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Portions of this column were originally written for the February 2011 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.
February 2011, Volume 99
By Mark Loundy
"Val·u noun, verb, any object or quality desirable as a means or as an end in itself."
The Random House Dictionary lists 18 different definitions for the word "value." But the essence of the word is really based upon personal opinion. "How much is something worth to me?"
I've often complained about the downtrend in the value of professionally produced images. When a chamber of commerce assembles a library of local images by running a right-grabbing contest, a photographer assigns a value to their images that corresponds to the potential prize or simply to the satisfaction of seeing their image in print or on a website. If the two values match, the photographer will enter the contest.
When a client balks at what I consider to be a fair price, their perception of the value of my work does not match the value that they are seeking. It's my job to change their perception of my work's value by educating them about what my work can do for them. Telling them about my costs of doing business or how many hours it takes for a project's post-production is like explaining Purina's manufacturing process to a dog — they just won't care.
When a publisher presents you with a fait accompli contract, you can convince them that your work is more valuable, you can walk, or you can accept your own value mismatch. The trick is in finding your match in the first place by tailoring your work to a market that needs what you do.
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.Leftovers
Photos.com Senior Director of Product Management Harry Kelly explains the contradiction by saying, "As the demand for digital content expands, that growth is coming largely from small businesses and from newcomers to the image-buying process."
And so, Getty underscores its view of photography as a low-cost commodity by pursuing a low-end market and accelerating the race to the bottom. As the old vaudeville joke goes: "We lose money on every sale, but we make up for it in volume."
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