Monday, 20 July 2009

Photo fee-less

Remember the Whitby funnel cloud photos used in late June and we wondered if freelance photog Adam Strongman was paid by Sun Media?

Well, we have just heard from Adam in a posted comment and the answer is no, not a cent.

Says Adam:

"No I did not get paid for the photos. Just photo credits. It was done through the 'your scoop' your news type of submission.

"I have had photos posted this way on CTV, the Sun, Reuters etc. Just trying to break into the news media biz.

"Any advice? Would love to hear any tips -"

Well, Adam, if your photos have been accepted by Sun Media, CTV and Reuters, it is probably time for you to consider getting paid for your work.

Today's new media is taking advantage of aspiring photographers who are trading exclusive photos for ego-boosting credit lines.

If you don't mind not being paid for your time, camera usage and skills, then all is well.

But if you want to graduate to paid services, do some research.

You might also consider the benefits of joining the new Canadian Freelancers Union.

A CFU press release says it now has the "resources, and a three-year commitment from national CEP, to make the CFU a reality."

CFU's inaugural meeting will be held Oct. 3 at "a number of physical sites, with electronic links to the entire country. At this meeting we will adopt a set of initial bylaws, elect the first national executive, and establish other founding policies."

Union, or no union, the key is to educate yourself in how to approach the media with exclusive photos. If they want your photos, ask for payment.

Not too long ago, the going freelance rate for an inside photo in the Toronto Sun was $100 and $150 for a front page colour photo.

Or higher, if the photos are exclusive and truly exceptional.

Those 1991 Bernardo/Homolka wedding photos that were published in the Toronto Sun cost the tabloid $10,000 and that was after some wheeling and dealing.

In a nutshell, don't sell yourself or your photos short. If the media want to use your photos, name your price.


  1. Ha! You can forget throwing out $10,000 for photos these days. Not even $10 from what I've heard how tight the purse strings are going to be drawn over the next few months.

    And you thought the water cooler going was pathetic. Try paying for pen, notepads and even trying to drop paying for mileage.

    Oh let the good times roll.

  2. This is how, time and time again, photography becomes devalued because of people like Adam. Shake your head, getting a photo credit does not pay for gear, gas or your time and it won't make you famous or make you sought after.

    Corporations love free work and no one more than the cheapest of all, Sun Media.