Who’s Killing Freelance as a Viable Career in the Creative Industry?

whos killing freelance as a viable career in the creative industry

In my recent article “Who’s Killing the Photography Industry?”, I made the argument that photographers who choose not to charge licensing fees for the commercial use of their work are destroying the viability of photography as a sustainable career.

In the discussion that followed, I was very surprised that many readers viewed licensing as some sort of cash grab at best, with many voicing the sentiment that licensing is a relic that is no longer relevant to the reality of today’s creative industry.

I couldn’t disagree more – so in this article, I am going to expand a little on the value of licensing, and on a wider scale, look at who’s killing freelance as a viable career in the creative industry.

[Read more…]

Dear Groupon Man

dear-groupon

Dear Groupon Man,

I was surprised when you called this morning. And on my cell phone, no less. I was in the middle of a really hectic morning but I had a few minutes so I decided to take the call.

And before we go any further, I just want to say thank you for being super friendly. I could hear all the other Groupon people in the back on their phones and I have no doubt that my name was but one in a long list of names you had to call today, but still, you were upbeat and nice. And it did not go unnoticed, so thank you. Really.

You said that you were looking to feature a photographer in my area and wanted to offer me that opportunity. Yowzers! I got real excited, like I had won something, and then I remembered this was Groupon and you wanted me to advertise with you. So, I allowed you a little of your spiel because nobody likes to be cut off mid-sentence. And then when you paused, I said, in my sweetest voice:

[Read more…]

Ten Things to Remember As You Begin Your Photography Odyssey

ten-things

[Editor’s note: When I asked Don Giannatti of Lighting Essentials to be a guest blogger, I knew that the piece would be good and honest (he tells it straight). I did not anticipate how honest he would tell it this time. If you are a long time photographer, I am sure you can relate to the writing below, if you are struggling now, it would be a great inspiration and if you are considering if a professional photography business is the thing for you, know that it is not always a rosy road, you may wanna wait with this post till you are further down the path. All Don from here…]

One day I simply stopped doing what I was doing and began to be a photographer. I had been around photographers, but I didn’t have any clue what being a “professional” really meant. I simply started out as a photographer, then learned that I needed to assist first, then hit it again as a photographer. I made a lot of mistakes. I went to the School of Hard Knocks for undergraduate and “Mean Streets, U” for upper grad work. I learned from the seat of my pants, and took a lot of risks… some paid off kinda good, some didn’t work out at all, and a few hit big time for me.

But when I talk to a lot of photographers who are starting out, they have a false idea of the business. They don’t understand the focus needed, or that it may be kinda damn tough for a while. Sacrifice means they may cut back on cable channels, or get a 15″ MacBookPro instead of a 17″.

Right.

I have ten principals that will keep you going when you start out. I wish I had known about them when I started out. I know they work for me now as I start yet another company in a down economy… heh.

Here we go…

[Read more…]

Ten Beliefs That Suck the Life out of Photographers

bermuda2

What if I told you it was not the industry, the bad economy, where you live, what camera you shoot with, how many lights you have or how small your Facebook following is that is holding you back. None of those are truly capable of stopping you, they are only challenges for you to meet.

The same challenges everyone who creates art or starts a business has to meet and beat.

The things that are truly holding you back are your own beliefs. Belief that it IS one of those reasons above. Believing that it is a geography thing that keeps you from excelling, or what gear you use or how many lights you take with you is more damaging than any REAL challenge you will ever have to meet.

Because they have no substance, these limiting beliefs can grow to fit any size needed to keep you from moving forward.

If it was simply a wall in front of you, there would be many different ways to move on. Scale it, go around it, blow it up… all sorts of ways to get it done.

But if the wall is a creation inside your mind, there is no way around it, it will grow higher than any ladder you have and it becomes impervious to any and all attempts to blow it up. It does this insidiousness because we want it to. We control its size and power.

So lets look at ten beliefs and maybe offer a suggestion on how they may be more in our heads than in our reality.

[Read more…]

An Open Letter to the Artist Support System

open-letter-to-the-artist-support-01

Support is a funny thing.

As an artist, 96% of our career is spent dealing with rejection. Rejection from friends, family, other artists and even the art world itself. Making a living from art can be a very long and lonely, misunderstood journey, especially in the beginning, and having a decent support system can help make that early journey a little more bearable.

But just as we’re often learning the ropes of how to be an artist, we also know that you’re learning the ropes of how to best support us. We need you, and here are the best ways you can help us out.

[Read more…]

Family Offers A One-In-A-Lifetime Free Portfolio Building To Any Photographer Willing To Work For Them

craigslist-nopay

Working for free has always been a touchy subject and while opinions may sway one way or another I think that working family events for free is not something you would do to ‘build a portfolio’.

Apparently one family from sun prairie, Wisconsin thinks differently. There are many ads asking for free photography service but this one made reddit for being especially presumptuous. (I agree) The family posted a work offer on craigslist, they offer the photographer to “use the photo’s to build portfolio“. What photos you ask? Those: “We have several occasions coming up this spring/summer and would like a photographer who would work with us“.

Here is the untouched craigslist ad (really, we did not touch it):

Hello, We are looking for someone who is building their portfolio or just starting out their business.
We have several occasions coming up this spring/summer and would like a photographer who would work with us. In exchange you may use the photo’s to build portfolio. A student would be fine with us. Please send some information about yourself and any examples of your work that you have. Experience working with kids and newborns would be excellent! This can take some patience to get the right shot!

And there is a little “compensation: no pay” at the bottom, just to keep things clear.

[Family photographer needed (sun prairie) via reddit]

How ‘Do What You Love’ Can Be A Realistic Career Option

do-what-you-love-01

To quote a recent article I read titled “Do What You Love” Is Horrible Advice:It’s easy to confuse a hobby or interest for a profound passion that will result in career and business fulfillment. The reality is, that type of preexisting passion is rarely valuable.”

Um…no.

If you haven’t read that article go ahead and take a trip over there when you get a chance…or not, if you’d rather not be fuming the rest of the day. The author is a great writer, with many other fantastic articles, but this one was just so…wildly inaccurate. I tried to just label it as one of those unfortunate things orbiting the internet, but it was just gnawing at me. How many potential artists are out there now, squashing their dreams because they’re reading fear-mongering articles like this on the internet?

Well hopefully not a lot, but still, the thought of some teenage kid selling his guitar because too many people told him music was a “hobby” and not a career choice just kills me. He’s a teenager. Anything is a career choice.

Of course people are all entitled to their own opinions, right?

Exactly, which is why I’m going to spout mine off right now.

[Read more…]

5 Photographers Chat ‘Working For Free’

working-for-free

‘Working for free’ is a charged topic for creatives and for photographers specifically. One side of the discussion claims that getting your name out there, getting exposure and creating contacts and networking is worth working for free, while the other side says that no work should be unpaid and that ‘working for free’ is essentially the industry’s way of ripping photographers of their well deserved compensation, while devaluing the entire market for everyone.

It is interesting to see the take on this questions from some of the world’s high-profiles and now-successful photographers. Of course, they were not always high-profile and  successful so they can share a view going from their early trying-to-get-out-there days all the way to their current state.

InMyBag magazine asked 5 photographers what they thought about working for free: Jasmine StarTim WallaceDon GiannattiDavid Talley and Simon Bolz:

[Read more…]

Julian Richards Explains Why He Closed A Successful Photo Rep Agency: ‘Photographers are undergoing self-inflicted castration’

julian-richards

There are many times we write about how the photography market is changing. How photographers are perceived to bringing less value to projects and how they are perceived to be worth their gear and nothing more. Heck, we posted an open letter about this today.

But while we have been mainly highlight the small business photographer, a recent interview by PDN reporter Amy Wolff with photographers’ rep Julian Richards sheds some light a similar process is happening at the very high end market as well.

Mr. Richards had a successful photo rep agency for over 20 years and at times his roster included photographers such as David Barry, Chris Buck, Michael McLaughlin, Dana Gallagher, Sian Kennedy, Greg Miller, James Smolka and Henrik Knudsen. A pretty impressive team. Yet, after 20 years he decided to quite. The interview is filled with painful insight from Mr. Richards.

The most striking thoughts comes when Mr. is asked about how the industry changed. (Bolding is mine)

[Read more…]

Some Sweet Advice On Dealing With (Online) Criticism

Have you ever come back from the most incredible shoot of your life only to get a person go down on you? Have you ever had the most amazing idea for your business and when going live a fried totally dissed you?

Being a creative means that you put yourself out there almost daily and that means that criticism will come. The question is how to deal with it in a way that both let you take in the value from what you are told but not let this impact on your self esteem. And us creatives sometimes have very fragile egos.

Marie Forleo has some of the best advice I’ve heard about how to deal with criticism on or off line. While her advice may take some practice, it is extremely beneficial if you can follow.

[Do You Let Criticism Stop You? How To Insult-Proof Your Ego | Marie Forleo]