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mlopes 11-16-2005 02:00 AM

Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
I was contacted by an American Travel Magazine last week to make some photos for their next issue. They are making a coverage about some restaurants in Europe and Lisbon is on the list, they saw my photos on Pbase and contacted me.

According to them they don't have any budget for photography at the time, i would get a credit in the magazine in return.

Why to turn down? Several reasons:

- First, respect to all the Pro-photographers out there, making this their way of living, what would happen if all amateurs started to work for free?

- Second, they are a commercial organization, i think they moraly should pay for the service. For a non-profit organization i think i woudn't think twice.

In the other hand:

- how can an amateur start to be known if not this way? free!!!
- At this moment i see Photography purely as an hobby, but why not making some money out of it? at least enough to pay the vice ;)

As anyone haver been involved in anything like this?

javaboy 11-16-2005 02:08 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
I learned that you should not try to make money out of everything you love to do. With out you realizing it it might turn in to "work" (However I would love to be a pro photographer, we can all dream).

I don't think that you are going to help the pro's, they stated that they don't have any money to pay, so they are not going to. I bet that they are just going to find someone else and ask them to do it. Sooner or later someone is going to see the chance to be famous (even though how often do you read the names of the photographers?) and jump on it.

joseelias 11-16-2005 02:21 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please

Regularly people ask me to use my photos in the most various projects… of course, without involving money…

Personally I would only accept this use of my photos if it were for some social cause, and only in Portugal where I can control in a more effective way the use of the photos. And even this way with very strict rules in the use of them.

This was the situation with the photos I have in the official site of Marvão village. I agreed to have them there because it’s an Alentejo village desperately needing some sort of income for the local population (and tourism is a way), and because they are candidates for UNESCO World Heritage (good news expected I believe).

On other occasions, travel agencies shown interest in the photos but tried to have them for free. My idea is that if they are going to have profit with the images, and these are result of my work and personal investment, than they must pay.

Maybe they’ll get some people willing to give them photos for free, but at least you won’t “burn” yours and later you may profit with them.

Regarding your question about being known… How known do you wish to be, and how much will this magazine help you in that? Is it expected that other magazines will come to you after this one?

I think you’ve got a better chance of being known (and payied) by arranging a portfolio and sending to the travel agencies and magazines to promote your work.

If you wish to go professional, than start offering cheap prices. It worked for me in the architecture maquettes. Good work with a low price will allow you to be known, get more work and later raise the prices, even if people will expect always low prices… In this case don’t worry with the professionals. You’ll be competing for a place in the sun and they will run you over once they get the chance. So, no mercy! :-)

mlopes 11-16-2005 02:30 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
No José, for now i'm not in the mood to make a folio and send it to agencies or newspapers nor anything like that... i have much to learn and improve before. For now i'm happy like this, in photography for the fun of it :)

But i will not discard a deeper commitment in the future, maybe not pro because i work in the best company in the world and who known in Portugal, right?

Regarding ocasional works like this one, or yours, i feel the same like you... they are going to profit somehow then they should pay... it may not be much... but that is the fair thing to do, we live in a fair world no?

About special requests, from non-profit organizations like i said before i wouldn't twink twice.


artist458 11-16-2005 02:43 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
Hi Mario,
I can understand your dIlemma. But before you answer them - do some research.

1- check out the mag. (what kind is it? do they have a website? where are they located? what do they charge for ad space? what is their Circulation? HOW DO THEY MAKE THEIR MONEY!
Most mags. get their revenue from ads and some mags. from circulation - and some both - ie: high profile will base their rates on how many people they can reach. look for rate card - advertising etc.
2- you get what you pay for.

Good luck - in your choice

artist458 11-16-2005 02:51 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
Hi Mario,
Another thought - instead of payment - have them do a feature on you - and where you have photographed - IN A CONTRACT!!


kikvel 11-16-2005 04:10 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
bolinha de camarao

uhmmm I have a mixed set of feelings, but something deep inside tells me you are right,

but it is a nice opportunity too, who knows...

but seems you are right


don_narayan 11-16-2005 04:22 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
aren't you making millions of euros per year as it is???

It might be a good challenge, an assignment isn't like shooting while on vacation... well, I image... hell if I actually know anything :)

markgong 11-16-2005 09:28 AM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
I would turn it down if I was you. A magazine makes money, and it's bull crap if a TRAVEL magazine doesn't set aside funds for photographs. They are pretty much trying to get free photos off of you because they know amateur photographers want to recognition. Insist on getting paid for you work. Ask about their circulation, what the spot will be, etc etc. Some spots run as low as $100 while others may go up to as much as $1000. NEVER under value your own work...turn it down if you have to. If you feel that your hard work is worth getting paid for, then don't be afraid to ask for it. You are also right in assuming that by accepting to shoot for free, you are undermining how much photographers get paid in general. If you want to get hired for your work, one spot in a travel magazine is not going to do the end, your works speak for themselves, rather than the publications they were put in.

Homerhomer 11-16-2005 05:00 PM

Re: Turning down my first assignment - Your Opinion Please
since this is a travel magazine ask them to offer you a free vacation in return, let's see how they feel about the word free in this case ;-)

I have given a free photo to someone who said they will use it for charity, no problem, and asked for money from person who wanted to put it in newspaper (never heard from them since ;-) I don't believe that by not allowing my pic to be used for free my "photographic career" will suffer in any way ;-)


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