Not a week goes by that I don’t get a request for free images or a low-ball assignment fee. When I balk, the person on the other ends usually asks, “Well, do you know anyone else who would do it? Maybe a student?” Publications, PR companies, and wedding clients frequently look to student photographers as a cut-rate way to get their photography done, preying on students’ business naivety and their desire to get exposure.
Now, a UK agency called Cartel Photos aims to nip this situation in the bud. Its member photographers are current undergraduates and recent alumni from the BA(Hons) Press & Editorial Photography course at University College Falmouth, and the agency’s goal, in partnership with the school, is to get student photographers practice working for local publications and organizations for pay. It may be a simple idea, but it lays the groundwork for fair pay and decent contracts from the beginning of these students’ careers. They gain experience working in a freelance environment, the publications get great photography, and the local Falmouth photography market continues on in an environment of fair pay with a new generation of photographers who already have business experience before leaving school.
Nothing like a bit of good news like this to start the weekend off right!