#Useitpayforit is the hashtag for an NUJ campaign to encourage amateurs to understand the value of the photographs and videos they provide to news organisations in a month of action in February 2018.
We need to raise the awareness of the issue with amateur photographers and videographers who, by giving their work away for nothing, are undermining professional photographers and the worth of good photographs and videos. If an image is good enough to be published or broadcast, it is good enough to be paid for.
The NUJ is committed to ensuring that the right of our members to be treated fairly is upheld and that they are paid properly for their work.
In the past decade the scope for sharing images and a voracious media appetite for free images has made it harder and harder to make a living as an editorial photographer. This has caused many publishers to assume that illustrating publications and websites can be done for free.
Dominic Bascombe, NUJ organiser who services the NUJ’s Photographers’ Council, said: “If amateur photographers realised the value of their work and charged appropriately, it would stop their work crowding out that of professionals. For the vast bulk of editorial work only a professional’s work with do – where publishers require the legal and ethical certainty of using someone with proper experience, for example. Where someone gets lucky with a wildlife picture, or finds themselves witnessing a newsworthy event, then it is better for all of us if they charge for their work.”
Many professional editorial photographers have been hit by a double whammy of declining markets and rising equipment costs. Images lifted from social media and Google maps have replaced lots of bread-and-butter jobs. Also, increasingly sophisticated camera phones mean that there is nearly always someone on the scene to capture an image.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “The NUJ recognises that amateurs create a lot of fantastic images – we just don’t want them to be the first choice because they don’t charge. If an image is good enough to be published or broadcast, it is good enough to be paid for. Professionals have long used resources such as our Freelance Fees Guide and the Rate for The Job database to get the best fees; now we want everyone to have access to these resources. News images frame the way that most of us conceptualise current affairs – but that requires really talented photographers to be able to make a career editorial work. Cost-cutting publishers have for too long used the naive enthusiasm of amateurs to drive down professional rates, we want to put a stop to that.”
NUJ branches and chapels have been encouraged to contact local camera clubs to discuss how they can get paid proper rates if their images are published. Members are also asked to contact the Photographers’ Council at firstname.lastname@example.org if news organisations are paying poor rates or not paying at all.
More information can be found on the #Useitpayforit campaign page on the NUJ website https://www.nuj.org.uk/campaigns/useitpayforit/