It’s all in how you ask…

by Susan Getgood on June 18, 2010 · 5 comments

in Africa, Photography

This morning, I received an email from a family lifestyle magazine, congratulating me that they had chosen one of my Flickr photos  to be featured in their travel section.

For a credit.  No compensation.

Now, if I had submitted my photo for this “opportunity,”  the email language wouldn’t bother me.  But I’ve never even heard of the publication. They found my picture on Flickr, and want to use it for free. In their magazine. Where they sell ads.

I’m not a hard-ass about my photos. When asked nicely, and depending on the use, I’m happy to give permission to use my images at no charge. Shortly after we returned from Africa, an educational website requested permission to use one of my photos of Victoria Falls.

But this? The tone bugs me. The spin makes it sound like the magazine, which again I have never heard of,  is doing me a favor, when in fact it is I that would be doing something for them. Seems to me that if you are going to make money from my work, I should be compensated. And you should at least ask nicely.

It’s not even clear that the credit would be with the photo. It could just as easily be buried in a list somewhere. How many other people get similar emails from publications and are fooled by the flattery?

What am I going to do? I’m planning to reply to this query that my photo is available for a one-time use fee, payable to my PayPal account. And I’ve signed up for the new (announced today) Request to License service on Flickr from Getty Images that directs queries to use my copyrighted images to Getty, who will negotiate licensing for me.

Am I expecting to make tons of money from licensing my images? No. But I invest in my camera equipment and lightly edit the photos I upload to Flickr. That’s time and money on my part. If a publication or website wants to use my images, we both need to get something out of the deal.

Has this happened to you, with your photos, and how have you handled it?

By the way, here’s the image in question. Not entirely sure how it fits with baby fashion, but whatever. It was taken just outside of Mosi-O-Tunya National Park in Zambia.


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