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Being out here in the sticks, it is really hard to do news stories. My best shots were when I was in the city last month and had great shots of the Flyboard Championships and the Pride Party, but of course I was stuck in my booth and had not access to wifi. (My phone data sucks).

 

In order to get some accreditation for news in the future, should I suck it up and do some free stuff for the local rag in order to have some tear sheets of my work?

 

So many people are willing to give their stuff away, there is no way I can get them to pay unless I had some really fantastic unusual shot.

 

Is it worth giving away a little work to get farther in the long run?

 

Jill

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Hopefully, some working PJs will jump in here; I know little to nothing about being an assignment shooter in the digital world.  Back in film days, when I worked on assignment, I found that working free never produced paid work in the future.  Instead it resulted in yet another chance to work free.  

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For local news, there are just too many phone photographers out there giving away their work, as they just get a kick out of seeing their credit line in the paper. The only way to get paid is to be in the right place at the right time when something horrible happens like a fire or car crash, neither of which I hope to see happen, And the odds of being there at the time are highly unlikely as out here in the country, they are few and far between.

 

There are a couple of local events this weekend, a classic car show and parade and a movie director (local) is having a big zombie walk tomorrow (if id doesn't rain, which its supposed to).

 

Neither of these events would be of any interest to large city dailies.

 

Very different from the film days, so can't really compare.

 

Jill

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Cover events on spec to build your portfolio and submit them to Alamy => yes

Work for your local paper for free => NO NEVER

 

You don't need press accreditation to cover events occurring in public.

 

..and for what it's worth, if you are standing in a press pool and you even let on to the fact that you are shooting on speculation, you are shark bait.  Every person there will take a bite out of you.

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Cover events on spec to build your portfolio and submit them to Alamy => yes

Work for your local paper for free => NO NEVER

 

You don't need press accreditation to cover events occurring in public.

 

..and for what it's worth, if you are standing in a press pool and you even let on to the fact that you are shooting on speculation, you are shark bait.  Every person there will take a bite out of you.

 

I think judging by my equipment, I think that would be obvious, although for some events I could rent some decent glass. (Boy I miss my son being in college and getting me all those fab lenses on the weekends!)

 

I really only get to the city when doing commercial events for my equestrian and dog products. And then I am normally stuck in my booth from dawn till dusk.

 

The Pan Am Games are here next year, and I would love to be able to cover the equestrian events, but in that type of event, the public doesn't get near the field. 

 

I was so ticked when I couldn't submit my Flyboard photos. We were supposed to have wifi where we were, but it never materialized.

 

Jill

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I have just seen someone on the forum of another site asking togs if they can use their photos as background FOR A CREDIT LINE.

 

Jez.

 

Allan

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So many people are willing to give their stuff away, there is no way I can get them to pay unless I had some really fantastic unusual shot.

 

Is it worth giving away a little work to get farther in the long run?

 

Jill

 

Ultimately it's for you to decide, but I believe that giving your stuff away for free now will never encourage someone to cough up for your work in the future.  It will only serve to persuade them that your work is worth nothing - but they may keep your name on file as someone who is able to produce good quality work at the drop of a hat - for nothing - in the future.

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Last year, a up and coming photography site where photographers submitted images in the somewhat vain hope of licensing to buyers who actually found the site (in Sydney, Oz where I live) thought it would be an excellent idea to submit images to local newspapers gratis in order to get traffic to the site.  The owner of the site was rightly howled down by pros and non-pros who did NOT think it was an excellent idea!  They quickly withdrew the idea!

 

Don't give away your work as it devalues ALL of our work. 

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I refuse to send any of photos to the local newspapers who will not pay anything.  They used one of photos seven times after I went to photograph a man for my own purposes at the same time a reporter was there doing a story. He asked if they could use one of my images to save one of their photographers coming out.  I agreed on the agreement that they pay me. I even spoke to the picture editor on the reporters mobile phone to confirm it.  Then they didn't pay.

 

I have since phoned offering photos of local stories and asked what they would pay.  They told me they don't pay for pictures!  So I refuse to send them anything.  I e mailed the editor saying what an insult this is and that the paper boy who delivers my copy even gets paid.  They didn't even reply.  So that's it for me...no free stuff to papers or organisations who have plenty of money.

 

I do some free stuff for local community events.  If I am doing personal work, I will offer a free copy of one or two images for people who have given up their time to sit for me - personally I think this is polite - an often they have gone on to buy other stuff..  But for papers and other organisations who should pay for photography...then no.

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I decided against the freebie work. I really don't think it would help me much in the long run. I will just have to make time to hit Toronto when I am not committed to anything else and cover some interesting events there. Can always upload from Tim Horton's or Starbucks. It does stick in my craw that papers want your work for free without any sense of obligation back.

 

So I will PP today instead of heading in to town for the classic cars or the zombie walk.  Why waste the gas money?

 

Jill

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I refuse to send any of photos to the local newspapers who will not pay anything.  They used one of photos seven times after I went to photograph a man for my own purposes at the same time a reporter was there doing a story. He asked if they could use one of my images to save one of their photographers coming out.  I agreed on the agreement that they pay me. I even spoke to the picture editor on the reporters mobile phone to confirm it.  Then they didn't pay.

 

I have since phoned offering photos of local stories and asked what they would pay.  They told me they don't pay for pictures!  So I refuse to send them anything.  I e mailed the editor saying what an insult this is and that the paper boy who delivers my copy even gets paid.  They didn't even reply.  So that's it for me...no free stuff to papers or organisations who have plenty of money.

 

I do some free stuff for local community events.  If I am doing personal work, I will offer a free copy of one or two images for people who have given up their time to sit for me - personally I think this is polite - an often they have gone on to buy other stuff..  But for papers and other organisations who should pay for photography...then no.

I assume you took them to court for non-payment? Or at least issued a solicitors letter?? I

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I know the newspaper company Julesimages is talking about. They are so stingy that they have stopped delivering the free weekly paper to houses in the village where their printing operation is.

 

Allan

 

(name withheld)

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Unfortunately it appears this was a verbal agreement so unless Jules can drum up witnesses to the conversation it could be rather difficult to take to court.

 

That is my belief FWIW.

 

Allan

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I know a woman who works her socks off and sends pictures into picture editors for free in the hope that one day she'll get a break. She spends so much money on taxis to get to places I wonder why it's even worth her while. They never use her pics and she lives with that "one day it'll happen" thing. I told her that my images had been licensed by the media about 20 times in the last year and she nearly chewed my face off for my "secrets" I just said shoot what they need and they'll pay you for it. Simple. 

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I refuse to send any of photos to the local newspapers who will not pay anything. They used one of photos seven times after I went to photograph a man for my own purposes at the same time a reporter was there doing a story. He asked if they could use one of my images to save one of their photographers coming out. I agreed on the agreement that they pay me. I even spoke to the picture editor on the reporters mobile phone to confirm it. Then they didn't pay.

 

I have since phoned offering photos of local stories and asked what they would pay. They told me they don't pay for pictures! So I refuse to send them anything. I e mailed the editor saying what an insult this is and that the paper boy who delivers my copy even gets paid. They didn't even reply. So that's it for me...no free stuff to papers or organisations who have plenty of money.

 

I do some free stuff for local community events. If I am doing personal work, I will offer a free copy of one or two images for people who have given up their time to sit for me - personally I think this is polite - an often they have gone on to buy other stuff.. But for papers and other organisations who should pay for photography...then no.

 

I spent 5 years working as staff photographer for several community papers and several more years freelancing for the dailies. One major lesson I learned is never rely on reporters. If a reporter approaches you at an event, give them your business card or telephone number and tell them to have the photo editor contact you. Reporters may want to have a photo to go with their story but they're rarely authorized to license a photo or negotiate the rate.

 

You might also want to ask what you need to do in order to get paid. Do you have to send an invoice, should that invoice be addressed to anyone in particular, or will they simply add you to a payment list. This won't guaranteed you'll get paid but it does help to streamline the process.

Edited by fotoDogue
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I have a non photographer friend, who recently won some VIP tickets to an event. She posted a snap of her phone on twitter, and the local paper used it with even asking for permission (let alone offering to pay). She happened to spot it, and I'm on the case. Just shows in these days of declining readership, they are looking to take the piss out of their suppliers to maintain their margins!

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Unfortunately it appears this was a verbal agreement so unless Jules can drum up witnesses to the conversation it could be rather difficult to take to court.

 

That is my belief FWIW.

 

Allan

 

Allan

 

Im guessing thats a country specific thing because in the UK that is copyright infringement (EDIT: Alan, just realised you are also UK so I'm not sure why you would not be more firm over this), however you look at it, verbal contract or none... They used the image and they would need to prove there was agreement to use it for free...

 

(That the example of York Photo above - no agreement, use, court, pay... as with the we'll known cases of Jason Sheldon (google)... I was chatting to him Saturday evening and basically I (I think most of us) are too soft when it comes to this sort of thing...

 

If you want to send your images to local papers, fine but make sure the email states contact / pay before use and also make sure the meta data does also... then if they use it they don't have a leg to stand on.... There (might) come a time, even if after months of not using an image, that one time you will have an image they want....then you might get more recognition and money, just giving stuff away will never reach that conclusion....

Edited by Julie Edwards
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I'm with Julie on this one. A theatre website recently used one of my pictures, which had been published in the Grauniad, on their website and had actually credited me! However, I had not sent it to them as they do not pay for content. as it is heavily watermarked on my website, there was only one place it could have come from - the Grauniad site, via Google Images. Contacted editor about payment and it has now been paid for (as well as removed). Needless to say, there was an uplift for IP theft. Same thing in this case - they do not have a licence to use that picture, so they need a Crofts 1 letter sending, followed by a Crofts 2 if they don't immediately agree they need to pay. Have a look at the NUJ rates (on the website) and double that for flagrancy (triple it if they also did not credit you). 

Edited by Jane Hobson
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I would add that in the case of the reporter's promise, if it emerged he was making promises he wasn't authorised to make, then he probably wasn't acting in the course of his employment and could be sued personally for infringement. I would certainly name him as joint defendant.

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 Crofts 1 letter sending, followed by a Crofts 2 if they don't immediately agree they need to pay. Have a look at the NUJ rates (on the website) and double that for flagrancy (triple it if they also did not credit you). 

 

Are those letters the same or similar to those on EPUK?

 

Allan

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