• Daniel Wretham

Free pictures ?!

Updated: Jan 29



So a lot of you do fantastic pictures and get them featured on some form of media or another, be it Facebook or a news paper or a web site etc...

We all love it when we get a message from a publication praising our work and then the elation of them asking if they can feature it in their magazine, you are overjoyed that your work has been recognised and someone wants to pay to feature it right ?

Wrong, because its usually followed by "we don't pay for pictures but we will put your name next to it"

Your feeling of joy is quickly dropped as you have just felt the hammer blow of the press kicking you with full force where it really hurts.

They will tell you how they struggle and this is the way they all operate now and that they won't pay.

How many people that you know who have a skilled job turn up to a perspective customer and are asked to perform their service for free ? no one right, bingo.

So why should you have to accept from a publication that has a huge circulation and budget that they don't pay ?


When you work out one one single picture has cost you it becomes quite a scare, think about it.

Cost of camera, various lens, filters, tripod, back pack, fuel to get to your venue of choice, not to mention the most expensive and important element, your time. Why should you be expected to give it for free ?.

The papers will argue that you will get "massive exposure" for having your work featured with them cause they have so many readers, but when you point out that many readers translate to larger revenue and a bigger budget they plead poverty again.

The massive exposure they have promised you has already been realised, because they found your picture right ? and you now have a platform to reach billions of people with things like Twitter & Facebook.

The reality is people are being conned by these publications, they will pay for a decent image because it sells publications, don't sell yourself short with this.

Better to have ten papers refuse to pay and stick to your guns till you get one that will, it will keep your work exclusive and people will know they can't just take you for a ride with their promise of exposure and the glories of the world.


Now I'm not a hypocrite so I freely admit that in the past I have given my work away for "exposure" and at some points it has been beneficial to me, but it has always been done on my terms rather than because I felt I needed to get it out there and would fall over myself to give it away for free.

The photography world has many many talented people in it and we are all looking for a piece of the pie here and sadly only a very small minority will succeed and be able to command large fees for their images, we all have to start somewhere, but don't start at the bottom without knowing your own worth.

If a paper pays even £10 for a picture, you have done yourself proud, you have sold an image to a publication, you haven't sold yourself up the river for free.

Ask one of the journalists if they will write a story about you, tell them how you love their work and then ask them if they will do it for free and the exposure and watch them recoil in horror and insult, yet its fine if they ask you right ? don't be that person.

Happy shooting, Daniel

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