April 4, 2014

Getting Screwed by Multinational Corporations – A How Not To Guide

This isn’t really anything new or unique but I received an image request from a large multi-national news website.

“I’m the Associate Editor of *********. I’m currently working on a photo post of emotional brides and grooms and I would love to include this shot of yours (third down). I will give you photo credit of course and can link to your website as well. Let me know if this is OK by you!”

I truly believe in supporting people around us and always provide images free of charge to small organisations, charities, NGOs and other industry vendors and sole traders. But when a huge multinational corporation prefers to funnel the profits of your hard work into their pockets rather than yours, they’re going to receive an email like this.

Hi ****

Thanks for your message however I must politely decline your request.

********* is an internationally recognised brand which makes large amounts of revenue and I must admit that am a little disappointed by your request. In my mind, providing images free of charge to an organisation such as yourself further devalues an already devalued industry whereby large swathes of society believe photographers are able to survive off the credits that they are offered on websites – believe it or not, our bills can’t be paid with that! If you are happy to pay a small licensing fee, I would gladly offer the image for your use.

I really do appreciate that you felt my image was suitable for use (and thank you for getting in touch to request it rather than simply pilfering it as others have done in the past) however I believe very strongly that photographers deserve to be paid when their hard work is used elsewhere, especially when other people are profiting greatly from it. I hope that makes sense and please get in touch if there’s anything you would like to discuss further.

Kind regards,

I know that many of you photographers receive requests like this and the decision to share your images or not is completely up to you. If you feel like what you get back from the exposure is worth giving your images away for free, go ahead and do so – I’ve done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future! But at some point, we must acknowledge that there are people and organisations out there who are just out to exploit us for their own benefit. They’re the ones we just need to look at with an angry face and say “go away!”



  • Serena May 12, 2014

    Well said! Oftentimes I don’t even bother sending a reply.

  • ZWP April 7, 2014

    Thank you so much for such a true and empowering statement! Yay you!!
    I liked your straightforward attitude, not tiptoeing around what is really the matter of the situation. Great job!

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