How much is your picture worth?

I recall the first time I saw my name underneath a published photo in the Daily Kent Stater.

It was a just a college newspaper but it was a big deal for back then. I was majoring in photojournalism.

Michael Bennett from Chicago asked “Is it worth it to give your photos away? ”

Specifically he had in mind the website Capture my Chicago .

According to that website, photographers grant them the use of the images in exchange for a $5 discount when they want to buy the published book.

The finished book will sell for $30, so every photographer who submits a picture will get a $5 discount.

There are even some prizes to be awarded in the form of gift cards and not real cash here and there sprinkled.

Michael listed the pros as:
Amateurs can get their photo(s) shown instead of just having them sit on a hard drive at home, a bit of vanity that I and many others have succumbed to.

Cons: Obvious rip-off of all photographers as the monetary value of photos drop to zero-contributors don’t even get a copy of the book, they instead get a $5 discount. As amateurs get better, this activity can devalue the market for pro photos as publishers go the cheap route.

Excellent points.

Digital photography and “digital” in general has changed completely how books are printed.

With print-on-demand, anyone can be a published author these days. You won’t have to find a traditional publisher anymore.

There are at least 2 such places I can think of that will publish your manuscript. They provide the online tools and even the means to sell your finished manuscript online. Blurb charges $300 to get you set up.

If I were to give my pictures away, I would rather it benefit a charity or a non-profit. Doing something charitable sometimes can be good karma.

When the local PBS station KVCR saw the video I shot for a video tribute on Eddie Dee Smith, a community activist, they interviewed me for the story

If you feel like catering to your vanity, you could always self-publish so very easily these days.

The hard part is coming up with a body of work worthy enough to fill the pages.

I would prefer not to be taken advantage of by some publisher or for that matter someone who organizes a photo contest.