Tuesday, April 07, 2009

$15.00 per image is an insult to freelance photographers!

I have just had a call from Britt Carseldine, the project manager of the QLD government image library. Britt has given me an indication of the future plans of the government and their new image library. It does sound like they have really thought carefully about this project and unlike many government/corporation image libraries this one may actually be well organised and technologically up-to-date. What I would like to see however is the Queensland Government Image Library spell out clearly for all photographers (maybe on a Q.G.I.L website?) what is meant by the conditions below -

  • "non-transferable, non-sublicensable right to reproduce the licensed images an unlimited number of times in any and all media for all purposes applicable to Queensland Government communication."
  • "The images will be managed by the Queensland Government Image Library team who will process the requests, and distribute derivatives of high resolution versions of these images to Queensland Government communications officers for their communications and marketing materials as deemed appropriate."
Where can the photos actually be used? Who can the photographs be given to? If the grand plan is to create a modern, usable image library that can ONLY be used by the actual Queensland government then I for one applaud their efforts. I long for the day when corporations/government departments don't just give out non-transferable, non-sublicensable photographs to anyone who wants one!

I guess with this blog post I have probably blown any chance of continuing Queensland Government work (although I hope I haven't), however I feel it is important to stand up for photographer's rights and argue the value of a good photograph. Whilst the chat with Britt doesn't alleviate my frustration at being offered $15.00 for a photograph it is good to know that they at least are thinking about the value of imagery... but maybe not the value of a good photographer :-)

Received this email today from the Queensland Government, I am literally stunned with this request and would be very surprised and disappointed if ANY freelance professional photographers in Queensland gave away their images like this. Please tell your photographer friends and would love if you left a comment at the bottom of this post!
The new Queensland Government Image Library project is seeking to purchase various selections of high resolution Queensland images by Queensland based photographers as royalty free, whereby the State of Queensland will have a perpetual, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable right to reproduce the licensed images an unlimited number of times in any and all media for all purposes applicable to Queensland Government communication.
These royalty-free image CD/DVDs will be purchased and stored in a new secure Queensland Government Image Library. Here they will be viewed as thumbnails by a group of authorised Queensland Government communication and marketing officers across all Queensland Government agencies. The images will be managed by the Queensland Government Image Library team who will process the requests, and distribute derivatives of high resolution versions of these images to Queensland Government communications officers for their communications and marketing materials as deemed appropriate.
At this early stage we are seeking expressions of interest from a selected group of Queensland photographers, including yourself, who have been recommended as experienced freelancers to Queensland Government agencies. We are inviting you to supply a selection of approximately 200 of your web viewable images according to the brief below, from which we will select 65 to then be supplied in high resolution jpeg format sized at A4 (8x12) 300dpi. Successful photographers will be paid $1000.00 inc GST for one DVD containing 65 images we select from the 200 images submitted.
All Queensland Government agencies will be encouraged to acknowledge the photographer in editorial material and wherever practical. Obviously we cannot guarantee this acknowledgement in all circumstances but it may provide a good pr opportunity for your work as a side benefit.

Brief for royalty-free DVD of Queensland images

* the use of images with recognisable people will require signed model consent forms, and likewise areas requiring property releases would require a signed property release.
* Queensland Government agencies have full access to the Tourism Queensland image library so we are not currently in need of any tourism type images unless they are significantly different/creative in comparison to those in the TQ image library.
* We would like to focus on images that give a Queensland feel (traditional/contemporary/real life) and in that regard are very interested in images of regional Queensland.
* We will need metadata supplied and embedded with the chosen images in the following format:
* Short Unique Filename only containing letters and numbers
* Description
* Creator/Author
* Keywords (what, where, when, who)
* Location
* GPS data (where able)
* Image file format, size, dimensions, resolution, bit depth,
colour mode, colour profile.
* Copyright and contact information

Outlined below are some areas where we have gaps in our image library to give you an idea of some of the images we are looking for. This list is a guide and as such we are open to other images you may suggest as appropriate for our Queensland Government Image Library:

* Climate change: wind farms, solar panels, hybrid cars, watertanks, native gardens, washing car with bucket
* Health and lifestyle: cycling, surfing, walking, people (not recognisable) exercising, walking dog, fishing, boating, food images
* Indigenous images where people are not recognisable
* Brisbane and regional Queensland landmarks and infrastructure
* Queensland industries: mines and mining equipment/technologies/services , marine, aviation/aerospace, architecture and design, biotechnology, creative industries, environmental management, urban planning
* Regional: various regional agricultural industries, aquaculture
* Regional: streetscapes and regional town landmarks
* Streetscape: streets of traditional Queenslander homes and modern/eco architecture
* Creative images representing Queensland corporate/business sector
* Creative images of Queensland icons
* Creative images representing Queensland research/innovation/technology/culture

The Queensland Government Image Library team would like to receive a disc of web viewable versions (1000 pixels on the longest side at 72ppi) by close of business Friday 24 April. Please include your postal, website, email and phone contact details on the disc so we can respond to your submission. All submissions will be treated as highly confidential and not be used other than for proofing and selecting photos.


Craig Ferguson said...

I think they're taking the "free" in freelance the wrong way. What an insult to photographers.

/craig. said...

Not only an insult, but I also bet they get what they want.

The only way they won't get what they want is that they only contact 'smart' photographers who know the value of their work.

Hopefully Cameron's blog and tweet will reach enough people to stop this blatant search for low cost images.

Cameron Laird | Freelance Photographer said...

Thanks guys for your support, spread the word!

tyroga said...

I love that you're supposed to come up with 200 images 135 of which they are going to reject out of hand. Then you're not guaranteed written credit (read as it's never going to happen) and all for a tiny sum of money.

Governments are funny like that, taking a lot of liberties. Why don't they think they should pay just like everyone else.

Good on you for saying no, but I'm sure other photographers will jump at the chance, not understanding that they will probably never know where the images are being used, nor when. Nor will there services ever be needed by the Qld Gvt cause they will have all the images they will need for a long, long time.


sad though it is for photographers, the days of lucrative stock shooting are long gone. one can no more expect to receive hundreds or thousands of dollars for the use of a single image today than one can hope to sell a desktop PC for ten million dollars. there was a day when that could be done, but that day is no more. sorry...

Aaron said...

this is a kick in the teeth.. definately not good enough in my books

/craig. said...

Underscore, you make a good point and one that I did not take into consideration. The fact they (QLD govt) could go to iStockphoto and purchase 65 images, for around $15 (for the size they are asking) proves it.

What still gets me though is the work they are asking the photographer to do for that $15 per photo.

If you could just point them to your portfolio to choose the photos and make $1000 then I think it is a reasonable price. But the hours that would go into getting them together and delivered, it is a ripoff.


Cameron Laird | Freelance Photographer said...

But the problem still lies with the fact that they are so specific in what they want. It would be VERY difficult to come up with those type of images from a stock agency - that is why they want to drain QLD photogs of their best images. I would guess it would take days to come up with those pics from your library and to get $1000 for them is ridiculous. Business is business however and I don't really blame the QLD government for trying, we just don't want them to be successful!

raulposse said...

no way. Good on ya Cameron, power to photographers! WHAT A JOKE!