Thursday, November 14, 2013

No budget for photographs

click photo to enlarge
When I changed my contact and enquiries page in February 2012 (modified in April) I had an email from a regular visitor suggesting that my wording was, perhaps, a touch off-putting to people interested in using my photographs. I explained that it was meant to be because I was getting fed up of people contacting me and asking to use an image commercially, but unwilling to pay for doing so. The last straw, and the prompt for my somewhat brusque re-write, was a communication from a company working in the field of Combined Heat and Power units. They explained that my photograph of the undulating, rather artistic cladding that surrounds one of the CHP units at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals in London, would be perfect for a publication they were putting together. They explained that they were a "non-profit" company and regretted that they had no budget for photography so couldn't pay for the image. However, should I consent to them using my photograph, they explained, I could be sure that they would give me full written credit.

My response was polite, curt and in the negative. When I re-wrote my contact information I wrote my reasons for this approach in a blog post called "Something for nothing". I was reminded of it the other day when browsing a photography website. One of the posts was a copy of a letter from a musician who had been approached by a TV production company seeking music and regretting that they had "no budget for music" to pay for it. His eloquent and heartfelt response to the solicitation (originally posted on music websites) chimed with a lot of professional and enthusiast photographers who are regularly asked for their work without the offer of recompense and consequently it has been widely circulated on photography websites too. It's well worth reading.

All of which has nothing to do with today's photograph of the upturned, broken top of a Victorian cast iron fountain basin. Except, I've discovered that you never know just what kind of photograph is going to be attractive to a company. Who would have thought the hospital CHP unit would be attractive to anyone? Is this broken fountain? It makes me glad that photography is my interest rather than my job.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 88mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On