Photographers, this is why you’re not getting paid

May 15, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographers, this is why you’re not getting paid

May 15, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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How many times have you been asked to work for free or “for exposure?” No matter your experience and skill, I bet this has happened more than once. But why are there more and more people who aren’t willing to pay photographers for their work? In this video, Jessica Kobeissi discusses this problem and how we can solve it.

YouTube video

Jessica made the video after reading a photographer’s confession:

“A local business wanted me to shoot their fashion show for free so I just didn’t show up and the next day their Facebook page invited me to like the other photographer’s page who did it for free.”

It appears that clients and businesses think something like: “if you won’t do it for free, there’s always someone who will.” And the worst thing is that it’s apparently true. Photographers who are charging nothing for their services are undermining the industry, making it difficult for everyone else to charge what they deserve for their hard work.

Now, I perhaps naively think that these photographers don’t affect your business to such a huge extent. However, they can make it difficult to reach serious clients who are actually willing to pay you money for what you do.

It’s worth noting that there are some situations when it’s okay to work for free, such as personal projects or charity for example. But other times, you should charge for your work. First of all, it will raise your own value. And second, it will strengthen the industry in general and help other photographers to get paid for the hard work they do.

[PHOTOGRAPHERS…THIS is why you’re not being paid | Jessica Kobeissi]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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11 responses to “Photographers, this is why you’re not getting paid”

  1. bjarnewinkler Avatar
    bjarnewinkler

    Well, I assume this is a millennium point of view. What I am really hearing is a cry-baby-excuse why some are not getting paid. Sorry about being blond about this and this is not a personally attack, since I see and hear this crying all day long from different photo groups.
    First of all, good companies do not look for “free”, they look for “style” and if I can be blond most photographers are me-to-photographers with no style. If you have a style that is what a company are looking for then you get the job, assuming that your pricing is right and that is not free.
    Since most of photographers are using the artsy side of the brain, they are in general not good businesspeople. If you are not, then hire and MBA, that is what the big boys downtown does. 99% of all photographers does not have a business plan. Companies with no business plan are like sailors without a chart.
    OK, so if someone wants something for free, cut a deal with them. Like first order, you show up for free and they get one free picture. If they like and want more pictures from that session, then they pay for those, this Is how advertisement is done! In general, if you are good, you will get a second order and a third order. Now you have a client for life.
    Last thing; this video should have been about how do you get clients, so lady grab you Kleenex and start working like anyone in any business. It just happens that your product is pictures, but it could have been shoes or a service like a hairstylist there is no difference and our industry is healthy for those that know how to run a business.
    Bjarne @ http://www.wecaptureyourbusiness.com

    1. alex Avatar
      alex

      cool, i’ve got a birthday party for my kid coming up, come and shoot it for free, i’ll give you a shoutout on facebook. if you decline my generous offer, your entire argument is invalidated.

      1. bjarnewinkler Avatar
        bjarnewinkler

        Alex, I understand that you have a birthday party coming up and
        you are looking for a photographer. When
        is this event and where are you located?

      2. bjarnewinkler Avatar
        bjarnewinkler

        Alex, I know you are a very busy parent and you want the best party for your kids. Being busy means that you have a very long list of to-do-things for the party. Let us shorten that list and give you some breathing room. We have contacts with Jumping Tent Guys, Catering, Clown’s, Balloon Makers anything you need we have most likely used them in the past and we can get them to give you a quote for you party.
        PS: Note that this should be read in reversed order since that is how I would have engaged the client to close the order

        1. alex Avatar
          alex

          great, you just take care of all that, i’m sure they’ll all love working for the exposure. party is 11/19, cayman islands, kimpton seafire resort, ask the hotel for a room in exchange for some instagram publicity. you’ll have to get your own plane ticket, but again, tell the airline you’ll definitely give them more business if they give you this one free flight.

          1. alex Avatar
            alex

            oh, did i mention that if you don’t show up and do a good job i’m going to leave one star reviews on every service your business is listed on, and even some you’re not?

          2. bjarnewinkler Avatar
            bjarnewinkler

            Alex, I love hearing that and the reason is that your name will be associated with the post too – and as you know Karma is a bitch.

          3. alex Avatar
            alex

            don’t talk about your mother that way. see you in november, can’t wait to get my free photos.

          4. bjarnewinkler Avatar
            bjarnewinkler

            Response #3:
            Alex, thanks for the response the date (11/19) I assume is Nov 19, 2019 and I do see we have an opening. I see that you have a hotel reservation at the Hilton (I assume) on the Cayman Islands, which is great. This means that we most likely needs some pre-sign-releases from the parents of the kids since I can only imaging that you will have some celebrities in the party. Do not worry, we have those forms and the parent’s attorneys know how to handle that part.
            I am actually looking forward to going back to the Cayman Islands since I also have some swimsuit covers to create and that would cover my travel budget.

            To you that is reading all this and not understanding what is going on here. In real Alex is a try to provoke me, whereas I am trying to engage with a client that thinks they will get a freebee. The interesting part is that most of the time you can by providing good service, showing that you understand what is actually going on, and really trying to help the client. At a point the client with understand that you are the only one that is working with them and “free” is really not a thing.
            I am not planning to do this and if Alex would have read my original post he would have read and understood this part – which he did not:

            “OK, so if someone wants something for free, cut a deal with them. Like first order, you show up for free and they get one free picture. If they like and want more pictures from that session, then they pay for those, this Is how advertisement is done! In general, if you are good, you will get a second order and a third order. Now you have a client for life.”

  2. bjarnewinkler Avatar
    bjarnewinkler

    I would love to tell you a story: I was contacted by what turned out to be an elderly grandmother and she wanted to have someone taking some professional pictures of her two grandkids. She wanted it for free since she was on a fixed budget. After exchanging PM’s with here I found out that her late husband was a military veteran, which to me was a good reason to do some pro bono work.
    The result was grate and she have now some of my work framed hanging in her living room. She was happy and so was I.
    The story gets interesting in that her son loved the pictures and wanted to hire me to do some work for the company he worked for. At this point you have already seen where this is going and yes, I made a ton of money from his company.
    Does this mean that I do photography for free, not at all. I this case I did it as a thanks for the grandfather service to this country.
    If this had been different I am sure I would have been able to make some payments terms, maybe I would have given her one free picture and let her make payments on the other. In that case I would still have a happy client and I would most likely get a good word to other grandmothers in the area.
    You can ask why she would not just have gone to one that would have done it for free. The reason was that I was selling her by working with her whereas the others that would have done it for free would not have spent the time since they are so busy going after low hanging fruit (and complaining at the same time).

  3. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
    Arthur_P_Dent

    How many of the people who want to get paid for their work refuse to pay for the news they read?