Is Shooting for a Bad Magazine Good?

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by my stuff, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Today on a generalist Photo Forum (this one) under the Portrait Fashion category, someone from a small independent and in my opinion based on what I saw on their web site, not very good fashion magazine, placed an ad for photographers for their magazine. Now that seemed strange in the first place, which I go on to explain in the copy below. Here is part of the content of her query.
    I have left out the name of the magazine and the name of the person.

    "..We are looking for an up and coming photographer each month to shoot images for our cover. This is an unpaid commission, but provides great exposure as the cover stays on the front page for one whole month.."

    Hello ...

    My concern is that if you are coming to a forum to seek out photographers for your magazine, then that speaks volumes about the credibility of your magazine. I have been in this strange business for over 20+ years and do know one thing; the minimum one should know is where the sources are, where the press offices are which agents represent which photographers and what are the agencies representing the models etc. Now, perhaps you are new at this, so I will consider this query as naive, but, I do know that if I had to put production together and I wasn't the photographer, I would know exactly where to find them.

    That tells me, that getting exposure in your magazine could be considered poison in disguise, wrapped in a sweet chocolate covered coating. Why? Because anyone in the know would see immediately by the content, layout, choice of talent and advertisers what your standing is in the Fashion community. This may sound cruel and arrogant, but the reality is, in looking at your web site, I would recommend to anyone wishing to shot for this magazine the following..."buyer beware..."

Getting to shoot for VOGUE,Harpers, Elle, Marie Claire, Numero, V, W, or ID has and never will be a question of "How Much Do I Make?" that is a joke! You couldn't pay VOGUE enough money to shoot for them. The status associated with doing so is the following..."Once you are in VOGUE, you ARE in Vogue" and your phone will slowly start ringing off the wall to shoot Ad campaigns that command 5 too 6 figure numbers.
    There is a very simple barometer in this business. The less credible the magazine, the more perks it should provide for the team, as the exposure the team get, may be more detrimental to them than if they hadn't at all.

If you want a photographer, stylist, AD, make-up or Hair stylist, set designer, etc...just order Lebook. Now if you didn't know about Lebook, you should NOT be in the Fashion Business. If you want to play the game, learn the rules.
  2. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    No, it's never good. I do not shoot this genre; I would very much like to but I lack the required people skills that are necessary to be successful at it. In my opinion, however, it may not be that they do not know the rules but infact do know them and do not want to pay the price for an established photographer. You get what you pay for. If they want to scrape the bottom for "free labor" then their quality will be of the same the bottom. Regards.
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I don't think most of the photographers who submit to that "magazine" (or similar ones) care about Vogue, Elle, etc. They are doing photography because they want to, not to make a living, and if they get published anywhere, they are happy. The implications of this are simple - there will always be a supply of photographs that have no financial value attached.
    In addition, there are often local fashion opportunities that have nothing to do with the big magazines. You can find plenty of work shooting for modeling agencies, local runway shows, stores, and local advertising. I see this all the time, and although the pay isn't great, it's a lot more dependable for people looking for a second income, or who don't have the resources to get them to the big national magazines.
    I really wonder how many people are really thinking that submitting to a free web site is going to help them get to Vogue. Any ideas?
  4. I agree with you Jeff. I would do it. I have a different job/work and love photography. I have no desire to shoot for any big magazine, I'll leave that to you professionals. It's fun and relaxing to grab my camera, equipment and go see what I can do. Something like this would be a challenge to my creativity and be fun to do. And for me, friends, family, and just 'for the fun of it".. I could say "well yeah, my work was displayed on the cover of XYZ that month" that deep, cocky voice..... hahaha.
  5. I read Benjamin essay and advice trying to learn something from it for me it missed the mark with me. I not going to be shooting for "VOGUE,Harpers, Elle, Marie Claire, Numero, V, W, or ID". If I did it is way, way, way down the road and I do not need any distractions on the bumpy road with my fashion photography. I want to concentrated on the here, the now and the realistic possibilities. I think many fashion photographers are in the same boat with my thinking.
    I guess it what Walter Tatulinki wrote, since I am a bottom of the barrel photographer that I question.
    Without seeing the website that made Benjamin Kanarek write what he did, I really do not have a clue how good or bad it is this project could be. How is a new small independent magazine going to start? By hiring a establish photographer? Will they have the budget to afford one? Will as Benjamin pointed out the risk doing it even if they were being paid because as he puts it"…may be more detrimental to them than if they hadn't at all.", the establish photographer might not want to risk his/her career.
    I have seen some of the smaller fashion magazines they have talented photographers or just maybe I do not have a clue what a talented photographer is about. I do not think being smaller magazine will prevent talented photographers to work with the magazine, or like I said I could be clueless.
    If I had a chance to work on the project Benjamin mentioned. I might do, I might not. It depends on what I going to get out of it. It is not the money, nor that fact shooting a cover; it is the on the job experience to do it. Doing one cover is not going to make anyone a superstar photographer here. But the chance to learn some things when the project is over and network will people that is something worth while to me.
    But as a bottom of the barrel photographer, there are opportunities to learn things that are not going to be costly mistakes and I might do it because of that reason alone. As a bottom of barrel of photographer I am at the bottom of the barrel and things for me can only go in the up direction from here so why not do it? Need to start climbing up the barrel. As bottom of the barrel photographer that should say something about the quality of my work, right? If I am a threat to any establish photographer who quality is better than mine, then what is the established photographer doing wrong that I am a threat?
    So as Benjamin put it ". The less credible the magazine, the more perks it should provide for the team …", that is why I would do it the my perk for the experience, learning and growing and sorry Benjamin I would not take your advice here and would do this photo shoot.
    This is from point of view of bottom of the barrel fashion photographer.
  6. It gives a newer photographer a "published experience". Nothing wrong with it if it's not a scam, you have to read all the terms carefully. It's a personal decision, and the photographer might have fine skills but very limited exposure, this gives some exposure. The idea presented that this is going to be a "bottom of the barrel" job is nonsense. There are many very highly skilled students and upstarts out there that would savor being awarded a cover opportunity and that's OK. I remember my first annual report submission, I got a nice check, but I would have shot the whole mag for free just to have it in my portfolio. Oh well, we all have our "take" on this.
  7. I think it's not a bad thing if it's not a scam as Dave mentioned. It's very rare that a talented newcomer gets to shoot for Vogue, Harprer's, etc. as an early gig. I'm still working on that first shoot, but I welcome any opportunity for exposure and (more importantly) experience.
  8. I was asked to shoot the front cover of the annual school magazine, and of course I said yes. There was no money involved, no exposure involved(one of my terms was that I remained anonymous) either. I was just happy to do it, and I'll bet most (amateur)photographers would be happy to shoot the cover of anything at all.
  9. Ben needs an editor :(
    Revise the first run-on sentence and use a dash. Use a colon to join an independent and dependent clauses (e.g. "... know one thing: the minimum... ".
    Eliminate the excessive metaphors, such as: "That tells me, that getting exposure in your magazine could be considered poison in disguise, wrapped in a sweet chocolate covered coating". Everything after "disguise" should be struck. At this point, you are just bloviating.
    After you made your point, there's no need to turn it into a hyperbole and add the alleteration just for the sake of doing so. You can write poetically, but keep it concise. Let's be honest, working for free is hardly a "sweet chocolate coating"-- else the chocolate in Europe really sucks.
    In previous blogs, you've also strung together way too many anaologies/metaphors. This again is beating a dead horse. If your target audience is too dumb to get it the first time, then you should find another audience.
    I normally would skip correcting, but based on your frequency and length of posts, and attempted style, it seems you really want to come off polished. If there's going to be three to five hundred word essays, it might as well get to the point where it's fun to read.
    -Nathan (not an editor)
  10. It's "alliteration", not "alleteration", and "analogies" is not spelled "anaologies".
    And I admit, my sentence structure is probably not perfect either. ;-)

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