Can’t Help But Overhear

And so the frustration continues.  The problem with the industry is the industry itself.  This is the most self implosive, self destructive industry I have ever seen!  How people are paying their bills just baffles me.

I was not eavesdropping, it was one of those “can’t help but overhear” type of situations where these two women were talking very loudly.  But they work for a major publication company and represent many magazines.  This is the conversation they were having.  It was all about an editorial shoot for one of their major print magazines.

From what I could understand, they had multiple locations, it would take most of the day, exclusive content and they were just simply offended that the photographer they wanted to do the shoot wanted to charge them $1200.00!  This is when one said to the other, “don’t they know what this type of exposure can do for them, that is worth more than money.”  Then they proceeded to go on and talk about how they were going back and forth on emails trying to get this photographer to do the shoot.  Part of their offering was they could do more editorials for them in the future.  What the fuck? You don’t want to pay them and as a bonus you say you will ask them to shoot for no pay more in the future?  You’re a special kind of stupid aren’t you?

This is the problem with the entire industry.  Somewhere along the lines this myth of exposure being good for you and how it will bring you more work got out and spread like wildfire.  Here is how it used to work.  At least in my day.

Olivia by The Average Jim

Many moons ago, over 20 years ago.  I had the opportunity in front of me to submit some photos to a major car magazine.  Basically someone I knew built some killer cars, some of the best around, the photographer from the magazine had an issue with the lab and their photos didn’t turn out.  So the car owner told the magazine that I had already taken photos of his cars and he would see if I could send in some prints.  I did, they got published and about two weeks later I got a check in the mail from the magazine’s publisher and they then contacted me to hire me for another paid shoot.

Olivia by The Average Jim

I sent in work, not expecting to get paid, but since they used the content they paid me a small sum.  The next time they hired me they paid me the full editorial rate, which honestly wasn’t much, but they offered pay for the services they needed to publish their magazine.  This was how it worked.  Once you had a good reputation with magazines about delivering quality work on time you would get more and more work.  But this day seems to be long gone in our industry today.

Olivia by The Average Jim

Olivia by The Average Jim

A few years ago I decided I wanted to get published at least once a month in a fashion style magazine.  I tried the whole “exposure” thing.  I got 13 publications in less than 9 months.  To avoid telling the long, drawn out version of this story I’ll just skip to the end.  It didn’t do shit for me.  If anything it lowered my value because people then assumed I would do it for free.  I was offered a cover shoot if I continued to shoot editorial content for one magazine for 6-12 months.  The cover paid a whole $100.00!  That is nothing.  Seriously, a cover that only pays $100?  I was paid more than that for my first editorial over 20 years ago.

Olivia by The Average Jim

The whole industry is operating on a shoestring budget and magazines are failing.  The money is running out.  These editors and magazine employees have less experience than ever before, they come from the generation of free content and that anyone can do it.  But if “anyone” can do it, why do you want a specific person?  Why are you pushing for this one photographer to do this shoot?  Because you like what they offer.  You just don’t like it enough to pay for it and you want them to feel so honored that you want their work in your magazine that they will offer their talent and services for free.  This is actually a slap in the face of every working photographer.

Olivia by The Average Jim

I wish they had said the photographer’s name so I could contact her and tell her about this conversation.  But she seemed to have the sense to say no to their bullshit offer.  Which is the entire silver lining of this whole thing.  This unknown photographer’s integrity gives me hope that the industry will turn around one day and get back to actually paying talent, not just taking what they can get for free and driving ad sales down and distribution down.

Olivia by The Average Jim

I love being a photographer, and I love that I don’t shoot for magazines anymore.  I just get to sit back and do what I do.  If you someone doesn’t like it, well okay.  Personally, I’m cool with being me, working for peanuts for me.  And sadly, the peanuts are more than the super cool industry is willing to pay me anyway so I am still money ahead.  Sure, I don’t get the “exposure” they offer.  But I do have peace of mind and a hell of a lot of fun!  Plus, I get plenty of exposure here on my own blog…. Maybe I should just call this a magazine and play the same game as the industry?  I’m published multiple times a week.  Wow, I’m so good at this! 😉

Olivia by The Average Jim

Since this is my own blog and I can do whatever I want.  I decided to publish photos today that were taken from my last shoot with Olivia.  All shot strictly for fun with my iPhone.