Over the last few months I’ve been seriously putting in the hours in trying to grow my Instagram account(s). And I’m happy to reports we’re making steady progress… If you don’t follow me yet (shame on you!) check it out here. I’ve also created an online archive of my work… Here’s why.
Along with that growth and activity a lot of brand pages have been contacting me to use one or more of these images on their account. Nothing special there. These accounts are often ran by agencies and they often have a templated e-mail/direct message asking for just this. As proud owner/amateur photographer or a fan of the brand one can be pretty excited and honoured if a brand or carmaker wants to use your image. Some brand pages just use your image and then tag you. “Great!” you might think. Now your have something to show off to your friends and carbuddies.
But for me there is a problem. For the last five years I’ve been commissioned by my clients to shoot automotive content mostly for PR and digital marketing purposes. Social media and especially these Instagram account are often a big part of that. It would hardly be fair that I would charge one brand for a commissioned shoot and then send some images for free to another brand. Of course I might throw the odd freebie in there just to get my foot in the door, who doesn’t, right.
Therefore since this year I’m introducing: The ARCHIVE. A vastly growing collection of shot’s I’ve made over the last few years, not a portfolio but an archive. Here agencies and brands can just buy a license to use whatever image they like at a reasonable price (€65/photo) and get the permissions to use these on social media. No need to ask in DM’s or send a bunch of e-mail and WeTransfer just simple and easy.
Do I expect to make a quick buck from this, I hear you ask? Honestly I don’t know. For me it’s just a way to run a fair business and maybe educate some people not everything on social is just one big Freeforall and if it sells that nice to have too.
In the end, there is hardly anything to gain by always sending stuff for free. Because you’ll always end up being the “free photo guy” (or girl). In the end social media is a valuable marketing tool which companies use to put their brand and product in the picture and to sell more stuff in the long run and hopefully make more money. The agencies running these accounts charge a hefty fee for their service, the man or woman doing the social media management, asking you fro the picture, is getting his or her monthly wage from that agency. So ask yourself again, as a professional, why send it for free? For more followers? Brand pages often have tens and maybe even hundreds of thousands of followers and because they mention you in the post you might go viral overnight ? Maybe… but if you’re unlucky the mention will be at the end of a long caption and it will fall behind the “read more” tag which will make your name practically invisible.
Does that mean I’ll never send an image for free? If a brand asks me for it, 95% of the time I won’t. But that still doesn’t mean I’ll never throw in a freebie. If there is one thing I’ve learned is that as a photographer your work is your best marketing tool. So when I borrow a car either for my own publication or just out of enthusiasm I might send over a few shots I really like which they can share if they want to. That way I keep control.
But if you have ,unlike me, no business in photography and you’re a fan of a brand, an amateur photographer or a proud owner and you want to see your car featured. By all means! I won’t hold it against you. But if you shoot cars for a living… Things just change.
Fee free to check it out at Herrfrederik.com