In today’s economy, it seems as if a dollar doesn’t go very far anymore. I understand that event organizers are working with very limited budgets and have to make some hard choices regarding whom to pay and when. The role of the photographer as event documentarian is vitally important to organizers, as we are the ones who create the images that are used not only to memorialize the event, but to promote and market future events.
However, most event organizers fail to understand the photographer’s workflow and how much time is spent on the backend of an event shoot. This failure to fully understand process and workflow almost inevitably leads to an underestimation and devaluing of the actual cost of work that gets done. For instance, for every hour shooting, I spend another hour processing and editing images.
This devaluing usually means that photographers are usually last on the list when it comes to receiving fair (or any) compensation for their services, despite the fact that we invest a significant amount of time not only making, but selecting and editing the right photos to tell the most compelling stories about your events.
I also have to take into consideration my paying customer base, many of whom make budgetary sacrifices to be able to access services.
With that said, I have decided to draft a new policy regarding my criteria relative to providing pro-bono photography services to community organizations and event organizers.
Effective July 1, 2015, I will no longer be able to provide pro bono photography services on behalf of organizers that are collecting donations, selling tickets for and/or charging admission to their events. I will continue to make exceptions for events that are completely free to the community, are underwritten by grants or another external source of funding, and are not soliciting donations. I will reserve my right to decide which community events I cover on a case-by-case basis. Requests for photographic coverage/reportage of community events that fit the above criteria must be made in writing no more than 72 hours in advance of the event.