Monday, September 22, 2008

Free at What Cost?

Let me make one thing clear, I'm not much of a business man. Maybe that's why I never pursued freelance work during my time as a staff photographer at the Post.Of course the occasional extra curricular job would come my way but they were mostly far afield of the photojournalism that I most enjoy. I did know quite a few photographers who earned a living running studios or doing on site corporate work. When digital photography arrived things began to change for all of us. In my case it was adjustments in equipment and methods and in some cases loss of control on the final presentation of the photograph in the Post. I think the impact on my colleagues that didn't work for a newspaper was far more career threatening. Digital cameras with their auto this and auto that make it possible to ensure that pictures "come out".Of course the quality of the image is still problematic. I was reminded of this shift from photographic ability to photographic automatic when I read a recent feature piece about a well meaning couple who attends a local high school and take pictures of sporting events to give to the participants. It's a nice gesture but I equate it with giving away hot dogs, pizza and spirit wear. It is a revenue stream that is eliminated.Another entry level opportunity for income is gone because the best price we can hope for, is the one that costs us nothing. © Melvin Grier

1 comment:

Jason Geil said...

So true. Of course, the next step will be to exclude viable professional photojournalists from photographing these "events" at all. Free is a tough price to beat for sure, but you always get what you pay for.