Photographer exposes Vogue for low-pay: $300 / day

Aug 7, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Photographer exposes Vogue for low-pay: $300 / day

Aug 7, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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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.”

@roxyfacer

Dont look at the budget and say yes #voguepolska #fashionphotoshoot #voguephotoshoot #fashioncinematography #editorialshoot

♬ original sound – anna 🏹

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.

@roxyfacer

Replying to @Jesus Martinez underwhelming to say the least #editorialphotography #voguephotoshoot #fashionshoot #fashioncinematography #fashionvideography

♬ Prada – cassö & RAYE & D-Block Europe

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.

@roxyfacer

Its gonna be a pass

♬ iPhone vibrating ringtone – Nick

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.”

@roxyfacer

A self aware queen

♬ original sound – youngexwives

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?

[Via Petapixel]

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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9 responses to “Photographer exposes Vogue for low-pay: $300 / day”

  1. Andy Ritter Avatar
    Andy Ritter

    “is exposure payment enough” 🤣🤣🤦

  2. Rafael A. P. Maduro Avatar
    Rafael A. P. Maduro

    you know where those type of clients can shove their exposure currency right?

  3. Dick Blom Avatar
    Dick Blom

    We gots to eat! Preferably 3 times a day in front of a fire and a warm hide for our backs..

  4. Tunes Firwood Avatar
    Tunes Firwood

    If only those photographers had a choice in whether they let Vogue print their work.

  5. Underpayed Photog Avatar
    Underpayed Photog

    Just a different spin of a phenomenon with a common culprit. There’s no fundamental difference if you pay for “exposure” with your own body (#metoo) or your own money. People agreeing with those conditions to gain an advantage over their competitors are what keeps the system running.

  6. Numira Avatar
    Numira

    I offer you a different point of view on this – average polish wage is roughly 1800 USD per month, so they offered her 6 times higher money, that an average polish working person makes per day. Is that so unfair? And we are talking about mean average, not median…

    1. Alex Avatar
      Alex

      Sure, but if you’re hiring a local photographer to save money on flights and hotel you pay local rates. Otherwise fly in a Polish photographer. It’s similar where I live. Everyone thinks Spain is a cheap place to shoot so wants to use a local to save money but the opposite is true, it’s one of the most expensive countries in Europe to run a small business.

    2. Underpayed Photog Avatar
      Underpayed Photog

      Interesting. So an agency located in – say – Nigeria would pay an american photographer (who is using gear bought in America and rents an american model) the typical Nigerian rate if the photoshoot is taking place in NYC? I really recommend Vogue Poland to hire polish folks and shoot in Poland if the’re “working with an editorial budget”.

  7. Martin Gillette Avatar
    Martin Gillette

    I think it isn’t anyone’s business what people get paid. If the photographer doesn’t like it, don’t take the job.