A recap

I have been writing this blog once a week for a little over two years now, so I want to do a little recap:

The photography climate in the music business has gotten much worse in those two years!

The equation:

  1. You go to the show and are told that you can only shoot the first three songs (If you are lucky). Could be two songs, or one song, and in some cases the first thirty seconds of the show. After that small amount of time, you are escorted out of the venue.
  2. In most cases these days, you are told that you have to shoot from the soundboard or the back of the hall
  3. You are asked to sign a contract allowing you to license an image to only one publication (NO stock agencies allowed)
  4. Also included in this contract is a clause that gives the artist you are photographing the copyright and ownership to your images.


1.   You drive or taxi to the venue. Parking about $25.00 Taxi about $40.00

2.  You spend a minimum of $75.00 to rent a long enough lens to shoot  a mediocre shot.

3.   You then spend about six hours of your time and labor driving to and from the show, shooting, editing and sending out your images.

What you end up with are a bunch of mediocre photographs that a photo editor will look at and say “ Too bad we didn’t hire a better photographer. AND YOU WILL LOSE MONEY ON THE DEAL!!

So why is it that when I go to a show these days (very infrequently) I see five to ten photographers there? Why did they sign the contract and put up with these rules?

A few months ago, a friend of mine who publishes Elmore Magazine asked me to write an article about this subject for her magazine. It can be found HERE. Please read it and let me know what you think. Tell me if I can use your name and website. I am trying to compile as many responses as I can (please no horror stories- we have heard enough of them). Just simple facts about why you do what you do, and what you think about this issue.

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One Response to A recap

  1. Richard Derk / Picture Editor, Los Angeles Times says:

    Well Paul, it’s sad to see the good old days recede as fast as our hairlines. You are correct that people who work for a non-living wage only destroy their own futures. It’s also true that there is a lack of quality in much of the digital flotsam about today. It’s always been about relationships that develop over time, over multiple assignments. The only time I’m OK with getting older is when I realize that the time I came up in, newspaper wars in Chicago, access to do good work etc. were thrilling times. Good work and people are still about but there’s a lot of undergrowth to cut through.

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