Something For Nothing

Posted on 10/19/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Justin Black operates Visionary Wild a company that organizes workshops and photo tours for passionate photographers who have attended workshops and seminars with experienced photographers and are looking for new opportunities to move their work to the next level of quality, depth, purpose and meaning.

Justin shared this story that occurred on a recent scouting trip to Svalbard aboard an expedition cruise ship. A lady who runs a very successful for-profit travel website gushed to me (and to many of the other 100 or so passengers on the trip) enthusiastically over several days about the pictures I was making on the trip.

You would have thought she was my biggest fan ever. Toward the end of the voyage, she asked if she might be able to use some of the images on her site. I told her that of course I’d love to work with her, and explained that she would simply have to let me know the rights she required, including the duration of use, so I could give her a quote.

As soon as I indicated there would be a time limit and a fee linked to duration of use, her tune changed completely: “A time limit is too much for me to keep track of,” she said dismissively.

In response, I told her that I would happily keep track of the duration of use and would contact her when the license was up, but she was no longer interested.

It’s important to note that a price range never came up at all in our conversation. For all she knew, I might have been planning to ask for $10 per image for 20 years (…I wasn’t). No, she had made her play to obtain gratis use of my “unbelievably amazing” work by buttering me up (and flirting with me, no less), and was no longer interested at all once she realized I actually had professional standards and a spine.

The sad thing is that I am sure many of my workshop clients would have happily given her images free in perpetuity for the sake of the ego boost of having been deemed worthy of publication.

Copyright © 2016 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Douglas Peebles Posted Oct 22, 2016
    Not much new here.

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