Fashion Photographers Not Getting Paid

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by Miran, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. Miran

    Miran Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2020
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    133
    Few days ago I saw this text in one of the posts of photographer Lachlan Bailey: "One thing I’ve never quite managed to explain to people outside the industry is that all the editorial (magazine work ) we do ... is unpaid work. Often I will work for weeks on producing, shooting and printing the images as well as often investing my own money into the shoot ... (Although the above shoot and budget was fully covered and paid by GQ). But every now and again these images get bought and .. well bingo .. !",
    and it started a debate in comments, some were supportive and thought that he is brave for sharing things like this, others not so much. What is your opinion on topic like this and what are your experiences?
     
    YohjiAddict likes this.
  2. magsaddict

    magsaddict Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    287
    This goes on a lot. In fact, a lot of smaller fashion magazines these days will pick up shoots submitted by a photog or other creative team and have no input aside from publishing the work. Often the creatives get no payment if it's a recognisable masthead because the 'exposure' is meant to be enough. This is standard practice in some foreign markets where the magazine might be a license.
     
  3. velvetandsilk

    velvetandsilk Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2020
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    227
    Models earn sometimes max 100$. One stylist mentions about 350$ for photo sessionl for Vogue. Magazine has been very clever because created rules working for magazine is for portfolio.
     
  4. aracic

    aracic Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Messages:
    7,681
    Likes Received:
    9,701
    So maybe we can blame the lack of effort from photographers nowadays to being underpaid or not paid at all? It would certainly explain a lot... lol
     
  5. GivenchyAddict

    GivenchyAddict Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    2,141
    Hmm yes and no... Magazines give a general budget for the production of shoot. Which includes studio rental, equiment, transportation, catering etc.
    This budget, if the people involved avoid to spend too much money, can have a bit of money for themselves. So when Lachan said he has to put his own money, it means that he just reached the budget allocated for the shoot.

    The issue, for many years, is that these photographers did not adapt themselves to the fact that magazines have less and less budget. Therefore, the same things they used to request for their shoot (sometimes ridiculous things) have to be paid by themselves. To sum up, you can not getting paid yet not spending your own money if you are reasonable.

    Last but not least, the commercial fees they have thanks to the exposure of these editorials are so insane that it is worth doing it. So, Lachan is just complaining for the sake of complaining.

    Years ago, when I was a stylist assistant, I made 3500$ for a 1-week commercial job with my boss. This latter made 40k $.
     
  6. Alien Sex Friend

    Alien Sex Friend Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Messages:
    8,325
    Likes Received:
    988
    This was always such a question for me, that publication can’t hire a decent photographer and model, always complaining about the lack of budgets, when all travel expenses (hotels, flights) are covered at least partly by the PR in the magazine or paid by brand or they are getting huge discounts from hotels and airlines.

    Models, photographers, make up artists, stylists, hair stylist are working for food mostly and also for the PR.

    salaries are so tiny that editors are working only for the name and gifts from brands plus business trips for fashion weeks and press tours its a nice bonus, but only for fashion team, that’s 4-5 persons from the whole team.

    And the price of 1 advertising page at the magazine starts from around 8000 eur, for international and big clients with payment from Headquarters - there is other mediakit, with higher prices. I am talking like a brand representative with loads of advertising in vogue, bazaar and so on.

    The only place they spend it’s printing and top manager salaries (EIC, publisher, fashion director sometimes), but when it’s not a celebrity editor in chief, they are not so highly paid.

    thus I always wondered, *taking out my abacus, guys, where is money? Where you spend it? And who owns all this? Please stop telling me publishing is no longer profitable, magazines also run social networks (3-4 different platform depending from the country and national specificity), web site with native articles and banners, production studios with crazy price list for shootings and creative works, they are selling air for a crazy money!
     
    jeanclaude and velvetandsilk like this.
  7. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Messages:
    41,518
    Likes Received:
    18,189
    Right? The majority of his work is on location and with cream of the crop hair stylists and MUAs yet he wonders why he's out of pocket?

    I do sympathise with them but the reality is that magazines simply don't have the capacity to pay high rates, they can hardly keep the lights on as it is. When you look at print magazines, ads are obviously paid and certainly advertorials, but in 90% of cases, the shopping section you see in the front section of the magazine, the snippets, the interviews with celebrities or designers, the editorials are not paid for by advertisers. A resort or tourism board may pay for the stay expenses and such for a writer to do a feature, but that's as far as they go. They don't pay a daily/hourly rate for the writer.
    That long editorial with designers across America in the current issue of Vogue, I can assure you the brands would not have paid to feature. In fact, I'm sure Vogue got away with paying the photographers very little to nothing because most were done by the designer themselves or their partner/family/friends. Also, just remember that when Chanel pays for a 4-page ad they still end up getting featured in sometimes 2 editorials in the same issue which they won't pay for.
    So ultimately there's a lot more that the magazine must do out of their own pocket or in good faith to keep PR on side and if you factor in the shrinking page count (due to lack of paid ads) and still tack on high rates for the likes of Lachlan, it no longer becomes a sustainable model even if you are VP.

    At least with digital advertising, you have a clearer handle on advertising overheards. A digital campaign or advertorial created by the magazine would include a ballpark figure for photographers to create content. That's part of the pitch. But it must be within reason. You can't pitch a digital campaign shot by Lachlan Bailey or Meisel, no brand would pay those rates. So the work eventually goes to smaller photographers.

    Photographers will have to reform the way they make money on their own, it's not in anyone's interest to do it for them. I hope this lockdown gave them a collective rude awakening when they saw celebrities shooting their own editorials and artists painting content oftentimes better than them. Some magazines are even continuing in that vein.
    Because let's face it, this idea of 'let's take the crumbs from Vogue because it may well lead to exposure' isn't working. It's working for Lachlan because his work for VP is still what get's him campaigns from Massimo Dutti etc. But it's not helping the ones who are coming after him.
    When you look at it without your personal opinion of his work, Tyler Mitchell has been shooting a lot of covers for US Vogue but he's not swamped with offers from hf brands to shoot their campaigns when in theory he should be. Yet you have Rafael who is virtually unknown and made a name shooting for irrelevant magazines like Vogue Brazil, yet here is, booking Dior Men campaigns.
     
    #7 Benn98, Jan 23, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
  8. GivenchyAddict

    GivenchyAddict Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    2,141
    When a commercial project is made, there is a list of photographers in mind who could fit the whole mood that the brand wants to achieve. Various criterias are in mind as you may guess.
    Tyler Mitchell by doing Vogue has, at least, the advantage of the Vogue "validation" (which is really important). Brands mostly flip through magazines to find their photographers. So getting a cover is "la crème de la crème".

    However, Pavarotti has for him the advantage of having very catching imagery. His vision is way more stronger than Mitchell's vision.
    Pavarotti's portfolio is way more striking than Mitchell's portfolio. His work for M Le Monde or just all his work with Ib surpasses everything done by Mitchell (Beyoncé involved or not) and don't forget that having a very good agent makes the difference.

    Art & Commerce is really good with their photographers.
     
  9. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,972
    Likes Received:
    2,727
    ^^^ I wish qualifications for jobs are always as “fair" as the clientele having a shortlist of candidates. Many times executives will just go with whomever is in their top network. It’s the reason why so many creatives— from photographers to ADs, are willing to suffer fools and worse, for consistent exposure to keep their profiles out there. It’s all political and more social than simply supporting the best talent. And it’s no wonder the veteran creative visionaries still working these days have vastly dumbed down their sensibilities, to compete with the lessers to remain relevant— for work (Nick Knight and Meisel are hardly churning out their best work this era).

    People should understand that Lachlan as you’ve noted, has exaggerated his perception and experience of not “getting paid”. Whether his intentions are simply to highlight a practice that is just common of the industry—and being someone as high-profile as him, or to just remind people that he’s still passionate about his work that he will put in the blood/sweat/tears and his own money, only he knows. There are no exact standards of how creatives are paid for their work in this industry— from photographers down to models, and everyone in between. Lachlan may be reminding himself just how fortunate he has been to have made a solid name for himself at a time when the spending extravagance, including his salary, would have been high. Hopefully it’s a sign of his humility (…or just to let the kidz understand if they want to be paid for every shoot they work on, then maybe think of pursuing a career as a wedding photographer)— and not an attempt to appear more accessible too bait more followers/likes.

    What’s more insulting is that publications and their publishers are pinching their pennies so that only the very top totem still get to keep their hefty salaries. And that very top totem are penny-pinching so that those at the very bottom are the ones that usually are paying out of pocket, just to have the honour of contributing to the very top totem. People would likely be shock that some of their favs aren’t the most generous when it comes to having to flip the bill— even for the least of expenses. ( We’re no longer in a time when Arena Homme Plus would pay for all-expenses trips for Steven Klein and his team to jet off to Spain for a shoot— only to return with pics of the model lounging on a sofa on a lawn…)
     
  10. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Messages:
    41,518
    Likes Received:
    18,189
    That's precisely what I meant about the biases, and you know me, hugely democratic to the core, lol. I think we shouldn't try and justify creative vision as a benchmark for someone's success because that's subjective. Creativity is subjective. Someone living in middle of Yukon territory with limited equipment/technology could be shooting better work than Meisel or Knight, or worse depending on who's judging.

    I just want people to acknowledge how hypocritical and biased the industry is when it comes to their hiring practices. Tyler is a good example and I don't even care for his work. How is it that Hugo Comte with his one VI cover already worked for twice as many brands as Tyler who shot 5 US Vogue covers since 2018? The answer? Europe. Having the seal of approval from European editors is what keeps the jobs coming. Because you'll find that the print titles who book Tyler are mainly American and British, maybe Koller on the very rare occasion.
    I'm sure many on here will just shrug because it's Tyler, but what happens next time when it's, say, Yu Cong or Zhong Lin who has been so instrumental in revamping Vogue Taiwan? Or one of the new Latin American photographers who are doing tremendous work? Must all of them continue to create their work in a sort of native vessel because they're not on VP/VI's radar? That irks me. Because when the female photographer wave started about 3/4 years ago we saw the likes of Harley Weir, Cass Bird and Zoe Ghertner booking all the covers and campaigns because they were embraced by all.

    I also don't know what Lachlan's intentions were, but I will say this. At least he gets an above-average return on investment. For every VP edit he shoots with Didry/Barbieri/Saglio or Clare for British Vogue, he gets a campaign via them. Literally! Because don't forget, those stylists do a lot of consulting on the side where they mostly commission him and naturally and that alone mean they can influence a chunk of the industry. His business model is very clearly sustainable enough for him to be able to fly a crew out to Greece for an 8-page denim edit.

    And one of the things that came to light from that Next scandal with Karmen Pedaru and Anna Jagodzinska some years ago was how they had to wait up to a year for American Vogue and VP to pay he already measly editorial rates. That was quite shameful to wsay, I must say.
     
  11. GivenchyAddict

    GivenchyAddict Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    2,141
    Totally agreed with both of you.

    My post was really about the "general" process but as I mentioned there are some various criteria and being connected to important people is one.
    Plus, brands are quite lazy and... followers. Booking the same big photographers has much more to do with the fact that they know exactly what to expect in terms of outcome and because a rival brand booked him too. Booking a new talent equals uncertainty and with the amount of money spent for campaigns or lookbook, they just avoid it.

    I wish the fashion system works differently but really people involved (once reached a certain level) manage to get enough money to live.
     
    Phuel and Benn98 like this.
  12. Morgan Jabaley

    Morgan Jabaley New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2021
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    2
    I also sympathize with the creatives and those on the bottom of the totem pole. I honestly had no idea about the domination of those who are in charge of these creatives who are, in some cases, working 10x harder than those in charge of them. Even more infuriating is the fact that those hard-working lower-level creatives have to spend their own money to make these shoots happen and get paid only in "exposure", which although is valuable for these creatives, is not necessarily enough to make ends meet and keep them on their feet.

    It's disappointing to hear and makes me wonder how exposure from one good shoot monetizes itself to these creatives and if it is actually more tangibly beneficial than I am imagining?
     
    Bertrando3 and Phuel like this.
  13. Luz

    Luz New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    "With instagram everyone can be a photographer." Art is being devaluated in some ways and over paid in others. It's sad.
     
    Bertrando3 and mepps like this.
  14. Urban Stylin

    Urban Stylin ɐʎ ʎǝɥ

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2003
    Messages:
    18,301
    Likes Received:
    929
    Wow didnt realize that it was the same with photography as it is with modeling. Prestigious editorial jobs basically just build your portfolio! Photography is a very expensive job to carry on considering costs of equipment, I wonder how young up and coming fashion photographers survive. I guess one has to bend over backwards and get into more lucrative but less creative parts of photography like bridal and family.
     
    Benn98 likes this.
  15. steeltoe

    steeltoe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    13
    Working in the fashion industry, especially in the past decade, feels like an expensive hobby rather than a career. It's a shame because there are so many genuinely creative and talented people out there but they get drowned in a sea of mediocre aspirants.
     
    mepps and Phuel like this.
  16. TonTon73

    TonTon73 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2021
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    25
    A bit late to the party, but I think what LB was getting at here was the fact that his images were used in a campaign for Brad Pitt hawking some kind of product. The images which he shot for GQ, and not directly for the brand.

    The real issue here is the terms in which a photographer shoots for a particular publication or publishing house (Conde Nast). In this case, and perhaps a lot of cases, the photographers do not own the images they have taken, rather the publishing company does. Therefore, a brand can purchase an already completed shoot and save lots of money by paying a fee to Conde for the images. Thus, LB never seeing a dime. I don't know how it is for a photographer like Meisel or Testino, who I would imagine have it written into their contracts with said publishing houses, that they own rights to the their images, or agree to split the profits from any sales, perhaps.

    It's no different than a recording artist. Taylor Swift for example, doesn't or didn't own her music. Thus the drama with Scooter Braun.

    It almost seems he meant to lament about one thing but it stirred a debate around something else.
     
    Bertrando3 and YohjiAddict like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "058526dd2635cb6818386bfd373b82a4"