Bitesize Copyright …
This is a short guide for our customers on what copyright means and how for us and for you, and just to clarify the idea held by some that , if you have paid for images, you can do what you wish with them.
Copyright is legal right that protects the use of your work once your idea has been physically expressed. The current copyright legislation in the UK is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You can find out more about copyright legislation by visiting the Intellectual Property Office.
The photographer (Lensi – as the author of the image) owns the copyright to the photographs we produce on any commission. We own them, but you get the right to use them. Hopefully the following scenarios will help you understand this a little more, incase you are currently confused. We will use a lot of analogies with music because this is often easier to understand for most, as the lines of photography increasingly become blurred with more and more people having access to photography, the internet meaning right click has left people thinking that images on the internet are free to use and hobbyist photographers contributing to the idea that images have little of no value by giving them away in all kinds of ways.
In the same way that musicians control who can reproduce their music, photographers control who can reproduce their images.
Shops, hairdressers and pubs etc all need licences to play music – photographers issue licences to enable people to reproduce their images.
When you commission us for a piece of work, we will ask you about your intended use for the images, and your paperwork will include details of the licence that is issued with your commission. All our commissions include a licence to reproduce for personal use for personal commission such as a birthday party or wedding; and a licence to reproduce for that sole business for commercial / corporate commissions, this means that your business can use these images for all your marketing uses.
Let us highlight this with a few examples.
We shoot your birthday party, you want to put the images on a Facebook folder – FINE
We shoot your birthday party you want to print images for your living room wall – FINE
We shoot your birthday party you want to get t-shirts made up with one of the images on and sell them to your followers – NOT FINE
We shoot your birthday party, you want to print some images to give to your grandma – FINE
We shoot your birthday party, you want to give an image to the newspaper to accompany an article about you – YOU WOULD NEED TO APPROACH US TO DISCUSS ADDITIONAL FEES THAT MAY BE DUE.
We shoot your corporate event, you want to put the images on pull up banners, websites, leaflets, other marketing materials that are not for sale – FINE
We shoot your corporate event, you want to put the images up on display in your school as wall art – FINE
We shoot your corporate event, you want to give the images to other organisations that were at your event also – NOT FINE, this is classed as relicensing an image, which you do not have the authority to do. It is a bit like renting and apartment from a landlord, then sub renting that to other people … you do not have the authority to do so. It would also be a bit like buying a CD from HMV (if one still exists in your area) then making loads of copies and handing them out to your friends … this is illegal.
We shoot your event and you want to place images in a book that is to be sold to third parties – YOU WOULD NEED TO APPROACH US TO DISCUSS ADDITIONAL FEES THAT MAY BE DUE
We shoot your event and you want to place images in a book that will not be sold to third parties – YOU WOULD NEED TO DISCUSS PERMISSION FOR THIS AT THE BOOKING STAGE.
But We Have Paid for the Photos!
Some of you may still have a voice inside saying … but we paid for the photos.
You have paid for the photographers time and expertise in producing these images and a number of prints / digital images. The copyright to the photos will remain with the photographer, and therefore any reproduction without permission would be an infringement of copyright. Remember we all buy computer software that we pay for also, if you look carefully our new copy of Windows 28 (or whatever it is on now) will state clearly what you have permission to do with that software. It will state you can install it on four machines, or that you can use it fora whole college. The usage will effect how much you pay for that exact same software.
Some photographers control the use of their images even further, stating what mediums the images can be reproduced on, this is normally the practice when working with large corporates.
What if I want to use the photos for something else?
Just as if you buy a copy of a book, a song, computer software or a DVD of a film, making that purchase doesn’t give you the right to make copies of it, use it outside the terms of your licence or broadcast it to the public. That right remains with the copyright owner. It is exactly the same with photographs. Photographers will negotiate their own rates or use image calculators such as the one created by The Association of Photographers.
I want full copyright
Full copyright is very expensive. You have heard about the copyright disputes over the Beatles and Michael Jacksons music catalogue and in most cases in photography, it is not needed.
Do you plan on making prints of the photos and selling them? Do you plan on placing the images for license on stock agencies? Do you plan on selling them to newspapers or to an artist to be used on an album cover? Do you want to use the images to market another organisation? Has a mysterious buyer approached you who wants to purchase that particular image for more zeros than you can count? If none of this applies to you, you really do not need a full buyout.
Music vs Photography
Often we understand the copyright issue easier with other mediums because photography has become so available to everyone, the lines get blurred. Let us give you another example : You commission a song writer and music producer to make you a hit record. They do this, it goes to number one, you perform this all over the world, who owns the song and the music? The Beatles will tell you it is not the person who sang the song or even asked for it to be written or produced. Photographs are exactly the same.
So in short, if you commission us for a personal or business / corporate event, our standard licence will cover most of what you need and want to do with the images, you may need to talk to us about any other uses.
Some further sources for reading :
The New Wedding Trend – The Wedding Magazine
The Bespoke personalised wedding magazine …Let us introduce you to the new wedding trend.
Why a Personalised Wedding Magazine?
Brides (and grooms) are always looking for something different for their wedding.
With quarter of a million weddings taking place in the United Kingdom every year, that may take some going …
But let us help you along the way by introducing your to …The Wedding Magazine.
The Wedding Magazine is a personalised bespoke wedding magazine … all about you!
Similar to the magazines most couples will have no doubt read leading up to their wedding, such as Brides or You and Your Wedding. This is a magazine produced all about your wedding story! To reiterate … a bespoke personalised wedding magazine.
It can be used as a keepsake for guests, or as a precious gift for friends and family that could not attend. It will be a lifelong momento everyone will cherish.
Have you ever attended weddings and the keepsakes are playthings for the children within minutes of everyone entering the reception? Have you ever thought “poor couple, these things have gone to waste” … this will not happen with the wedding magazine. Your bespoke personalised wedding magazine will take pride of place on grandmas coffee table or your best friends work desk.
What would you include in your personalised wedding magazine?
Imagine being the cover of your very own personalised bespoke magazine that will record your whole journey leading up to the wedding – the dress trials, the hen or stag do, the possible venues, the wedding day, the people that attended, the behind the scene moments… and even afterwards if you wish!
Before you ask … it is not a wedding album. It can be an addition or an alternative. Watch the video to learn some more. The Wedding Magazine animated video.
It is also a way of ensuring your loved ones all have some images from your day, without having to purchase a whole album for them, and lets face it, we are getting sick of having everything digitally. Computers break, phones break, people do not back them up, and before you know it, images are lost forever. With a physical magazine, just like a physical photo, you can have this for years and it still be in tack.
How to get in contact
If you wish to add something different to your wedding day, contact The Wedding Magazine to discuss your personalised bespoke wedding magazine TODAY!
To Have and to Hold, To Post or Not To Post …
You are making plans to get married
So you are finally getting married! Yayyyy and all that great stuff!
Your plans are underway, venue check, invites – check, dress – check, seating plans – check, wedding photographer -check, car -check … there are so many things you will need to think about, but here is one you may not have… a policy on social media for your wedding.
At this point you may be a little puzzled, wondering exactly what this is, well let me share a few scenarios to fill in the gaps.
We post everything on social media
So many people share EVERYTHING on social media now, we share photos of our food, new purchases, nights out, nights in, birthdays, funerals, parties, and weddings. Literally there is nothing that is immune for a snap, instagram, tweet or Facebook nowadays.
But …what if you don’t want your private wedding put all over the net for everyone to see? If you are fine with this happening, then thats get not a problem, don’t say anything to your guests and you can be sure there will be photos and videos of your wedding before the day is done online somewhere.
However, if you fall into the category of people who do not want this, then you need to explicitly state this somewhere before the wedding and on the day. Leaving it to “my guests would have more respect than that” is a huge chance, because for many people its not a disrespectful thing to do!
For some of you who are fine with everything being on social media and no limits placed on your guests, you may be thinking, why would any wedding couple do this? What is wrong with sharing photos and videos of someones big day? Here are a few reasons why people may not want their wedding day on social media.
Some people are private. For some people you won’t see photos of their food online, you won’t see photos of all their family members, every holiday, their daily walks abouts, what they watch on tv and so on. For some people you may see a post every few months, they may even post every day, but it will be nothing about their personal lives of family. For some people like this, they won’t want their most intimate day online for the world to see. And before someone thinks, “but my profile is private”; yours may be, but what about all of your guests? And even if their’s are too, that is say 70-200 profiles with your intimate moments on, shared with the 500-2000 friends on their profiles too, so potentially your private moments are shared with how many people (head to your phone to do some quick calculations).
If you have had a small private wedding of say 50 people, and purposefully kept it that way because you did not want random family and acquaintances present on your day, some people would say that posting it all over social media defeats that object. What do you think?
A Few Examples
For those people unconvinced, here are a few examples of guests posting on social media where the couple were not best pleased.
1 – A bridesmaid snap chatting the bride in the background before she got to the church on the day of the wedding.
2 – Guests Facebook living at a wedding
3 – Guests face timing a wedding to someone who was not invited, to show how much of a good time THEY were having!
4 – Guests posting unflattering photos where one of the couple had their eyes closed, or strange facial expressions
5 – Guests posting albums of 100’s of photos from every aspect of the wedding, as though they were the wedding photographer
6 – Guests posting videos on paid platforms such as YouTube
7 – Guests posting something to ridicule the couple, such as posting something that went wrong, someone tripping etc.
8 – Guests posting unflattering angles, such as a hall that looked empty, a dancefloor that looked dead, people looking bored etc
Ask yourself if you would be happy for any of these to be posted at your wedding? And keep in mind, that not everyone is aware of this when they are posting, so its not always purposeful! I have seen people post some terrible photos of themselves on social media and be completely unaware, so there is no reason why they would have more awareness when posting photos of others.
What Photographers think
From a photography point of view too, guests can make your job really difficult! I advise couples that IF they are allowing photos to ask guests to stay in seats, because you can never underestimate how much a guest will be unaware of getting in the official photos, in order to get their iPhone (other brands are available too) photo.
There is also now the emergence of iPads and super sized iPads i call them, which are basically like guests holding up tv screens in the way of the photographer and in your pictures on the day. It quite frankly looks stupid.
I have even had a guest ask me to move out of their way, in my capacity as the official photographer, in order to get the photos THEY need!
What Other Brides and Brides to be Think
We asked for some further views from other brides, these were some of the mixed responses we received.
Emma Cumiskey said “I have said to guests you can post pics after the night guests arrive as otherwise they have seen the happy couple before they get there”.
Alexandra Daisy said “I would hate if the live streamed our ceremony and speeches. I’m happy for our guests to take pictures throughout the day but ask them not to post them until after the wedding was over. I would hate to see my guests constantly on their phones during my wedding. Id want them to actually experience and enjoy the day”.
Becci Faulkner said “I had no phones at church rule and asked people not to post anything until the day after the wedding. After that anything was game”
Molly Freeman said “We’re hoping for an unplugged ceremony (we want to see people’s faces in pictures not iPads and phones). But other than that pretty ok with pictures and videos after that and at the reception as long as I don’t look too bad in them”
Faye Rose Charrington said “We have a sign that says no social media until we have posted! And we probs won’t post for a few days! Just wanna keep it private for a bit! Everything is online now. Doesn’t hurt to keep things to yourself for a wee bit 😃”
Arelene Wheeler was not concerned by any posts “I didn’t mention anything before hand but we had people do both; Snapchat our ceremony and put me on Facebook before the evening guests had even arrived. I was too busy to care st the time but I wouldn’t do it personally. Speeches were also recorded”.
Not to Post
Ellis Willis had a bad experience with social media wedding posts saying “Someone put about 100 photos and the speeches on Facebook the day after my wedding without asking and I was devastated we didn’t want loads on Facebook and we didn’t get to see them before they were put up either. Gutting really… some of them were terrible and edited so badly by a guest, broke my heart”
Sarah Tugwell works in the industry as a wedding planner “I am a wedding planner and no matter how many times a celebrant or registrar say unplugged ceremony there are always people doing it and I have even had a venue and a venue dresser post pictures of the ceremony room Before the ceremony (so basically as they had finished setting up) which I don’t agree with. Alot of my couples say no to social media until the evening. Now, our own personal wedding next year is a tricky one as my fiance doesn’t do social media and hates it so he doesn’t want any pics going to without our approval… how do I manage that one? Personally we happy for some to go up but only when we have seen them and not to be plastered all over social media. We want to keep it private really. Happy for guests to take pics though.xx”
Naomi Lunn said “We aren’t your average young couple. We didn’t post when we got engaged. I haven’t ever posted a picture of my ring, even though it’s spectacular lol. And I’m certainly not doing countdowns or announcing that I’ve bought a house. We are inviting 20 of our closest to see us tie the knot in the most beautiful place in Cumbria. Luckily for us there is no WiFi or signal there so people will have to wait until 2 days after the wedding to post. I’d rather there weren’t any photos on Facebook to be honest but I guess it’s a bit extreme to say no posts at all… I don’t think people will respect that, so I guess there is no point saying it”
Josie Shereston said “I banned social media at my wedding and to be fair my guests respected my wishes…. it was our day… not everyman and his dogs lol”
Laura Kane said “We don’t want anything putting up, we are a very private couple, we don’t put anything up, for example… we didn’t put a post up when we got engaged, we changed our relationship status that’s it. If we don’t tell them personally or are invited then why should they know?
So we are going to ask that guests don’t put anything up, pics of themselves yes but not of the bridal party or any part of the day”.
This is obviously something that couples now have to think about it, whether you agree with it or not. Here is another recent article from news site I Am Birmingham on the same issue
So, as advice from someone in the industry, if you are fine with guests posting everything, or a limited bits, that is fine, or if you prefer them not to post anything, or put on time limit of when they can post, that is fine too … but whatever you choose, please make your guests clearly aware of your wishes. Please add it as another “to do” on your wedding lists!
This post was also recently included in The Wedding Magazine. A personalised luxury magazine all about YOUR wedding. It is an amazing new concept, couples can have their wedding in glorious print from a magazine created about your wedding story. It is going to be a huge hit!
Fantastic Opportunity to work for FREE!
Anyone fancy working for FREE?
Imagine a job request looking for someone to work for free, but not just ‘anyone’ they specifically looking for someone that is highly skilled, with years of experience, thousands of pounds of high end equipment, an extensive portfolio, ability to work independently and in groups, with their own transport and links to get articles / images / published in international high end publications.
I often come across or are tagged in a ”fantastic opportunity” that arises from someone that needing an “amazing photographer” and professional service but who does not want an amateur and at the same time to pay for professional expertise.
Reserved for Creatives
If you are not in the creative industry (including but not limited to writers, photographers, dancers, graphic designers, web designers, journalists, artists, musicians) you may have read this so far with a raised eyebrow, or a puzzled look. It doesn’t seem to quite make sense? but this offer to work for free , is an offer we (the creative community) get often.
After nearly 10 years of being full time, it kind of grates on you. Having spent all these years perfecting and improving my art (yes there is much more to it than simply buying a camera pressing a button), after having spent a small mortgage on equipment and training, having worked hard to get to the point where I have been published and work internationally, why do people continue to ask photographers (and other creatives) to work for free?
Work for FREE?
So again you may be scratching your head thinking “I’ve never heard anyone ask a photographer to work for free”. But it doesn’t present itself so direct and clearcut, it comes out in other guises, it has pseudonyms and disguises. No one (well not in my experience to date) comes to you and says “Hey professional photographer, can you come and work for free for me” .
To anyone in the creative community, being asked to work for free will not be a new story, but an age old one, rehashed again and again, but the one thing it generally has in common, the thing that does not change about this story is that your payment is usually EXPOSURE, we call it ‘exposure pounds’ in the industry. It doesn’t pay for new cameras, travel, courses or insurance. Some of the things photographers need to pay for to stay in business.
It is not accepted at ASDA when I do my grocery shopping, it is not accepted online when I want to buy a new lens, it is interestingly not accepted as payment terms by the very people offering this as a way of paying you!
The Work for FREE pitch
The sell usually goes along the lines of “everyone will see your work in our newsletter / on our instagram / website / Facebook and naturally this will bring you lots of pain work”.
So lets test this common sell. Ask yourself when was the last time you read an article in a newsletter or on a website and took time to look at who the photographer was?
If you can remember the last time you did this, then when was the last time this lead to you contacting them for business? If you knew they worked x event free, when was the last time this lead to you hiring them for paid work? Facts show that less than 1% of consumers look for the creator or any piece of online content.
I did look up a photographer from an online image a couple times. I saw an amazing image on google, it was one of those images on the holder screen when you are about deciding which Netflix program to watch, I looked up the photographer, flicked through his Instagram, didn’t even actually add him, and carried on with my binge tv day.
Are you still with us?
I expect many of you haven’t even got to this point – looking up a photographer from an image you see online or in print – let alone an image on a company page / bloggers instagram / corporate website, because in my experience, when these same people want a ‘proper’ job doing, they contact the highly paid professional, not the one valuing their work as ZERO being prepared to work for free. You see, this type of ‘pro bono’ ‘fantastic opportunity’ offer has little value or appeal for most photographers, once they are established.
It’s a LOT of work
Six hours shooting a conference could range from an average of £500 – 1000 for many photographers, is this ‘exposure payment’ going to be worth that amount? And what if you end up getting a potential booking for a big paid job on the same day? Do you turn down the paid booking to work for free? Or break your agreement for the non paying client, for a paying one? Now, if someone wants to paint my house in return for a job such as shooting a conference, that may be pro bono I would accept (painting takes so long!), but funnily enough, no one wants to work for free, not THAT hard for FREE … because that’s just outrageous!
SOME OF ITS DISGUISES
In case anyone needs any tips on recognising when someone is asking you to work for free or even when you are asking someone to work for free, here are a few of the forms it takes:
1. PRO BONO
Payment : Exposure, portfolio images, credit
A “pro bono opportunity”
The conversation usually goes along the lines of – we have an event coming up that we would love some amazing images of that we can use across our social media and printed platforms. We have some amazing speakers and we have spent so much on the venue and food that we have no money for a photographer. You will be able to use the images for your portfolio, and we will credit you. Notice no one actually says the words ‘work for free’.
My response – “sorry I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with for free”.
Points to note
It is also worth noting that crediting the copyright owner (the photographer) is legal, not something the photographer is being given as part of their payment.
The photographer being able to use their own images in their portfolio is also something that is legal, not something they are given by the organisation/ person they are shooting images for. So this takes the exchange to simply ‘exposure’ and work for free.
The organisation thinks everyone will see these amazing images of a regular event like a conference (of which you probably have tons of examples already in your portfolio), contact the organisation to see who shot their images, find out you were free, but somehow want to pay for your services.
An amazing image or two
(Here are a couple of our conference / event images by the way, we do cover them, if you are blown away by this image, please feel free to contact us for our services).
I have on previous occasions suggested £600 worth of their services or products in return, which would be the cost of an average conference, but that is usually seen as an outrageous exchange.
Please shoot my line for free
I was contacted by a blogger / influencer / insta model who had a clothing line with Pretty Little Thing or Asos I can’t quite remember which one it was now, but to have a line on either of these multi million pound businesses is pretty major in my book
She wanted me to shoot this – for FREE. It would of course be an amazing opportunity to get my images on such a huge platform (which shows no credit to photographers anyway), and her instagram (which does credit photographers) that has thousands of followers. I suggested £600 worth of clothes, but this was so ridiculous to her, I could literally hear the laugh through the text message.
So in reality you are well …working for free.
It is also worth noting that a 6 hour conference would also accrue a couple hours of kit preparation at home, maybe 1.5 hours travel there and back, another 5 hours of image culling, editing, storage and delivery; so you have in fact done near on two days work for free.
PAYMENT – Exposure, Credit, Sandwiches and Drink (sometimes a free bag for life with the charity logo printed on it)
A Charitable Cause
It’s for the poor
The conversation is usually along the lines of – we work for x charity, and do some amazing work with x community. We are looking for someone to come along to shoot our event and support our cause, we will credit you on all out social media platforms and there will be drinks and sandwiches at the event that you are also welcome to have.
My response – “I respect your charitable organisation, I am a for profit business and sorry I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, for free”. It is also worth noting here that many of these charities have bosses with 6 figure salaries, millions in the business bank account and not doing too bad at all. They may not be ‘for profit’ but many are in heck of a better financial situation than myself or most photographers I know!
3. AN INVITE
PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, having a great day / night out
Just come along … and bring your camera.
This conversation usually goes along the lines of – I’m having a birthday party / launch event / christening / wedding, I would love you to come if you can make it. Can you also bring your camera and “grab a few shots while you are here”.
This actually means you are the event photographer, organising groups, individual shots, wearing working clothes to the event not heels and a nice dress that I may otherwise wear, with the responsibility of making sure everything is covered.
Your work for free soon becomes very professional when the person that made the request comes back to you and ask why there is not a photo of x person, or when x spoke, or when x cut the cake – even though you were supposed to be just “grabbing a few shots”.
My response “I’m sorry but I can’t be a guest and your photographer at the same time, as a guest I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, on a night / day out”
4. PORTFOLIO BUILDING
PAYMENT – Exposure, portfolio enhancement
As above – but it is stressed that these will be great portfolio images
This is especially so, if it is an event there may be some celebrities there. If it is a wedding it will be an amazing wedding, with a beautiful couple in an amazing venue. If a fashion show, there will be some amazing new talent showing.
You will be able to use the images for you portfolio as they will be so amazing. My response “Have you had a chance to take a look at my website, I have quite an extensive and varied portfolio” – having shot amazing weddings in the UK and as far
afield as Rwanda; public figures such as Barak Obama and celebrities such as Jamie Fox. I also shoot London Fashion Week and The Diamond League athletics – just to highlight some of my diverse work. So to date, I am pretty happy with my portfolio, and dare I say, I have some amazing content.
My response “I already have an extensive portfolio that I use to show clients the quality of my work. I am also sorry but I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, for free”.
It is worth noting here that they rely on you being so blown away by the idea of shooting a celebrity, that that will suddenly mean you have no desire to get paid for your job.
If a wedding they rely on the idea that because they are a beautiful couple or are booking a nice venue, you don’t already have beautiful couples and great venues in your portfolio; Or that conventional stereotypical beauty is worth more. All established photographers will already have experience and a portfolio.
5. JUST GIVING A FREE IMAGE
PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, seeing your image in print / or a popular platform
“Can we use your x image for free in perpetuity, across all our platforms with credit to yourself”
This is usually line from newspapers and magazines, if you scroll through twitter you will often see tweets from newspapers asking to use images they find online.
It is also common with wedding and such venues after you have covered an event in their venue. Some of these usages would literally cost hundreds of pounds, sometimes thousands if there were to pay the going rate for it. I often get this after fashion shows from models, or events from the people present.
It’s just a photo, its not worth anything
Somehow, some people believe that giving away something of this value is not working for free. There is also a huge misconception that because they feature in the image, they have a right to it. This may come as a surprise to many but being the subject of an image gives you no more right over than image than not being in it. Celebrities do not own the images thousands of photographers take of them, royalty do not own the images taken of them. I also remember my mom having to pay for images that featured me when I was at school. Whats the difference?
The image was created because of the equipment and education you invested thousands in to be able to create it. If you are not compensated for this investment, you are again …working for free. My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, as such all of my images are licensed, as part of my income, I can send you my licensing rates if you would like / the price is x”.
6. SPEAKING TO OUR GROUP
PAYMENT – A thank you
“We would like you to come and talk to our group of up and coming photographers, share some of your knowledge and tips”
I have spent a lot of money on education to get to my position; some of that money was spent with other photographers imparting their knowledge to me. I paid for their expertise.
I paid for the shortcut to know how to do particular things, because they had already put years into perfecting that thing. Knowledge has a value. Students pay thousands of pounds to go University …to gain knowledge.
That’s a little stingy of you, not everyone can afford to pay
This is the way of the world. We would not question BMW for not having their cars at a price everyone can afford. No one would complain to Apple for not making their iPhones at a price we can all afford.
A small business is no different.
My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, as such my time and knowledge has a value, this is my income and I do not work for free”.
PAYMENT – Amazing images you can use for your portfolio to gain exposure and experience from
“Do you collaborate with other businesses / do you do collaboration shoots?”
If I come up with a crazy idea that I would like try out to test my artistic genes, this is a collaboration. A business contacting you for commercial images they need to market their business, is a commercial shoot, not a collaboration.
That’s a little stingy of you, not everyone can afford to pay
Yes some people can’t, they may be a small business like Lensi, and will have to do without some things they need.
Sometimes they are a huge business who wants to give shareholders extra money rather than paying a small business. Sometimes they see no value in photography, therefore just don’t want to pay for it.
But you do not need to take only these few thought out examples as gospel, the internet is littered with websites exposing the same.
Photographers also need to make a living too.
My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, this is a commercial shoot not a collaboration, the cost would be x ”.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN WORKING FOR FREE
Just like a car, a camera has what I call “click mileage” a certain number of actuations and wear and tear, before it needs a major costly service, then before it dies altogether.
Yes camera’s has a life expectancy! They do not go on forever.
Enough of these free jobs brings it closer to this point, without contributing towards its repair or replacement. If photography is your business, your living, this makes little business sense. To keep using something, building up the wear and tear and click mileage, without any payment to replace that very thing. Imagine and Uber driver giving away free rides to charities, or for exposure because they are carrying celebrities and such. There then comes a day when they actually have a huge fare, someone that wants to travel from London to Birmingham for example, a nice payday … but unfortunately they cannot take up the offer because …their car has broken down due to the extensive free rides! Now working for free has actually ended up costing you the loss of real money!
DAMAGED OR BROKEN KIT
Another consideration when doing a free job, if something were to happen on this job, who pays? Who would pay for your kit if something is stolen or damaged at this free job?
You are already working for free, so is this organisation / person going to then say “I know we were not paying you for this gig, but here is £2000 for your stolen camera / here is £500 to repair the lens your dropped while covering our event” …
Would you simply get a sorry and an extra ham sandwich?
An insurance claim may cost you an excess of at least £250, so on top of the costs of working for free, this could cost the photographer quite a lot, all with any payment.
If the worst were to happen, and you had a paid job the next day, it would be irritating in the least, having to pay to hire a lens for a paid job, because the lens you own was damaged or stolen on a FREE JOB
WHAT USALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU CANNOT AFFORD A SERVICE OR PRODUCT?
My last general consideration here is where I ask you to question what happens if you want a service or product you cant afford.
You have a few options:
- Steal it
- Do without it
- Buy a cheaper version
- Restructure your priorities / save for it
I can think of very few cases where I would ask for it for free, or steal it. So just for fun, I have given you a few examples of putting the same exposure requests that creatives get to other businesses and services.
WORKING FOR FREE REQUESTS
GYM OR FITNESS CLASSES
I would love to have a few months worth of sessions for free to enable me to get into shape.
I do loads of great work in the community and you would really be helping me out. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to pay for this … but … I will credit you on social media every time I am at a class, naming the gym and instructor. I will also bring extra water with me to class for you to hydrate yourself with.
I need a new bathroom plumbing in. It is a lovely modern home which would be amazing on your website. A real show piece. I cannot afford to pay for the plumbing because I have already paid an electrician so much. I have also invested in some great designer artwork for the walls. You will be able to use images of my bathroom on your leaflets and website to show the quality of your work. I will also give you a great review.
Come along to my BBQ that I am having on Sunday, while you are here can you just bring your hair kit and give me a quick wash and blow dry! It is going to be a great day, great music and my famous BBQ spare ribs. It shouldn’t take you long.
SOME OF MY PERSONAL FAVOURITES OFFERS
(yes I have been personally approached with all these amazing opportunities)
1. A local council that had had their budgets cut during austerity. They were putting on a conference, but didn’t have the money to pay for this conference, so were asking everyone involved to work for free. Interestingly though, the council workers were being paid as it was part of their day job, so it was actually only small businesses that were being asked to work for free. The bigger businesses such as the one where the event was being held had been paid. I have a policy to never ‘help’ established multi million pound organisations or companies with FREE WORK.
2. A magazine who contacted me for an image they did not want to pay for (i.e free), to accompany an article about people not wanting to pay photographers. (I kid you not).
3. A very high end fashion house (think dresses in excess of 15k), think A list celebs, contacting me to use an image for free, not sure why as they had their own paid photographer at the event, maybe they did not capture the image that i did … who knows.
I have a policy of not giving free stuff to companies who have dresses that cost more than my car or what some people earn in a year.
4. This was was experienced by a colleague. He had shot a wedding a venue, the venue approached him to use a photo from this wedding. He was willing to do this and asked if in return he would use the venue for a styled shoot. The venues response “there would be an applicable hire charge for this, as a commercial venue for hire”.
So yes … we will happily have your work for for FREE, but please do not be so ridiculous as to ask to use our venue for free.
BEFORE I GO
Before all the critics rolls in, let me also clear up a few things I am expecting.
1. Everyone was new to the business once
People who are just starting in the business, with entry level kit and little experience will take up these opportunities; I did myself; but these are not the types of photographers the people who pay with ‘exposure pounds’ are looking for. Your value increases with the more experience (and kit) you accrue.
Think about how much you may pay a newly qualified solicitor compared to a Barrister. How much a Newly qualified teacher may get paid, compared to a year Head or Principal; an Actress with decades of Hollywood Blockbusters under her belt compared to someone just getting into the business. A consultant compared to a newly qualified doctor.
2. Lots of people do voluntary work.
Volunteer – “a person who OFFERS to take part on an enterprise or undertake a task” – see the key difference there?
3. Remember where you came from or started
I do. I remember starting at the bottom and spending thousands of pounds on courses, training and equipment, and investing thousands upon thousands of hours gaining the expertise that allows me to shoot and capture images the way I currently do. But I see no correlation between remembering your humble beginnings and being asked to work for free.
Just like some of the professions I have named above, I have done my ‘internship’ of FREE WORK. If you were asked to earn the same in your job that you have been in for many years, the same as someone who is not even qualified in it yet, would it slightly raise the irritation levels?
4. I would be overjoyed to have my image in print / on the instagram page of x organisation / x celebrity
Thats fine, and your choice. I would rather be paid with real money.
I will update this article periodically, but as of its publication that last time I was asked to work for free was August 2019.
5. I cannot see the big deal, what are photographers going on about, it is just a picture.
Try saying this to Karen Anvil who is rumoured to have made £50,000 from a photo she took on her phone of The young Royals on their Christmas walk.
Photos are how I pay my bills. Yes in todays world they have become so accessible. But each photo is worth something to a photographer, especially full time ones. Imagine being asked to come into work for one month for free …would you be jumping for joy at the opportunity or working for no pay.
My free work offers so far in 2019 total to £7,000 (August 2019)
I would be interested to see which other average everyday people give this amount to charity in a year.
This is what some other creatives have said about it?
My hope for this article.
I hope the article reaches some of the people it needs to…
We (creatives) hope those who ask people to work for free understand their request.
I wish that professionals that work for free understand what they are giving away.
Thanks to all my clients for the respect of paying me in real recognised currencies!!
Follow us on instagram to view some of our working for pay jobs!
Corporate Photography for Guhring
Corporate Photography for Guhring
We were commissioned by The Alternative Events Company http://www.thealternativeevents.co.uk and Events Specialist Tru Powell for the corporate photography of the official opening of Guhring http://www.guhring.co.uk in Birmingham, an engineering firm bringing skilled jobs to Birmingham.
AV and staging was provided by Saqi Roadshow http://www.saqiroadshow.com so the the factory was transformed into a classy event space. Corporate Photography in a factory was never so easy for us!
Locating the Event
Lensi will shoot the location where your event is happening if it is important to the event story. The Guhring factory was a main part of the story, so it was also important to also create quality imagery around this.
Before the Event
- Who are the delegates?
- Does it look as though they are enjoying the event?
- Are there key delegates that you need to ensure are captured?
- Is there a branding board or other branded items to include?
The Main Event
To show how interesting events are it is important to capture them from various angles an perspectives and reactions to speeches. Key images may include images of speakers, CEO’s, Managing Directors and celebrity guests.
The Official Opening
- Cutting of the ribbon
- Group shot of key delegates / speakers
With this event we also were able to prepare a few immediate images for a press release for Marketing Birmingham http://www.marketingbirmingham.com and released them via our own press agency contacts also.
If you are looking for Corporate Photography, Business Photography or Event Photography, contact us for a quote.
Lookbook and Fashion Photography
Lookbook and Fashion Photography
Lookbook Photography. We always shoot at London Fashion Week, we have been London Fashion Week Photographers for many years now, and this we added a new designer to our Fashion Portfolio, shooting the lookbook, catwalk and an editorial for the delightful Kolchagov Barba, the Italian and Roma Fashion House. http://www.kolchagovbarba.com
We shot for this designers of this fashion house at the Melia White House in London as part of London Fashion Week, for their Spring Summer 17 collection.
The designers behind Kolchagov Barba, Emilio and Svet are the nicest easiest going guys you can come across, not to mention talented.
The fashion from their collection has already been spotted on celebrities such as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Katherine Jenkins, Dannii Minogue, Kimberly Walsh, Katie Price, Caprice and Katie Piper.
All lookbooks are different. This one was simple and elegant. Plain backgrounds, simple poses, simple lighting with artwork that complemented this seasons designs which were in hues of pink and blue. Models Valentia and Saanka.
As well as the lookbook photography we also did the house photography for the catwalk, some of the large collection is shown here.
A celebrity infused front row which included, Katie Piper, Caprice, Lady C, Lizzy Cundy and Gemma Oaten to name some.
If you are looking for a photographer to shoot your lookbook, catwalk or editorial for your latest fashion collection, contact us for a quote.
Conference Photography Birmingham
Conference Photography Birmingham
Conference Photography Birmingham – If you are looking for Conference Photography in Birmingham, or searching the web for conference rates, and conference prices, or conference pricing you have arrived at the right place.
Lensi Photography covers a range of events and conference photography in Birmingham and throughout the UK to the highest levels.
You may have a shot list that you wish us to work from, or want us to use our own experience to cover all the essentials of your conference in Birmingham, images can be used to advertise future conferences in Birmingham or another area, for press releases and any other future marketing.
We have covered conferences for a range of sectors including Higher and Further Education, International Delivery Companies, Education Sectors, Corporates and Charities.
Conference Photography in Birmingham would cover essentials such as :
- Keynote Speakers (from various angles)
- Headshot portraits of speakers if required
- Shots of the venue
- Natural shots of the delegates interacting in workshops and Q&A’s
- Images of the awards
- Delegates being awarded certificates or awards.
- Real time social media posting
With rates starting from £375 we have a range of both full days and half day packages that will cover all events adequately. We can also provide bespoke packages.
Warwick House Wedding
Warwick House Wedding
We photographed this lovely couple who had a Warwick House Wedding recently.
We met the bride during a video shoot we were doing for a beauty salon, and we clicked straight away. She asked about our wedding photography and we talked about our Birmingham Wedding Photography, as they were looking for at local photographers in Birmingham we had a wedding photography consultation at our offices and were booked!
A lovely intimate wedding. Although the weather was not kind to us, we still managed to create magic at this Warwickshire Wedding Venue, a lovely Warwickshire venue, tucked away on an unexpected street in Warwickshire.
Our Birmingham Wedding Photography includes a range of styles including both bridal and groom preparations, roaming photography of natural shots of the the emotions as they happen, a couples photoshoot of portraits of just the two of them, and family shots of all of the guests and family.
We created so many beautiful images on this day, here are a selection of a few.
I Hired the Wrong Photographer
I Hired the Wrong Photographer
Professional Versus Amateur Photography
Why hire a professional photographer when you can get an amateur or hobbyist or even a student training to be a photographer at a fraction of the price – even free! You can save yourself thousands, that you could spend on extra food, a nicer car to drive to the venue in, a bigger cake to cut up, a more expensive dress for the day, nice favours for the guests … so many other things! This is the question that keeps rearing its head for me as well as every other professional photographers out there. Professional versus amateur Photography.
It is only April and already this year I have had three enquiries from people people who hired a much cheaper (better value) photographer in their earlier opinion, to only find they had later regrets. They hired the wrong photographer! This is with both commercial and non commercial clients.
With non commercial clients, its not a major deal, the conference or event images were not great, they can correct their mistakes next time, and it is simply a lesson learnt.
But wedding clients, I talk about this all the time, you do this ONCE IN A LIFETIME! Should how you capture this day be dictated by price, instead of product and quality? When this does happen and I have couples contact me for reshoots, its hard not to think “I told you so”. The “I hired the wrong photographer” line weighs heavy, compared to the ‘great deal’ and ‘better value’ they were getting with the person they hired.
It is the number one comment I hear from couples who cut corners with their wedding photography. “I wish I had spent more” “I wish I had done more research”. If that sounds like me touting for more business, speak to couples that hired cheap, and get their feedback.
This article recently made the news, and has been debated in various Facebook Wedding Groups.
My thoughts were, wasn’t all of this clear to the bride and groom? But obviously not, as couples are still making these regrettable decisions of hiring ‘better value’ photographers, friends with a camera ‘that takes nice pictures’ or aspiring professionals.
My thoughts were, your wedding is not the time to ‘give someone a chance’ or to let someone use it as a test opportunity to update or start their wedding portfolio. There are lots of examples of this not working out great for couples
yet Facebook Wedding Groups are littered with brides happily announcing students from the local college are shooting their wedding, or their friend who is a professional product photographer is shooting their wedding. Let me tell you this, I cover lots of different types of photography, and wedding photography is the most difficult type of photography their is! So i thought I would produce this blog, using the recent article as an example of where the couple went wrong, and how not to fall into that trap. Amateurs, and hobbyists are cheaper for valid reasons …
How to Not Make a Wedding Photography Mistake
Hiring a Professional Versus and Amateur
So who cares about insurance? What does that mean anyway? would you hire a catering company without Health and Safety Certificates? A driver without insurance? This should be self explanatory. In this case the photographer ended up having to pay out more than she charged for the wedding, so this was an expensive lesson for her as well as the couple.
Fun and Love vs a Job
As an amateur photographer most shooters will be producing work for the fun and love of it, this is not to say that they too cannot be great, but they may not be used to producing work under the same pressure contraints as professional photographers, a wedding is one of the most pressurised photography environments there is, everything is often running late, different people are asking for different things, the light is constantly changing, as is what you are having to shoot, you are on a tight timescale, and you are using different lenses and lighting equipment to produce your results ….doesn’t your wedding not deserve someone who is used to this? Professionals perform at a consistent level through practice and perseverance. The amazing images on their website will not be a magic fluke that they are not sure how to recreate, a random setting on the camera that somehow managed to do the right thing when needed. Our images are managed, created, and produced, with knowledge of the what the final outcome will be.
A DSLR is only the very start of a photography kit capable of capturing a wedding. If you have a consultation with a photographer that has just this, no separate flash (even if there is one on top) no second camera, no change of lenses. It is very possible that you pictures will also be very dark, as the dance floor images for the couple in the article. A Professional Photographer will have back up kit, cameras capable of capturing images in low light, lenses that will do the same, and flashes (as well as other lighting) in case something extra is needed. Although it seems unfair of the couple to be quoting her equipment after the event, this is something they should have asked before. It looks as though the photographer in this article had one camera, without any extras. I bought backup kit upon doing my second wedding many years ago. I was still not the artist I was today, but I was conscious of how important it was to have a plan B.
All images on a disc
Professionals will only ensure their best images go public. We all get images of eyes closed, wonky mouths, out of focus shots, but they never see the light of day. They are deleted before the back up, no one but the photographer ever gets to see them. If a photographer you have spoken to has anything less then perfect in their portfolio, politely walk away. Images are also valuable, most professionals will charge a premium in additional to a basis package to receive images on disc, and even then, they will not come copyright free.
Snapshots vs Photographs vs Artwork
These are some photographs we created from a recent wedding. I say created because as a professional wedding photographer we see ourselves as creating art. Couples and families look to you to guide them, tell them where to stand, how to hold their heads, what to do. We decided how to light them (yes we use light in the daytime to create a particular look) where to place the couple, where to take the image from; amateurs will not be experienced in this. Thereby you will get what I call ‘snaps’ instead of images. Snaps are images that could be captured by and uncle bob shooting with a phone or basic camera over your shoulder.
Understanding Their Equipment – Booking an Experienced photographer
All that Glitters is not gold! I deliver workshops to photographers called “Spent the Dough, but still Don’t Know”
especially for photographers that have more than capable equipment, but no idea how to use it. There are many people in this category! This is a harder one to figure out with the photographer you are thinking of booking. Ensure you get to see lots of their portfolio! Scantily resourced websites with only a few images on give me cause for concern. As do images that are not shot in the same fashion.
How well a photographer shoots often only comes to light through direct comparisons. Here is a wedding I found online shot at the beautiful venue of Dunchurch Park and another wrecked set of wedding photos.
These are some of our images from the same venue. It is an amazing venue, and we could have shot all day.
Can you see the difference that experience, creativity and great kit gives you, even with all the will in the world? The photographer that shot the images in the link will no doubt have been shooting on Auto, without a full understanding or control of their camera. Sadly many people under prioritise their photography until its too late.
Plan B, and Plan C
What if it rains on the day, what if you have to do the family photos inside? What if you drop and break a lens on the day? What if you are stuck in an accident on the way from the church to the venue? What happens if a flash unit fails? What happens if you have to shoot in a really small room? I know of no professional photographers who have not had unexpected things happen on the day, the difference is professionals will have back up plans should this be the case. Each of these things have happened to me. As a professional I had back up kit, back up lenses, professional second shooters, a range of lenses to be manage different shooting conditions.
The couple claimed the photographer in this example confirmed attendance the night before the wedding. If this was the case, would this not ring bells earlier. A Professional will be a business entity with contracts outlining terms and conditions, receipts, invoices, logos, and online (not just Facebook entity). We had this logo professionally designed once we were in the position to step up our business. Little signs like this are good examples for considering hiring a business rather than just a person who ‘does photography’.
Managing People and Images
You do not want to have to worry about whether all the right images are being captured. An experienced photographer will know all of this, and anything that is unusual to them, they will talk through a timeline of your day to ensure to they are up to speed with everything. Managing people to be standing in the right place and looking int he right direction (this takes a little people management skills), knowing where to be standing at the right time to get the key shots, the first kiss, the first dance, cutting the cake. Being able to ensure guests do not get in the way of these key shots. all of this takes experience. I have attended two weddings where I witnessed amateurs struggle with this, with one photographer admitting she was ‘scared’ to be firm and direct the bridal party, thus resulting in everything taking twice as long, as the couple not getting any bridal portraits of the two of them … at their own wedding! Another where the photographer struggled with the louder culture of the guests of that wedding, and just took all candid (no posed shots) throughout the whole day. In this article it looks as though the photographers in experience lead to her not knowing what the capture during the reception, leading to the number of incredibly low images that were handed over. The couples complaint about the bride being lead off to take images alone, in an area that the groom could not walk to, may have again been inexperience, or the photographer wanting these images for her own portfolio, rather than what was best for the couple.
Wedding Photography Prices
The couple in this article paid £500 for what seemed like all day photography. While it is difficult to put a price on how much this product should be, just like how much you should pay on a dress or a venue or a ring. I would say this is unrealistic for all day photography. From experience however, I have found that couples commonly tend to book photographers between 1 – 4 times the cost of their dress. Yes this is a wide range, but that is my experience!
Planning Your Wedding
You spend all that time carefully picking out a wedding dress, asking your friends how your bum and waist and hips look in it, you spend months scouting venues, their location, their menus, the available locations for your couples portraits. Time is spent deciding whether the cake should be sponge or fruit, multi tier or one tier, this can be said of everything in your wedding, lets not even talking about the wedding rings. On your wedding day as you look around at the fairytale you have created, surrounded by everyone who means the most to you in the world. Do you want to see the photographer you settled for, the friend who did you a favour, the student wanting to practice on your big day, the guest at the wedding who has a DSLR as the person responsible for capturing this world you created for a day?
Your day deserves the best photography that you can afford, question the idea of spending 15k on a wedding then cutting corners with the imagery to remember that carefully created day? It could be the worst decision you ever make.
Learn from the mistakes of others that have hired the wrong photographer. If your friend who is attending the wedding and “has a camera that takes great images” offers to shoot it for free, politely refuse. If your friends daughter who is in her third year at University studying photography offers to ‘save you money’ while she/he builds their portfolio, don’t become the guinea pig on such an important date. Most professionals will allow you to spread payments with payment plans, so just like most other items you want but cannot pay for in cash, you can soften the cost by spreading payments.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
That does not mean someone who has been shooting landscapes for many years, or the sports photographer that shoots for the local paper. Hire someone that understands and shoots weddings as a major part of their work. It could be the best decision (second to marrying the love of your life) that you make during the whole wedding ….
If you want to not have to work through this list in order to not hire the wrong photographer, give us a call on 07944 040 760 or email us on email@example.com.
We promise to talk you through everything to ensure you know if we are right for you. If we are a good fit we will capture your day in all the magic that it is, by both a male and female wedding photographer.
15 Seconds to More Customer Interaction for Businesses
15 Seconds to More Customer Interaction for Businesses
15 seconds to more customer interaction for businesses; sounds great doesn’t it? Who does not want more business? Can you really do things in your business that will bring more customers to you. The answer is yes.
We produced this 15 second instagram video Click here (which is the maximum length for that platform) as a short review of a new product we use for filming. We generally produce a longer one for Youtube Click here to view or what ever platform we are posting it to, and a shorter one for instagram.
We have a big project coming up in Education, as well as all of the weddings we shoot, so try to combine our work (both filming and photography) with reviews / information about the products we use – The Edelkrone Slider Plus (only the film makers will be interested in that part)!
Obviously quality images are important to all your content, but so are moving images – video.
Increasing your user interaction
All studies show that video content interaction increases annually, and continues to grow to dominate the market on the most successful way to engage your customers.
We even use it more in our day-to-day interaction, which is a testament to this. How often you do pull your phone out to film something on your daily travels? Send it to your friends? Post it on social media?
How well are video social media platforms such as snapchat and periscope doing?
Have you thought about how much you use video in your business? Do you use video in your business? When do you choose to use your phone compared to professional video? If you already use video, how do your videos look? Do they convey the message in the ways you wish to?