As someone who is new to the world of media professionals, I still have a lot to learn. However, I have learned a lot of important lessons from both good and bad experiences that I have had in the last year.
Media professionals, whether photographers, reporters, columnists, videographers, editors or the like, all work very hard to produce the final products they share with their audiences.
Specifically, photographers must put in hours of work behind-the-scenes before their art is ready to share. After countless late nights of editing in the newsroom or at my house and many hours of driving to shoots, I can personally attest to the amount of work that goes into producing even one usable photo.
Though I think journalism is generally a highly respected profession, photographers are receiving less respect in today’s increasingly saturated market. More people seem to either steal another artist’s work to claim as their own or believe that they can point and click with any camera and call themselves a photographer.
As a freelance photographer, it frustrates me to see not only my own work discredited, but also the work of my many talented friends. On several occasions, I have defended the work of my friends when they have been cheated or when it has been stolen by others.
Additionally, I have had to explain to several of my own clients the reasons behind my prices. I understand that people need to follow their own budget, but asking someone to lower their prices is never appropriate, especially if they’re using photography as a source of income to pay their own bills.
Many photographers charge what they do because they must account for shooting time, travel cost, editing time, editing software, delivery software and equipment cost in addition to their own living expenses. Asking them to lower their price is like asking someone to put less effort into their nine to five job and to take the financial hit in their own life instead of paying for the product you are asking for.
Not everyone deserves a special price on a product just because they think they should have one. It’s discouraging to media professionals to hear that someone doesn’t want to pay for the hard work that they love to do, and it’s even more discouraging when someone else passes that off as their own.
I wish that I could change what society thinks about media, but unfortunately, I can’t. However, I ask that people respect the hard work that others do to make media possible, and respect the costs necessary to do so.