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A different slant on the photo-theft issue


lawbert 7 1.8k 15 England
21 Nov 2012 5:22PM

Quote:What I do object to are the morons


Have a gander into something reflective, A Window, A Lens even (remember to take one of the caps on either end off) and you will find another of the aboveTongueTongueTongueWinkWinkWink

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mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
21 Nov 2012 5:52PM

Quote:about genuine amateur photographers like us happily allowing our images to be used for free

You can't see that that is one of the reasons it's very hard to make money from photography today. People giving their images away to the press or for use on websites etc.....

Maybe they just lack talent or maybe they lack business acumen or maybe there simply is not a market for their work

It's not about talent or business acumen. It is about their not being a market. Because people give their photos away.



When microstock sites started, people foresaw this problem and predicted the death of professional photography: professionals loading the sites with professional-standard pictures and willing to sell them for pennies instead of taking on full-commission assignments. So blame the very professionals who are crying 'foul, because they were the very incarnation of Beelzebub when microstocks started'.
For wedding photographers: the retrazction of the industry is that every wedding has a multitude of people taking pictures and people don't understand the need for a professional any more. Actually that is a gross exaggeration because a decent professional will get work, but it may not be enough to be a 'full time professional'.
I agree that amateurs giving their shots away is not helping, but they are not the cause of the problem, just adding to a significant problem that already existed.
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
21 Nov 2012 6:20PM
I personally think LF is being a little disingenuous, given that he has his Flickr account set to full grubby-Getty mode rather than the more charitable CC. But still, that quote he's so fond of where 90% of library contributors earn nothing tells some story - most amateurs are not really a threat individually, but they're exploited collectively. Many of those earning 'nothing' have in fact earned something - just not enough for a payout.

At the other end of the scale you have adept 'factory' photographers such as Yuri Arcurs piling 'em high - extremely good at what he does, immeasurably successful, but still he's a formulaic machine. Is that really anything that most of us would aspire to? There's nothing wrong with the amateurish mindset, or ambition, but it is inherently naive much of the time - mistaking publication in itself as some kind of achievement. I probably thought that way once, before ten tons of objectivity beat it out of me.
779HOB 2 1.1k United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 7:54AM

Quote:I agree that amateurs giving their shots away is not helping,


The biggest newspaper in the South West made all their photographers redundant - Reason, people sending in photos for free meant they didn't need them on full time.

Things change of course. But all those people who send in free photos to papers are effecting jobs.
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 8:47AM

Quote:Reason, people sending in photos for free meant they didn't need them on full time.

I'm sure that is one reason, and I did not deny that is happening but the newspaperas are but one part of the photographic industry. Are the paper also using contract photographers instead of salaried staff? With so few newsgroups not every paper needs their own photographer.
779HOB 2 1.1k United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 9:17AM

Quote:Are the paper also using contract photographers instead of salaried staff? With so few newsgroups not every paper needs their own photographer.


This group does use freelancers yes, me included. It's true to say that papers are finding it hard and have slashed their photo budgets. But the main reason they can cut the photo budgets is because of free photos. It's not just photographers of course. One of the biggest papers in the group only have one staffed writer now all the others are freelance. I don't have a problem with them using freelance but I do when they pick rubbish photos and copy because it's free. It will in the end kill the papers. But we have digressed from the main topic, sorry.
Jestertheclown 6 6.6k 242 England
22 Nov 2012 9:39AM

Quote:Reason, people sending in photos for free meant they didn't need them on full time.

I doubt very much that that was the reason.

Newspapers, like every other business, are struggling to make ends meet and laying off people who are an unnecessary expense is normal practice.
On the printing, as opposed to publishing, side of the industry, computerisation of printing techniques was the death knoll for hot metal printers and digital photography has had a similar effect on the way in which photographs are taken, prepared and published.
Our local rag employs two photographers, although I suspect, on an 'ad-hoc' basis, rather than full-time.
At the recent Remembrance Day ceremony, one of them was standing next to me at the memorial and one of his shots, of children from the school where I work, was posted in the paper. There's a virtually identical shot on the school website, which I took.
In the event that there's something going on at the school which might be of sufficient interest that the paper would like to know about it, we contact them to let them know but more often than not, their response is to ask that someone (myself) take some shots and submit them. I've even written the articles on occasions.
Does that mean that I'm stealing their livelihood?
Or does it mean that I, and thousands of others, just like me, can do an adequately good job, so it's just good business sense?
779HOB 2 1.1k United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 9:52AM

Quote:I doubt very much that that was the reason.



Quote:and laying off people who are an unnecessary expense


And why were they an unnecessary expense?


Quote:In the event that there's something going on at the school which might be of sufficient interest that the paper would like to know about it, we contact them to let them know but more often than not, their response is to ask that someone (myself) take some shots and submit them. I've even written the articles on occasions. Does that mean that I'm stealing their livelihood? Or does it mean that I, and thousands of others, just like me, can do an adequately good job, so it's just good business sense?


Of course it makes sense for the paper! But the fact remains that you are providing free photos which normally the paper would have paid someone for, if they were interested in the story, which if they were paying for it they most likely wouldn't be.
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 10:18AM
I find it hard to believe that free photos of autumn leaves and ducks in the park are the reason that the newspaper are laying off photographers. In my local papers I can honestly say that as far as I can tell, any newsworthy story is illustrated by a photo professional: I cannnot see a paper not having a professional on their books on the offchance that someone will send in a picture of an event.


Quote:I don't have a problem with them using freelance

So you object to them sacking photgraphers but it is OK to do so if they are using freelance? Have you ever thought of yourself as being one of the reasons for the reduction in staff photogrtaphers? After all, you selling one set of photos to three papers can put three people out of a job.
This has been developing for years - and as you say, news writers are also being laid off but this is largely because the papers can take the wires from AFP etc and print them verbatim rather than do genuine reportage of their own (or give it to someone who writes to a formula) and that is without people writing for free.


Quote: the main reason they can cut the photo budgets is because of free photos

I would put it the other way round. They slash their photo budget anyway because times are hard and the modern approach is to outsource to save costs. But if someone sends in their free photo they think 'thank you very much' and are happy to take advantage. Look at it the other way: if they stopped taking free photos I cannot believe they would take on salaried staff to cover them.
thewilliam 6 4.8k
22 Nov 2012 11:39AM
Even the nationals are firing staffers and making greater use of freelancers. The freelance rates are in free-fall because there are so many photographers chasing the work.

Do you know anybody or any organisation that doesn't have to look very carefully at their expenditure? Apart form the EU, of course!
Jestertheclown 6 6.6k 242 England
22 Nov 2012 1:00PM

Quote:They slash their photo budget anyway because times are hard and the modern approach is to outsource to save costs.

Precisely.

We're not a threat to the photographer's jobs.
Their jobs are ceasing to exist because they have become an expense which the employers have decided that they can no longer justify.
By using photographs supplied by people like you and I, or any outside agencies, newspapers are attempting to keep production of their product cost-effective.
779HOB 2 1.1k United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 1:11PM

Quote:Have you ever thought of yourself as being one of the reasons for the reduction in staff photogrtaphers?


Yes I have. But at least I am competing with the others on a fair basis. A few weeks ago a paper phoned me and asked if they could use 6 of my photos in their paper and on their website. When I said they could and I would let them have them for the same fee their sister paper would pay they said "Oh, we don't pay for photos, people just send them in."


Quote:if they stopped taking free photos I cannot believe they would take on salaried staff to cover them.


So where would they get the photos from? I guess they's use stock images.
779HOB 2 1.1k United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 1:13PM

Quote:We're not a threat to the photographer's jobs.


If a teacher offered to work in your school for free would they be putting a paid teachers job at threat?
Jestertheclown 6 6.6k 242 England
22 Nov 2012 1:21PM
In the school where I worked previously, there were and still are, not teachers but teaching assistants voluntarily working for free.

They're not putting anyone's jobs at risk though for the same reason that I applied to the newspapers above; the school can't afford or justify the cost of employing people to fill those positions.
779HOB 2 1.1k United Kingdom
22 Nov 2012 1:24PM
I wasn't talking about assistants. If a fully qualified teacher walked in the door and offered to work for free, would that put a paid teacher at risk or stop to school from advertising for one.

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