So, a couple of days ago I found myself in a somewhat unusual place (for me), in a studio listening to a Megadeth concert and interview. I was somewhat familiar with Dave Mustane, and was duly impressed with his business acumen.
He made a remarkable statement, saying, “The music business used to be one thing — the music business. Then, it became two things, Music and Business, and then the business people thought they had the music gene, and it became business and music.”
Remarkable and insightful.
Wednesday night I was talking to Sam Donaldson, who said a similar thing when he talked about the news business in the 70’s, where the news divisions were not expected to be profitable, it was more about the mission of reporting the news, and now, all that matters to the corporate parents of news organizations is profitability, and it’s quarterly increase to appease Wall Street.
Today, it is the bean counters who think they know what goes into, and what is necessary for, the creative needs of a photo assignment. They (try to) dictate everything from maximum costs for a helicopter for hire, to what assistants are paid, to how much post-production goes into a shoot, to, yes, how much a photographer is to be paid for an eight-hour day. Crazy, that seems to suggest that those who struggle and take eight hours to make an image are to be paid more than those who can efficiently accomplish the assignment in half the time.
You must be savvy in the business of photography, but you should not be dictated to as to what your costs are to be. You provide an estimate, you outline the expenses necessary, and you deliver the final compilation of images. Stand your ground.
If necessary, walk away from restrictions that you know will affect the outcome of your assignment. Your clients procured your services based upon your portfolio/Web site, and are expecting that same level of quality. Be sure that you don’t let them down, or let them dictate the constraints under which you arrive at the end result.
[tags]John Harrington, Megadeth, photography business[/tags]