Should photographers ever work for free?

GrahamBusiness of Photography

Photographers should not work for free

Every photographer knows the drill: “It will be a great opportunity to build your portfolio,” and “We don’t have a budget for photos.” Given the strong competition in photography, it’s tempting to accept requests for free work.  We strongly discourage working without compensation, but when a Pixsy employee was recently asked by a friend to do a small shoot for free, we wondered how photographers should handle these situations. So we gathered a panel of industry experts and asked then one question: is it ever OK to ask a photographer to work for free?

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GrahamShould photographers ever work for free?

Why Photography Matters to Me

NadiaPhotography, Pixsy Photographers

Photo: Nicholas Goodden

Photo: Nicholas Goodden

Why do you shoot? When did it all start? Nicholas Goodden, a professional London photographer named one of the 20 Most Influential Street Photographers in 2015, found these questions to be the most difficult ones to answer. That is until he wrapped up his thoughts and experiences into this incredibly honest story of his journey to photography. It helped him get through some of the toughest times in his life and re-discover himself. We couldn’t resist sharing his story with you. 

I kept this post as a draft for months unsure if I should publish it since it discusses things and events that aren’t very easy to share. Just like everything else I write, I hope it can inspire / help at least one person from my personal life experience.

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NadiaWhy Photography Matters to Me

Image rights: A review of the basics for photographers



Ever wonder why stock photo agencies are so strict about model releases? Whenever you shoot a photo of a recognizable person, the individual in the photo has a separate set of image rights. Photographers are sometimes surprised to learn that owning the copyright to a photo does not give them all the rights to their work. In many situations, the people depicted in a work also have control over how it is used, and in some countries these rights may not even let you publish a photo without the subject’s permission.

Here’s an review of image rights in several countries and how they apply to photography.

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danielImage rights: A review of the basics for photographers

10 Cases That Show How Complicated Copyright Law Really Is

GrahamCopyright, Photography Tips

copyright photography cases

When photographers think about image theft, copy-and-paste is the first thing that comes to mind. But there’s a lot more to copyright than direct copying, and copyright is only one component of photography law. We spoke with several of our copyright attorneys and researchers to identify these interesting cases that demonstrate the complexity of this legal field.

Note: We mostly chose United States cases to keep things consistent. We promise that copyright is equally complicated (and different) elsewhere in the word.

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Graham10 Cases That Show How Complicated Copyright Law Really Is

Where do all those “WTF” stock photos come from?

GrahamBusiness of Photography, Photography

cyber corn woman stock photo

Image: Andjress Pidjass

Did you ever come across a stock photo and wonder, “What was that photographer thinking???” Dozens of communities and blogs post examples of “WTF” stock photos on a daily basis, and up until now, no one has ever investigated how these seemingly bizarre stock photos were made. We tracked down and interviewed the photographers behind several of the most viral stock photos to find out.

We not only found out that many of these “bad” photos sell quite well, but also learned more about how important ingenuity, creativity and a willingness to take chances are in stock photography.

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GrahamWhere do all those “WTF” stock photos come from?

The Top 5 Photography Forums and Communities

GrahamBusiness of Photography, Photography, Photography Tips

photography forums and communities

Even if you have an established portfolio and plenty of work in your schedule, a photographer should always find time to befriend and engage with other skilled professionals.

A good online photography community can be an excellent way for finding new clients, and an even better resource for learning the finer details of setting up a shot, editing images or negotiating pay. Even better, all the information is first hand and comes directly from personal experience.

The following are the 5 favourite online communities used by Pixsy’s photographers. After trying out and posting a little bit in each of them, we’ve made a list of their most unique features, as well as their biggest pro’s and con’s.

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GrahamThe Top 5 Photography Forums and Communities

Why do so many realtors steal photos?

NadiaBusiness of Photography, Copyright

image theft in real estate photography

Sometimes we’re asked if copyright infringement is more common in certain areas of photography than others. Image theft occurs in every field, but we’ve been surprised at how often it occurs in real estate photography. According to our case management team, over 7% of all infringement cases we handled this year alone were connected to real estate.

Is there a reason for this? We took a look at some of the worst infringements in real estate photography and identified three reasons why real estate photographers have their images stolen more often.

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NadiaWhy do so many realtors steal photos?

Why Professional Photographers Are So Expensive

HillaryBusiness of Photography, Photography Gear

professional photography

Photo: Olli Henze // CC BY-ND 2.0

Every professional photographer has at some point heard at least one of these responses to their price list:

  • You charge how much?!?
  • What exactly do I get for that?
  • I can get an 8×10 at Walmart for $1.50!
  • But you just push a button all day!

Yes, photography is expensive. But, photography is expensive on both ends. Photographers don’t really earn $250 an hour for pushing a button. And when you factor in the hidden time and monetary investments, most photographers don’t earn much more than your hairdresser or accountant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  most earn between $31,710 and $40,280 annually, or $15.24 to $19.37 an hour.

So then, why is photography so expensive? Here’s what you are really getting when you pay for a professional photographer (and what you miss out on when you don’t).

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HillaryWhy Professional Photographers Are So Expensive

These Updates Will Streamline Your Pixsy Experience

NadiaPixsy News


pixsy logo

You might have noticed that this week your Pixsy runs more smoothly and faster than ever before! No, your Internet provider has nothing to do with it (sorry, Comcast customers). We listened to your feedback and launched several updates that will greatly improve your user experience.  

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NadiaThese Updates Will Streamline Your Pixsy Experience

8 Must-Watch TED Talks on Photography

NadiaPhotography, Photography Tips

TED talk photographer

Sebastião Salgado, Brazilian-born photographer who gives voice to the world’s most dispossessed and unknown. Photo: Steve Jurvetson // CC BY 2.0

We’ve written a lot on the technical aspects of photography before. Among others, we gave some tips for checking stutter count, explained the tricks behind long-exposure, and gave pointers for best photography gear. But there is so much more to photography than camera work. Photography can be an art form, a profession, an obsession, a way of documenting the world, and even a catalyst for change. These are just some of the attributes covered by the many outstanding photographers who have delivered TED talks — short presentations that are known around the world for delivering “Ideas worth spreading”. If you are searching for inspiration or a good old motivational kick, look no further than these eight breathtaking photography TED talks.

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Nadia8 Must-Watch TED Talks on Photography