I’ve been recently getting an unprecedented amount of reports of how photographers are being “mistreated” by fellow photographers and I felt the need of attempting to address the issue. In most cases, the scenario has been centered around how much a photographer was paid to assist his/her colleague in the coverage of a job. In the last 1 month, I’ve received at least 4-5 complaints from photographers that felt cheated when it came to being compensated for helping out.
I strongly feel that if a photographer calls a fellow competent professional photographer to help cover a wedding or full-day’s engagement, the photographer asking for the favor should be ready to pay a minimum of N20k (or $130) per day for the assistance. This is true especially if the assistant will be using his/her equipment. Considering the fact that the assistant will not be able to use the pictures taken for his/her personal use, it is only fair to compensate in a way that will motivate him/her to be creative. I’ve even had to deal with a photographer that got his equipment damaged while helping another photographer cover an event and no compensation was given.
If you know u can’t afford to pay the photography assistant well, let them know upfront. I feel it’s also not too fair to give a client all the discount in the world and then pass on the discount to what you’ll be paying your assistant. The fact that my client is not paying me for the job shouldn’t mean that I won’t pay my colleague for assisting me. If a photographer is known to behave this way, he or she will soon run out of photographers to call on for assistance because the word will eventually spread.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that we cut our throats in an attempt to settle someone that’s helping us out. My fight is to be sure both parties know the complete details of what they’re getting into before embarking on a job. I’ve had to assist great photographers like Michael Adebiyi, Halima Abubakar & Tunde Ogunjobi (Jobi Photos) with their photography assignments without getting a dime. But that understanding was made clear to both parties before the shoot started.
If you can’t afford to pay a photographer well for assisting you on a job, let them know upfront instead of during or after the job. It will be duely credited into your “Integrity” account. If you’ve contacted a photographer to help you cover a job for which he/she was not well compensated (or not compensated at all), I feel it’s important not to hire the services of such assistants again. Ofcourse there are exceptions under which this will be permissible (e.g. If the photographer being hired does not mind at all or if he/she is still under apprenticeship). Either way, charge your clients well enough to afford the assistant of the creative hands that will be helping out to capture the moments.
It’s not about “liking money too much”: it’s about being adequately appreciated and compensated for one’s creative efforts. If we don’t appreciate ourselves, why should we expect otherwise from our clients. Besides, that’s one of the ways we’ll grow as an industry.
And if you’re a photographer in dire need of my assistance, I’ll gladly help you cover a job for a minimum compensation of 20 Twix chocolate & 20 Snickers (with emphasis on “MINIMUM”).
I sure hope I haven’t stepped on someone’s toes but feel free to let me know if I’m wrong. Or what’s your take on this issue?
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