expected to get wealty from this. But, I did expect to cover expenses and make a few bucks.

It didn't work for me.
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Matawan | NJ | United States | Posted: 5:27 PM on 07.26.07
->> Folks, Listen to what Darren said. There is a lot of truth and wisdom in his words, words that come from experience.
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Paul Nelson, Photographer
Temperance | MI | USA | Posted: 5:59 PM on 07.26.07
->> Doug,

Throw in equipment insurance, food, time away from family, and time spend gaining credential status, let alone studying the sport you're covering (not as easy today as it was as a kid!) and you realize unless you sell the photos for profit or can get many clients/assignments, it starts becoming a break-even venture. Not so promising as a single career in my opinion....

This is a tough industry, and the more I read from fellow shooters on here, I'm not the only one seeing this...not at all.....
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Robert Seale, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 9:56 AM on 07.27.07
->> John Harrington has an interesting article on Presswire on his photo business blog (7/26/07).

http://photobusinessforum.blogspot.com/
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Bob Croslin, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | USA | Posted: 1:14 PM on 07.27.07
->> Wow, just wow! I've heard from a few friends over the years that Presswire was less than legit but Harrington's article is mind blowing.

Why anyone would do anything for Presswire is beyond me.
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Konstandinos Goumenidis, Photographer
San Francisco Bay Area | CA | USA | Posted: 2:22 PM on 07.27.07
->> Get a lawyer and do something about it. I have seen a lot of these "getting screwed" post since I joined the site but it seems it never changes. If you know who sold the photo to the mag and know how much they are selling their photos before hand then you should know what the photo is worth to them. For example why not ask for their image price list full spread, half page and see what they sell it for before signing a contract... thats my two sense. Why not take action and make people like this pay what you are worth instead of just letting them walk all over the photographer and let them know we have rights as well. Instead of not doing nothing and walking away and letting another young photographer go through the same thing you did why not get everyone who has been screwed and make a book about it and warn people... freedom of the press is a big thing.
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Michael McNamara, Photo Editor, Photographer
Lincoln | NE | USA | Posted: 11:20 PM on 07.27.07
->> Konstandinos, if you read the contract from Harrington's blog (linked in Robert Seale's post), Doug, or anybody who signs the contract, has no recourse.

Darren, thanks for the insight that you seem to provide over and over on this site. And yet, there are still some people who don't listen.
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Jeff Kowalsky, Photographer
West Bloomfield | MI | United States | Posted: 12:34 PM on 07.28.07
->> Robert, thank you for posting the link to John Harrington's blog. It was a very interesting read.

http://photobusinessforum.blogspot.com/
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Joseph Toth, Photographer
Cambridge | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 1:36 PM on 07.28.07
->> Can anyone copy that story from Harringtons blog into word or some other format? That site is blocked from the location I am at - ahhhh the joys of the military.

Joe
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer, Assistant
Galveston / Houston | TX | US | Posted: 11:18 AM on 07.29.07
->> Joseph, John Harrington is a member here (http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=3380). If you contact him directly I'm assuming he would be able to help you out with reading the article.
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John Lee, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 2:55 PM on 07.29.07
->> this thread shows us that there's some sketchy characters in every industry.

this needs to be spelled out VERY CLEARLY to young photographers who are trying, by any means necessary, to get credentialed for events. the desire for many young photographers to build up their sports portfolio blinds them from the snake charmers eager to take advantage of their ignorance.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 7:31 PM on 07.29.07
->> That site is blocked from the location I am at - ahhhh the joys of the military.

John Harrington has the information THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO HAVE. (I bet his book prices go up after this...)
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Joel Auerbach, Photographer
Fort Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 6:20 PM on 08.01.07
->> After reading this I can only comment that I have been with Presswire since the start and get checks on a regular basis! If you have a problem get in touch with the office as a photo can be overlooked in payment.
Also noticed a comment from Dennis Wierzbicki above who stated that he wondered the "same thing" however; after he turned in a portfolio he never became a shooter for Presswire so he must have us mixed up with whomever he was able to latch on to.
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Scott Rovak, Photographer
St. Louis | MO | USA | Posted: 7:04 PM on 08.01.07
->> I too have made money from USPresswire, and have issues with Harrington's blog. I will not discuss this topic on an open forum so feel free to email me with questions or comments.
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Dennis Wierzbicki, Photographer
Plainfield | IL | USA | Posted: 9:43 PM on 08.01.07
->> Joel Auerbach,

Since for some inexplicable reason you've decided to single me out, by name, for scrutiny and comment within this thread, allow me to respond.

Here's my quote:

"I've wondered the same thing."

"Wondering the same thing" is NOT equivalent to stating I had directly experienced the same thing.

My comment was directed at freelancing in general and, and how one "audits" when and where your work is used when you shoot on spec and expect to get paid. This would include spec/freelance work done for USPW or any of myriad other wire services, press agencies or periodicals. I mistakenly presumed readers would understand the context of my statement, but maybe I should have been more clear in my choice of words.

I am not currently, nor have I ever claimed to have worked for USPW. I addition, I have never "turned in a portfolio" to USPW as you state unless you consider sending a "cold" email to an individual inquiring about working with USPW to be the same thing as turning in a portfolio.
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Brad Smith, Photographer
Beijing | China | China | Posted: 10:48 PM on 08.01.07
->> Let me say first off, that I've been with USPresswire for several years now. While I haven't made a mint from them, I have been satisfied with the amount of compensation received for what I've done.

That being said, I do not understand why people keep putting John Harrington on a pedestal.

Especially after reading his blog entry on USPresswire, he comes across as being a bully with a holier-than-thou attitude. He should keep in mind how a blog is perceived, and his lack of impartiality should hopefully remind the reader that this article is only an opinion with limited, skewed facts.

Furthermore, let's keep in mind Harrington is not a lawyer. He does have experience in the business, but that does not make him an expert in the writing or interpreting of contracts. It could be a vast mistake to make thinking his layman's interpretation is correct.

What I'm saying here is that I'd ask people to make their own decisions based on their own experiences and fact, not hearsay. Also, sometimes a bit of communication wins the day.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 12:05 AM on 08.02.07
->> Brad,

I would consider John to be far more impartial than anybody with direct connections to the subject of the story.

I would also say that John qualifies as as much of an expert in the field of freelance editorial photography as anybody does.

(Disclaimer: I was the technical editor for John's book.)

--Mark
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Joel Auerbach, Photographer
Fort Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 8:13 AM on 08.02.07
->> Dennis Wierzbicki,

You are right and I must appologize to you, you never "sent a portfolio" in to USPW I think you just sent a link to your photos.

Rather than waste any more time on this if anyone does have a question regarding USPW feel free to email me off the board. I like other shooters, includinig Scott Rovak, Brad Smith, and others, have found that if you take the "right" photos they will be sold and you will get paid for them!
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Louis Brems, Photographer, Photo Editor
Rock Island | IL | United States | Posted: 9:19 AM on 08.02.07
->> Joel,
I tried to email you through the site here but it was sent back as a failed address.
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Mike Shepherd, Photographer
Wichita | KS | USA | Posted: 9:31 AM on 08.02.07
->> the point is that it's not about taking the right photos but for being farily compensated for all work completed. that, at the very least, implies payment of an assignment/creative fee and reimbursement of any expenses every time! if i cover an assignment for you, i expect to get paid for my time and abilities and not have any payment to me contingent upon whether you, as my "agency," can market and sell my photos, not give them away as a courtesy.

if i wanted to work for commission only, i'd sell cars.

(just to be clear, i am not nor ever have been under contract with USPW and no offense intended to any sportsshooter members who might also happen to sell cars.)
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Darren Carroll, Photographer
Cedar Creek (Austin) | TX | USA | Posted: 10:24 AM on 08.02.07
->> For those of you who seem to be equating having been paid with negating everything else (and there is a LOT of "everything else") in Mr. Harrington's piece, let's not lose sight of the fact that a company's ability to make money (or, in this case, pay its suppliers) is hardly the only thing which makes it a reputable, legitimate, and/or otherwise ethically upstanding enterprise.

If that were the case, there'd have been a lot less discussion devoted to the Enrons and Halliburtons of the world over the past few years.

In fact, this very minute there's another thread on the message board (
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=25864) discussing an organization that is looking for people willing to shoot NFL games for free in exchange for credentials and, maybe down the road apeice, the possibility of getting paid. Several members have already expressed concern, concern enough to e-mail the entity's principals and post their responses here, in a public forum.

But in the case at hand, there are a few of you encouraging others to e-mail privately if they want to discuss the issue or the organization. I ask: Why the reluctance to discuss this in an open forum? Why, to use my example of the other thread above, shouldn't this case be subject to similar, public scrutiny?

Isn't that what this site is (well, at least partially) about--the ability to discuss business decisions and that impact all of us, with as large an audience as possible? As someone said in the Harrington piece, "The advocacy of differences of opinion is healthy."

Or isn't it?
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Robert Seale, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 11:35 AM on 08.02.07
->> This is really simple stuff, folks.

John Harrington literally wrote the book on business practices for photographers, and he knows more about it than almost anyone in the industry. Disparaging him or his reputation is a waste of time. Would the truth be more palatable coming from Rick Rickman? Brian Smith? Richard Weisgrau? Seth Resnick?

Guess what?....... they've all said the same thing:

If you aren't covering your expenses AND making a profit, you are a HOBBYIST, not a PROFESSIONAL photographer.
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Jason Palmer, Photographer
Wichita Falls | TX | USA | Posted: 5:07 PM on 08.02.07
->> Amen Robert.
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 8:07 AM on 08.03.07
->> Robert's comment above gets one "inappropriate" and 2 "funny"
WHY???
What is funny, or inappropriate about his comment?

No wonder so many people no longer post on this board.
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Harvey Dunn, Photographer
Southlake (Dallas) | TX | USA | Posted: 11:37 AM on 08.03.07
->> Regarding the statement: "If you aren't covering your expenses AND making a profit, you are a HOBBYIST, not a PROFESSIONAL photographer."

In my opinion, that statement, while I am sure well intentioned, is at best an over-simplification. Basing whether or not someone is a "professional" on whether or not someone is "making a profit" or "covering expenses" is missing the point.

To me, the difference between a Professional and one who is not (whether you call them "hobbyists" or "Guy with a camera" or whatever) is all about the way in which the person deals with the business of photography and interacts with clients. It's all about ethics and business practices - which, admittedly, include economic aspects. That's the point here... what business practices are being and should be employed - for the benefit of the individual and for the benefit of the profession.

With best regards,
Harvey

(Aside and in the interests of full disclosure, as a relative newcomer to the business, I have accepted the fact that it may take a number of years to build a profitable practice. Note, too, even the IRS "gets it" and recognizes that one may be losing money (for at least some period of time) and still be engaged in a business, as opposed to a hobby.)
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Jon Gardiner, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:23 PM on 08.03.07
->> Harvey,

I believe Robert is referring to the very basis of being a professional. This is different from being just an expert. There are plenty of expert photographers who practice the craft for the sake of practicing the craft that they learn by training or practice or both. The business practices that should be employed are the ones that will keep you in business. That's the point. If at the end of the day, you are paying to do it, then it's really no different from paying to participate in anything else that you enjoy doing, like a round of golf or snipe hunting.

-J
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 2:41 PM on 08.03.07
->> "What is .... inappropriate about his comment? "

My guess is the fact that Mr. Seale wrote, "John Harrington literally wrote the book on business practices.." That was in an incorrect statement John DID write the book (that was published)!!!
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Harvey Dunn, Photographer
Southlake (Dallas) | TX | USA | Posted: 4:19 PM on 08.03.07
->> Jon,

I agree that if someone is paying for access or otherwise adopting business (or for that matter ethical) practices that are questionable, one can properly come to the conclusion that someone (expert or not) is acting as a hobbyist as opposed to a professional. I also agree that a professional is not necessarily an expert and that an expert is not necessarily a professional.

On the other hand, given the costs involved to get into the business (education, photo equipment, etc.), it's a bit unfair to say that someone who may not at a particular point in time "making a profit" is nonetheless not professional. From my perspective, "making a profit", while it may be one factor in determining whether someone is a professional, it is not "the" criteria or even one of "the" criteria in making that determination.

Now, maybe the point is that only if one is a full-time, fully-employed person who has no other sources of income other than what they make directly from their photographs is a professional -- and thus, someone who one who only works part time is by definition a "hobbyist." If that was the point, then I thinks its a bad one.

How one deals with the business issues of getting a fair return for one's labors and how one deals with rights to one's work, etc., as well as how one interacts with clients and photographic subjects and well as how one handles ethical issues, etc. -- those are what to me differentiates a professional from a hobbyist.

In fact, to me at least, the issue is not even whether or not one owns the copyrights in one's work - to me professionals include full-time employees of newpapers who may not end up owning the copyrights in what they create. Heck, from my perspective, a professional can even be full time photographer who on occasion and for appropriate compensation sells all rights to his work. And, even more on point, while it should not happen often, a professional can even give away their work - perhaps as a part of a fund raising event for a charity or simply to assist in a marketing campaign for a charity (in the same way professional such as attorneys and accounts offer "pro bono" services to the poor, etc.).

So, maybe I'm missing the issue (that's happened before). But I simply do not see the sole criteria as to whether one is a professional or a hobbyist being determined based on whether at any point in time, for a specific transaction, one is making a profit or one is covering one's cost.

With best regards,
Harvey
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Nick Doan, Photographer
Scottsdale Phoenix Tempe | AZ | USA | Posted: 4:38 PM on 08.03.07
->> The point, Harvey, is that if you are not making enough to cover your expenses, then you are not being very professional. A professional does his best to promote himself and his field. By choosing to take work that is not gainful for you (in the long run), then you are becoming a detriment to the business.

If a so-called "news entity" can get photos from you for free, and others like you, why would they ever start paying for them?

*That* is the point. If you are not in this business to make money, then you should define what you are doing and why, and realize that the rest of the industry is going be affected by your choice.

Anybody marking Robert Seale's post as inappropriate has some sort of inferiority complex.
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Bob Croslin, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | USA | Posted: 4:40 PM on 08.03.07
->> The fact that Seale's post has gotten so many inappropriates is proof that this board is full of tools who'll sell their soul for a credential.

Does no one have any self respect anymore?!

Those of you signing these contracts and shooting for the sole reason of receiving a credential and getting to brag about how you're a bad-ass sports photog are insuring your own demise. Unfortunately, your insuring the demise of everyone else as well.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 5:08 PM on 08.03.07
->> harvey, I don't want to pile on or anything but jon and robert (among others) are correct. in my humble opinion if you're not making a living by photography, you're a hobbyist. I hadn't really looked at it before in that way but it makes the most sense of just about anything I read on this site. this is not in any way meant to insult anyone out there who considers themselves a professional but lets face it. if you're playing in four or five city league baseball teams and you are VERY VERY good, you're not considered a professional ballplayer. what I think these posts are trying to get across is that...sure...you can sell your photos for $25 a pop, and they might be really terrific photos, but are you paying your bills with that? and I don't mean the bar tab or a couple of meals a week, I mean the house payment, electric bill, water etc etc.......and again if you're selling your stuff for that much, well you're seriously hurting those out there actually making a living. a photographer may be very talented, but I don't think you would be classified as a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination. I consider photography as a hobby, always have but I've been getting a paycheck every week for 34 years to shoot photos so I guess I would classify myself as a professional hobbyist.
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Harvey Dunn, Photographer
Southlake (Dallas) | TX | USA | Posted: 5:51 PM on 08.03.07
->> Nick and Chuck,

I'll respond to you each in this email... and at the outset I appreciate the right of each of you to your views... even if I disagree with them.

Nick: Sigh... did you even read what I wrote?

First, where do I say that one should not meet expenses? But what expenses... cost of equipment, cost of 4 years of college? In each and every job? Amortized over how many years or perhaps expensed in a single year?

Second, where did you get the idea that I would not agree with the statement that a professional does his best to promote himself and his field. I agree... but what state the obvious. Who on here disagrees with that?

Third, where did you get the idea that I am choosing to "take work that is not gainful for me (in the long run)" or that I would support such a thing? I do not.

Fourth, where do you get off with the direct and highly inaccurate accusation that a "so-called news entities" get photos from me for free? First, I do not deal with so-called news entites (whatever those are) and second, when I provide photos to news entities, I am fairly compensated. And for the record, I am paid exactly the same as those who do it "for a living".

Fifth, where did you get the idea that I am "not in this business to make money." Please point to the paragraph which gave you that idea? If I wrote something that gave you that idea, I need to revise what I wrote to be more clear.

Sixth, for the record, I did not mark Robert Seale's post as inappropriate (however, please note that I have no opinion as to whether the people who did have some sort of inferiority complex and I find such name calling childish).

Based on what I know of Mr. Seale, he is an extraordinary photographer. That does not mean that I can't disagee with what he said - to me, the comments he made were an oversimplification.

Chuck:

I appreciate your comments. And, I understand where you are coming from.

However, unless photography is different from every other "profession" and I maintain it is not, then one can be a professional even if one is not engaged in the business fulltime, e.g., one can be an attorney or an accountant or even a pro-baseball player and still not earn 100% of one's salary from that work. I certainly would never accuse a firefighter or an EMT of being a hobbyist even though he may not be a full-time employee.

Rather than using full-time as the criteria, when we talk about a professional such as a firefighter or accountant we normally mean that the person is engaged in performing an activity and that he does so while meeting certain criteria regarding training, certifications, knowledge, skill, etc. In fact, the firemen and women that I know are all "professionals," even though some are even "only" volunteers.

So, back to the point I was making, neither full-time employement in an of itself, nor whether on a given job one is "making a profit" should be the end-all-criteria as to whether or not one is a professional - whether in te context of photography, law or firefighting. (This is not, however, to say that they may be some of the factors considered in making that determination.)

To me, the difference between a professional and one who is not (whether you call them "hobbyists" or "Guy with a camera" or whatever) is all about the way in which the person deals with the business of photography and interacts with clients. It's all about ethics and business practices - which, admittedly, include economic aspects.

And that is the point here... what business practices are being and should be employed - for the benefit of the individual and for the benefit of the profession. That is a truth that is as true for photographers as it is for accountants.

With best regards,
Harvey
(who for better or worse has rarely been described as having any sort of inferiority complex.)
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Tim Poulsen, Photographer
Tacoma | WA | United States | Posted: 7:12 PM on 08.03.07
->> Comments from everyone on this thread are so true! the days of photographers respecting each other and agencies respecting the pro photographers is long gone!
I have photographed in the equine industry for several years, never have I photographed a show I wasn't the shows photographer. Now wherever I go are numerous photographers at my shows who are also selling there images or worse yet giving them away for free! Whats really sad is some of the photographers call themselves a professional!
They don't pay vendor fees & don't check in with show management.
It's so easy to run home, post the pictures on there website or email them to anyone from the show.

Then they go back to work the next week to there m-f job.

All the while I wonder why my sales suffer.

The last 3 years I have traveled to world cups and the Rolex 3 day event, they are events that are Olympic qualifying competitions.
Photographers there also are giving there work away just to get published!
Will it end?
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Jared Dort, Photographer
The Wu | AZ | usa | Posted: 8:00 PM on 08.03.07
->> I had a great teacher growing up. One thing he said that really stuck in my mind is -

"Those who feel they need to defend their viewpoint on a regular basis are trying to convince themselves they're right"

That's free advice folks.

Working for free is bad.
Working for a credential is bad.
Someone using your work without paying is bad.
Money is good.

Smart business practices is - priceless

Those of you who do not agree with Seale's post should check the definition of the two words.

Professional - engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD; "the professional man or woman possesses distinctive qualifications"; "began her professional career after the Olympics"; "professional theater"; "professional football"; "a professional cook"; "professional actors and athletes"

Hobbyist - a person who pursues an activity in their spare time for pleasure. Also, a hobby is a spare-time recreational pursuit.
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John Lee, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 8:58 PM on 08.03.07
->> this is all ridiculous. go out and shoot some pictures.
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Alex Menendez, Photographer
Orlando | FL | USA | Posted: 8:59 PM on 08.03.07
->> Doug Steinbock...........have you been paid yet?


alex
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Harvey Dunn, Photographer
Southlake (Dallas) | TX | USA | Posted: 9:46 PM on 08.03.07
->> Jared,

Thanks for posting the definition as it restates exactly the points I've been making.

A professional according to the definition does not do what they do for recreation, but as one engaged in a profession OR a means of livelihood (note not necessarily as one's only livelihood), i.e., one aspect can be (and in my opinion should be) monetary. In addition, one needs special qualifications. Thus, even a volunteer fireman is a professional.

With best regards,
Harvey
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David Butler II, Photographer
Somers | CT | USA | Posted: 10:07 PM on 08.03.07
->> I have been biting my lip reading this post and others like it… many of the comments I totally understand and some are down right insulting. When I started my pursuit of becoming a photojournalist in 2001 I didn’t realize that the industry was in a major upheaval. Over the past few years it has been painfully evident and I struggle everyday to find where I can fit in… most normal people would see the writing on the wall and move on to other things… unfortunately it is not that simple for me and I would guess, many of you.

My humble contribution to this thread is this… to realize where the industry is, why it is this way, and why businesses with a spec model have come about, one needs to go back in time to… I would say around 1993. From what I have learned over the last few years it is in that time when the photo industry started to change. Could something have been done to stop the change or was it inevitable… I don’t know… it’s hard to say... it is easy for me to say now that I only wish the photo community at the time, including photographers and photo advocacy organizations could have gathered together at that time and made a stand against the change that I believe has brought us to where we are now. Maybe they did fight and organize against the change; I don’t really no for sure… I think the change may have blind sided most. Is it possible to go back to the old days I hear about, It doesn’t seem likely… So what options are there for new photographers… sadly, not many…. I do know that the spec model hasn’t brought the photo industry to where it is today. I do know that the spec model is one of very very few that do not require image rights be taken from photographers which was the hallmark of the old days. I truly believe that the spec model will eventually move to a assignment fee based model, and that, combined with the age old practice of respecting the copyrights of photographers will get the photo community back to some sort of semblance of what is was some years ago.

Respectfully,

dbii
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Harvey Dunn, Photographer
Southlake (Dallas) | TX | USA | Posted: 10:22 PM on 08.03.07
->> John,

Re going out and shooting pictures -- actually I was. My last post was composed on a Blackberry during halftime at a girl's high school age club soccer event -- on a Friday evening in 95+ degree temperatures. Not my idea of recreation. Now I have several hundred images to review. Trust me, I rather be watching the new Bourne movie.

With best regards,
Harvey
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