A photographer has revealed how the Polish branch of Vogue magazine offered to pay her just $300 for a full day’s work of shooting and editing.
Roxy Facer, from O’ahu, Hawaii, disclosed a video on TikTok of the magazine’s email. The video has since ignited a fierce debate over photographers’ pay versus exposure.
The email exchange with Vogue Polska dates back to March of this year. The magazine commissioned a “short fashion film,” concluding with the eyebrow-raising line: “Since we’re working with an editorial budget, we can offer 300 USD for filming.”
The monetary compensation of a mere $300 for a full day’s shoot and subsequent editing for such a famous magazine sent shockwaves through the community, particularly when it appears that she was shooting 16mm film.
In a follow-up post, Roxy discloses, “Vogue calling asking me to remove the video I made revealing how much they paid me for a full day shoot,” hinting at alleged attempts by the fashion behemoth to suppress her revelations.
Its gonna be a pass
Undeterred, Facer continued her crusade for transparency, defiantly sharing yet another video with a thought-provoking caption: “You really think sharing rates from Vogue and getting blacklisted is good for business.”
A self aware queen
The response from the online community was swift and varied. Most comments rallied in support of Facer’s cause. Meanwhile, others lauded Facer’s commitment to openness and her stance against Vogue’s apparent underpayment. Jericho Rell, a commentator, urged Facer not to be undermined, stating, “‘They have been doing this to all creatives for way too long. That’s insane.”
Even the notion that the compensation might be justified due to the magazine’s regional focus was met with resistance, as commentators from Poland emphasised that $300 remains a meagre sum even within Eastern Europe.
Facer then posts another video where she says that not all magazines pay badly. She shares images she shot for Nylon Magazine, where they paid $3000 for the shoot. A much more realistic amount, though still low compared with commercial work. Still, no one ever got rich from editorial photography.
This ‘revelation’ has been well-known in photographic circles for some time. It’s no real surprise. Shooting for a magazine as prestigious as Vogue will earn a photographer significant ‘exposure bucks’ in the industry. It should, quite literally, open doors.
I happened to bump into a fashion photographer in Paris last month. We got chatting, and he told me about the shoot he’d been doing for Vogue. He told me that he fronted over $2000 of his own money to do the shoot. He confessed that he was unlikely to break even after the magazine paid him. But, for him, it was entirely worth it due to the commercial and fashion work he would gain off the back of it.
What do you think? Should publications as big as Vogue pay photographers properly for their work? Or is the exposure payment enough?