I had another photo request for free use of my images today; they come in pretty regularly, it seems, particularly for wildlife and landscape photography. We nature lovers obviously love what we do, and so must have a desire to give our work away for free. How can we not?
I’ll be the first to admit it folks; these are tough times, for buyers and sellers alike. There’s no denying that truth. I thought I’d try to find some kind of compromise here. I always like to develop a relationship with someone who may potentially pay for my work, and I also wanted to help these people out – theirs is a just and worthwhile cause. And hey, maybe helping these folks out might provide the impetus for some real economic activity in the world? I hoped to do my bit to help the economy get rolling, my own little stimulus plan, if you will (I still can’t believe the government got away with labeling theirs a ‘stimulus package‘). At the same time, I didn’t really want to give away my work for free. What to do?
I tried to explain to the person on the phone; I listened closely, and sympathized – “yes, I realize you’re a non-profit organization, but my business, on the other hand, is NOT a non-profit“. This didn’t clarify things, apparently.
A different tact: “Well, you see, my rent doesn’t go down according to the charity work that your business does, and the food I eat doesn’t become free simply because I did a good deed for the day“. We got nowhere.
What to do? I had to think harder. How does one find that confluence of non-profit and profit, that junction of free and I can eat this week? I thought further; ‘well, when people license my images, or buy a print, they are paying for the quality of my work – they buy quality’. So, I made up a little Action in Photoshop that solved the problem (for those “non-photoshop users”, an ‘action‘ is an automated series of steps to process the image – it may include contrast, saturation, resizing, etc, whatever little steps one might use regularly – a handy tool).
If you click on the photo above you’ll see a larger version of the standard Rights-Managed version of this bull elk photo. Scroll over the image and click on the arrow, center left, for the ‘non-profit‘ version.
I presented both images to the lady, (not this exact photo here, a different one) and explained how I’d solved the dilemma; they could use the “non-profit version” for free. Within a short period of time I had a credit card #, and they had the version of the photo they liked most.
I think this might be a useful program. For fellow photographers out there who might be interested, I can email you the action, if you’d like to add it to your arsenal of digital processing weaponry. But really, I’d suggest you get creative and try to come up with your own version. And remember, non-profit doesn’t mean that YOUR business needs to be non-profit. Respect your work, respect yourself, and respect the business of photography. If you can’t do that, why should anyone else?