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Do you believe that art can fundamentally change your sense of who you are?

Vote! (66,156 votes) 832 comments
71,150 Deviants Online
A few weeks back while thinking about this journal, I came across a forum for paid photojournalism jobs. I left it some time later in complete shock. There I found posting after posting about jobs paying nothing, next to nothing, or promising payment and then paychecks never arriving in the mail.   I sat there, closed the laptop lid, and thought for a long while.

I know I’m fortunate to be paid for what I do.   A big part of this is because I specialize in something very few photographers are doing at a professional level. But what most people don’t realize is that even at this level a large percentage of my workload involves pay negotiations.  There are contracts that took months of negotiation.  Some took weeks, or a single week, or several days, or a flurry of emails or texts in just a few minutes.

Every single one of those initially low-balled me; offering me starting contracts at 10-20% of my regular rate.  And despite publications threatening to walk (and at least half will threaten to), I often land the print run anyway...and at what I was asking for or close to it.



The Myths of Freelance Photojournalism Pay

Myth: “The internet (translation: your photo) should be free!!!”   

Reality:  Well then cameras should be free too, shouldn’t they? Also, lenses should be free. And monopods. And filters. And batteries. And memory cards. And rain covers. And hotel expenses and gas and food and plane tickets and the various licensing fees I have to pay and any injuries I incur or damage to my machines.  It takes real time, effort, experience and money to get a single fraction of a second like this.  I'm a serious professional in my industry and my work is not and should not be free.  I contact every theft I find.  Sometimes I invoice them.

Myth: “No one pays for freelance work.”  <---this is bullshit. See it. Smell it. Touch it. Remember it.

The Truth:  Actually, yes, they do. All publications worth their salt have a photo budget and an established standard day rate or individual photo rate.  This rate will vary depending on how established a photographer you are, how unique your photograph is, and the terms of the editorial license itself (for example, do they want exclusive rights to print it, or first run only, etc.)

Remember these publications have been in business for decades. They’ve published tens of thousands of photos in that time.  They have a photo budget and a rate and they negotiate like pros. Negotiate with them. 

Myth: "Photojournalism is dying. Therefore, we can't pay you."

Reality: Photojournalism is all industries (transportation, education, medical, etc.) as we make the switch to ever changing technology.  But it's still a profession, will remain a profession, and professionals in any industry, even in the middle of change, are compensated appropriately for the service they perform. 

But What am I worth?

That is the big question.  Most people fail because they have no idea. I was in that place very early in my career, but it changed quickly when I figured out I did have worth and I charged accordingly.

How do you determine your rates? First, there are five things to consider:

YOU.   How established are you? Are you an amateur? A hobbyist who got lucky? Are you looking to be pro?  Are you already professional? How long have you been in business?  Who are your typical clients? What is your typical subject?
THE CLIENT.  Is this a newspaper? A magazine? A book? Online? Print?  How long have they been in business?
THE PHOTO SIZE/COLOUR.   How big will the image be on the page? Are we talking a quarter page? A spot?  A half page? Is this the front cover?  Black and white?  Full colour?
THE CIRCULATION.  How many people purchase this publication? Do they have fewer than 1000? Over a million?  Obviously, the number of customers gives you an idea how much a company might be able, or not able, to pay for your image. Do your research.
THE PHOTO.   How unique is this shot?  How valuable is it? How quickly do they need it?  How difficult were the conditions to get the shot.  Did you have to climb Everest for it? Or could any joe schmoe on the street have gotten a lower quality but still useable photo of the same subject?

I have a sliding scale for all of my images based on that five criteria. At the lower end of the scale might be an image that isn’t entirely unique, feeling more stock-like, or where I know I have a lot of competition.  At the higher end of the scale, might be a unique image I know only I got or one I can tell they really want and for good reason.  If images switch to colour or suddenly become a front cover, that price goes up accordingly.  I also may lower my scale slightly as a courtesy, one that is purchasing multiple images, or one that is at a very low circulation rate.  Often we make up the difference in various add-ons that can be converted to monetary value such as advertising in the publication, tickets, or being forwarded to another potential client. Remember these are negotiations.  Negotiate until both parties are happy, and don’t freak if they don’t talk to you for a day or two. It’s normal.  
Second,  don’t be afraid to ask what their standard rate is.  Like I said before, if this publication is the real deal (and their answer to this question will give you either good flags or major major bad red flags) they can and will have an answer. But always ask and ask first if you can. They’re used to being asked this question, and they will have an answer for you.  And it’ll probably be lower than what you want to hear.  But just because they do have a rate, and it’s lower than what you’re expecting, don’t be afraid to mention what your own rate is and that you're willing to compromise.  You never know. :)

How much should I charge?

This is the worst question. lol. Hard to know without knowing you personally.  I will, however, forward onto you information that was given to me by fellow pros when I first started.  There ARE actual photo quote products out there. They are good and almost all decent publications are familiar with their invoices.  It’s an option.  

There’s also these free options, but they aren’t perfect:

National Press Photographers:  
Editorial Use Calculator:…

Remember to always consider your unique criteria. And don’t be afraid to ask other photojournalists what they charge.  Some might tell you or help you find a honest quote.

Should I ever work for free?

This is obviously controversial.  For me? The answer is yes.  And no.  In my mind, nothing is ever free.  Everything is a negotiation.  Even if it’s “free”, it’s not. If I’m not receiving real money, there needs to be something of comparable value involved in terms of future work.  I typically only do one or two charity events per year for foundations that mean something to me personally. That’s it.

If you work for free...a lot....

1. You aren’t going to make any money.  That’s logic. Please accept logic for what it is. Logic.  Reality. Inescapable sadfest.

2. The tax service of whatever country you belong to is going to kick your butt and shut you down within a year or two, I promise you.  So...stupid stupid stupid idea.  Still want to risk it? You better be able to explain why you gave away your work for free and have it make sense.  No, you probably won’t be able to.  So don’t do it.  

3. You really are undermining others and especially yourself.  Remember how much it hurts to be told again and again that you and your work aren’t worth anything? Why on earth would you ever agree with them?  Why would you ever agree with them on behalf of all of us?  And why on earth would you reinforce it?!!  

If you're going to work for free remind yourself you should be getting something of comparable value.  And never, ever, ever, take paid work away from another photographer. If someone has a bid that involves pay and you offer to do the same job for free?  Don't. Please.  It's unethical and it's cruel.  When no one is paid, no one pays their bills.  Not them. And not you.

What about AP/Getty?

For the average photographer with a shot to sell, their criteria are often very difficult to meet.  You have to have a very solid portfolio, a truly great image or a mega-useful one.  They WILL require a model/property release form for some shots.  Sure, the likelihood that you will be sued is very low without one, you don’t have the money, so you probably didn’t even bother at the time you took the shot, but these big firms do have money and they will want those forms to protect themselves. Sometimes even for editorial...just in case.   This is a pain.  Why? Because most people, especially strangers, freak out the moment you hand them a form with lots of legal mumbo jumbo. You will need to learn how to get these forms in case these agencies require them.

Second, if you’re a college student and you worked for a college paper your work might have been published with them.  Remember the college owns your work and they can and will sell it if the big boys ask.  It’s still portfolio points for you, but you probably won’t see a dime unless you’re lucky.

Respect your Potential Employer (even if they insulted you)

This will be a short section because it's common sense.  I always handle negotiations with complete respect. If negotiations get tense, it's okay to take a break.  Be firm in your value, compromise only where you're comfortable with it, but treat them with respect.


Another short section.  Also because it's more common sense.  Get any agreed terms in writing, with clear statements and the words "I accept these terms" from both parties.  There are dozens of templates for editorial licenses online, please research them and use them. Don't release it until you are paid or a clear contract has been established. 


So that’s really the gist of it.  I can’t tell you how to negotiate word for word, because it’s a craft and it varies.  But I can promise you that all negotiations, all successful negotiations, begin with knowing what you’re worth and committing yourself to defending it.   Yes, it’s stressful, but when that first real paycheck just might frame it.  After all, it’s the first one of many and you can cash those future checks instead. ;)

:heart: Like the information provided here? Please favourite, comment, and help spread the info! :heart:


Journal Entry: Mon Jul 28, 2014, 10:39 PM
Hand by jfdupuis Geronimo by EintoeRn Hand by jfdupuis
Attempt of description by Greyguardian Success StoryBurned notebooks. My only successful suicide.  Attempt of description by Greyguardian
... by golpista schachmatt by aerendial ... by golpista
sdh by dasTOK
the ninth gate by Tom-Ripley the loner by korrox the ninth gate by Tom-Ripley 
On the edge of the world by igorsev Contraposition by SplitEnsds On the edge of the world by igorsev
SUSA X6 by KizukiTamura unsustainable by chriseastmids SUSA X6 by KizukiTamura
Ifrit by lostknightkg
Colibri' by martaraff Mgh IV - St. Georg in the Puddle by DpressedSoul Colibri' by martaraff
im garten IV by BuChWien PNEUMA by menervaTau im garten IV by BuChWien
A. by ValeriaVi at the window by JakezDaniel A. by ValeriaVi 
State of mind by everypathtonowhere
A whiter shade of pale by Barnum60 life philosophy by tuminka A whiter shade of pale by Barnum60
Seeing Red Again by SepticSkeptik My Sunny Day, Colour Up by MadGardens Seeing Red Again by SepticSkeptik
a storm of words unspoken by PsycheAnamnesis Blitz by alisinwonder a storm of words unspoken by PsycheAnamnesis
SUSA X5 by KizukiTamura
egomania 09 by skarabokki Epalette by siamesesam egomania 09 by skarabokki
passant by aerendial Supersquares Smaller by azieser passant by aerendial 
50 Immersions by KizukiTamura Electric Way by CarlosBecerra 50 Immersions by KizukiTamura 
goodbye forever by VesnaSvesna
Bullevole by lombregrise INRI by Maciej-Koniuszy Bullevole by lombregrise
Horizontale by KizukiTamura Motion by RichardLeach Horizontale by KizukiTamura
the coldest night of the soul by nicotiniac Double Face by KizukiTamura the coldest night of the soul by nicotiniac
crocus by nicotiniac
.gmw. by dasTOK Wanted: Lost Happiness by Izaaaaa .gmw. by dasTOK 
Cold Dream Of An Earth Star by chromevanadium We Free Kings by Pierre-Lagarde Cold Dream Of An Earth Star by chromevanadium 
Symbiosis by Izaaaaa Frozen Land by frenchfox Symbiosis by Izaaaaa
No Sign by tholang
Deep Red 177 by Barnum60 4597/courrier sud by TomWasilewski Deep Red 177 by Barnum60
yellow 6 by ltiana355 leaf edge by stachelpferdchen yellow 6 by ltiana355
Wire by Schnitzelyne G(sq) by popp2 Wire by Schnitzelyne
Acer Davidii - the envy tree by Coigach
Leave The World Behind by Menoevil And where the day was, the likeness of the night by Inextremiss Leave The World Behind by Menoevil
The Beach by DasGhul Les BaT/O by atelier-de-figueline The Beach by DasGhul
pipes 1 by ltiana355 the runner by baspunk pipes 1 by ltiana355
The big wheel by popp2
Wormhole by Abstract-scientist Maschine Brennt by DasGhul Wormhole by Abstract-scientist 
Home Tree - infrared by MichiLauke In my dreams I'm there by YourForgiveness Home Tree - infrared by MichiLauke 
Life Forms XI by Art2mys ascent descent by rioMenor Life Forms XI by Art2mys 
Just a Moment by tholang
Untitled 38 by CristianoTeofili Do Me No Harm by tholang Untitled 38 by CristianoTeofili
In Butte County by JillAuville Solar eclips by MushroomBrain In Butte County by JillAuville
Pyronaut by DasGhul Missing by SplitEnsds Pyronaut by DasGhul
2146 by santosam81 the cat by partiallyHere 2146 by santosam81 
Magnificent old stories by AiniTolonen Years of frightful suffering and the death by ZewarPhotography Magnificent old stories by AiniTolonen
80's BonoClock, still working by joeyv7 .121. by dasTOK 80's BonoClock, still working by joeyv7
dAID freMDartet II by freMDartet
Life Forms XII by Art2mys Alzbeta by Trepka Life Forms XII by Art2mys 
Untitled by mldzz sky of steel by Tom-Ripley Untitled by mldzz
3508 by TomWasilewski 4 Dots by Poromaa 3508 by TomWasilewski 
Il y eut un soir,il y eut un matin by amiejo
Don't Stay by Pierre-Lagarde S476 by CristianoTeofili Don't Stay by Pierre-Lagarde
Industrial Disease by VicEberly Tunnel Vision by Markus43 Industrial Disease by VicEberly
Colliding in mind by Mheely Earthling by Art2mys Colliding in mind by Mheely 
When You're Gone by Lucidin
Ein Leben ohne Freude by elzix ladder by aerendial Ein Leben ohne Freude by elzix
Creative Art Gallery by Epytafe Uncle Jack's by hummbuzz Creative Art Gallery by Epytafe
218 by mirrorsinthestreet I'll cry if I want to by partiallyHere 218 by mirrorsinthestreet
introspection by kalivana
The dancer in red. by lomatic ModigliSnape by joeyv7 The dancer in red. by lomatic
". . . Mummy . . ." by joeyv7 Elkapsling by Poromaa ". . . Mummy . . ." by joeyv7
rusted by augenweide 1521 girlmandala by santosam81 rusted by augenweide
so precious is the jagged crown... by beans6677
cast a shadow by partiallyHere reaching out 2 by LittleMine cast a shadow by partiallyHere
Song of the reeds... by ansdesign Life Forms IX by Art2mys Song of the reeds... by ansdesign
dvs140 by ForrestBump orcus by Tom-Ripley dvs140 by ForrestBump
Bilateral Junction by Trippy4U
Amanda's portal by chriseastmids Architecture by jfdupuis Amanda's portal by chriseastmids
Architecture by jfdupuis Luggage by KizukiTamura Architecture by jfdupuis
Luggage by KizukiTamura Amanda's portal by chriseastmids Luggage by KizukiTamura 

This Journal Skin was designed by Night-Beast

!!Feature The Artists #2 (3 Slots LEFT)!!

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:01 PM
I decided I haven't done this in a while so why not. :3 

RULES (Plz read)

  1. ONLY 10 will be featured that means No Complaining
  2. I will choose the 10 and 2 art pieces to be featured it's not first in first serve this time.
  3. Comment Below.
  4. Lastly Fav Whore fav this Journal.

*Have you Both Faved and Commented?*

(You must Fav and comment if you wish to be eligible)
That's it good luck to you all I Love You Emote 

Journal skin by BlackySpyro
  • Mood: Affection

The Unloved Ones - A feature

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
I noticed I don't make features so often lately. This time I'll show you the works of some 'not popular' artists on dA: artists who have not more than 100k views and deserve more love. 
Hope you'll enjoy the journey. :)

AC fanpic for my friend by narrator366
8 by narrator366 Ff14 fanart by narrator366

high tension by Aldariia
KakaIru by Aldariia KakaYama by Aldariia 
by Aldariia 

Nap in the forest by Lumannn
Rahim#2 by Lumannn Rahim#3 by Lumannn
by Lumannn 

Bird by Pheberoni
cold shoulders by Pheberoni A/T by Pheberoni

Targaryen by aprilis420
confused by aprilis420 supernatural by aprilis420

Bopia by SashaGreen
ihiohiu by SashaGreen poiuo by SashaGreen

Lightning has returned by david-sladek
Sketch Session Day 8-9 zombie graffiti by david-sladek Sketch Session Day 4 by david-sladek
Luna Lovegood by FourCG
Clich... by FourCG Head by FourCG

Acqua  by angelavianello
Fifth Element (2010) by angelavianello Little Mermaid (2011) by angelavianello

Huge congratulations are extended to Reaper-X who has just published his very own first book featuring his Street Photography. It's called 'Nouns (of the Person and Place variety) and can be purchased from here or from here (for Australians!) Check out the 15 page preview here to see exactly what the book involves and some of Oslo's excellent captures. Well done Reaper-X!


More 'Hot off the Press!' announcements...

:bulletblack:ChewedKandi is in Print!
:bulletblack:Charlene Mattson is in Print!
:bulletblack:A Brave Unbodied Scheme
Have you recently been published? Let us know by sending Kaz-D a note!


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Project Educate News

We had a good handful of interesting entries to the Classic Captures Portraiture Contest which was designed to encourage people to explore one of the sub-galleries of the People and Portraits Photography gallery here on DeviantART. The idea was to use some of the tips you learned during the Project Educate week to capture a classic portrait. The theme had to follow the idea of Classic Portraiture which can be defined as follows...
"Photographs of people in traditional pose are often formal, refined and restrained in style while a plain and simple background is a popular feature for a Classic Portrait."

We had some great entries which can be found here and without further ado - here are the results!

1st Place

Tom's Urban Adventure by Pierre-Lagarde
By Pierre-Lagarde
Winning: 6 month sub + 100 points

2nd Place

rebloom by kerrybush
By kerrybush
Winning: 3 month sub + 50 points

Spotlight Vol. 103

People and Portraits

Creative Minds, Beautiful Arts! #35

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 28, 2014, 6:25 PM
Wonderful works, great artists!
Show your love for the works/artists with the new selection below.
Think out the box!
I would like to say THANK YOU for your wonderful and inspiring arts.
All of you are diamonds shining in the sky!
Deviation love 
Today: 30 arts!

Lulled by the shamisen:: OC by FlyinSmile

Adventurous by AndrewMcIntoshArt Umu Dabrutu by au7Bubbles Catcher by LMcentury21 somewhere in the darkness by beauty-and-natureTian Yin by Fuyunanzi    Environments - Landscapes - Sci-Fi1 by DBdantalion sedutor by gutyerrez Succubus by Carolina-Eade Beagle :3 by RosaniFerreira  domed city by emanshiu Cat by WhiteStern UNTITLED - i can't think of something by huxne123 46598603 by BDraw2012 The Struggle Of Karbothil by Khorghil Crystal Fairies by John-PeterGrandma's home by TammyPhotography Dual Color by Eeddey Heart of Fire by sheppardarts  :CM: Kioko by talitapersi ilustra copa 2014 FINAL LQ by ZehB Crystal by colorcaust Kiriban Giveaway:[OPEN] by DevilzMoon Winter Joy by adyss88 Cell level by SolidMars ecofusion electro car by Tropfich Ice Cube with cherry inside. 3D effect. by AlexandraF -Ephemeral moment- by Janek-Sedlar Zombie Recycling Inc. by Full2D The  Warlock by Bogdan-MRK 

- Hey, if you like the features, please, share this journal with your friends!
- Sorry my bad English. :giggle:

Skin by SimplySilent
Introducing a new feature series featuring sweet things every two weeks! 



Amigurumi Bat 1 by MevvSan Darth Vader amigurumi doll by pirateluv Wee Little Snail Amigurumi by Spudsstitches Night Fury Amigurumi by kamidake Amigurumi Minion by Mirtha Amigurumis by MirthaAmigurumis End of Carrot Amigurumi by Fuugis Amigurumi Duck by pixie--stick Rudolph Reindeer Amigurumi by cuteamigurumi Mini R2D2 amigurumi by MiaHandcrafter Merida, from Brave - Crochet Amigurumi Doll by CyanRoseCreations Kon amigurumi doll by amigurumi Cockatiel amigurumi by Soggy-Wolfie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Handmade Amigurumi by amigurumi4u Flying Pig Amigurumi Ornament by AAMurray Amigurumi Octopus by Hello-Pebbles Wolverine Amigurumi by fleetingdawn  Amigurumi Jedi by missdolkapots Tiger Amigurumi by cuteamigurumi Amigurumi talk by MagicalBunnies Rabbit Amigurumi by cuteamigurumi Carrot Bunny Amigurumi by adorablykawaii Leon Amigurumi by CarolBarajas Amigurumi crochet pattern-Rose by jennyandteddy Rhinestone Tiger Amigurumi by cuteamigurumi Amigurumi Pikachu by joibear Amigurumi Kitty Cat bon bons by amigurumikingdom Fennekin Amigurumi by SailorMiniMuffin Penguin Amigurumi by EssHaych Sheep Amigurumi by cuteamigurumi Stitch Amigurumi by pirateluv Mini Rainbow Unicorn Amigurumi by altearithe Kulla Amigurumi by ChezMichelle amigurumi giraffe by TheArtisansNook milotic amigurumi by TheArtisansNook Death and Gor Bunnies by SparklyStash krissi001 crOCtopus by SparklyStash