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Real World Estimates: Day Rate vs. Space Explained

Ken Jarecke Compares Freelancing With Playing For The NBA

Ruling on Freelance Journalists

Your Video Could Win You a Camera You Cannot Afford

Business Practices: Unpaid Internships... May Lead To Nothing?

Top 10 Ways To Piss Off A Photographer

NPPA Independent Photographers Toolkit

Advertising Photographers of America Business Manual

Common Cents Column On The Cost of Doing Business

Small Business Administration

NPPA Online Discussion Group Instructions

Portions of this column were originally written for the July 2010 edition of News Photographer Magazine.

Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.

The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.

July 2010, Volume 93
By Mark Loundy

"What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem."

— Eldridge Cleaver

I now know how to solve the economic catastrophe facing freelance photographers. All we need to do is combine Kenneth Jarecke's blog with Rob Haggart's and get everybody to follow the advice therein.

Playing the OddsHaggart featured a great piece about Space vs. Day Rates by Ben Weldon in his APhotoEditor blog. The article includes real-world numbers and actual text from Weldon's paperwork. It's a great example of how deals are actually done in grown-up business.

Jarecke illustrates how you've got better odds of getting to play for the NBA than you do of being successful as a freelance photographer in the U.S. Read this one if only for the great primer on the Cost of Doing Business.

Once everybody's read those, takes them to heart and adopts their principles, we'll not only reduce the number of new photographers coming into the business, those who remain will have good business practices.

Now that we've got that one solved, have you heard about Instant Water? You take one IW tablet and add it to a glass of water...

The Good
Bullet A recent decision in Australia now gives that country's freelancers the right to bargain as a group. In the U.S. it is against anti-trust law for businesses (freelancers) to cooperate on, or even discuss, pricing. That's why there are no freelancer unions in this country. Australia's apparently more enlightened Competition and Consumer Commission ruled that the Media Alliance may now collectively negotiate on behalf of its freelance members.

The Bad
Bullet The Washington DC-area Craigslist poster for offering $55 for a three-hour video job, plus, "gas money and a free lunch." Uh, dude, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The Ugly
Bullet Outside Magazine for being verrrry slow in paying, with some invoices more than a year old. Apparently they often stop answering their email after receiving images. I recommend insisting on payment up-front. Be prepared to have them pass.
Bullet The person who posted on looking for a person to cook and photograph 10 different recipes for $7 per recipe. They wanted five angles per dish and there would be no compensation for purchasing the ingredients because, hey, you can eat the food. If I chose to reply to this, I would recommend something they could eat all right.
Bullet Gizmodo's "Your Video Could Win You a Camera You Cannot Afford" contest. All submitted images become property of Gizmodo parent, Gawker Media.
Bullet Scientific American's " World Changing Ideas Video contest." Yet another rights grab.

Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.

  • Beware National Geographic Traveler. Word is they are initially offering $0 (zero) for images but will negotiate on price up to a few hundred dollars. But they will not negotiate on their all-rights contract.
  • When the NHL's St. Louis Blues went looking for unpaid photo interns at the University of Missouri, NPPA Student Board Representative Patrick Fallon posted a great response on his blog. Check it out in the links.
  • Last month I mentioned Photoshelter's Grover Sanschagrin's blogs Top 13 Ways To Piss Off A Photo Editor and Top 10 Ways To Make A Photo Editor Fall In Love With You. This month, the cap is on the other lens with Top 10 Ways To Piss Off A Photographer.