April 13, 2009

Can I have that too?

I was chatting with another photographer today who was telling me about one of his clients. There was a customer service issue because his client hadn't paid for time he spent working on her photos. He wouldn't deliver the album to her. Stalemate!

It got me thinking that you can't go to the Gas Station, or a restaurant or the grocery store and leave without paying for your merchandise. You wouldn't go to a dress shop and ask for the belt for free because you bought the jeans they were displayed with. Attorneys in their business practice take advance paymement. Banks deduct their fees.

Because photography is fun there is an assumption that a photograph is free. No film means there is no cost to produce the product - right? Wrong!

There is first all the software that I learned and used to make that image. There are years of study I put in to learn the techniques to create the photo, balance the light, color correct, there are thousands upon thousands I have spent on equipment so I have the right lenses and cameras. My car costs me to get to the location and I have rent. My website lets you see those pictures away from my studio. I have insurance, telephones and taxes too. And my time is worth something too!

If I don't get paid, I can't pay my bills and that means someone else isn't getting paid to pay you to do your job either. It means that I can't use that new thingamajig that makes the fuzzy backgrounds, because it needs fixing or I can't take the workshop that will teach me the latest software to create those textures.

Please don't get mad. If you want to have those pictures some one pays to create them. Even if the cost is hidden. Sorry, I don't take the coupons in the Sunday Paper. And like the old days, you can't pay the doctor with the chickens in your back yard. I will trade you green for your headshot, your albums, your canvas and my experience. Please don't go to the gas station and ask them to comp you for a gallon or the bartender to buy you a Mojito. It doesn't work that way. I might give you a gift of a frame or an image or even a discount or free shoot another time. But don't put me in a place where will all lose later on.