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Do photographers make as much as writers?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ringer, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. ringer

    ringer Member

    I'm not talking about shooting live games; I mean sports features photography which takes 10% of the time it does to research an idea, report, and write an informed piece.

    Thanks to anyone who can enlighten me.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I'll let one of the photographers handle this.
    Be gentle. I suspect ringer means no harm.
  3. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    The staff photogs at my paper made less than I did.
  4. Cameron Frye

    Cameron Frye Member

    And my gear cost $20,000. But that's beside the point, really. When I shoot a subject for a feature, sports or otherwise, I don't just show up and click a couple frames. I research the subject. I confer with the writer. I try to to figure out the best way to tell the story with my photos that the writer tells with his words. I edit my take, and then post-process and caption the winners - sometimes a couple dozen photos (and with cutlines that can stand alone without the story).

    But even all that - the expensive gear, the prep work, the time spent after the shoot - isn't what allows me to charge a premium for my services. Whether it's a $125 drive-by editorial gig, or a $2,000 corporate shoot, I'm being paid for my talent and my vision, just like you are.

    And if you're talking about staffers, rather than freelancers...It wasn't uncommon for me to have five assignments in a day, or to have three assignments in three counties, each 80 miles apart, with just enough time to drive from one to the next.
  5. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    There is a huge difference between good photogs and bad ones.
    I take pictures for my rag. I am a bad photog. I have an idea of what looks good, but have bad equipment and terrible timing. I'm lucky if I get one good shot.
    Good photogs take dozens of good shots and what, maybe three get used?

    So who should make more?
    Whoever has seniority.
  6. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Confer with the writer? Hah-hah. My shooters don't "confer" and if I dare make a suggestion, I get a look that screams "how dare you interfere with an artist at work."

    I have met very few shooters who weren't flaky and temperamental.
  7. Cameron Frye

    Cameron Frye Member

    I am absolutely, positively not suggesting that this applies to you, but there are some reporters I wouldn't even consider consulting with for two reasons. They either try to take it over, and tell me exactly what I should shoot, or they have exactly zero visual perspective. In those cases, I'll usually just ask to see the nut graf.
  8. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    There are some photographers who have huge egos and think "a writer" shouldn't even suggest an idea for a photo.

    But I've also worked with some photographers who were unbelievably professional and willing to listen to ideas. I'll never forget suggesting an idea for a feature photo to a photographer who had been at the paper for quite some time. He ended up winning first place sports feature photo in the state press contest. I received a hand-written note thanking me for coming up with the idea (which was probably dumb luck on my part).
  9. TheMethod

    TheMethod Member

    Is it common for newspapers to have a "no cropping" policy? At my shop, the desk isn't allowed to crop any photos because these delicate pieces of art would lose all meaning that way. As a writer, I certainly understand and appreciate the thought here. After all, I am a professional at this, and I did (presumably) work hard to get my stuff the way it is, and it does have my name on it. But these are daily newspapers we're producing here. Sometimes you just gotta make it work and a "no cropping" policy just seems like it's adding to the difficulty of a designer/copy editor's job for no especially good reason.
  10. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Here's how I approach the photogs here:

    Bob, I have a feature on Joe Ballplayer. Here's the back story. He plays tomorrow at 7 p.m. but will be there early. If you'd rather do a portrait, he's available the next day. If you want my story to read before hand, let me know. Otherwise I know you'll shoot a good pic.

    He doesn't tell me how to write. I don't tell him how to shoot.
  11. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Wow. Classy.

    I love working with good photographers, and most of the photographers I've worked with at three different papers have been quite good. There are exceptions, sure, but three out of four bring a lot to the proceedings, help get people to open up, and sometimes ask questions I never think of.

    And no, they typically get paid about the same as writers, though they seem to have a much harder time finding a full-time steady gig. Everywhere I've been, there always seem to be an endless string of 6 month temp photogs, hoping to get hired. Most don't. Less turnover, I guess.
  12. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I wish some of the photogs at my shop would do some research. Cutlines always come back to me with terrible misspellings, incorrect AP Style and so on. And its the same mistakes day after day. It really pisses me off.
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