Photoshelter's Allen Murabayashi and I had a nice discussion on June 6 about what it takes to start a business as a freelance photographer. Photoshelter has posted the link here: Video: 11 Tips for Freelance Photographers – Hosted by Robert Seale
Allen brought up an interesting point about photography professional organizations, mainly ASMP, APA, and NPPA, and if those organizations were slow to catch on/educate their members about changes brought on to the industry by the digital revolution. He had a point, but as I said during the webinar, most of the organizations are volunteer oriented in their education programs. Many on the ASMP side (which I'm more familiar with) have given selflessly of their time – time they could have spent working on their own business, to try to help colleagues about these and other issues facing photographers today. Judy Hermann, Blake Discher, have hosted excellent ASMP programs for continuing education for us, and in particular, Peter Krogh, and the late Susan Carr published books related to the changes in our industry brought on by digital licensing and workflow. Just wanted to add those points to the discussion.
Another issue I brought up is the changing world of licensing in a digital environment. We used to live in a very cut and dried world, where media buys and photo licensing were finite ideas with very defined parameters. For instance, an old media buy might consist of: “20 metro billboards, 52 full page inserts in Time and Sports Illustrated magazines, 50K POP displays at a defined size, and 500K direct mail pieces.”
Today, a more likely scenario is: “We're doing a web campaign through a third party web advertising vendor that will serve up an unknown number of ads in an unknown number of websites, based on a user's previous browser history, in various sizes for a duration of 6 months. We won't know the number of total impressions until the campaign is over.”
One of our challenges will be to come up with licensing models to meet the needs of clients, and fairly compensate content creators at the same time in this new landscape. I welcome the discussion of how any of you:photographers, reps, or art buyers have handled these new situations. Feel free to discuss in the comments section below, or email me privately, and perhaps I'll do a follow up on this in a few weeks.