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Thread: "be a part of the experience on the day"...yep , that will pay the bills

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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    "be a part of the experience on the day"...yep , that will pay the bills

    OK , we have all seen the TED talks.
    I have enjoyed them. Some of the best speakers on the planet.....

    you would think they could afford to pay for an event photographer, wouldn't you?


    http://www.tedxtownsville.com/news/p...ted-apply-now/
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    I like my computer more than my camera farmmax's Avatar
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    The trouble is they probably will have many applications for the "positions". That is why many companies are ditching paid photographers - there are plenty willing to do it for free and for an ego trip. I know two newspaper photographers whom have lost paid photographer positions because the public are only too willing to hand over their photos for free to the papers.

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    If the images are not critical for them then they can hire a free photographer.
    A lot of enthusiasts or students will do a good enough job. And they are getting 2 just in case.

    I don't see these as a big problem and a kind of a blessing for an aspiring photographer.
    They get to shoot a real event, taste the excitement, but still are not under pressure as much, to deliver good images.
    I've done it myself and i was happy to do it.
    You learn the craft so much quicker than by shooting family or friends.

    There are plenty of events around, and most of them are paid ones. They will get the experience and confidence to demand a real pay next time.
    Everybody has to start somewhere

    This method of getting free photography is not uncommon.
    I saw starnow jobs a while ago, where a bride was trying to select a "lucky" aspiring photographer who gets to shoot her wedding, and the photog doesnt have to pay for it.
    Another one was auctioning her wedding to a photographer... she was stunning looking so would certainly brighten up anyone's portfolio.
    But charging a photographer to shoot her wedding? ... I don't know about that...
    Last edited by CandidTown; 25-01-2015 at 1:50am.
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    Next, we'll be having banks charging us to draw our own money out. Oh! Gosh! They already do.
    If you believe that doing this type of gig for free is to your benefit then I suggest you keep buying lotto tickets.
    The ONLY way you survive in the photographic industry (or any industry for that matter) is by making money.
    A good business person makes money by conning the believers into doing something for nothing. 100% profit.
    Someone should report tedxtownsville to the ATO and at least make them pay tax on their benefits.
    Photojournalist | Filmmaker | Writer | National Geographic | Royal Geographic

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Never heard of TedX. Now that I have, I'm almost unhappy about it. Almost, because I still
    don't know what-the-Dickens it's all about. Actually, I'm starting to feel better already!
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    I absolutely believe that doing this sort of "work" is beneficial for any new photographer.
    It's like beign an apprentice, but much better, because they will in fact be the ones in control of the shoot and carry all the responsibility.
    They will get the experience of shooting an important event, but they will not be sued if they stuff up.
    Where else will they get this sort of opportunity?

    If they realise that they CAN handle that sort of event, they will start charging for their next event.
    But this time they will charge the right amount, confident in the knowledge that they CAN do the job.
    This sort of opportunity is invaluable.

    I learned photography business by doing photography "jobs". Some of them free, some very little paid.
    Taking a camera out on the weekend to shoot my partner is NOT a job.
    I myself would not do this anymore.
    Because I already have experience and i already gained the confidence required to charge the correct amount and deliver value for money.

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    Ausphotography Regular bitsnpieces's Avatar
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    I think there's a good and a bad. I believe it's definitely good as a way of providing more experience and helping the photographer gain further direction in their future career, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily easier and under less pressure. If you're still the main photographer, you're still under pressure to do a good job, and if you don't, that can make or break your future reputation also.
    Now, if you're doing it as an assistant, side photographer, or extra, ok, then yes, it's much less pressuring, with the fact that you can observe how the pros do it too.

    Now, I usually shoot activities at my church just for fun - they've never asked for photographers, but I've taken them and put them on Facebook. A lot of members know me because of that. My friend then gave me the opportunity to shoot his wedding. He won't pay me, but will pay for plane ticket, accommodation, everything else (so of course, cheaper for him in the end but it was his way of paying for me). That was fine by me, it's an opportunity to try and shoot a wedding. And just because he wanted to give me a chance as an aspiring photographer, doesn't mean there's less pressure on me - I was the only photographer so I had to make sure it was high quality. Luckily, they love the photos, and I definitely gained a lot of experience from this (definitely not using a 5DMark3 again, although I know it's an amazing camera lol).

    Now, in terms of making a living, does this end up being the reputation I've set up for myself? Doing freebies? If they just pay for a drink, or do something for me, that's enough to cover for my services? I don't know, and I hope not. I think that's the concern above, is that by doing this, you may end up setting up a reputation, or simply chasing these events for a very long time and get nowhere (as TEDx has put in their information, the photos are yours, but also their's to use - I wonder if they give full credit, and even then, do most people care to look at who took that photo? Is there a way to follow through and find out more about that photographer? The photographer better have a very high ranking page in Google so that when their name is typed in, it's found)
    Of course, some do make it, where do finally do get paid jobs. Some may still do the odd freebie here and there due to whatever circumstance it is.

    So is it worth going to the TEDx event? I say yes, but just make sure that they know, and future clients know, you're not someone chasing freebies to gain reputation, but that you want to make a living, otherwise you're stuck doing freebies.

    I just got contacted to take photos of an activity and was asked about pricing, unfortunately, I'm leaving in 2 weeks so I couldn't do it. But I hope I will still get future opportunities to take photos, and be paid also.
    David Tran

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitsnpieces View Post
    I think there's a good and a bad. I believe it's definitely good as a way of providing more experience and helping the photographer gain further direction in their future career, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily easier and under less pressure. If you're still the main photographer, you're still under pressure to do a good job, and if you don't, that can make or break your future reputation also.
    There is certainly much less pressure, David.
    If they are hiring a student or getting a freebie then you know that they dont value photography that much.
    If they did, they'd hire a seasoned pro...

    I am not saying that you can slack off. For me, I either do something at 110% or not do it at all; whether i get paid for it or not. But that's my philosophy.
    What I'm saying is that they are unlikely to sue you if you fail to deliver. If disaster strikes, you can always defend yourself with "you got what you paid for"..
    And no, they will not ruin you reputation. Not many in the industry really values an opinion of a cheapskate who doesn't want to pay for professional services.
    I would not use them to build my reputation in the first place.
    These people may never hire a paid photographer. Once you start charging for your work, they will get someone else.

    But i'm more than OK with that; because while they are using me to get a free shoot, I am using them to get what I want.
    Experience, knowledge, both with photography and dealing with clients.
    When i became serious about photography i wanted to shoot as much as i could. Every day even. And I didn't care if i got paid for it or not.
    My goal was to master the craft; being paid was just a bonus.

    After that, I stay away from them and companies like them.

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    You truly think this sort of thing is good.... its only a stepping stone if there is a stone to step upon next... the more this sort of thing goes on... the more others will think it is acceptable and follow suit... leaving less and less "real' paying jobs....dont know about you but i cant think of anything more damaging.....

    Simon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snappysi View Post
    You truly think this sort of thing is good.... its only a stepping stone if there is a stone to step upon next... the more this sort of thing goes on... the more others will think it is acceptable and follow suit... leaving less and less "real' paying jobs....dont know about you but i cant think of anything more damaging.....

    Simon.
    Of course I think its good. It's what freedom means to me.
    Freedom to hire someone for free to do a job and freedom to do this job for free if I find it beneficial.
    No one is forcing anyone to do this job.

    My comment was not even whether this sort of a thing is good, but rather that this sort of a thing IS.
    This thing has always been there and always will be.
    In photography or anything else.
    You can get your neighbor's kid do mow your lawn for $20, or get a professional who knows what they're doing for 100$

    25 years ago free photo-shoots were not as common, because even for a simple job, whoever did it HAD to know a lot about photography.
    With new digital cameras and P mode practically anyone can take a picture and anyone has the right to try.
    And TEDx has the right to get someone for free if they want to.

    If anyone wants to try professional photography i would urge them to shoot as many free, low paid jobs as they can.
    How else will they learn?
    It takes 5 years to become a plumber. Do you think photography is easier?

    A person with a shiny new camera and P mode is NOT a photographer and no-one who values photography will hire them.

    Someone said that it takes 10,000 hours to master a trade... on top of that I'd say another couple of dozen of paid or unpaid jobs, and they can lift themselves well above the 500$ wedding shooter and the freebie event photographer and ask a decent amount of money for a decent amount of "professional" work.

    There are and always will be paid photography jobs. But they will go to an experienced and skillful photographer. Not a weekend warrior who just got a new camera and thinks they can charge 1000$ a day for a commercial shoot because he watched a youtube video and read his camera manual.

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    CandidTown, I really think you're a little confused and I'm trying to come to terms just where you are going with this thread.
    Replace the word "photographer" with say, Doctor, Chemist, Mechanic, Financial Advisor and would you happily accept a freebie from anyone who claimed they knew what they were doing?
    Of course you wouldn't and in many cases there are laws preventing untrained people doing important work for nothing. There are certainly industrial laws and probably government regulations that control it.
    If we condone industry/clients using their commercial strength to acquire labour for free we set ourselves back 200+ years and we'll end up a banana republic where no ordinary person can earn a normal wage.
    There must always be a reward for work done and I don't think an "acknowledgement" is even close to fair payment.
    I've been in the photography industry for 50 years and yes, I've done freebies. None have led to meaningful work at all.
    Mind you, it's a different story if you do freebies for paying clients. That's good business, but they have to prove their worth first. Living in hope is a waste of effort.

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    My 2 cents on the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post


    The ONLY way you survive in the photographic industry (or any industry for that matter) is by making money.
    Times have changed . The only way you make money in photography now is by providing something that others with a decent camera a little skill can't , and that boils down to creativity , in my view. Those with the visonto do something a little different will survive. The rest will not. In the past cameras were expensive , not everyone had one and even fewer knew how to use them properly. You could charge for your equipment and your skill. Cameras are now everywhere and easy to use. If you expect to get paid just because your skill is photography these days then be prepared to queue up behind every other pimply faced 17 year old doing photography for their HSC subject , or every other old codger who has decided to take it up as a retirement hobby and has the time to read a few books and watch youtube ( like me!).

    No one owes anyone a living and as a "professional photographer" if you cannot provide a point of difference via creativity , and premium photos compared to those mentioned above then I think it is time to get a new career. No point complaining about it. (If I wanted to go to TEDX and got free tickets in exchange for some photos I'd do it. Why not ?)

    Using the analogy of doctors and plumbers etc is a bit spurious. No lives will be lost due to a bad photo , and doctors and plumbers do actually spend quite a bit of time working at rates well below their industry averages . They call them interns and apprentices.
    Last edited by bcys1961; 25-01-2015 at 9:21pm.
    The name is Brad ......

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    As an avid TedX viewer, I don't care about the stills. I'm in it for the video. I take the point about the way they're going about this. It's appalling. Let's see them try this with videographers. Now that would be funny to watch.

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    Brad said... "and doctors and plumbers do actually spend quite a bit of time working at rates well below their industry average"
    No they don't, in fact they are paid a rate set by their industry. It may be low but is exactly my point. And I didn't mention plumbers.
    Those points aside.
    I agree with your point on being "owed a living" and that's what worries me about doing freebies. Everyone needs income and if you're not earning it then the government pays (another story).
    Times haven't changed at all, things have certainly got easier. To be a professional photographer we don't need the likes of TedX. They have no value whatsoever in a professional career but they certainly provide a risk.
    And yes! Uniqueness is the clue to success in any business, call it supply and demand or value adding. What you do need is to be better than the competition and that part is easy, particularly with pimply seventeen year olds.
    Shane, my having been in television/video for 30+ years (Redgum Television Productions) I can tell you that the same conditions already apply for videographers particularly with the advent of YouTube and the iPhone. But like I said earlier, develop a uniqueness and you can prosper there as well.






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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    Perhaps the people willing to do freebies don't need an income . Maybe they are retired or still living at home with mum and dad. We agree uniqueness is the key to earning a living and people who can provide that will not be worried about those doing the odd job for free as they would probably have never done those jobs anyway . I cast my vote with Candidtown who said it all better than me in the post above #10 above. You have yet to convince me otherwise.

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    A random thought struck me while pondering the points of view above...

    A newbie needs experience at shooting. There are differing points of view here as to whether they should grab every free gig they can (sometimes at the expense of a working tog's income ) .
    A client wants professional results. They are not guaranteed this from a free newbie/student, no matter how good their portfolio looks. An event happens once. card failure, body failure, - anything can happen that a pro should be prepared for and a newbie may not be.

    Why are there no formal photography apprenticeships - we don't have any in Qld so it seems?
    You can get one for picture framing, shoe making, front of house hospitality specialist.....???
    Photography you can do a course at TAFE etc but then you are out on your own

    A pro tog could maybe more likely afford to take on an apprentice rather than a second photographer. They become the second shooter on bigger jobs.They learn on the job.
    They have that safety net of their boss being there when they are shooting.

    Just a thought
    Last edited by MattNQ; 25-01-2015 at 11:58pm.

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    Photo Bizarro nimrodisease's Avatar
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    I know quite a few photographers who have been on each side of a mentor/second shooter type relationship and it has worked quite favourably for everyone involved. I think it happens quite often actually..
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    .....
    Replace the word "photographer" with say, Doctor, Chemist, Mechanic, Financial Advisor and would you happily accept a freebie from anyone who claimed they knew what they were doing?
    Of course you wouldn't and in many cases there are laws preventing untrained people doing important work for nothing. ....
    The flaw in this analogy(in trying to present a case against what TEDx are doing is wrong) .. is that as the client, TEDx are doing just that.
    Taking the risk that the operator has absolutely no idea what they're doing.

    This risk is theirs to concern themselves about.

    Prior to the medical industry becoming heavily regulated, I'm sure there were many thousands of hopeful practitioners our there plying their no so skilled trades.
    At some point a few hundred years ago, governments would have had to step in to stop the total shonks doing more harm than good.
    The regulated medical industry subsequently evolved into what we know of it.

    As already said, (while I don't condone the practice) TEDx are not doing anything illegal, and the (hopeful)risk that no images may result for the entire event is theirs to take.


    As a counter to CandidTown's point of view .. while it's probably a great way for the inexperienced to learn this practical application in the real world .. as Redgum says, it's almost certain to be unlikely that the photographer would get any paid work at some point in he future(from organisations with similar outlooks).
    Once they get stuff for free(and it's of acceptable quality), don't expect them to pay for similar services at any point in the future!
    That road will have been closed off for good!

    On a similar note too .. I wonder if any of the volunteer photographers that Tennis Australia has used in the past few years have got any paid for work because of their free time given to the Australian Open?

    Another side note: At least the terms TEDx described for the slave .. photographer don't seem bad at all.
    The photos are owned by the photographer, only to be used by TEDx for promotional purposes in the future.
    Note that a total ignoramus seems to have created these conditions and or technical requirements ....

    This ...
    Tech Specs: 300dpi at full frame size, high resolution JPEG flattened layers ......
    makes absolutely no sense!

    What on Earth is a 300dpi full frame hi res image anyhow?
    Can you save an image in any software as a jpg with layers(what other software creates layers?)
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    Ausphotography Regular bitsnpieces's Avatar
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    Just a random thought - I feel sorry for the photographers who would have loved to find some work and get paid for it, even if it was to take photos at an event like TEDx

    eg.
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...-photographers
    (they may not be from here, but I'm pretty sure there was a thread somewhere around here about some locals recently who got laid off)

    I still agree that experience is very important, whether it be from free or paid work, but you have to be careful. Not all free jobs lead to future careers in photography.

    And it really does suck for those who are trying to make a living to not be able to find work because an organisation rather hire freebies and sacrifice potential good photos. Then again, TEDx? They probably couldn't care less for quality photos, to them, the photos is probably more so just for memory and documentation's sake, nothing more. So they're probably willing to go the free route because even a beginner can get a lucky shot here and there.

    I think TEDx should at least pay a little and not be advertising this as a 'free opportunity' thing. Do it like the Daily Bugle in Spiderman - pay for what it's worth.

    But yeah, back to the random fault, feel bad for those who are trying to make a living.

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitsnpieces View Post
    I still agree that experience is very important, whether it be from free or paid work, but you have to be careful. Not all free jobs lead to future careers in photography.
    Maybe who ever does it does not want a future career in photography. It does not seem like a career with much of a future. They might just do it for fun , or for free entry to TEDx. That might be payment enough.

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