I very recently received a message from a modeling talent offering me $500 for every magazine cover I put them on or helped them get in the next 90 days. My response was to simply delete the text message and then to make a note to be certain not to pitch any images we did for the next three months. The following week I received another message from the same talent, this time extending the deadline to four months. I made another note to be sure not to pitch their images for that additional period of time.
Now, there is a reason I reacted in the manner of which I did.
Firstly; I am a photographer not a publicist. My goal and job is to make the best images I can that work for my client’s needs and goals. There are times those images will get picked up by publications for interior and cover features. However, I make it very clear to my clients that I cannot promise I will ever pitch their images. I’ve even gone as far as telling someone not to hire me because I would not promise media features as a result of working together.
When I create work I am proud of and see a fit for my publishing clients – I happily do what I can to make that connection to try to get those images published. My background is in journalism and publishing and I love to see my work in print. But I will not use it as a false promise to attempt to get more work or money. A publicist is paid to market you. A photographer is paid to get you the materials to market with.
Secondly; the offer made me feel cheap and used. I work very hard to make a living for myself. Being offered a handful of hundred dollar bills to do something that I perceive as a conflict of interest felt very insulting. That, sadly, is how this talent perceives me and that my motivation comes solely from financial gain.
Thirdly; I wouldn’t risk my relationships with publishing clients giving them the impression that the only work and images I show them were the ones from the highest bidder.
Now, I’m certain other photographers were given the same bribe and perhaps others are willing to take it. However I felt it was important to be open with my readers as to why I did not and will not in the future.