Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/02/22

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Subject: [Leica] Tina/Reimbursement/Value Placed on Work?
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 06:08:07 EST

I am not a professional photographer but I certainly understand the value that
people place on outstanding photography.   Recently I was asked to photograph
the children of an acquaintance.  I am a real sucker for chlldren and I get a
tremendous amount of enjoyment capturing their activities.  If my work shines
it is in this area.  On this day I took about 120 pictures and of those there
were around 50 that were exceptional.  I must have spent at least 40 hours in
the darkroom working on these prints.  There was a lot of waste as I am a
novice with the enlarger.  When I delivered the prints to the parents they
were overwhelmed with the results and stated that they were much better than
they anticipated.  When the subject of money came up I told them that I don't
charge for my work but if they wanted to buy some paper for me to please see
my friend at the camera shop.   Several days later they brought me a pack of
25 sheets of paper.  This would hardly cover the cost of the film.    It was
not the money, it was the principal.  I spent two hours making the pictures
using $20,000 of equipment, spent days in the dark plus paper and chemicals.
No telling what my total cost was.    They were totally ignorant of the costs
and they reimbursed me what they felt it was worth.   Since taking those
pictures I have received calls from five other couples to take pictures of
their kids.  I don't think so.  I would rather ask to take pictures of
children and give them to them than to be depressed when I learn how much
value they place on my work.  For me, when business is brought into it the
enjoyment deminishes.   I appreciate the commitment that our professional
photographers have made and hope that situations like the one that faced Tina
are not common occurences.

Bob Bedwell

<< At 10:58 PM 2/21/99 -0500, you wrote:
 > If everyone else volunteers their time and energy, I'm
 >happy to pitch in and help.  If the staff is receiving a salary, then the
 >photographer should, too.
 Good for you. This attitude is the only hope for people being able to make 
 a living with photography in the future. In essence, when they say "we 
 can't afford to pay for the photography," they are denigrating what we do 
 as less than worthy of compensation. That devalues our work and 
 photographers who agree to that only hurt our profession. So stick to your 
 guns and keep telling them if their work is worth the money so is yours, 
 and they can't afford not to pay for it.
 Eric Welch
 St. Joseph, MO