This morning the first thing I read on Facebook was a rant by a local photographer (who is also an SEO guru) regarding “Professional Photographers always bemoaning free images”.
With this post aimed at those who are happy to give their images away for free, these are my thoughts on the subject.
As has been widely pointed out, the process of taking photographs is easy now, there are millions on the web. In the past you kept your prized prints and slides at home, showing them to all in the family that would look but now you might post them to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter for all the world to see.
So what would you do if you receive an email from a corporation or the media asking if they could use one of your photos? You might ask if they would pay, what is the budget? When they reply “they have no budget for this”; do you give it to them anyway? Why? For the kudos? Because it makes you feel good?
Of course you will, after all there are millions of images out there and they choose yours. Think about that for a second. This is an organisation that probably makes a profit (if it’s a charity or other type of non-profit organisation I take a case by case view), this money making organisation wants to use your image in some way, out of all the others it chose yours it feels your image will help it some way, it sees value in your image.
This is my argument, nobody would ask you if they could use your photographs if they did not see if being of benefit or value to them. After all, you have invested time and money into honing your skills so why should you not place a little value on your creation? (Don’t use the argument “because there are millions of other photographs out there” as an argument, we have already established that by your image being chosen it’s value is implied).
I could use other analogies but I won’t I just want you to realize that the request for use gives it value.
At the end of this you may still wish to give the image away. Ok your choice but do not belittle your own work, your own value. Supply the image with an invoice, with a value but 100% discount the price. That way your work is not seen as zero value, you are being seen as generous. Not only that, by doing so you have entered a contract, you have control, you can control where and when the image is used and ensure that you are only taken advantage of once, not for the next 10 years.
So next time you receive that email, remember If a money making organisation wants to use your image, it sees value in your image.