Photography for free!

Yet again I have had a query about a picture of mine on Flickr wanting to use it for free! This is from a commercial publisher producing print for a commercial organisation. They chose a picture from a professional photographer but are not prepared to pay for it.

I quote:

I am the General Manager of a small publishing firm that produces wine, olive and timber magazines and directories. One of my staff members from our production department came across a photo of olives on Fickr (sic) which would be ideal for the use in our xxxxx xxxxxxxxx (refer attached PDF bottom right hand corner). While we do not have funds for use of this photo, we would be pleased to make a reference to your name and website in our Directory for its use. If you are happy with this arrangement, please confirm by return email and include a high resolution copy of the photo for our use (we would only use specifically for this Directory).
I look forward to your prompt reply.

Kind regards

Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx

General Manager

My reply:

Dear xxxxx
Thank you for your enquiry – and for not using the image without permission.
I am a professional photographer and the sale of images is how I earn my living so I am afraid I will require a fee for the use of this image – I am sure your olive producers do not give away their olives!
I am happy to let use this image for a modest fee of £65 – well below the market rate. If this arrangement is acceptable I will forward my Paypal details and send the image to you as soon as the funds are received.

With very best wishes

And her answer:

Dear Marie-Louise

Thank you for your reply. We have sourced an alternative photo so will not be requiring the purchase of your olive picture.
Kind regards
Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx
General Manager

I only hope they haven’t conned some other poor photographer into thinking that a small credit in an obscure publication is fair recompense for their creativity and skill.

If you have other examples of people asking for pictures for nothing please comment about them here – perhaps a little naming and shaming might be productive?

I have had to remove references to the starter of this correspondence as she threatened legal action. Obviously exploiting photographers is a matter of shame!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. PT Barnum said it best… “There is a sucker, born every minute.” Just had to deal with a similar situation but this was one step further- soliciting test shots and trying to get the full res images on disc… Sure, sure just let me burn those for you… Here you go… No way.


  2. Hi Marie-Louise!

    First of all, I realy enjoyed stumbeling in to your blog of food and photography when me, my self and I 😉 are struggeling to shoot some pics for my blog.
    I´ve alredy got some tips and hints and I´ll be reading your blog from start to last update during next week.

    My question regarding “photography for free”: Have you ever found your own pictures on the internet that has been stolen/reproduced in some way?
    Are you active trying to find these and/or is there some way to protect, more than the word “copyright”?

    No rush, take your time. Just curious Q from Sweden 🙂



  3. I haven’t actually found any but I am sure they are there. I do keep an eye on who follows me on Flickr and if anyone favourites lots of my pics without revealing their identity I always block them – but I don’t know if that does any good.
    I do keep any images online to small sizes but they’re obviously big enough for web use. I used to have a link to a site that helped track images but I have lost it. I’d be glad for any suggestions for anything like that.
    Using images for a commercial purpose without permission is undoubtedly an offence and recompense is due in law.


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