In this post I’m going to try and not get on my soapbox, but I had a very interesting situation happen the other day. As many of you who follow my blog on a regular basis know I do a lot of shoots for a company called HotelTonight. This story begins when one of the hotels that I had been assigned to shoot contacted me. They inquired if there was a way that they could purchase the rights to the images I was shooting for HotelTonight. I had to inform them that HotelTonight was my client and that I could not fulfill their request but I would gladly put together a quote for them. I prepared a quote for them that included licensing for 20 images for web use and sent it off. Now keep in mind that this is a MAJOR, Multi-billion dollar hotel chain that will remain anonymous. The day for the HotelTonight shoot came. I was greeted by the marketing manager and was introduced to the GM of the facility. After the pleasantries we agreed to meet after I was done to discuss my proposal. So I set about doing my job and got some great shots of the facility. (Froze my butt off getting the exterior shot) As I was packing up the marketing manager mentioned that the GM was dealing with a VIP that was coming in and wouldn’t be able to meet with me directly but we could go ahead and discuss the proposal. Great! He told me that the proposal looked really good and he and the GM were very pleased and it was passed all the way to corporate. WOW! AWESOME! Or so I thought. He proceeded to inform that corporate had nixed the proposal and wanted him to find a college student who would be willing to do it for free. FOR FREE!!!! My heart sank. He said that they really needed new images of the facility and that he was going to see if they could squeeze their general operations budget for some funds to be able to hire me but they couldn’t do it at the price I had quoted them. I told him to let me know what kind of number they could come up with and I would come up with a proposal that would fit their budget. At this point you’re probably wondering what kind of wild, extravagant number I came up with. Mid 5 figures? Nope not even close. It was a mere $3200 including licensing of the images.
This kind of corporate mentality kills me. A multi-billion dollar company and they want free pictures. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Putting no value on the very thing would draw people to your hotel and generate millions of dollars of income. The more I thought about it the angrier I got. These people are looking for some who would do an adequate job and be willing to give up their rights to the images so that the corporation could use them as they wanted and not worry about rights and licensing. What BS!!! Commercial photography should never be free. If your company is going to use it for advertising and generating revenue, be prepared to pay.