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Monday, 20 June 2016


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Two observations on this. First sometimes the exposure might just be worth it although I suspect this is very rare indeed.
Second, there is a mindset that you buy an iPhone principally as a phone and not a camera. Photography is a secondary application and somehow that makes the pictures taken with one a little less valuable. I don't buy this but I do see how you could fall into that mindset.

If I were a pro, I might get an immediate buzz from the exposure, but experience a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction that would grow into an obsessive sense of victimhood.

As a non-pro, I would get a similar immediate buzz - and I suspect I would experience a similar sense of resentment the more I thought about it.

When I last looked, National Geographic were soliciting themed photo submissions from people who sign up to their website. When I scrutinised the terms I saw that I would be signing over to them all rights in my photograph(s), including commercial exploitation.

So I didn't.

Competitions are a cheap (i.e. free) way for companies to acquire the rights to images. most of which are probably rubbish, but a few of which are probably very good. It's not a game I feel inclined to play.

I am a professional photographer and that is how I pay the bills and live a good life, I have seen lots of great Amateur work and lots of terrible pro work so I do not differentiate between pro and amateur work, just evaluate it for what it is worth. But I need to get paid for my work, this is my day job, Apple would pay something if only to own the copyright uses. I would not give it away for free, someone in Japan is not going to hire me from a billboard ad. Nikon once offered me $1300.00 for a fluke image and I took it as I was thinking around $500.00. I do a few Pro Bono jobs per year for a photo credit so I get something. My advise is always get something for your work, barter if you have to, never give it for free as that says it is worth nothing.

You have a moral obligation not to give your work away for free as this lessens the value of all professional photography. Every photograph ought to credited as a matter of course ~ to remove the photo credit costs the client an additional amount.

The thing is the media buys for a national campaign are in the tens of millions of dollars so charging $10-20K minimum for that Frecklehead usage is infinitesimal to their advertising budget. If I were a photographer of any repute it'd be 2-3x that.

If the guy isn't telling what he was compensated then I guess he was give a $3k coupon to the Apple Store but anything's possible. It's worth it to Apple not to have vendors disparaging them for exploiting their images.

In other situations for lessor clients when amateurs give their work awayhor free or peanuts it is shameful and wrong, willfully ignorant at best.

I would not give my work away for free to the big money companies. Having been a pro for 35 years, I can't tell how many times the companies dangle the carrot saying "The exposure your photo will get will get you so much exposure and work, you won't believe it."
Never been the case for me or any other photographers that I know.
In the real world, this has never worked for me.
As Jay Meisel has said "Clients ask me to work with them on price, because there will be so much good paying work down the line, just play ball with us." The reply is, "Pay me what I'm worth NOW (first job), and I'll work with you in the future." Of course they never go that.

Considering the ephemeral nature of contemporary prominence, I would prefer to be paid. But perhaps the seeming delight of the girl at having her photograph chosen by Apple may the thing here.

I don't use Twitter, so I don't know what sort of agreement people post under, but unless they have agreed in writing to give up their copyright, Apple owes for the use, in my opinion (not a lawyer, but as a pro photog since 1972 have dealt a lot with copyright issues). Whether the photographer is an amateur or a pro, they own the copyright to their pictures and Apple has to pay for commercial use, unless the pictures have formally been released to the public domain.

Apple should make contracts with all the contributing photographers and pay them fair prices. Even if not all are professionals, the Apple advertising department should show their own professional attitude here. As art director I worked a lot for large companies and I always advised my clients to work with signed contracts with any publication. Not only with the photographers, but also with the people who are in the pictures. To avoid trouble afterwards and also for their reputation. I can't imagine that Apple is working otherwise.

An interesting post Mike. It is part of the larger issue with being a professional photographer today. That balance between social reach and recognition versus, well, earning revenue.

There are a lot of discussions about the state of the industry for professional photographers and the idea of working for free. For new photogs, or existing pros trying to diversify, the currency of exposure (no pun intended) is incredibly attractive. Look, I have 10K Instagram followers looking at my work. Look, my photo is in an Apple ad. Look at the reach of my work. It feels like a reward for your effort.

But, it isn't revenue. It isn't a monetary reward. That exposure might have some opportunity to be converted into paying work, but not without the same amount of effort, possibly more, than traditional marketing efforts bring.

I'm not saying that social media exposure is value-less. And for the amateur photographer, it is a form of currency, a reward unto itself. And that is a problem for the working professional, because we see a growing appetite within agencies and traditional clients for the free work produced by a broad and fairly talented base of amateur photographers.

for the record i am a professional photographer and have been for over thirty years . . . that said : they sounded him out first (not always the case ) . . if he had said " no " what would he have to show compared to the obvious satisfaction he expressed at seeing it up and around ? would he now be enjoying some comparable state of "righteousness" ? here's the thing, imo the image is simultaneously great and completely dismissible . . . i imagine they could take every shot they selected for their campaign, chuck them all in the bin, and replace them with other shots without lowering the bar . . . so what's that leave ? . . . . " principals" . . . really ? . . . you don't talk principals with the devil . . . . they paid in "thrill", at least he got that

Your question reminds me of the Richard Prince lawsuit which asks very similar questions regarding copyright and fair use.

I would feel pretty good if Apple, and it's related agencies, picked an image of mine for their campaign, so long as the provide photo credit. Keep in mind I like Apple — I'd be quite honored, in a sense, for them to highlight my work.

However, if it were used in the same manner as the Prince lawsuit I mentioned above, I'd be pretty bummed to say the least. Which, logically, is an odd reaction since both Apple and Prince are profiting from it in the same way.



I'm a pro writer, not a pro photographer, although I am pro-photographer.

I'll let a truly pro writer express my feelings on the matter.




For me, it's easy. I wouldn't let them use the image. I don't need being on an Apple poster to convince me of anything

I have a strict rule: I never agree to license my images to a commercial project without an appropriate licensing fee -- except when I decide to break that strict rule.

I was offered a full-bleed full page for one of my images in the front of a Rizzoli coffee-table book, but I was told there was no budget for licensing. The hardest bargain I could drive was getting a copy of the final book.

I went for it. No regrets. Too cool to turn down.

The lesson: I'm afraid I'd jump at a similar offer from Apple.

I get that this is the reality now, but it's the oldest scam in the world. Since the day I quit working for others and opened my own advertising photo studio in 1980, and even after I got out of directly making my living photographing and into management; I have been constantly bombarded by people wanting imaging for free, because the use of my image in their advertising vehicle was going to get ME more recognition, hence more jobs, and more money. Never did happen, and so I quit it very early on; it did however, lower THEIR advertising costs!

The question to ask is are you willing to give your work away as a professional, to enhance someone else's ability to make sales, for no money to you; strictly because the client is hipper than Joe's widget shop? Sure Chris Floyd is excited about Apple picking up his photo, even as a pro, but if you like it enough to use it for free, do you like it enough to pay for it? Chris may have found out if he said: "...well, I'm a pro, and I need to get paid, so I'll let you use it for 200 bucks...", that Apple might not have liked it so much anymore.

Maybe he should have told Apple that they need to give him a full blown, all accessories Mac laptop, and when people see him using that in his studio, they're going to run right out and buy one for themselves!

There used to be a city magazine in one of the cities I used to live, that always pulled this stuff. Truth was, they paid a stipend with the idea that people in the creative community would "see your work" and hire you. No one ever did, not any of the freelance photographers that did the work (and we were pretty sure anyone we wanted to work with wasn't reading the magazine), and after a while, they were forced to hire a staffer because no one would work for their little money. I heard one photographer say: "...at least one person is getting paid a living wage, instead of 10 photographers making zero...".

It's interesting that this is a mash-up of pros and amateurs in this deal: when I see the TV ads for the videos, I draw the assumption that it's all amateur stuff that looks that good. Like your Mom, who doesn't know about back-lighting and 'golden-hour', picked up her iPhone and got that! More disappointing that it's more a case of visually educated people using the device to advantage based on their skills.

Digital imaging has allowed a vast group of 'prosumers' and amateurs make their work minimally professionally acceptable, and allowed them to inflate their egos by doing a few jobs and giving it away for nothing or far less than market value, and it demeans the industry. Find a wedding photographer who has been in business for over 10 years and ask them if "shutter-moms" have impacted their payday: see what they say...

If Apple approached me wanting to use one of my images in a global advertising campaign, I would want to negotiate appropriate remuneration. If Apple's position then turned out to be "We do not pay anything but we give you great exposure", I would decline that "offer" - and I would make sure Apple's attitude would receive publicity. A LOT of publicity.

Exploitation happens not just in the third world...

If I were a pro the 'exposure' would be nice, but the money would be much better.
It seems to me that the return on your time as a pro is very low. Most pros I know work very long hours to make ends meet. I've always though it best to maximize the return on my effort, I'd prefer the cash.

From Doritos SuperBowl commercials (made by the public) to the Apple ads (shot by the public), I think non-pros have let the "I'm going to be published," mentality take over and there's no shame in just giving it away, especially if you don't need the income because you have another job. Not the case here, but Chris does seem quite successful to not need the pay from Apple in this case.

I liken it to the idea of me setting up a hot dog stand at the town fair, and giving away free hot dogs, because I like to. I don't need the money. How quickly would the other food vendors boot me out?

But alas, there's no glamour in hot dog sales.

I wish we could get an ARTISTS UNITED campaign going, where asking for free work is akin to begging. The people who would never dare ask for a discount at a yard sale seem to have no problem asking creatives for free photos, music, etc.

(I created a logo for it years ago, but I don't have the marketing ability to get it out. http://kennethwajda.com/artistsunited/ ).

Even for business interests, where they expect to make money off the photos, I've been asked to shoot for free. I had a local cafe ask for free photos for their business website. I wanted to say, "Can I get some free burritos--I want to sell them outside."

In an ARTISTS UNITED campaign, musicians would only work for businesses who were signatories, and that would mean they agreed to treat artists as professionals making a living. Same for photographers. And asking for free would be taboo. Shameful.

Ah, my view of a perfect world.

P.S. I think for offers to shoot for free, this could work. Take the job, shoot the job, and then sell them the photos -- the demand will be quite high since they didn't have anyone else shoot any. Make sure to charge more than we would have billed for our time.

"If you're a pro ... " you have a standard price that you would charge Apple for use of the image.

"If you're a pro ... " you have some idea of the cost of marketing on the scale equivalent to Apple's exposure.

If the second is greater than the first, you give Apple the image for free and send everyone you know or would like to know a copy of the Apple ad.

According to this link below, iPhone campaign photographers are all paid for use of their images but have to sign a non-disclosure about how much. I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that their work is simply 'swiped' for advertising use.


It isn't a matter of whether the photographer whose photo is being used should want payment (or how they should "feel" about not getting paid). The question is whether a corporation like Apple should offer payment to photographers whose work they use — as a matter of course and a matter of principle.

Since I do not know the details of compensation, I will comment as a hypothetical. It seems to me that a company or corporation ought to offer compensation for any photograph used for an advertising campaign. If the companies want to tap into the amateur market to save some money, offer a contest or award money. The notoriety gained by being selected without compensation just degrades the profession and makes it even more difficult to make a living as a photographer. All of us already pay a great deal of money for our cameras and devices and it is borderline sickening to think we will give our work back to the manufacturers for free so that they can make a buck. Photographers already undercut one another and degrade the value of our work enough. I think the device and camera makers should support our industry, and that we as photographers should stand behind the value of our own work. There are too many instances of selling photographs for less than the cost of framing them. Shouldn't people be willing to spend more on the art than what they pay the framing shop? I reject the idea of providing free content for any advertising campaign. Facebook and other social media already gives a fine avenue for these corporations to have free user generated content. If they want to use this or any other content for a campaign, let them pay.

If a company uses a pro's image to advance their business revenue or bottom-line, they have to pay for the right to license that image for commercial purposes, simple as that. Companies have been ripping off pros for years by saying that the publicity alone is payment and as a result, the value of content provided by pros has been seriously eroded. Furthermore, the more people see that image (no. of impressions), the more they have to pay. Would Annie Leibovitz let Apple use one of her images for free? No way. You can also bet virtually no film or TV production company would allow their content to be used by a company to advance it's business goals and objectives for free, either.

I don't think I would allow Apple to use my photography for free in an ad, just on general principle — and I work for them full-time! :-)

being a pro phtotographer for more than 30 years now i would be glad if such a thing would happen to me. I would use the advertising for selfpromotion as much as possible. A là "Look, even Apple is using my picture(s)". Shouldn't happen something worse...

I was going to make a comment with out looking at the original story, but on reviewing it and seeing all the ways that Apple have used the photograph, I would want compensation. Now Compensation can come in two ways, purely monetarily or through exposure, and yes some time the amount of exposure could be good enough to make up for the lack of money. However in this case I'm not so sure. On the posters shown they give a credit to Chris F. In a quick internet search of "iphone 6s photo by chris f" I found one site with that particular photo but no further link to the actual photographer, yes if I did more digging I would find a link I'm sure. My point is Apple supposedly has not payed him nor have they really helped in giving him any exposure (pro or not most would still want recognition) But certainly in the way the photographs have been used I do not believe The photographer is going to benefit at all from Apple using his photo, other then his own personal gratification. From a purely pro stand point no one looking at these posters is going to say "I want to hire that photographer", they are instead going to want an iPhone 6s so they can take shots of there kids. That is why a professional gets paid for an advertising campaign, and one of this size and company, paid quite well. In the end only Chris will know if it was worth it. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Apple etc.. Beware of what you agree to before sharing.

I would not allow a large company such as Apple to use my photo at no charge, but routinely consider allowing small organizations to do so on a case-by-case basis. Large companies move their money around the world to minimize taxes, sometimes paying no taxes whatsoever in the countries where they operate. I don't see why they should presume to take the same approach when it comes to paying photographers.

I'll put in my two cents and am speaking purely as an amateur. If every one else involved in the project is being paid, why on earth shouldn't the photographer be paid??

Thinking about this some more, I have looked at it from a slightly selfish side of things, from the point of view of the photographer. What about the girl in the picture? She has now become the face of Apple. In a Professional contract she would, and should, also get well rewarded (college fund?)

Across several careers the promise of "This will be good publicity for you" has invariably resulted in a flood of enquiries from the uninformed general pubic, but never a transaction that has brought me any income.

Whether I am a professional in the field or not, my firm policy is now: donate to charitable causes if I wish to support them, but if someone is making a profit from my work, some share of that profit should come to me. (If I'm feeling flush and generous, I can always give that payment away to a worthy charity.)

If you don't it used, put a copyright mark on it.

I don't know for sure, but Apple is usually pretty good about paying for such things, so I would be surprised if the images were used for free.

There's probably no final answer. I was in a visual-artists' group (as a painter) in the nineties, and one of our gigs was an exhibition and even at a shopping mall. On the one hand people supposedly saw our work and we got a decent amount for materials. On the other hand, us painting live drew a crowd of zero, and we were basically working for free.

But in another mall we sold one painting by the poorest among us, and she was joyful beyond belief. (I'd been called in as the most-english-speaker, and we managed to get cash payment literally minutes before he had to leave for the airport, it was a good day.)

By the way, I feel so stupid today, because we had a person there for the public, but our sign was tiny, and the person just got asked about directions to the bathroom! Today I'd have made a big sign: "I'm with the art show!"

It's not just photography. The sheeple are unwittingly part of a reversal of fairness that was going in the right direction until the 60s. It's well written about. If you're unfamiliar with terms such as "rentier" and "wealth extraction" you would do well to educate yourself. It's grim reading though.

I believe Apple should pay; they are making money from your work. But then again, I think companies should pay me to wear hats and shirts with their logo (think Ping, Titleist, etc. in golf) instead of me buying such merchandize from them.

But the reality is, the little guy has little bargaining power, particularly when lots of folk don't care and are willing to give up work for free, or pay companies to be the companies' billboard. Not participating is all one can do.

As a retired pro I would be very excited about seeing my work in
an Ad by Apple...but would expect some kind of remuneration...if not money then perhaps the latest and greatest Apple gear as it becomes available for a period of years or for my lifetime. Seems like a fair exchange.

I must say, it is a great feeling to be published, especially the thrill
you get the first time you see your work on display, be it a billboard, magazine ad or at a retail store. As Mike mentioned, difficult times for professionals began some time ago, and my experience is that they continue to this day, unless the photographer has an established cliental and exceptional talent to create images unavailable elsewhere. Chris Floyd certainly met this criteria. I hope he feels rewarded for his effort.

Pros who think their work is compensable shouldn't put it out on social media, they should do the hard work of marketing it. Pros who do "personal work" for the love of it and just want to share it with the world should be over the moon when the world "likes it."

With the greatest 'free' photo source library ever (and expanding exponentially) it beggars the question of why would any advertiser pay for photography on a certain level seeing as though they are offering the 15 minutes of fame that seems so sought after ? If one person says, 'well, I would like to be paid for this', market forces (which includes the driver of the need for personal recognition) suggest that something else will be available for free. I would have asked to be paid because that picture is the proverbial chip (fries) wrapping of tomorrow. By giving it away you don't have the money for the chips (fries). Am I too proud to have donated the picture to one of the world's biggest corporations ? Yes, because fifteen minutes of fame doesn't feed the kids, or pay for my phone. I would call Apple a load of sh*ts for not rewarding the use of images, if that is the case. Or am I out of touch with modern notions of vanity ?

His last name wasn't even included in the "credit," so, Mr. Floyd has not even gotten exposure (aside from your blog posts)... just a good story to tell.

He seems successful enough (judging by the celebrity clients in his portfolio), maybe that's all he cares about. Who am I to judge?

If I had non-commercial work on Instagram that Apple chose for a campaign, I would jump on the opportunity and use it as an advertising plug.

I've never had a client for whom I done a job for for free who later ever paid me for anything.

If you work for nothing in this industry your a fool, your the only one not getting paid.


Hey Mike! For me, this is a case of, "there's always someone who's prepared to do it for less" (or nothing, even if inadvertently).

Exposure, in the publicity sense of the word, has always been temporal, but with the higher volume of images (and videos) that we're exposed to now, compared with 10 or 20 years ago, that exposure received from a free or cheap job is worth proportionately less, yet costs us photographers proportionately more.

Avoid at all costs - if you're starting out in photography and think that you're going to wean a client into your way of thinking by doing cheap / free jobs, think again! You're weaning them into a way of thinking that doesn't place any value on photography and when you want to start charging for it, they'll move on to the next student who's keen to make a name for themselves by putting some free stuff out there.

Instead of working for free, work harder, come up with different images, delight and astonish people and they will pay for your work.

I'm not sure if I asked myself; did he get paid or; that is a cute shot. Regardless he should be paid for a national campaign. They should pay him so he would never have to look like the bad guy; for asking for money and folks hammering for that and/or getting hammered for not asking at all.

Mike, IMHO, if Apple (or their minions) are indeed intentionally not rewarding photographers for use of their images to promote Apple product and yet, expect to be paid every single cent due for use of that product, doesn't that make them (even a smidgin) morally bankrupt?

The photographer puts a value on his image and client says yes or no.
A photo magazine in USA wanted one of my images for a story and they paid a miserable amount however they also wanted to be included rights for all publications both print and digital worldwide for X years. I said no and suggested that as a photography magazine they , of all companies, should recognise the value of a photographers image.

I would not allow the use of the photo without compensation. I would, however, consider it if the Apple CEO, can't think of his name, would help me, for free, finish up lobbing shovels of gravel behind a new retaining wall at my home in 94 degree heat. Maybe. Ok, I wouldn't but he can still help me for free.

Apple could afford to give every one of those photographers a new iPhone for the photos at the very least.

It is not just Apple computers. Triple A and State tourism offices want FREE images and often couch the rights grab as a photo contest. You enter, they can use the photo for anything they want.
As soon as the bank starts accepting credit lines or 'people will see your pictures' to pay the mortgage I'll enter some of these.
Can't blame folks for entering or giving away photos, but you don't see lawyers giving away free wills or mechanics doing free tuneups.

I'm not a professional by any stretch, and I don't post to Instagram any more, but if Apple (or any other corporate entity) used my photography without paying me rent on it, I'd be sending out cease and desist letters faster than I typed this comment.

And, no, I'm not much interested in exposure. I just like to shoot.

I am in the dark about why the agency/Apple wouldn't have to pay for the usage rights. Is it something in the Instagram terms and conditions?


I don't think badly of the photographers who offered their photographs for Apple's promo use gratis. I DO think badly of Apple's agency, and Apple by association, for so brazenly disrespecting these customers' efforts.

It speaks poorly of Apple. Very, very poorly.

I suspect that Apple paid for usage of the photo. I would be very surprised if they didn't. At a minimum, it involves reviewing and signing some contract with Apple. It likely also involves contacting the subject and negotiating a model release. So it's extra work, and it's probably not trivial.

As much as I like Apple products, I would not give Apple free photos, not even for worldwide exposure. Apple is the Big Leagues and they can afford to pay a proper rate. They wouldn't give me stuff for free, and I wouldn't give them stuff for free. Free doesn't pay the bills.

I think this latest campaign by Apple is nothing to get exercised about. They've paid plenty in the past to many fine photographers and now they're using a melting pot of images to showcase the iPhone's utilitarian handiness. It's not a bad idea, so if you want to get exercised about it all, keep in mind that photographers of all stripes are posting to Instagram and its ilk. It's just up to to Apple to find the hidden gems. And if you're among the chosen few, I suspect money is at hand, after you sign a lot of paperwork, of course.

I have been constantly asked to submit photos to be used in advertising and offered "exposure." I always, always ask for equal value in money or product. If I was approached by Apple I would be thrilled to let them use any one of my photos; in exchange for a Mac Pro, or a MacBook Pro, or something that has value --- that I can use or sell. If it was to be a bigger campaign with bigger circulation I would ask for more product. But if they didn't want to trade for product I would gladly take the cash equivalent in...cash.

I would have asked Apple for a new iPhone as compensation. That doesn't cost Apple much and is sort of fitting since they want to promote iPhones as photography device.

[But pretty much by definition the participating photographers already have iPhone 6s's. --Mike]

Capitalism rules in the world of advertising, so if I am certain that that would land me more jobs or let me raise my tariffs, then I would let it go for free. Otherwise, just for the sake of vanity, I guess I wouldn't. It really boils down to what benefit I would be able to get out of it. That said, I am sure a lot of people wouldn't charge for it, even without proper credit.

To give anything to a half-trillion dollar company is idiotic.

As a Pro photographer I would not of said "No" to to Apple. Even if all I would be getting is braging rights.
Which seems to be all that he got.
As to free advertising for my business I see Apple themselves giving me none. The advertising would have to be generated by me.
I don't see a lot of attention being generated by the other photos.
After all, if a person sees that photo, who is Chris F ? Apple could have at least put the guys full name on there.
I also see on the side of the photo some text says "copyrighted 2016 by Apple inc. all rights reserved?"
So Apple have copyrights to his photo as well ?
It would of been nice to be offered some money for that :)

A UK photography magazine recently used one of my images to illustrate an article. There was no payment, but I was promised publicity for my website's URL and a complimentary copy of the issue in which my photo appeared. What turned up a couple of months after the publication date was rather curious. It was the cover of the correct magazine, but inside was a later issue. A few moments elapsed before I realised why I could not find my picture.

Fortunately I do not seek to make any money from my photography and simply being published was its own reward.

What I object to are companies trying to get freebies when the have (or should have) a budget for their photographic needs. Why should I be the one to help keep their costs down?

Without knowing all the details, I'm assuming the whole point of the Apple campaign was to use freely available images, hence no one was going to get paid (which would rather defeat the point of the campaign), so there is no lost sale opportunity.

I think I would see this as a rather good promotion opportunity ... I couldn't afford that sort of exposure. I'd take the gamble that I could leverage that use to gain other paying clients.

The rules were clear and if you don't want to agree to them you don't enter. However although having no sympathy for the entrants it would have perhaps reflected better on Apple had they organized it as a competition with generous prizes and their free use of images by the winners or simply paid an agreed rate rate royalties...

Like many I was approached by someone writing a book on photography and wanting to use several of my images he found on the Internet. When I asked for a symbolic compensation (after all he expects to get money for his books, as he should), his answer was that basically I should see it as a favor to get exposure. The story ended there and I am sure he found many fellow amateurs willing to give up their pictures for alledged (free) fame.
We live in a cynical world, what should I expect? At least the man was polite enough to ask. I have found pictures of my daughter used as illustrations in blogs and various sites where I never posted them...

Perhaps the campaign will open up more (paid) work for the photographers that were featured? It seems to be a conundrum: you can post/share your photos for free, in the hope of getting some recognition; or you can make it clear that if others want to use them they need to pay. In which case you will be out-marketed by the former...

I think every maker of an image that is used in a commercial campaign should be paid - amateur or professional (and my bet would be, somewhat against better knowledge, that actually Chris was paid).
But a thought experiment occured to me: if someone posted a painting or a drawing on instagram that was subsequently elected by Apple for use in a campaign - wouldn't it then be abundantly clear that the creator should be paid? That is, hasn't photography, and photography only, become a sort of free for all kind of category due to the mass availability of digital images?

I'd decline the offer, as everything has a market value. It doesn't matter why a photographer took a particular image, if it has value to a global corporation then they can pay whatever the market value for worldwide branding is. The value of an image is independent of the reasons it was originally taken.

Compare Apple's approach with Microsoft's - and even Charles O'Rear wished he'd negotiated a better deal:

It takes no imagination to guess Apple's response if consumers asked Apple to give them their products for free, in return for exposure.

I don't much follow this kind of thing (got my own rules and they work for me) but it shouldn't come as any surprise that Apple handles it through payment but with a non-disclosure agreement. If you ever got married to Apple you can bet that the pre-nup would be at least 20 pages long.

Also afaik Apple has all it's photographers and filmmakers sign NDA's for all the work- product shots, everything- they display. And I also believe the photographers cannot then use the work to promote themselves. You won't see Apple product shots in their portfolios. This is standard practice for many luxury brands. I have not worked for Apple but other brands I have.

This campaign is a little different because they are naming the photographer in the ad, abbreviated. It is up to the photographer or agency to negotiate the fee for this kind of exclusive usage.

What is more interesting to me here is your reading in to Chris's statements that he wasn't compensated- what this shows is that non-pros and people entering the field tend to radically misunderstand the business, and radically negate the value of their work. What this does, and has done, is erode values steadily perhaps even more than the exponential influx of imagery into the marketplace.

Apart from developing a unique vision, which is harder still, business practice is the number 1 or 2 item on the list of long term defining problems. It is solved primarily through mentorship and the sharing of information via organizations and informal contacts. It is up to professionals to educate newcomers on the value of rights and usage, and of the value of saying no to situations that will in the long term, fail to serve the individual and the industry.

This article may break some record for hypotheticals. In my experience as both a designer and a photographer, ad agencies and large companies are the most likely people to not use art without payment or clearly negotiated compensation. They fear copyright lawsuits, and--especially designers--know what it's like for people to want free work in exchange for the exposure.

It's an interesting discussion, though it suffers from the click-baity nature of all articles that discuss a general topic using "Apple" or "iPhone" to fan the flames.

[I kinda hate it when people take me to task for something I said in words that I'm doing. I even wrote "It's a hypothetical question." So pointing out that the article asks a hypothetical question is not exactly skewering me. --Mike]

JK wrote: If you ever got married to Apple you can bet that the pre-nup would be at least 20 pages long.

At my last job, we had a client that was insanely great at being demanding. They truly thought different. In fact, we gave them pricing so low we were losing money, just to have them as a marquee client. Except we couldn't really refer to them by name, as they were so secretive. I came up with the workaround to refer to them as a Fortune 1 company.


Great comments all around! I too had a long career as a working pro, a career that would be nearly impossible to build today. This is a prime example of how the business of assignment photography has been gutted by crowd sourcing. Whether these photographers were paid or not, they were almost certainly not paid what they would have been a decade ago. And it's not happening just to photographers. The idea that the work of professional content creators is somehow worth less because a cheaper "acceptable substitute" can be found is a sad symptom of the money-to-the-top business environment prevalent in the world today.

Too many of these comments have been based on assumptions with regard to how much, if anything, Apple paid.

I've been approached by some rather largish TV networks who didn't want to pay even $50 for the image they sought me out for... "Thanks, but no thanks."
This has been the norm for 15+ years now. There is an enormous economic hurdle to overcome now, that of others giving away millions or billions of images for free. Several millions of dollars is a conservative estimate for what it cost me to acquire my portfolio of nature and wildlife images in time+effort+actual cash outlay. The bar to entry for professional success in publishing to the web in recent years now has to factor in that for those images of mine to have been discovered among all the noise of likely lesser value images being given away... to me makes them more intrinsically valuable, not less.
Anyhow, this is the position I negotiate from, whenever some entity that could easily pay fairly for an image wants it for free nowadays.

Christer Almqvist, above, is correct. I went back and re-read the article and I think it is skewed towards an assumption that Apple did not pay and that played into people's comments.

To Olivier's story, this is a major concern that I have been thinking about for the last 10 years or so. There seems to be a large number of business endeavors started, where the majority of the intellectual property that actually sets the scope of the endeavor, is expected for little or no compensation.

It's like: "...let's start a magazine of photography, and we get everyone to let us use their photography for nothing, and then we make money."

The last permutation of this was JPG magazine: started on-line, then printed, where you gave them your stuff for nothing; and they made money on it (or would have, eventually) under the guise of 'creating a community'!

They were even going to start a travel magazine, where you'd go on your own vacation, shoot pictures and write it up, and give it to them for nothing, for their 'community'.

I think with JPG, you couldn't even submit your stuff, it was voted on by others based on personality and friends you interacted with on their site, not photographic fidelity; so they even passed on the work of curation to someone else. Did they just want to do as little as possible for money?

Anyway, it seems to be a popular business plan today that a large component is 'free intellectual property'.

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