Monday, June 18, 2007

Food...Glorious Food?

I love food. I also enjoy the Food Network's programs, especially Unwrapped, which is high up on my Tivo Season Pass Manager, so it rarely gets preempted, except for, say, 24, The Closer, 60 Minutes, and a few others. What boggles my mind, is a post that keen-eyed PBN reader Paul McEvoy spotted over at the bottom-feeders resource that is Craigs List. Since the post may get flagged for removal or otherwise removed, I shall post it here for this commentary on it, but, while it remains online, you can read it here. It reads:

Food Network looking for Production Photographer 6/25

Food Network is filming a show about PIE in Rockland Maine on Monday June 25th and I am looking for a photographer to document our production. The pictures will not be used in broadcast but they will become property of the Food Network archives. You will not need to edit the photographs at the end of the shoot as I will make the final selection of 46 that will go to the network. I am looking for someone with their own camera who is friendly and non-intrusive. Photographer's assistants are welcome to apply as this would look great in your resume. Please reply with a short paragraph about yourself and experience and enclose your resume in the body of your email.

The rate is a non-negotiable $150 and you must submit all the jpegs via CD to me within a week.

Thanks for your interest.
Only serious applicants please.

Wow, the photos become their property, and won't be used in the broadcast. But, they'll be used in marketing/promotional/advertising materials that will. While it'll supposedly "look great in (sic) your resume." The fact is, you won't have the right to use the photos on your website or promote yourself with the images, since they will no longer be your property, and thus, you will have no rights to do so.

Fact #10 - Just because you took a photograph under a work made for hire agreement or you transfered copyright of your work to your client, and you use it on your website anyway, and they don't stop you or sue you, doesn't make what you're doing any less illegal, it just means that the owner of the work you produced has chosen - at their discretion - to not pursue your infringement of their copyrighted materials. It's still illegal and an infringement. Make absolutely sure that the owner grants back to you the right to use your work for self promotion in your contract.

Scale for a unit photographer is roughly $750 a day, and the average number of images produced on a union production is 500-700 images day. While I recognize that Food Network isn't a union shop, paying someone - anyone - $150 for a day's work as a professional photographer where quality results are expected is just an insult.
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Sherri Meyer said...

This makes me sick to my stomach. The sad truth is, some idiot will take the job and think he is getting a good deal!


Anonymous said...

Call Owl, this looks like something that he would do well at; this is the change in the business that he was telling us we needed to adapt our business model.

I guess that the talent on the Food Network works for scraps like this too..........not.

The high and mighty continue to prey on the little fish; and the problem is that there are a few guppies in our business that will take this bait and run with it.

Andrew Neufeld said...

Granted, I'm just starting out myself but even I am insulted by this ad. You would think that a large TV network would understand "pay to play." If they want it on the cheap, have Aunt Minnie and her point and shoot come down to "document the production."

owl said...


My guess is that the "little guppies" should be thanking people like you for producing such bad work that their amateur efforts seem acceptable. Maybe if you spent a little more energy on being flexible (and less fragile) in a changing environment, you'd be in a situation where you didn't feel personally insulted by facts of life.

I don't need to take cheap jobs to make a living. Take all the cheap jabs that you want; it doesn't change the fact that nobody hears your whining (you're preaching to the choir anyway), and your spiteful negativity only casts people like you in an unflattering light.

I wouldn't wish bankruptcy on anyone, and everyone has to start somewhere. Fact of life.

If you don't lower your blood pressure, you may not have to worry about facts of life anymore.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is that the video crew will get paid higher than the still photographer. Average is close to $400 for a day, if not higher.

chris P

Anonymous said...

What is probably happening, is that an outside contractor for the FOOD Network is hired by a freelance producer to video tape this. They in turn are hiring at the lowest end for a still photographer at grip rates.

I would not doubt that they charge the Network in the end $6-800 for this, if not more. In the end everyone in the chain takes a cut.

Chris P

Mike Pipes said...

Wow, $150 for what's likely a 12 hour production day. Take away half that for taxes and that's a pretty sweet deal (sarcasm) Right in line with what McD's pays.

Anonymous said...

ugh. what this is, more than likely, is that this is the production company hiring the photog, not the food network. I have done quite a bit of work for the food network and the pay is considerably more. production companies are notoriously cheap. they of course want and know the value of great photos but try to get it as cheaply as possible. If this was a major show, the network would hire a photog and send him/her to maine to do the stills. The production company is trading on the value of the food networks name. happens all the time.
so don't be a hater on the food network, they do know what is right and treat photogs well, at least in my case.


Anonymous said...

Well, such is life my friend. You can either fight it, or just not care. But I applaud your efforts to save someone from getting financially and creatively ripped off. That said, I love the food network! I love the next food network star? I think for me, it's food network star, paula deen, then unwrapped as my top 3. Did you catch the episode with Bon Appetit magazine? I work with them, and we have a contest where you can enter to win a trip to NYC to tour the studios, or $1000 in All-Clad cookware. Check out the link here

Newer Post Older Post