Re: What am I worth?

Subject: Re: What am I worth?
From: Philomena Hoopes <PHILA -at- MAIL -dot- VIPS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 12:05:15 -0500

This thread, and especially the union issue, has been recalling memories of
my husband's experience as a professional independent photographer back in
the 1980's.

At that time, magazine photographers were struggling with a similar
situation: new people would accept sweatshop rates to get work, while
established professionals would reap complaints or lose jobs if they charged
higher fees. There was a great deal of wrangling between competing
photographers (the same sort of complaints we've been seeing here), and the
only ones who really benefited from this financial arrangement were the

In response, the ASMP (photographic trade association) set standard rates.
There was a shakedown period that ended with the better photographers, new
or otherwise, landing the bulk of the contracts: the quality of work was the
deciding criterion, not the price.

It may not have been an ideal solution -- yes, there were plenty of comments
on union tactics! Some new photographers received an instant rate hike;
others did go out of business. Some established photographers who had
charged significantly higher fees found themselves balancing a need for more
jobs against a lower return. But the results, IMJ, did benefit both the
photographers and the profession generally. The clients knew what the going
rates for ASMP members were; this set a baseline for non-member
photographers; and much of the wrangling and manipulation did come to a

Philomena Hoopes
Phila -at- vips -dot- com <mailto:Phila -at- vips -dot- com>
VIPS Healthcare Information Solutions, Inc.
(410) 832-8330 ext 845

Take care,


Scott McClare - Technical Writer
DY 4 Systems Inc., Kanata, Ontario, Canada
(613) 599-9199 x502 smcclare -at- dy4 -dot- com
Opinions are my own

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