Schmap wants to use one of my pictures, what should I do?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by trevans, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    Apparently there's a travel-type site (think Fodor's) called schmap (www.schmap.com) that does guides to various cities around the world and also allows users to upload their own content.
    I got a message from one of their people saying they would like to use my photo of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in their Philadelphia guide. Cool!
    However, the catch is that they don't want to pay for it. They want me to grant them a free, indefinite non-exclusive type license to use the image as they see fit. I see lots of pictures on there that have Creative Commons licenses (which I don't think we can assume they aren't paying for, but I'd be surprised if they are). I mean... at least they asked instead of just taking it I suppose. They sent me this message:
    While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.​
    I guess my beef with this is that they are a for-profit company trying to pass this off as them doing me a favor by exhibiting my work. I'm not too thrilled about that. I mean sure, it's nice to be recognized and maybe I'll get some more traffic, but it's the principle of the thing.
    Has anyone else encountered this kind of situation? If they were non-profit, I'd be fine with it, but they are looking to profit and they asked me to donate my work to further that endeavor.
    What would you do?
     
  2. I'd tell them slavery (work for no pay) was abolished two centuries ago.
     
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    slavery (work for no pay)​
    This is hardly "work for no pay." Someone is trying to obtain the rights to something that someone has. Nobody is telling him he has to work. Let's see your paid work. The original poster is getting publication requests, let's see your paid work..
     
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    So you need to decide what it's worth to you. It sounds unlikely that they will pay anyone, so if you want the publication and the credit for your portfolio or just to feel good, then do it. If you don't want it published without payment, let them know and see what happens.
     
  5. They found my picture off Flickr and it's on their site for University of Texas tower (shameless plug).
    To be quite honest there's nothing appealing, interesting, or unique about my photo so I didn't really care. Sure I'm letting them use it for free, but I'm happy they chose mine (even if their standards are pretty low). :p
     
  6. They asked for one of my Philadelphia photos too a couple of years ago, also in the Art Museum area. The terms seemed okay, so I allowed it. I can't imagine why they chose that one, though!
     
  7. Yeah, I was surprised at the picture they chose too. Oh well. :) Guess I'm not alone.
    Oh and H. Ting, we can't be friends if you're a UT fan. I'm a Mizzou grad. ;-)
     
  8. I didn't see or it was left out. Do you they atleast let you keep the right for your own use and/or do they give the photographer credit?
     
  9. I would never grant anyone a license to any of my photos to use as they see fit indefinitely. I would put a time and usage limit on its publication. And I would expect payment as well. I make a living through photography, and the "pleasure" of publishing with them and the "wide exposure" they offer won't pay my mortgage.
     
  10. @Dean,
    I understand where you're coming from and that's my primary hangup. I'm not supporting myself with my photography (I'm an engineer) and do this as a hobby. On one hand it's nice to have a little recognition and publicity, and possibly some traffic over my Flickr site (though I'm doubtful it'll make any difference... in fact the schmap users will probably think schmap paid someone for the photo and it's just for schmap!). On the other, I feel that if I allow it for free, then maybe that cheapens the profession as a whole just a little, since companies like this think they don't have to hire a professional or buy stock photos since there are so many amateurs willing to give away work in hopes of getting noticed. I think that's the wrong attitude on the part of a company who is trying to make a profit.
    @Keal, what didn't you see?
     
  11. Well, whether or not it cheapens the industry is an entirely different discussion. I personally think it does great harm to the industry to give photos away for commercial use for free and for companies to "borrow" them from Flickr or take from amateurs for no compensation.
    But, it's your photo. If you feel the photo credit and exposure is worth it, go ahead and give it to them. Ultimately you're the one who has to make the decision. You have to do what makes you feel comfortable.
     
  12. Isn't flickr great? It's like corbis, only free! :)
    I can understand exposure and credit as a form of payment. How popular is schmap? Dunno. But as you said in your original post, if they were non-profit you would be fine with it.
    Wikpedia says that schmap provides free service to customers, but earns licensing revenue from it's commercial customers.
    I visited the site and it seems that they are making a killing on all their guides by not having to pay for all those images (I'm sure they run into the hundreds or even thousands). So, what's just one more?
    I'm reminded of the story of the old man on the beach tossing silver dollars back into the ocean. When questioned by a young boy as to what he is doing, he answered, "I'm saving them from hot sun and birds."
    The boy took to laughter and replied; "There's litterally thousands of them everywhere! You can't save them all."
    The old man looked at him briefly, picked another one up and gave it toss. Then turned and answered; "Well, I made a difference for that one."
    That's my take.
     
  13. For as long as I've been a professional photographer I have never given away work for free. There seem to be some sort of scam-school all these people go through. You'll hear words like "great publicity opportunity for you", "we can't pay you this time but we will next time" and so on for a few eons. I've never been able to pay the mortgage with "great publicity" and when they tell me they'll pay next time my reply has always been the same: "Pay me in full for this time and I'll make sure you get a hefty discount next time".
    As far as I'm concerned, these are the bottom-feeders of the publishing industry. Are they going to print the printer for printing their guide? Is the layout dude/dudette getting paid? Then why on earth shouldn't you be?
    But as Jeff has stated very clearly, it comes down to you and what you want to do. If you are happy with giving your work away for free go for it. Would you do engineering work for free for me if I promised you "great publicity"?
    I dunno, maybe I've just been at this for too long (almost 20 years now) but to me giving away my work for nothing has never ever been an issue. Sure, I do pro bono publico work for my local Child Advocacy Center (for abused kids) and I work many long hours in church but to me there's a world of difference. Especially since the people wanting to use your image for free is a for-profit organization.
     
  14. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Would you do engineering work for free for me if I promised you "great publicity"?​
    Now that's an interesting question. I spent two hours a couple weeks ago fixing my neighbor's network. A professional would have done it in one third the time and made at least a hundred dollars. I had some interesting discussions with my neighbor, figured out how to work with something I didn't know about previously, and got an invite to dinner at a nice restaurant for my wife and I, the last of which I didn't expect. On the other hand, for me, photo publication is always for money. In other words, I expect to get paid for photographs and not for network administration. This same type of situation is facing Tim. If he isn't going to be making money from photography, it may not matter.
    I don't see this as "cheapening" photography any more than the local computer repair shop or the Geek Squad sees me as "cheapening" computer repair.
    One thing to consider is barter. These days, I do a fair amount of barter, although I will not do it for publication or advertising clients. I do it for other types of shooting and get things like event tickets, classes, clothing, and alcohol, all things that I would spend money on anyway. With a travel publication like Schmap, if you want the photo published and they are definitely not going to give you money, you should see if they have tickets or hotel nights they can trade.
     
  15. I don't see this as "cheapening" photography any more than the local computer repair shop or the Geek Squad sees me as "cheapening" computer repair.​
    But Jeff, you were doing a favor for a neighbor. It was one person. These companies take photos from hundreds, maybe thousands of photographers for little or no money. That is different than doing something nice for a friend. That affects the entire neighborhood. If you were to offer your services to the entire city for free, how long do you think the Geek Squad would be able to stay in business. When clients expect to get something for free, the person who comes along asking to be paid doesn't have chance in that market.
     
  16. Jeff you bring up an interesting point, and I intend to write them a letter at least explaining my position and perhaps I'll ask if they can compensate in some other way. I need to take the honey over vinegar approach though, so it may be next week before I get to it. :) I do see that many, many people online have one (or several, or dozens!) of pics up there and they are all happy as clams to have been selected. I'm reminded of a certain Steve Martin movie.
    Good publicity for engineering work? Hell no. I didn't pay for/toil through school and my work experience just for a kind word. And I'm sure you who earn your living through your photography work feel exactly the same way.
    And besides, it's not like it's National Geographic saying "Hey if you give us this image free, we'll run it on the front page for a week!"
    --Edit--
    For the sake of yuks, I looked up what Lonely Planet does for photos. You may find it interesting.
    http://www.lonelyplanetimages.com/prospectivephotographers.html
    I read that Schmaps is catching up to Fodors, LP, etc. and I have a feeling a large part of it is that they don't have to pay for some of the most important content of their site!
     
  17. For as long as I've been a professional photographer I have never given away work for free.​
    I would agree with this with a few caveats:
    • I have never "knowingly" given work away to commercial clients. I have gotten ripped off once or twice, mostly early in my career. Learning experience everyone goes through.
    • I have given my work and time away to local charities. I just spent 10-20 hours over the past month shooting photos at a therapeutic horse riding program for disabled kids taking images of all the riders so they and their parents could have photos at the end of the 7 week program. I see this as no different than an accountant offering to do the books for his local food bank or a handyman fixing a broken window at his church. I think volunteering is a good thing and photography is the greatest skill I have to offer.
    • I have done some legitimate favors for people, even if those people happened to be running a decent sized business and could have afforded to hire someone. But in a very logical way, this is more of the 'barter' that Jeff talked about. These are people who I fully expected would pay me back by doing a favor for me in the future. And, as much as you can count on your friends to do anything, they have done so.
    Now, everyone has to make up their own mind as to what stance they take on stuff like this. I'm not saying that there isn't a single situation where I would sign away my work for the promise of "publicity". But, for me, the number of those situations is very small and probably involves a guest spot on Oprah or something.
     
  18. Hi Tim-
    I had Schmap contact me about one of my Flickr photos last year for the online Orlando, FL guide. I think when you are starting out it is good to occasionally let a photo get used for free in order to gain some visibility, so I let them use it. They gave me proper credit and the photo linked back to my Flickr page, but the size of the photo they displayed was tiny and I really didn't gain any recognition from it so I wouldn't let them use any more of my work. In the whole year, that photo got viewed on my Flickr page from that link a total of two times. On the other hand just back in April the EPA had an Earth Day photo project through Flickr, same kind of deal except non-profit. I entered three photos, one in each category, and had two selected for display. One of those they are using regularly on their main website. I get full credit and that has drawn lots of attention to my work on Flickr and even to my new website so I am happy, even though I didn't get paid. Just in those few months, I have gotten hundreds of hits on my Flickr page from the EPA project. That also opened the door for me to have a nice email exchange with the lady at the EPA who put the photo project together. She ended up joining my mailing list and forwarded my site link to some colleagues. At this stage in the game I am just starting out and would probably not have had the guts to go knock on the "door" of the EPA. Letting them use just two of my photos for free opened up some good potential opportunities.
    I guess the point of me boring you with my long story is this... 1. Letting a photo get used for free isn't always a bad thing. 2. It is a good idea to check out the publication that wants to use the photos first. Then decide if letting them be used for free w/ credit is really going to benefit you in the way they say it will. Honestly, if I had looked at the Schmap website beforehand, I probably would not have bothered.
    Good Luck!
    Katherine
     
  19. I have given quite a few photographs to wildlife shelters with permission to use them in promoting their work for as long as they need them. They take care of the birds that I photograph and i think it's worthwhile. I recently gave an afternoon to photograph lots of animals and birds for one place and felt good about it. I do specifically retain the copyrights to my pictures.
     
  20. Before you even consider to accept this offer, free or for pay, you need to find out if the museum is covered under the copyright laws. Many public buildings hold their own copyrights and photographs of them may not be published without permission of the owners/trustees of the architectural/commercial use property.
    This website is probably trying to find a quick, easy way to publish a photo which they might not be legally able to obtain or afford, and you could be legally liable for allowing them to publish it.
    This needs to be kept in mind with all buildings that might be classified as historical, having a trademark visable on them, advertising posted somewhere, even everyday travel destinations we take forgranted...check first to see if the building itself comes within the copyright laws. If so, do not publish it except for personal use (such as a forum or crit). These laws hold for domestic and foreign properties.
     
  21. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    But Jeff....​
    Dean, your analogy is flawed. Tim is only being asked for one photo and he is making money somewhere else. If I was fixing networks full-time, I would have to be making money because I wouldn't be doing anything else. And, a lot of people's networks might never work quite right, but that's a different problem.
    I do think there is something that people aren't accepting which is that the value of most stock photography is rapidly approaching zero. This is due to changes in distribution and availability. Everyone blames the stock agencies, which is a big mistake because it allows anger to replace any kind of reasonable evaluation. Twenty years ago, stock photos had to be obtained by agencies as slides, converted and published in stock books. Producing slides was something a lot of people couldn't do at the time. With the ability for anyone to distribute over the internet, the game changed. Also, a lot of print publication, which requires a certain quality level, has been replaced by internet publication, which requires a significantly lowered quality level. The stock agencies aren't responsible for this.
    It's just a changing market and whining about it, which I see a lot on the forum, is the worst response. Instead, photographers who want to sell stock have to find some way to rise above the crowd. For me, it's been continually photographing a specific subject with access that most people don't have. If someone wants Muay Thai kickboxing photos from the US, I've got a huge library. Most people don't shoot close enough or have client restrictions that I don't usually have. I don't advertise and I don't use agencies, when someone goes out looking, they find me. Anyone who wants a long-term stock business has to look for work that is a) high quality, and b) somewhat unique.
     
  22. I was wondering if they atleast gave you credit and do you keep the rights to the image.
     
  23. There are close to 16,000 photos of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Flickr. I'm sure they'll find one if you say no.
     
  24. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I'm sure they'll find one if you say no.​
    My point exactly. Distribution is easy, so there are plenty of photos out there. What's the value of one out of 16,000 (and that's just flickr)? I'm not knocking Tim's photo, it may be the best of those 16,000, but twenty years ago there might only be 20.
     
  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Many public buildings hold their own copyrights and photographs of them may not be published without permission of the owners/trustees of the architectural/commercial use property.​

    It really helps to actually research the laws before posting. First of all, any building erected before December 1, 1990, like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is not covered by any copyright law. Second, there is an exception for photographers shooting the building. The only possible issue is if artwork is in the photo other than the building or other structures. This information is easily found on the web. Misinformation should not be posted here.
    you could be legally liable for allowing them to publish it.​
    Just plain bad information, given the above.
     
  26. They are using one of my photo's. Here are my thoughts:
    • I would concur with Katherine that there has been very little traffic to my flickr album because of them. I never heard of them before I received their email and this would be the second time hearing about them. So in reality the likelihood of future sales because of them is very limited.
    • I would also agree with Thomas that they have plenty to choose from and are spending less time choosing then we are discussing their business strategy
    • It basically all comes down to how nice are you. In other words they will have a greater benefit from your photo (more content) then you will receive from them (a few more visitors to your flickr album). So flip a coin see what happens, besides if anyone looses sleep over this it will be you, not them. Good luck!
     
  27. For FREE? Fat chance in my books. They are "for profit", making money off your image(s). Exposure? Is it worth it? Kind of like giving away free images at sporting events, then starting to cahrge for them...the parents come to expect "free" from you. These publications come to expect "free".
     
  28. I was wondering if they atleast gave you credit and do you keep the rights to the image.​
    Yes and yes. This isn't a rights-grabbing exercise. I also have had almost zero traffic to that image from Schmap, but of course it's hardly a photo that would generate traffic in my case. That photo has had an order of magnitude more traffic from this discussion than it has had from Schmap.
    In my case they weren't taking anything from me, not even opportunity cost. I wasn't getting anything from it either, but why not? They asked nicely, there's no downside to me, so I said yes.
     
  29. I practiced law for over a decade and a half (ending more than 20 years ago, and not since, though I still have my legal skills intact). I made a point of answering the telephone myself or returning every call, or having someone skillful with attorney direction answer every question about a legal situation that was presented to my office (which I owned) even if only to say 'No, we can't handle it, because it's in a subject area where we don't have sufficient expertise).
    In many instances, the phone calls that generated the questions and the clients who first made contact with my office were lured (in the most nice sense) by a promise of a 'free' or 'no cost' initial consultation.
    People were so afraid of going to attorneys and talking to them openly (because it takes time and people know that attorneys charge extremely high rates per hour, people were greatly afraid to speak at length and openly about their problem for fear of being 'charged' a modest fortune. The only way to break the cycle was to talk at first 'for free'.
    So, I made a promise to each and every one of them: I will not charge you anything until we make an agreement that I will represent you (or represent you further than an initial consultation which consists of an evaluation of your case -- and also your prospects as a potential client (some people with good cases make terrible clients because of personal attributes).
    Many times those evaluations took a half hour to an hour, but sometimes they took half a day or a half day and nearly all evening.
    Many of the problems brought to me were considered by other attorneys 'too trivial' to merit their attention, and they were -- at least on a pay as you go basis -- they would never generate fees, and I never charged for them. I often told clients that if I were to charge for the advice I gave them, they were better off just absorbing the 'loss' than to pay me . . . . and I was correct - as my hourly rate in the 1980s was $300 to $400 an hour.
    But many of these people thought very highly of me for devoting my time to solving their relatively insignificant problems and the skill with which I went about doing it. They watched as I did so in their presence, for I did nothing more once they left the room.
    In many cases, their claims were their first interface with an attorney. It gave me a chance to look over these people as clients AND a chance to plumb their entire lives for legal issues - a chance to explore for hidden gold in claims they or their relatives might have.
    You'd be surprised how many innocent people have WONDERFUL legal claims worth tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars that may expire without their hiring an attorney, and I asked questions designed to elicit from these people who trooped into my office whether they had those claims AND whether they had relatives who had such claims - claims that might whither and die on the vine.
    It was a very common occurrence for me to solve a relatively simple problem, and to have a satisfied client who saw me work out their difficulty (for free and with quite some work after an extensive interview) then call a relative or close friend, and tell that person they had found a 'great lawyer' and that person should get down to my office 'right now' and that I would stay as 'late as necessary' to interview that person - because for such persons I had already heard enough to know that they had claims of great merit and usually were almost guaranteed winners, and those people were unrepresented, and often did not know they even had a 'case' or if they did, were too paralyzed to find a qualified attorney.
    Conclusion: Sometimes giving away something 'for free' can be a very wise investment -- if you calculate the odds of a big return from the giveaway and resolve the giveaway in terms of 'goodwill' as well as return business- in my case it often was obscure and hidden, but very big business. (many cases had been taken to attorneys and turned down as 'worthless' but I got recoveries, often easily)
    ********
    Not so long ago, I was approached by a person in the Indian subcontinent, who claimed to produce a web zine (web magazine) that served a school population and there was a link later provided to a 'laid out' version of a 'web-zine' or something that looked like a web-zine' which might or might not have been legitimate. (after all, 'mock-up' of such a device is not hard to accomplish and make it look like it comes from students -- even if it's really just a clever guy with a 'con' to get his hands on the rights to 'important' photos and the BIG digital files. (A California printer/framer/poster sales house once had asked for the same file, so he could make posters, which he would sell in his store - but I realized I had NO control, since he would be doing the printing on his printer, and once he had the file, he could run off 1 to 1,000 images, sell them, and I would have no way of verifying his honesty or not. (the motion picture industry in LA is always being accused of cheating its performers, directors, etc. on 'performance' contracts where a 'percentage of the gross' or a 'percentage of the profit' is part of recompense for work done).
    That Indian person (allegedly asking on behalf of Indian students) asked for rights to publish one of my photos - soldiers with bayonets at Berkeley wearing gas masks in the 1960s, in front of student demonstrators, many with balloons and not posing any obvious threat -- one of my two or three most viewed images -- said to be a historical image - and thus timeless and viewed by over 100,000 persons since posting, and a centerpiece of any portfolio I might put together if I decide to go 'fine art' pro.
    The person suggested that the photo should be transmitted in (say) 15 megabyte size - or larger (I forget, but it was a 'very large size file)
    Now any idiot on Photo.net knows that for a 72 dpi copy for a web-zine, there is absolutely no need for a 15 megabyte (or whatever other large size that person asked for)-- a 300 kb file would be sufficient for web-zine purposes.
    I smelled a rat, and begged off.
    That photo has historical merit, and one day may actually hang in galleries and/or museums, I have been told by a mentor with highest credentials who prints for the Louvre, the MOMA, the Guggenheim, the Getty, etc. I trust his guidance ( and he asks for nothing in return, except my thanks which he has in abundance -- thank you again Michel Karman).
    I also once was asked by the British Broadcasting Corporation for rights to produce an image for a magazine they produced - a Parisian Metro train entering (or exiting) a well-known station in Paris -- complete lights and motion blur -- a well-composed and pretty good image.
    I frantically tried to determine what to charge them, and finally inquired how the photo would be used - which is to say, what would be the magazine's distribution, and was told by the photo researcher 'there is no pay for the photo - we will show your name clearly and attribute you as a photographer (I did not seek to 'sell' - they sought me out -- as I am and always have been an amateur. (but I hope not a stupid amateur who has compromised my work so I can never turn 'fine art pro' because of sloppy legal errors that did not protect my rights to my copyrights and images.)
    I said 'thanks but no thanks' -- why do I want to 'make a gift to the giant BBC' when they have a budge of hundreds of millions of dollars (or pounds) yearly. I was told there was 'no budget' to pay me, and my response was then 'nice try, and good sporting effort, but no deal - you're asking for something I broke my back for and you want it for nothing -- if you want to send me an assignment or something else of value (so I can re-evaluate my career direction from that of being an amateur,then we might have something to discuss, but otherwise 'no soap' (American idiomatic expression).
    The BBC receives money from the television tax in Great Britain, (my understanding is that every television receiver is 'taxed' handsomely by the British government, in part to help pay for the BBC which handles hundreds of millions of Pounds (and dollars) each year, and they want me to make a donation to them?
    Not on your life.
    Not one in a million readers would have see and notice my name on a credit line at that state in my career, even for a passably good photograph. The attribution made no sense to me, unless for some strange reason I needed by-lines to qualify for some professional organization - such as the Nikon Professional repair program, which requires tear sheets to be sent in as 'proof' of one's professional standing - a program I never have qualified for -- they give loaners during repairs to pros and let them experiment with 'new' cameras sometimes.
    This is a time in the evolution (or revolution in photography) when assignment agencies I understand are sometimes holding out to their photographers 'assignments' with 'terms' such as this: 'We need coverage of 'such and such event' and they'll tell four or five (or more) of their photographers of their need for photos, but not provide a real assignment or any guarantee even of costs, then let them on their own shoot speculative (spec) photos, on the off chance that one would 'score' something worthy of publication.
    What once was a guaranteed job,has become a 'shootout' among high-level pros. Things do not bode well for editorial photographers. (Wedding photography and portraiture may be another thing entirely) as well as commercial photography. It's apparently dog eat dog -- pitting their own photographers against one another.
    The word is out clearly - magazines are dying and the funeral will be held in a few years for the most part - not all magazines will die of course, but many and/or most, except those who make a transformation to the web, and for 'editorial' they were the rudder that steered the ship -- without magazines, photographers who shoot editorial have little clear chance of success ( I am told), and I think the numbers back me up (in general) -- some famous photographers will always succeed, and some enterprising people will always find a way to 'get ahead'.
    I first saw Henri Cartier-Bresson's work in 1969 as he toured with it in San Francisco, and it filled most of the huge De Young Museum, and little did I know, he was intending to finance his retirement off sales -- prints were going for as little as $100 to several hundred dollars, and how I lusted to buy several (but couldn't even afford one), even though I had never really heard of him previously, -- and only got an introduction through a mutual 'former China hand' who worked with me in early days at Associated Press. I was so impressed with HCB's work , I basically gave up photographic aspirations until three or more decades later.
    It seems that HCB literally was driven out of the era of the great photojournalism magazines by withdrawal of assignments from the world's great pictorial magazines - Life, Look, Colliers, etc., as were almost all top notch photographers and HCB was folding up his photographic tent, as were many other famous photographers - who stared lean times in the face.
    More lean times face editorial photographers directly now, and unless they figure out new ways to generate money from their editorial work, they face a grim future (advertising work will also suffer, as the magazines that feature those huge car and other ads also disappear), but there will always be advertisements in one form or another -- ads make the business world turn.
    The point is that those who give away their photos to what has been called 'bottom-feeders' are responding to plays on their vanity - they know little about marketing their photos (I still don't either . . . probably I should learn), and the idea of being 'published' impresses them greatly.
    There often are a huge number of 'photo contests' in which the entrants give up ALL their rights to their own photographs, then come entreaties to buy the inevitable calendars which are printed, and other stuff that is printed (at high prices) which feature a certain photographer's work as the photo for one month or another.
    It's not a contest at all in my considered opinion, it's both a calendar marketing gimmick, run by another kind of bottom-feeder who preys on vanity, and a way to acquire reproduction rights to outstanding photos as their entry form grants these guys ownership of submitted photos 'in perpetuity' - copyrights and all, if one reads their 'terms and conditions and 'signs the entry form' which is heavy on legalese.
    So, there are times to 'give away stuff for free -- when there is a chance of getting a huge return on one's investment in 'giving away stuff'.
    I went to a gallery opening of a hugely famous photographer and women from the 'symphony society' were all over me, asking me to donate some of my 'work' for some charity auction . . . but, they pleaded, it should be 'pleasant' and not something that would offend the sorts who could 'donate large amounts to the Philharmonic in Los Angeles.'
    Clearly they had never seen my work, and if they did, I never heard from them again.
    I understood these well-meaning women knew nothing about photography, as well-intentioned as they were, as much current photography is 'edgy' and mine is often not 'feel-good' photography.
    Finally: There are famous words of advice from some photographer whose name I have long lost. Never give away or sell anything that is not your best work just to get published or to get a check. That urge to 'turn a profit' from a poor photo will bit you in the rear and hurt your reputation in ways you cannot expect -- only put into market your best work.
    Putting out less than the best will not show you in the best light and will do absolutely nothing to enhance your career, even if publication does carry your name on the caption or maybe because of that.
    Even a good shot of a museum or other building is only a photo of a building, unless it's spectacularly good (such as a photo by PN photographer Wilson Tsoi - who is extremely creative in crafting images of buildings and some such).
    Otherwise, don't bother to let anyone publish anything that is not your best work.
    Three years ago, I wrote my name like this John (Crosley) with the intention of evading the Google.com search engine, and up until that time I was successful. I wanted anonymity, as I had no ambition for my photography and my sights were set on photo sharing -- not photo notoriety. I never foresaw the huge success and worldwide recognition my photos have gained.
    Then one day, Google made a revision and it sent my name to the top of its search results under my name and soon it had dredged up 38 blogs and other sites that featured my work (stolen, but all but one spelled my name correctly) One,in Ukraine actually was selling my work, claiming it was 'their own'. The gall.
    In a short time, people around the world did recognize my name and my work. I could go places around the world, and if people in photography did not know my name, they often would know one or more representative images -- which surprised me greatly. And if they didn't know my work or my images all they had to do was put my name in google.com and find me (no. 1 under my search results) and follow the links -- people always asked for a business card, and I stubbornly refused to make one - just wrote down my name and said 'look for me in google.com, you can't miss me.
    It is not some 'map site' that will bring you fame, but rising toward the top on a site such as Photo.net (I'm not at the top, but I have risen over five and a fraction years and have probably had more than 50 million 'views' as they were originally counted -- possibly even double that (under the old counting system. -- Certainly nothing to sneeze at.
    The publicity that is going to get you noticed is your 'own web site' if it's really good and has great photos, and/or the work you display on Photo.net, as with its traffic, it quickly will raise you to the top of search engine returns based on search results and PN's extensive 'links' and extensive viewership.
    The answer to the notoriety you seek is the site you are on right now, and this site also makes an attempt to protect your copyrights, (but it requires your cooperation in filling out the copyright line when you post).
    (and PN notoriety has gotten me first class seats on airlines, extra baggage allowance, bargaining leverage when I meet someone who has never heard of me, but can tell 'what sort of person I am by reading my extensive comments built up over 5 years - and the way I treat people on Photo.net, plus seeing in my comments my general fund of knowledge and my willingness to share my knowledge without precondition.
    Often that gets paid back in little ways that are hard to pinpoint, but I get extra favors I often do not expect from people, or respect I never would have expected from those who have viewed my portfolio (and there are many greater portfolios on Photo.net from photographers whose work makes mine look amateurish - a few are spectacular, so I can only imagine what the ultra top shooters must get from their PN notoriety.
    No one's going to look at an image on a 'map site' of a museum or some such, and look at your posted photos on Flickr or somewhere else, but if someone wants to know what photos you do take and you just say (as so many here can say) 'Just enter my name in google.com and hit enter then follow the links -- I'm listed first (as so many longer-term members here are), then you will see the value of belonging to Photo.net
    [I don't belong to FLICKR or any site that does not bend over backwards to help me protect my copyrights - if my photography someday does catch on (if I turn pro some day or just sell my images as 'fine art') those copyrights will have true value - no use in dedicating my photographs to the public, as I'm not swimming in dough.) (Photocritiq.com does protect copyrights also, so I post there a little bit also.)
    I know this has been a 'long read' but it you read it carefully, there is a lot of 'meat' to these bones.
    Copyright 2009, All rights reserved, John (Crosley)
     
  30. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    This company is one of the ones who trawl Flickr asking people to give away their photos for free. If you give work away, make sure it's among friends or to a charity you want to support. If the editor gets paid, you get paid. The photo they wanted to reprint of mine wasn't one of my better ones (I deleted it recently), so I thought this was odd at the time.
     
  31. my extensive comments built up over 5 years
    There's five years worth right in this one post! :)
     
  32. I'd let them use it. You said it's just a snapshot, and all they want is a snapshot. There's thousands of others with equally good pictures who would do it just for bragging rights, which makes the cash value of the picture exactly what they're offering you.
     
  33. I am not a professional, who makes a living on selling picture yet - even so, I won't give my picture away in order to get free publicity, except for charity org. that help the unfortunate. Those people needed a break more than the one, who makes profit and wanted freebee!
     

Share This Page