It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten on my soapbox. A recent email has set me off. A little bit of the back story first. Earlier this year Kim and I had to replace the gable vents on our house. The original ones had rotted and one was leaking significantly. So we purchased new ones on-line from a company by the name of Architectural Depot. The product we received was great and installed fairly easily. That brings us up to speed. On Monday Kim forwarded an email from their marketing department asking for images of their product as it was used in our project. Here is a copy of that email:
Hi there. We are doing a series of photo spreads in our new catalog, on our website, in our blog, and in magazine advertisements. We still need a few more photos of the exact product you purchased from us earlier this year.
Would you be willing to snap a few photographs of how you used and installed our product? I would really appreciate it.
Just reply to this email with your photos (my email only accepts files smaller than 2MB). If your picture is larger than 2MB, just click the link below and load it directly onto our website.
The more pictures you can send, the better. You will be able to see your project on one of our websites or even in our printed catalog.
There will be a winning picture selected and that person will receive a full page spread in one of our upcoming brochures!
We look forward to seeing your project and thank you very much for your help.
James | Marketing Department | xt. 7105
So the basic gist is send us your photos so we can use them to advertise our company both on the web and in print. Your compensation will be nothing unless we like it enough then we’ll use as a two page spread. OOOOOOOO! And oh yeah. We won’t even give you credit for the image. The sad and unfortunate part of this is there will undoubtedly be hundreds of people who will oblige them. Once again taking work from photographers and providing (free of charge and licensing) countless images for this company to grow their business. Maybe I’m alone on this but it strikes me that these companies should be paying for these images. This type of corporate glad-handing sickens me. As professional photographers we scrape and scrounge for every client we get. To have these companies discount our work by basically saying “We don’t need professional images. We can grow our business using Johnny Client’s images free of charge.” Makes me seriously wonder what path the commercial photography business is heading. The saddest part of this is that once started down the path of cheap photography, there is no turning back. These companies are single handedly destroying a portion of the photography business. How long before other major corporations like Bank of America, Gucci, Macy’s start down this path? Just to save a few dollars. Dollars that make up an infinitesimal percentage of the annual income generated by those images. I saw this happen in the music industry and then the film industry. All it did was generate a lot of crappy music and crappy films. It lead me to coin a phrase. “Shove crap down people’s throats long enough, they acquire a taste for it.” Sorry for the rant. I promise it will be the last one for the year.