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Are we being ripped off as photographers?


Before I start, up until very recently I have been guilty of this, so I am not preaching or condoning. These are just my thoughts.  

Social media plays a huge part in my world of photography. Always out and about shooting, wanting to get my work noticed by you and large corporations who will take me on, always wanting to be the next big thing. That’s what we are all after, right?

Wrong. With the use of hashtags and tagging companies to get their attention, what in fact we are doing is giving them the rights to use our images for their own purposes on social media. Meaning they do not have to employ a photographer for a shoot, it’s that simple! "Oh but it is giving me exposure." I hear some of you say. This is true, but at what point does the exposure stop?

Image courtesy of The oat meal.

Image courtesy of The oat meal.


What happens if the next time you say  "sorry you cannot use this image unless you pay"? I will tell you what happens, the company move's on to the next person, who is wanting to get exposure. It’s a great feeling having your work featured by some of the larger companies and maybe even a few Q&A's, you feel on top of the world.

But the last time I went to pay for my weekly groceries the cashier didn’t like the fact I showed her my featured work and said "Do you know who I am?" She doesn’t care, she just wants my hard earned cash!! I have exposure but that’s not going to go far now, is it?

Sometimes exposure does lead onto paid work which is good. All I am saying is think twice before tagging that company and take a look at their social media feeds. Is it full of images by You and me? If so, then think again about specifically targeting them.

I recently kick-started a campaign with lots of promo work and encouraged others to do the same, the campaign was a huge success and the company targeted must have done very well with it.  Oh, I got a thank you email, which willdoubtfully pay for the service on my car...

If all you want is exposure then that's good, but think about those who want to progress and earn some money with their passion, or those that aim to buy new equipment with their earnings,  or those who, for them, photography is a full time job and they have a family to feed. What is your exposure costing everyone else?

image courtesy of Wedologie.com

image courtesy of Wedologie.com

Let me know your thoughts.

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