This Image Is Not Free

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So this was the first sunset I captured in 2012. It cost me $6,612 to take this photo.

$12 in gas to go from work to this spot and then home. The camera I took this with cost $2500. The lens was another $1600. The Singh Ray Reverse Neutral Density filter was $210. The Lee Wide-Angle Adapter and Foundation kit was another $200. The Slik Tripod was another $130. The shutter-release was another $60. When I got home, I uploaded it to a computer that cost me $1200, and then I used Lightroom 3 which I got for $200. I then exported it and tinkered with it in Photoshop which costs about $500.

12+2500+1600+210+200+130+60+1200+200+500= $6,612

So if you’re a magazine, website, corporation, sports team, or advertiser who wishes to use this photo, please don’t come and ask to use it for free, or in exchange for credit or "exposure". You found my photo so obviously I have "exposure". You have an advertising budget, and this is what it's for. You obviously don't expect your writers to work for free, or your secretary, or your boss. No one is going to publish it for free. Just because the picture is digital doesn't mean it was free to make.

As someone mentioned, THIS single photo didn't cost me $6,612, but if you wanted to create it, from scratch, that is what is involved. So I consider it the replacement value if it's stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it's found being used without my permission.

If you give your photo away for “credit” then the best possible scenario for you is someone will see your photo, contact you, and ask if they could borrow one of your photos…. for credit. Try this... next time you're at dinner, tell your waiter you'll tell all your friends how good the service was if he gives you dinner for free.

It feels bad finding your photo stolen and being used without permission. But it feels worse when someone asks to use it for free.

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View 20 more comments

  1. tk228 26 months ago | reply

    picture is worth one thousand words.... not dollars... *steals picture, posts to website.. takes credit**

  2. Colin Cameron ~ Photography ~ 26 months ago | reply

    Very wise words!
    Great shot too, worth every penny!

  3. Yannick Rival [deleted] 26 months ago | reply

    I love it. Wonderful 0.

  4. roberts.world.. 26 months ago | reply

    stunning pic............

  5. əqɐƃ 25 months ago | reply

    this shit sucks

  6. mermaidondirt 25 months ago | reply

    Absolutely stunning and I love what you've written here.

    I am really tired of the people who look at my pictures, which I both donate and sell, who say what they think the MATERIALS cost and say that plus a little teeny bit more is what I REALLY should be selling them for.

    I no longer really have any idea of how I should price my pictures; at my next (rare) venue, for instance, is a wealthy retired woman who dabbles and then just gets a thrill out of selling something once in a while for prices which couldn't have paid for the frame.

    BTW: How about classes, training, memory cards, Photoshop plug-ins, colorimeter for calibrating your monitor, external hard drives, researching different methods to get the look you wanted... I gaze hungrily on photography and editing books like other women gaze upon purses and high heels...

    Thank you
    Barbara R

  7. AzPicGirl 25 months ago | reply

    Love it.. thanks for sharing your info on Smug so I could connect and see that beautiful photo... I LOVE photos at sunrise and it made my day! Plus.. you're right on with your paragraph under it.. thank you for being so bold!

  8. artland 24 months ago | reply

    Congratulations!
    This is a wonderful shot!
    You are invited to post it to:


    artland

  9. Todd Hakala 24 months ago | reply

    One of the best posts I have read anywhere about why all of our photos should not be treated as a cheap commodity and can freely distributed and abused. Bravo!

  10. KvonK 23 months ago | reply

    FAved for the gorgeous image and for taking an important stand!

  11. Blackpaw Photography 21 months ago | reply

    Yes. YES YES YES. Thank you!

    And lovely shot:)

  12. ManifestStefany 21 months ago | reply

    I think you can relate to this. ;)

    Exposure Doesn't Pay Bills:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6B6OXnyaRk&feature=youtu.be

  13. © Freddie 20 months ago | reply

    Great image, greater sentiments. Oh so true.
    (Wonderful thread of replies!)

  14. Natasha Talbot 20 months ago | reply

    Thanks for sharing , I really impress and happy to after see this photo.

    Target Shopping Online

  15. goldnerivan 19 months ago | reply

    Perfect image, perfect description!

  16. Megha Wasal (MeGzZ) 17 months ago | reply

    wow...wow....wow...:)

  17. Glenn images 16 months ago | reply

    That amount for theft if a settlement can be reached before the lawyers get involved, ten times it if the lawyers are in but ya have not gone to court yet,...after that it is all up to the court. standardize the asking rates for theft when it is discovered and folks may slowly get the message. Go ahead and ask for the freebie, but when they say No it means No. If you didnt ask, then dont be shocked when you get that email with invoice attached.

  18. PHunton 12 months ago | reply

    This is why I deleted my flickr library, companies used my images and after said they credited me. Well I tried that with the landlord of my studio and they didnt accept it demanding cash!

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