Here’s a heart-warming story for you.
My friend Lucy returned from visiting her grandparent’s house in Shropshire recently and couldn’t believe what her nan had got up to.
Lucy said “I was just about to leave when my Nan got me on my own she said “Lucy, I’ve got something to show you!” and she went away rummaging through carrier bags of stuff under her chair with her back to me. When she turned around she held up this gigantic purple jumper. She said “I’m not sure what happened, I was knitting this jumper for your Granddad and I must have got the measurements mixed up.” I was in hysterics as my Nan knits for a living and has always got a set of needles in her hand. I put it on over my clothes and it absolutely swamped me! She proceeded to say that it had taken her six years to complete and would I be able to put it on eBay for her? After I stopped laughing I said “Sure, but didn’t you realise it was going to be too big?’ She replied “Yes, but I started it so I wanted to finish it!”
How funny is that?! I suggested to Lucy that we take some photos to start the ball rolling on an eBay auction to help raise some ‘wool funds’ for her Nan. She happily agreed.
So here is some photos of Lucy in ‘The Jumper’:
I will actually be asking my studio clients over the next few weeks to model The Jumper at the end of their session so we can generate some interest before Lucy creates an eBay auction. If you fancy joining the queue, just book a free studio session here:
Watch this space!
Lesley and Lucy
As a professional photographer for 8 years now, I have learnt a lot of lessons. The one which I see time and time again on a Facebook group I belong to called Stop Working for Free are post complaints from new photographers and artists, saying they haven’t been credited/paid for their work. Stop the Press! This is not new and will only stop when us artists refuse point blank to be involved in anything unless it falls under one of the following:
- There is a contract confirming a pre-agreed rate for the service which is being provided
- There is a mutual exchange agreement on the service which is being provided. By this, I mean expenses are covered and the booking is going to benefit YOU
- Charity bookings
- Collaboration shoots
There can be no other option. Period.
Until the industry YOU are involved in realises there are no more free photos, artwork, bands, music or attendance, nothing will change.
Personally, I feel the music industry is far worse off than the photographic industry, with musicians having to pay to perform …. seriously wtf?
It took me about 2 years of self employment to realise this myself after promised credits never appeared, or during attendance at events, parking/expenses/food never arrived so I decided to take a stand. Now, whenever I am approached by someone new wanting coverage or to use my images, I always negotiate for payment. About 80% never reply (and I assume try elsewhere) and the 20% agree to pay without a problem as they know the level of service they will receive.
Payment levels depend on your experience and qualifications. My corporate day rate is £800 a day. My wedding day rate is £1450. I can charge these rates as my work is proven. One of my new business photography offers, pimps me out at just £50 an hour however, the contacts I make and bookings I receive post invoice, compensates amply for this risky strategy.
The purists amongst you will believe we shouldn’t even consider the second option of working for expenses. Let me give you my take on this. I would not get involved in anything that did not benefit me or my companies. If I am free and know the images I capture will enhance my portfolio, I’m happy to discuss a collaboration in exchange for expenses. I love my photography and would rather be shooting than sitting on my arse writing blog and social media content!
Booking with Aquabatix and Mac Cosmetics UK
Working for a charity is a personal thing and I have donated many hours over the years supporting local charities. Some of whom are very large and yes, I know some of the staff are getting paid, probably the minimum wage however, many are not, but that is not why I am involved. I am there to do a job and to network my services. I might even get to take a forbidden photo of a VIP. I have gained a lot of paid bookings and great contacts through this avenue.
Ricky Sam Hall
Collaborations rock in my opinion. Working to achieve something you are all passionate about. My collaborations normally take place out of season and consist of a small group of awesome people all wanting to achieve a common goal.
Collaboration with Ananda Millinary and Anncancan
Collaboration with Leonie Claire Bridal and Betty Lou Vintage Salon
I do see a small wave starting though i.e. the knowledge and points of reference for newbies is better than it used to be and there have been many a global outcry recently about copyright. However, we are talking big guns and small steps. Long may the small steps continue in my opinion.
If you are a decision maker in the industry and regularly take the option to gather free content over paid, professional work, then think again. I beg you to take a moment to realise how you are damaging the industry and basically calling us and our years of education and investment in our craft, worthless. Pay the going rate, acknowledge the artists involved. You will sleep better at night and help revive something which is quite frankly, getting rotten to the core.
So my advice in a nutshell, is that when you are starting out, yes it is flattering to be asked to be involved in something or for your image to be used for something in print/online but just take a moment and think, what will that credit actually do for me? The only way to make a change is to make a stand. Make sure your agreements are written and watertight. “Think of the exposure” is an overused sentence in our day and age, so let’s work together to eradicate it.
Lesley Burdett Taylor is based in Brighton, UK and is a professional photographer. She owns an app called Jaunty Twig, organises alternative weddings fairs called Quaint Queer Weird and is a separated parent. She takes no prisoners …
Before Christmas I saw on my Facebook feed, a plea from Brighton In Need to provide things to the homeless community in Brighton.
I contacted the organisor, a wonderful lady called Lydia and offered my photographic services during the drop that she was organising. It was an eye opener.
Lydia explained she was shocked by the amount of homeless people on a recent night out and was worried about them having the things they really needed to survive whilst living on the streets; sleeping bags, warm socks, gloves, hats and personal cleaning items. I’m the first to admit that I walk by homeless people giving change occasionally during my infrequent evening jaunts into Brighton, let alone give a thought to how cold they must be overnight. I know how warm I like to keep after the sun has gone down and felt quite bad talking with the very selfless Lydia.
So after spending the evening photographing people at The Grand celebrating Christmas, I met up with Lydia and volunteer the team up half way up West Street. They had already walked from the Prince Albert (!) and had made a few drops on the way.
Armed with donated coats, sleeping bags and back packs filled with essentials such as a hat, gloves, heated pads and socks. There was even ladies toiletries available … something I hadn’t even thought of.
I was really worried about my DSLR camera being on view but apart from being categorically told I should sell my camera by a very per-pissant person and give it to “all the homeless people”, I luckily only got accosted by a couple of revelers demanding I take their photo. Permission to take a photograph was asked to every one we met. Only one chap declined.
Almost straight away, we met Kate.
Kate was made up with her sleeping bag, roll mat and back pack containing essential supplies including heated hand pads. She showed us her bracelet too!
We then headed towards the station and under the very colorful underpass dropping off a sleeping bag and a back pack to someone who had already settled in for the evening.
We then met Stewart and Wayne near the Hobgoblin. The boys were totally made up with their back packs and sleeping bags.
Heading towards the North Street, we met Zeb.
Zeb was made up with his back pack and got a bit choked up when Lydia produced some dog food!
We then met Nick. Nick was the first person to make me cry that evening. Lydia gave him a sleeping bag and a back pack which he went through. Nick then said “Someone brought me this hat earlier today (pointed to his head) and the gloves I already have are really warm so give the hat and gloves to someone else.” Both the volunteer next to me and I had to turn away as we had both filled up!
Heading towards The Lanes, we then met Mark and Misty (not to be confused with Mork and Mindy!). Mark was really funny and just look at Misty smiling lol!
We then met Amy and Ru. They had one grubby sleeping bag between them. They were really happy to get a new one each.
Crossing the road by the taxi rank, we met Nicky and Bronwyn. They were really very grateful for the ladies items and extra coats.
Near the Funfair Club, we met G Dog. I was personally shocked to see such a lovely articulate man on the streets. He was ABSOLUTELY made up with his new coat and checked his reflection in a nearby car and then asked me to take a couple more photos including one with his mutter.
AND THEN BRAIDY APPEARED! Braidy has already received a pack earlier in the evening and came running up to G Dog shouting “You won’t believe how warm my feet are. I’ve got fucking heated feet pads!” He then took off his shoes to show the pads to G Dog and make him feel them. G Dog’s reply?! “I couldn’t give a shit about your feet pads, I’ve got a new coat!” I filled up again and had a good giggle.
We then bumped into Jelly & friend, who accepted new coats and our last sleeping bag. Jelly then started to sing us a song … until we were rudely interrupted by a pissed reveler who demanded Jelly sing her song. This made me realise the majority of the homeless people on the streets of Brighton are at the mercy of tanked up people. This made me feel very sad.
Our last meeting was with Debbie. She was a lively ol’soul and said she was gutted we had run out of sleeping bags. As she was trying on a donated coat, another homeless chap turned up and Debbie voiced to him that she was gutted she’d missed out on a sleeping bag … the chap then gave her his sleeping bag that Lydia had given to him earlier. She screamed and gave him the biggest hug!
So that was my trip around Brighton with the awesome Lydia and the volunteer team from Brighton in Need. VOLUNTEER TEAM YOU WERE AMAZING! I crawled into my bed about 2am … and thanked my lucky stars for everything I have.
Since Christmas, Lydia continues her quest to provide for the homeless, charity bases & drop in centres in Brighton and surround. She volunteers already and is working tirelessly to raise awareness. She is an absolute diamond and with a full time job, doing this out of love … aided by you, the givers. So please don’t stop any of you. Brighton in Need isn’t about the politics of the whys or wherefores of why there are homeless people or who is in charge of the local council or in government, this about dealing with things head on so please go follow the Brighton in Need Facebook page if you haven’t already and share the page to your local Brighton friends. Look out for the posts and if you can donate, please get in touch with Lydia.
The awesome Jumpstart in Horsham have created some great logos to identity future Brighton in Need activity too.
Keep warm in your beds tonight peeps xXx
p.s. If you like what you see, please LIKE my Infinity Photographic Facebook page for lots of awesome photos and news on my exhibition project for 2015 called ‘The Human Life Cycle’. My post on Lizzy tells you more about it.
So after I finished work last night at The Grand, I walked the streets of Brighton for a couple of hours with the volunteer crew of the Christmas Giveaway Brighton in Need organised by the awesome Lydia, who gave out sleeping bags, roll mats, coats and rucksacks filled with survival goodies such as toothpaste, toothbrush, heated hand packs, socks, hats and gloves as well as Christmas opening times info for the homeless charity First Base. Everything on the drop has been donated by the kind people of Sussex and the master plan pulled together by Lydia herself.
There was a few emotional moments but the most humbling bit for me was when Lydia gave a sleeping bag and rucksack to Nick on North Street and he asked what was in it. Lydia explained and he said to take the hat and gloves back as someone had brought him a hat earlier today and his own gloves were fine. I welled up big time! So here’s a quick pic of the volunteer crew by the station and the very selfless Nick.
Full blog post coming shortly.