Quit Donating Your Images
(Why + Tips for How to Say No)
It may surprise you, but this is actually a hot-button issue. Here's why you should charge for your conservation photography and how to respond to inquiries for free images
Donating images. You might not suspect it, but this is actually an issue that can be genuinely problematic.
While that is a kind and generous thing to do on the surface, being overly exuberant about donating your work is actually damaging both to professional photographers and conservation as a movement.
My conservation photos, for the most part, are not free. And I don't think yours should be either. But trust me, it's not out of greed.
We’re digging into three reasons why donating images is counterproductive to conservation (even to the organizations you’re donating to!) and two situations when you definitely can (and even should) donate images.
By the end of this episode, if you’re all in on charging for your valuable work but are thinking, “Jaymi, I have no clue how to price my work even if I wanted to charge for it”, well… I have tools for you that'll help you figure out exactly what to charge!
And, I have a freebie for you that will help you with how to respond when you get requests for free images!
Get Jaymi's “Responses to Free Image Requests Swipe File”
- Specific ways donating images willy-nilly can be harmful to the field of conservation photography
- What misplaced generosity means to diversity in conservation storytelling, and accountability by media and organizations
- When you can feel confident about donating your work (and how to maximize your impact!)
- Great tools to figure out fair prices to charge for images
- How to respond to requests by folks who want to use your images for free
Resources & Links Mentioned
- Fotoquote – Get a 10% discount on full version stand alone and bundled products when using my affiliate code “JHP-0420“
- How to calculate a day rate (and grab my free Day Rate Calculator)
- Episode 47: Be A Better Volunteer With These 7 Business Mindset Strategies
Learn how to make an impact and achieve your goals as a photographer or filmmaker, without getting side-tracked by busy schedules, lost in all of the “how do I”s or wasting time wondering about the best things to focus on right now.
This free masterclass gives you the clarity, focus, and tools to be truly effective (and fulfilled!) at the work you're so passionate about.
Subscribe & Review
Are you subscribed to the podcast? If not, I’m excited to invite you to subscribe today. Not only do I unroll new episodes weekly, but I also add in a ton of bonus episodes. If you’re not subscribed, you’ll probably miss out on those great bonuses and I don't want you to miss a thing!
If you love listening to the podcast, I’ll be so grateful if you leave me a review on iTunes. The reviews help others find me, and I also just love to hear from you! Just pop onto the show in your mobile device, scroll down to “Ratings & Reviews” and tap “Write a Review” Then, you’re off to the races! Let me know what you like best about the podcast. Thank you so much!
Episode 48: Quit Donating Your Images (Why + Tips for How to Say No)
(Digitally transcribed, please forgive any typos)
Donating images, so you might not suspect it, but this is actually kind of a hot button issue. So in this episode, we're digging into three reasons why donating your images is potentially counterproductive to conservation and possibly even to the organizations that you're donating your images too. We're also gonna talk about two situations when you definitely should donate your images, and if by the end of this episode, you are all in on charging for your very valuable work, but you're thinking, Jaymi, I have no clue how to price my work, even if I wanted to charge for it. Well, I'm gonna walk you through exactly how to figure out what to charge. I even have a couple of great freebies for you that are gonna help with not only pricing your work, but also will help with how to respond when you get requests for free images. I'll tell you how to get your hands on those freebies in the episode. So let's go ahead and dive in.
01:04 JH: Welcome to Impact, the Conservation Photography Podcast. I'm your host, Jaymi Heimbuch. And if you are a visual storyteller with a love for all things wild, then you're in the right place. From conservation to creativity, from business to marketing, and everything in between, this podcast is for you, the conservation visual storyteller who is ready to make an impact. Let's dive in.
01:35 JH: This episode is sponsored by my brand new Free Master Class, the five-point path to becoming an effective and influential conservation visual storyteller. This class is all about how to make an impact and achieve your goals as a photographer or a filmmaker without getting side-tracked by busy schedules or lost in all of the "How do I's" or wasting time wondering about the best things to focus on right now. If you've been wondering about how to navigate your way into becoming a conservation photographer or filmmaker, this master-class is going to basically outline that road map for you, what you need to focus on and in what order you need to focus on them. You're gonna learn a ton. You can register for free at wildidealab.com/path, that's wildidealab.com/P-A-T-H. I know that you'll enjoy it and get a lot out of it, now, let's dig into this episode. A couple of years ago, I was in Nome, Alaska with a buddy of mine, we were up there to photograph the nesting birds and all of their amazing breeding plumage, we were having such a blast, and we got into the habit of going to a restaurant for dinner each night, and one night we were in one of these restaurants, sitting down eating, and gentleman walks up and he recognized my friend.
03:01 JH: They had known about each other. I don't even remember how, and so we invited him to sit down with us and we were just chatting and getting to know each other, and he asked what I did and I said, "Oh, I'm a wildlife conservation photographer," and he said, "Oh, since you're a conservation photographer, do you donate all of your images?" And I just looked him and said, "Hell no," and I know that I could have been probably a lot more tactful, but it was such a surprise to me to think that just because my focus is on conservation, that I should be giving away my images, but the thing is, I actually hear this assumption pop up so often that my eyes practically roll on reflex right now. Why on earth would my photos be free just because my focus is in conservation? Yes, even if the ultimate goal is altruistic, conservation visual storytelling is a value, it is absolutely worthy of compensation, and there is 100% no reason why we should feel obligated to give away images or to donate more than any other photographer in any other field of work. My conservation photos, for the most part, are not free, And I 1000% encourage you to require fair payment for use of the majority of your work too.
04:26 JH: Now, why am I so adamant about this? Well, for a few reasons, first of all, because just like any other product or service, giving away your work for free has both direct and indirect consequences, and I'm gonna put a stake in the ground and say that if we just give away the goods right and left, we're actually doing a huge disservice to the field of conservation photography and to the conservation movement as a whole. Now, I know that that might sound a little over the top, but when you get down to it, it's really not an over-statement at all. Let's start with kind of the obvious reasons, right? It takes an enormous amount of time and resources and very expensive gear to get to the locations to capture great conservation photos in the first place. It is not cheap to pull off a photo shoot, let alone a project, and even if you're completing work near home, there's the cost of gas, parking, permits, food, random bits of gear that you need for whatever it is that you're photographing stuff like drop cloths or binder clips or extra batteries, all of these usual costs. So even a weekend shoot, that's near home, and that could potentially cost a couple of hundred dollars and then scale that up to a larger project that might be tens of thousands of dollars to complete when you factor in travel and specialized equipment and on and on.
05:55 JH: There is definitely an investment in creating images, then after you complete this price task of getting out into the field, you have all the same personal and business expenses as any other business owner. And this is relevant to you even if you are mostly volunteering your photography talents, bills like rent and groceries and utilities and equipment insurance and website hosting costs, and on and on, these are all stocking up while we spend hours upon hours editing images and tagging and marketing photos, researching details for upcoming trips or shoots, doing accounting and paying taxes and updating websites and updating our social media accounts and pitching magazines for new assignments and yes, working on our volunteer projects.
06:45 JH: And then there's the less obvious costs as well, there's the cost of the overhead for the labor and all of that time spent on that behind-the-scenes work. Even if you're not paying yourself, that's still a cost because while you're doing that, you're not doing other things, and the time and the money spent on the educational training to become awesome at what you're doing, that's also a cost that we need to factor in. Workshops and online courses, those all add up to allow you to do what it is that you do so well, and they get factored into the expense of work.
07:24 JH: So even if you have a full-time job outside of photography that covers your bills for you, you are not photographing for free, you are still out there doing a relatively expensive job, and that's just covering the costs, there's also the value to what you're creating, there is a real honest and hugely important value to the images that you create and are putting to work, because that's helping all of us who are alive on this planet right now do a little bit better in our lives, to be a little safer, to have a little bit healthier, happier life. Honestly, I cannot possibly understate how valuable conservation photography work is, whether it is on a smaller scale that's really local to you or a really big splashy global scale. This is critical work, especially right now. Now, if we do not place an appropriate monetary value on the images that come back from the field with us, a value that every potential client sees and respects, then how can we expect a full-time photographer to be able to get out and make those images?
08:43 JH: The idea of donating images or expecting conservation photography to be free rips the rug right out from under anyone who wants to dedicate 100% of their time toward conservation visual storytelling. And here's where this gets even more serious for us all, if a conservation photographer can't get out into the field, then we lose sight quite literally, of what it is that we need to save right now on this planet, including ourselves, because if there's no money, then there's no fuel time, and that means there's no photos. We don't get to see what's going on out there in the same way.
09:24 JH: But perhaps even more importantly, is without putting a monetary value that is an appropriate monetary value on conservation visuals, then there is no respect for the extraordinary work and talent and passion that goes into conservation photography, there's no in-depth understanding of the environmental wrongs that we can write, when we're made aware of them in a really powerful way, in a way that changes us to our core after we see that. Now there's yet another critical angle to this issue, and that is what happens to our understanding of conservation if only people who can afford to volunteer their energies are able to participate in conservation visual storytelling? What happens when only those who don't have to worry about paychecks associated with their photography, they have plenty of free time and funding, what happens when only those folks are telling the stories? That leaves a huge swath of people out of the conversation.
10:32 JH: Now, a little while back, Morgan Heim wrote an article on this entire topic, and I actually wanna quote her because she makes a really great point. So she wrote, "What's perhaps the most egregious act, in my opinion, is that this contributes to a world where only those who can afford to give away images will continue to practice conservation photography, and that tends to mean wealthy, white or retired people. We then find ourselves in a deficit both as photographers and as a movement and more prone to telling stories from the same perspectives, media outlets lose accountability. Do they really know how that photo is made, does it meet journalistic standards, is the accompanying information accurate, will photographers know how to illustrate stories? And right now, media outlets around the world have an image problem." It's such a great quote because it's incredibly true, and these are really serious questions to be bringing up, these are not hypotheticals, these are not over the top what-ifs, these are very real and serious questions, and these questions are even more relevant now than ever, as we actively work to build anti-racist practices into conservation storytelling to diversify who our story tellers are and to ensure that members of communities and cultures are able to tell their own stories within the conservation movement.
12:00 JH: So how do we hold organizations and media outlets and companies and governments accountable for principled image sourcing if they're able to get images for free that'll do the job good enough? There's no accountability in that, there's no recognizing the value of truly high quality, thoughtful, well-sourced visuals. So the issue of giving away your images gets pretty in-depth pretty fast, right? And I mean, every argument, and there are many, many arguments to this, I'm not even addressing all aspects of this, but every argument ultimately adds up to this, expecting the photographer, especially a professional photographer, to give away their product for free is not cool. And when that product has conservation as the end goal, well, it's extra super not cool. We cannot shoot ourselves in the foot as a species by starving the people whose work we desperately need to make progress on conservation. We all do indeed know the value of quality photography. It's been in our lives since the [13:09] ____ advention of photography itself. We know that high quality photography basically runs our lives in so many ways, and that's why we're willing to invest money in wedding photographers and baby photographers and senior portrait photographers, we're willing to invest tons of money and commercial product photographers and... I mean, even Airbnb rental photographers have a pretty solid gig.
13:35 JH: So conservation, absolutely deserves that same respect. It deserves more respect. You as a conservation photographer, whether you are just getting started and are an amateur in the field or whether you are a full-timer, you deserve more respect than you're getting right now. Now, the idea that conservation photography doesn't get the same respect as other fields is baffling to me, but it's also reinforced. And it's reinforced when well meaning conservation photographers give away the goods right and left. I've definitely run into folks who... Their heart is so in the right place, and they do the strictly on a volunteer basis, but without ever putting anything into place that requires acknowledgement of the value of what it is that they're donating, and that's really when volunteerism can go awry.
14:33 JH: Now, I used to make this argument while feeling some level of guilt. I thought, "Oh man, well, it is conservation, we should be doing good, and maybe I'm being greedy about making sure that I get a paycheck or making sure that the recognition of value is there," so I used to mention all the volunteer photography work that I already do to those that I was turning down for these requests for free images. So someone would say, "Hey, can you donate this?" And I would say, "No," and then feel the need to justify that because it made me feel like I was a bad person to turn that down, but why do I need to prove that I'm a good person while trying to also be a wise business person? Now, volunteer work is really important, and I'm going to get into how to handle that in just a moment, but ultimately, someone charging for their valuable work or someone requiring in-kind trade for their valuable work, that's just simply not something that anybody needs to justify. Now, many if not most conservation photographers, of course, volunteer time and energy to certain causes that they photograph, but we can't exist on praise alone, there has to be some financial compensation, even from non-profit groups.
15:55 JH: Now, let's dig into non-profits for just a moment, now, when we think of conservation non-profits, we often just assume that they are small struggling non-profits that are doing this grant work to save species and habitats, and there's for sure a good deal of these small organizations out there who genuinely need what help they can get, they are out there boot-strapping it on a very shoe-string budget, but there's also plenty of conservation organizations out there that are pulling in tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars a year in donations. Now many of these organizations can easily afford to pay photographers, and the investment into high quality images that they can use on their websites and their social media posts and their newsletters and lectures, billboards, annual reports, all of that adds up to even bigger donations. So it's a really smart investment to pay for professional level media asset creation. Now, any organization recognizing what the use of high quality imagery can do for them to bring in these bigger donations, that means that anyone who can afford to pay, even a small amount, should be paying photographers for imagery, even if it's just a very small amount to say we recognize that this is a value though, this is all we can afford to give you.
17:24 JH: Now, in the case of non-profits who are just genuinely on such a tight budget that really affording anything toward media assets feels really difficult, there's always the option of an in-kind exchange. So for instance, maybe they provide the photographer access to exclusive or restricted areas to photograph work, which the photographer can then sell to others or pitch elsewhere, or maybe it's providing a photographer with access to activities or events or people, so that that photographer can build up skills and portfolios that'll help them land other paying gigs. Those are really valuable in-kind exchanges that a smaller organization without a budget can still provide, but something of financial value should be offered no matter what, because it's the fair thing to do, of course, and because it's how to guarantee that there will be truly committed talented people out in the field working to bring back the beautiful compelling, even the heartbreaking imagery that tells the true story of the state of the world, 'cause we're a visual species, we protect what we can see. So the work of photographers and videographers is vitally important to the conservation movement, and it's something that should be compensated.
18:45 JH: So winding up this soapbox speech just a little bit, giving away images is genuinely detrimental to the profession of conservation photography because it causes organizations or clients or those who would be buyers to under-value what we do. It's also detrimental to conservation as a whole because it undermines diversity in storytelling perspectives, and ultimately it's detrimental to the organizations that we most want to help because it reinforces this blind spot that organizations can have about the profound amount of good... The hiring pros for certain work can do for elevating their brand, for broadening their audience and for improving their funding potential.
19:32 JH: Okay, so now that I've basically kind of laid down the argument for why I think that charging for your images is so important and very selectively donating your images and charging for the rest can actually be more beneficial overall than you might suspect. Well, I do think that there are a couple of reasons why volunteering and donating images selectively can actually be a super fantastic thing to do when done right. And by done right I mean, select one or maybe two places where you do volunteer, where you feel really fulfilled by volunteering and donate your images to that organization or to those couple of organizations.
20:18 JH: Now, this is a really great thing to do when you're starting out and when you're a super experienced pro alike, because there's some serious benefits. So I think that there are three that really stand out the most for why limiting your volunteer and donation efforts to one or two organizations can be so great. First is it allows you to dig in deep with our organization and to gain opportunities and connections and relationships that ultimately will improve your photography, which then improves what you're actually providing to the organization and makes their imagery stand out even more. So the more that you are able to basically embed with one or maybe two organizations, the more intimate and candid and interesting the images that you create become, which means that what that organization can show to their audience or to their funders is even better. It's even higher quality. So one example how this actually played out in my getting started in conservation photography was I chose one organization that I really loved, I thought that what they were doing was just amazing.
21:34 JH: It's an organization that rescues really high energy shelter dogs and trains them to sniff out scat of different species that can be collected and then analyzed in a lab to find out all sorts of things for conservation science, whether it's predator, prey abundance or genetics, or the diet of species, there are so many ways that this is used for conservation science, and this organization just has my heart and always will. So when I was really first getting started in conservation photography, I basically chose them as my one organization that I was just gonna 100% volunteer with, and for quite a few years, that was just... I photographed what they did out in the field or what they were doing around their facilities and donated those to them for use on their website or for their media kits and social media accounts and that sort of thing, and because I was so focused on just that one organization I built out relationships with these folks, these friendships that I value really deeply, and I got to know them and I got to know the dogs really well, and I actually can watch how my photography improved so much over the years that I was with them.
22:50 JH: Because the more comfort we developed, the more storytelling the images could be, the more comfortable, the more candid those images could become, so I was actually handing them higher and higher quality stuff while improving my own skills, and it was a total win-win situation. So one core benefit is simply being able to dig in deep and basically have that win-win situation with a single organization that you might not otherwise get if you're just kind of volunteering here and there for a whole bunch of folks. Now second, you can actually become the go-to source for images for that organization, so when they're asked for images by a media outlet or by other partners, guess who they're gonna ask, and this is a really great way to... If you're just getting started to establish yourself on a more professional level because you'll be able to score some publication bylines this way, and of course, if you are on more career track, professional conservation photography, well, you are building up quite the library of images that nobody else is gonna have for that organization.
24:00 JH: So if you've chosen an organization that either gets asked a lot to be in articles or interviews, or they have a lot of media attention or maybe they're focused on a species that gets a lot of media attention, well, you're building up a pretty amazing library of images that you can then license out every time that that organization has asked for images, and again, back to my previous example, the organization that I worked with, I was kind of for a while the one person who had high quality professional level images of this group, so I had things published in clothing catalogs and National Geographic books and magazines, it was fantastic, and sometimes I would get a paycheck for that, and sometimes I would just have the whoever was asking for the images make a donation back to the organization, so again, super win-win in so many ways.
24:54 JH: Now, the third reason I think that it's really smart to kinda niche down and to pick one or two organizations where you do your volunteer work is because you can build an in-depth portfolio that can be put to use later on for your own stock photography needs. So again, while you might be kind of a go-to source for images for an organization, well, now you also have this whole large portfolio that you can use as stock photography whenever someone needs certain types of imagery, so maybe it's the field work or its images of certain species or places while by volunteering and really creating this huge library of images, not only are you benefiting that organization, but now you have just a whole pile of images to choose from whenever anyone asks for certain types of images. So if you are doing any sort of image licensing on a larger scale, or if you have a stock photography agency, well, hey, you're building up quite a bit of work that's gonna be... You're gonna be kind of the go-to person in that realm as well.
26:00 JH: Now, another place where I think that it's really smart and truly ethical to donate your images is providing a portfolio of images to the researchers and collaborators who you work with in the field whenever you're covering their work for a project or a story. So many times folks like scientists or researchers or people who are working on a certain topic, they've been burned by photographers who take advantage of their generosity with time and space, and then don't give anything back to them, it can leave a really bad taste in their mouth when they go out of their way to accommodate a photographer, and then the photographer is like, "Thanks okay, bye," [chuckle] and that can actually make it tough for other conservation photographers to get the thumbs up to work with them later on, and honestly, conservation is all about helping one another out and scientists and organizations really value having these high quality images of themselves at work, they can be used in reports and for funding opportunities, so providing a gift like this of a portfolio of images back to them as a thank you for allowing you into their world to document it, is great for your relationships with them, it's great for your reputation, which you can bet they'll talk about among other researchers, and it's great for just the overall reputation of everyone in this field, it's smart all around and it's just the kind thing to do.
27:33 JH: Now, outside of all of that, then I truly believe that it is totally ethical and reasonable to charge for your images. Now, if you're already thinking, "Okay, well, I definitely see that there is a reason why I should be charging, I'm on board, but oh my gosh, how do I even begin to figure out what I would charge?" Well, don't worry, there is a tool that I recommend to pretty much everyone, it's called FotoQuote, and it helps you to figure out an industry standard rate for image licenses of all kinds. Now, I love this tool so much that I actually am an affiliate of them now, and I have a special discount code that I get to give you, dear listener, that'll get you 10% off of your order if you want to buy FotoQuote. So you'll find that discount code in the show notes at jaymih.com/48, the number 48 for this episode. So jaymih.com/48, you can find 10% off for FotoQuote.
28:37 JH: With FotoQuote, you can basically select the type of license that someone wants, so whether it's for a printed magazine or a billboard, or a book or a television program, the software lists dozens upon dozens of usage possibilities, and then you can add in specifics like print run size or the geographic location where the materials will appear, and you can even add in special pricing considerations for value added, like if you needed to use specialized equipment to get the shots, or if you actually needed to do extended computer time to process the imagery, whatever it is that might have added to the cost of creating the image, you can factor that in as well, and then once you go through and you select all these details, then FotoQuote spits out a price range of what is a reasonable industry standard rate to charge as a licensing fee, and you can use that range to decide what you'll provide as a quote, so it basically takes all the guess work out of figuring out numbers, and it also adds in confidence that you know that you're coming up with something fair and reasonable, so it provides you that extra nudge of confidence to put a quote in front of someone.
29:52 JH: Okay, so that's licensing, but what if you're trying to figure out not just a licensing rate, but also what to charge for a whole shoot. What if there's an organization who says, "Well, we wanna create a media asset package and we want you to do it," and you're just like, "Okay, I want to but I have no idea what to charge." Well, I have an entire episode that is all about how to calculate your day rate, and that episode includes a free day rate calculator, so you can basically plug in your numbers like your expenses and your financial goals, and it's gonna spit out what you can charge as a day rate.
30:29 JH: I'm gonna link to that in the show notes as well. So again, jaymih.com/48, you can get to that day rate calculator and the episode that talks all about how to use that. And finally, what if you get those random emails from folks who want to use your images for free? They say, "Hey, I saw this image on your website, it's perfect for use for, I don't know, a fundraiser that we're doing, can we have it and print it out and use it for this fundraiser?" Or they wanna use it in their annual calendar or whatever. You know, it can be kind of tough to figure out what you want to say in these situations. A lot of times, especially when I was getting started, I was like, "Well, I know that I don't wanna do this. I don't know who this organization is, I have no relationship to them, I don't wanna give away my image for free, but how do I reply? Should I kind of school them on why it's an inappropriate ask or reaffirm why it's important to charge or why I charge for things?" And basically, it turns into this big old time suck of how you actually reply.
31:34 JH: So if you're not sure about what to say in these situations, I've got you covered there too. I made you a swipe file. So you can basically cut and paste these emails that I've created and customize them so that you can use them as a time-saving template for crafting your own responses, so you can get this freebie that's how to respond to inquiries for free images, swipe file, it's at the show notes at jaymih.com/48, along with everything else. But over time, here's basically my approach that I've sort of developed to these inquiries.
32:12 JH: So the first thing that I do is I respond to the request for an image with the assumption that the requester is open to paying for my work. So if they say, "Hey, we saw this image. It's perfect for this. We'd love to use it." Then I respond with saying. "Great, that's wonderful. Let me know a little bit more about the usage and then I can provide you with my licensing fee." Now, many times the requester won't even write back once they realize that I expect payment. So that easily weeds out anyone who is just assuming that I'm gonna hand over an image for free. But if the requester replies with the willingness to pay, which is awesome, then we simply decide on terms, and I send a licensing agreement, collect payment and celebrate, but if the requester replies without a willingness to pay and maybe they say, "Oh well, we don't really have a budget for that, we were hoping to get this for free," then I sent off a quick thanks, but no thanks style note, and then I call it done.
33:13 JH: I don't worry about continuing the conversation because that just takes up valuable time that I could be responding to paying-clients, and I know that there are some photographers who actually have copy and paste long emails that really explain why paying for visuals is so important and why they don't just give away their images because they're a business person, and that works too, it's kind of educating the audience. Now, I don't really worry about doing that, I just figure, "Hey, if it's someone who's reaching out to me for free stuff, I'm not even gonna give them, the time that it takes to educate them."
33:50 JH: But if they also come back with the payment that they could offer, being exposure, then remember this, exposure doesn't work. Pretty much zero paying-clients come to you thanks to, "Exposure." I rarely ever hear of this whole exposure thing actually paying off, so if they think that that is a value, it's not. They should actually just budget to pay you for your image. Now, if the requester genuinely doesn't have a budget for images and you feel like the image is going to be a good fit, and maybe you're open for trade... Well, that's a possibility too. So you can just figure out a reasonable in-kind trade, this might be ad space on their website for a couple of months or in their publication for a few issues, maybe they have a large social media following, so you could ask to do a takeover of their account to help gain followers on your own account, there's a whole broad range of possible trades that could work out so that both of you win, and it's just up to you on judging like this seems like a pretty great organization, they genuinely can't pay for it. I really wanted to help them.
35:06 JH: Here's something that benefits us both. Now, one thing I do wanna emphasize is, I really want you to feel strong and solid about asserting the fact that you should get paid for your work, even if you are doing conservation photography as a hobby that you're really passionate about, it's still basically like a business, you are a person who has an expertise and your images are of value, and I never want you to second guess that. If you're a professional, I never want you to second guess that asking to be paid for your images is the right thing to do. If you are someone who is talented and you're doing this as a side hustle or a hobby, I never want you to second guess the exact same thing, you are creating something of value and compensation is fair and reasonable. Now, I recognize that there is certainly an amount of fear and guilt that goes into passing up a request for image use, maybe there's guilt because you know that you have a resource that they could use, and images are always essential, so you feel bad just saying no, and I know that there might be some fear because closing any door to an opportunity is always a little bit scary, especially when you don't know when the next paycheck is coming in, so I understand that there's a little bit of emotional conflict that can happen in these times, but...
36:30 JH: Ultimately, it's really about donating in a way that is clearly thought out and purposeful and has boundaries around how much you're donating, and then the rest is negotiating pay or in-kind trade, and this is really helpful because it prevents us from diluting the importance of what we do, it prevents us from weakening the statement that photography is of value and that you as an image creator should be compensated for your incredible work.
37:03 JH: Now, if you are currently volunteering and you love it, more power to you. And my last episode, Episode 47 was actually all about how to be an even better volunteer by thinking like a business owner, so there's strategies in there to put in place that help to make you a more effective volunteer conservation photographer. So if you know that you want to take a portion of your time and energy and a portion of your expertise and you wanna volunteer that with an organization and donate your images, well definitely listen to the last episode, Episode 47, because it's gonna talk about things like licensing agreements, even for your donated images and model and property releases, setting clear boundaries and other things that are going to help you basically implement everything that we talked about inside of this episode, to allow yourself to be a photographer who is primarily compensated for your work, but also volunteers and donates imagery in a really smart... Really effective, wonderful way. I definitely think that you'll feel inspired and empowered to up your game as an awesome volunteer, so check out Episode 47. Now again, I have all kinds of resources for you to navigate getting paid for your work in the show notes, so head on over to jaymih.com/48 to grab them, you can get a discount code for FotoQuote, you can get the free day rate calculator that I've made for you.
38:32 JH: You can get the image request swipe file that I made for you. There's all kinds of goodies. So jaymih.com/48. And meanwhile, thank you so much for being someone who wants to dedicate your talents toward conservation, whether you are a full-time volunteer or a full-time professional, you are incredibly important and you're doing incredibly important work, and I cannot tell you, thank you enough. I appreciate you so much, and I think that you are so, so valuable.
39:07 JH: Alright, have a wonderful week and I will talk to you again next week.
39:16 JH: Before we wrap up, I would love to ask you to do one quick thing, subscribe to this podcast. As a subscriber, you'll not only know when each week's episode goes live, but you'll also get insider goodies, like bonus episodes, you might miss them unless you're subscribed and I don't want you to miss out on a thing. So please tap that subscribe button, and I will talk to you next week.
Get all the good things delivered!
How-to action plans, expert interviews, behind-the-scenes insights & more delivered weekly.