If you have ever paid a creative for their time and expertise, you will know they cost real money. It’s not for the faint-hearted and if you’re used to high street prices you should probably stay there.
But if you have ever benefited from this experience, you will also know that you get what you pay for. And the results, if you are any kind of photographer, shine out in the end product. There are, sadly, a lot of atrocious photographs out there, taken by people who proudly say they never pay for time with money. Most of them seem oblivious to the difference in quality. I see some truly horrifiying photography getting love on the hosting sites and it boggles the mind. The ‘it’ll do’ mentality was never so rife as it was in the world of the TF photoshoot.
That being said there are also very talented people who believe in paying creatives for their time because they understand that we all need to make a living. These people come across proud of the fact they are able to pay their teams and help keep people in business. Sometimes these people have the income to afford it. Sometimes they don’t. But they still pay.
There are also those people who don’t need to pay creatives because they are very talented. Some of them are fine with this. Some of them wish they could afford to pay people. But they can’t. But that doesn’t mean people should be put out of pocket so that you can get the end image. Giving up time is one thing. But spending money at a specific request is quite another.
Take this example. If you are a full time stylist then getting stuff for free is probably one of your talents. You’ll hobnob with the best models, get garments from the top designers. You know where to get amazing shoes without having to even pick up a credit card and you can blag any number of accessories by showing off your portfolio and name dropping. You will be at the business end of a shallow industry. But it’s also your income so you do it.
You want this for how much? Source
But if you want your shoot to look like a Prada fashion campaign and you’re talking to a designer, you’ll have to pay better than Primark prices. There’s a reason those shoots look a million dollars. And it’s easy to spot the results of those who refuse to pay for the considerable effort that goes into making something for a shoot.
I realise there are very talented photographers out there who can get their teams to dig deep on their behalf to create beautiful images. But if this is your job, your career, your only source of income, then images do not outweigh the expenses of putting together something like that. And it doesn’t pay the bills. Very often, it doesn’t even lead to the next paid job. You can’t always speculate to accumulate.
There is one image that is guaranteed to get likes wherever I post it, it’s not my work, or my latest editorial. It’s this. And something we all seem to be unanimous about.