The Price of Working….

Well I finished most of my editing today, just a few more sessions to edit tomorrow and then I should actually be 100% caught up since my 17 day journey across the country.  I am so glad to be home but I do miss being out on the road.  Driving for hours on end really allows me to think about all of the things I tend to put aside and just not deal with at any given moment.  But when you really have nothing else to do but drive and think, well those topics tend to pop back in your head.

I was so ready to walk away from photography, as a whole, I was seriously not going to touch my camera again except for those few clients that were left who hired me already.  But then I got to thinking, I really need to pre-screen the people I shoot with a little better.  I also need to only shoot what I want to shoot instead of trying to accommodate certain people who really don’t know anything about anything.  This is all my fault.  This not wanting to deal with people, not wanting to shoot what is basically glorified teen magazine crap, just not wanting to deal with anything is all my fault.

I can’t control other people, I can only control myself.  My actions and my directions need to be more clear.  I must stop bending to others when they refuse to bend to me at all.  I will also refuse to help those who will not help themselves.  For some reason in this industry it has become fairly normal for the non-professional team players to ask for money on a trade shoot.  Honestly, go F yourself.  If you are trying to build your book or if you ask me to shoot with you for free, don’t even think of asking me for a “kit fee” or for “gas money”.  The bottom line is that it cost me more per day to pay rent at my studio than it does for your little fees.  This is money I am investing in the shoot, let alone if I am shooting film, some shoots will be a couple hundred dollars just in film and processing, but you want $25.00 for your kit fee or for gas money so you can afford to travel to the shoot.  This is the biggest amount of bullshit in the “fashion” industry.

Want to know how to get paid?  Work.  Work your ass off!  I know a make up artist who has done trade with several good photographers, myself included.  She did trade, drove further than anyone else who has done trade with me on a regular basis and did this for a lot of people.  She is now booking up her weeks and months because of the investment she made in herself.

If you have an attitude that the world owes you something simply because you learned how to do something then you had better lose that self entitled chip on your shoulder right away if you want to run with the big dogs!  Yes, I still shoot trade, I will not lie about it to sound “cool”, honestly it just makes you sound like a douche bag.  “I don’t do trade, this is my full-time job.”  Well guess what?  When Kate Moss came to Irving Penn’s studio and they did a quick artistic test shoot where nobody got paid, that is called trade.  When Christie Turlington shot with Sante D’Orazio time and time again, do you think she was getting paid every time?

People do trade work all of the time in this industry, even at the top-level!  All I am saying is…. and here is the truth like you really, truly need to hear and take this to heart!  When you ask for $25.00 you could be missing out on thousands.  Guess who I call when I need a make up artist for a big paid shoot?  The one who originally did trade with me.  Guess what models I call for look books or for editorials or for ANY gig that pays?  Yep, the ones who have done trade with me.  These people are the first on my list for a reason.  They earned the right to be on this list, they get the first call every time simply because they deserve it.

So basically just think before you open up your greedy little mouth.  Is it really worth it to ask for so little when others are willing to invest in themselves?  I paid for all of my own film when I got started in this business.  I remember scooping up dog crap just to earn $10.00 to get film developed and to buy another roll!  I didn’t expect someone else to flip the bill for me, don’t expect me to pay for your expenses either, or any other photographer for that matter.  Get a part-time job, hustle, work as an assistant for crap pay from someone else in the industry to build connections or to actually learn your craft.  Models, work with good photographers for free, or even pay an amazing one!  The experience is priceless!

What is amazing is that someone will read this whole thing and not even get it.  They will think it doesn’t apply to them and they will just think I am some grumpy old photographer who doesn’t know how things are done these days.  Well, when you’ve been around the business for a while, you start to see people come and go.  Guess which ones tend to stick around the longest?

Chelsea by The Average Jim