Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover
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Old 08-01-2009   #1
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Default Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

In April, Time magazine used a stock photo of coins in a jar on its cover to illustrate a story about "the new frugality."

Last week, the photographer who took the picture, Robert Lam, proudly pointed out his achievement in the Photography Talk forum on the Web site Model Mayhem.

The first reply to Lam's post asked if Time paid for the image, and Lam replied, "yes only 30.00 from Istock," meaning iStockphoto, an online agency. Stock photographs are existing images that can be licensed for various uses for a one-time fee. They're used a lot in marketing, packaging, advertising and journalism.



Photog thrilled to get peanuts from Time - The Future of Journalism - Open Salon


Makes for some interesting reading.

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Old 08-02-2009   #2
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

The story sounds sensational but it comes down to the fact that Time Magazine uses stock photos and pays the usual prices there. Robert Lam's picture got selected, he got the expected $30.

As to selling oneself too cheap, if he's doing stock photography, it must pay sufficiently for him to bother. Nothing new here, that stock photgraphyworks by volume, not individual high price.

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Old 08-03-2009   #3
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

So I read the article and went back to the original thread. My take on this is that Time will get what they want. If he had sent his picture to Time and offered to sell it to them for 10K I can assure you he would have been ignored. Someone from Time went looking for a suitable picture and came across it legally. To argue that the picture is worth more just because Time wanted it is like saying that a rich person should pay more for an item simply because he can pay it. The picture is good but is it worth 10K? Nope. It is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. There are just too many pictures of money in a jar to command that kind of price tag.
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Old 08-03-2009   #4
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

$30 and the ability to say his photo was on the cover of time magazine. That in itself is worth far more then the $30
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Old 08-03-2009   #5
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

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Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
$30 and the ability to say his photo was on the cover of time magazine. That in itself is worth far more then the $30

So if you continually give away your stuff for "fame and recognition", when does it start becoming more than just a vocation?
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Old 08-03-2009   #6
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

My point is, he can now build off that. At the very least, he has a framed copy of the magazine (I would). How many can say their photos are the cover of magazines as big as Time, who arent actually contracted with the company? So its a feather in the cap. And depending what their goals are with the craft, he can use it as a resume piece.
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Old 08-03-2009   #7
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

What about the amazing boost to his rep and his portfolio for that Time cover?
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Old 08-03-2009   #8
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

I don't have a quarrell with Time's bargain find for a cover shot. The photographer got paid the value I'm supposing he placed on his image. Its Ironic that the magazine published an inexpensive image for a story about the new frugality.

I've developed some question in my mind about the value added to a photographer's portfolio because an image is published, or he gets bragging rights. I supposed it comes down to the individual photographer. Craigslist is busting at the seams with people looking for photographers who want to expand their portfolio or want the promotion benefit from the experience. Bragging rights do not pay the bills or put food on the table.

I was contacted recently to cover an event, purported to be one of the largest of its kind in the state. I was invited. I took the risk and traveled, paid for overnight accomodations and shot the event. It was a disaster for me. There were a multitude of reasons why but not so many that if everything has been weighed to my advantage it would still have not been profitable. The individual who invited me later contacted me about another smaller but similar event. I explained that the previous event had not been profitable and I was not highly interested in working another lost proposition. He was sorry that I had not made anything but consolled me by saying, "well you can tell everyone that you photographed one of the largest of these kinds of events in the state". Who the heck am I going to tell? Is this supposed to make it easier for me to land the next looser event? Will I brag to my photographer friends that I got to shoot this thing? If I do will they laugh behind my back?

I think its a good thing that someone gets published, especially on a cover. Do not misunderstand. If a cover shot for a national mag is only woth $30 who wants to be in that business? This is probably a biased opinion because I am a mercenary when it comes to photography. If this becomes the rule and not the exception, that Time pays $30 for stock pics for their cover, what's the value of any published image going to be? How much are we going to expect local and regional publications to pay?

This is the direction photography is heading. There are more people out there who can create suitable images and willing to accept little or nothing for them than there are people out there who can create stellar images that command high payback. Unfortunately, suitable is becoming the benchmark.

Thanks, "Mr. Snapshooter" for not realizing the value of your images its really helping the professional photographer not realize the value of his.

Steve
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Old 08-03-2009   #9
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

Good dslr's are in a sellers market.
Good digital images are in a buyers market.
One must understand this so that one does not simply drill a hole in one's own head and watch the porridge run out.
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Old 08-03-2009   #10
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Default Re: Photographer happy with $30. for Time cover

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Originally Posted by Songman45 View Post
This is the direction photography is heading. There are more people out there who can create suitable images and willing to accept little or nothing for them than there are people out there who can create stellar images that command high payback. Unfortunately, suitable is becoming the benchmark.

Steve
That`s about it in a nut shell.


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