We are so used to getting things for free – online newspapers, magazines, even books — we expect everything to be free.
Some people think photography should be free, and there are those in the marketplace who have done substantial damage to the value of images and assignments. It’s becoming all too common for images to be free, or next to free.
Sadly, we are perpetuating a cycle of free that is now bleeding over to our own bottom lines when the reality is that photography is worth something — a lot.
Mass Media Runs on Photography
Our images make or break magazines, advertising campaigns, and so on.
A pair of jeans sells on the strength of a photograph.
A president is elected on the strength of the photojournalism surrounding his campaign.
Public opinion is formed on our wars overseas by the images that come out of those events.
Weddings are deemed a success after the dust has settled and the wedding album is fabulous.
But magazines are not paying rates commensurate with what they paid even 30 years ago. If photojournalists continue to be paid $200 an assignment only to lose all their rights, that business model can’t be sustained.
What about photography licensed with huge rights being granted at $1? This is horrible for the profession.
Change Has to Start with Us
We as a society need to understand and recognize the value of photographs, and those who create them. Now is the time for a sea change, and it has to start with us. If we don’t recognize the value of photography, no one else will.