Ooh. Tempting. Oh, wait. No, it’s not.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan

I got a Flickr mail today from someone over at GQ, asking if they could use my Lafitte’s photos for a new online guide to New Orleans they’re creating.

Ok. With you so far, GQ photo person.

And then the email said, “Generally, we would never ask for something for nothing. However, at this time we are only able to give credit.”

Whoa. Back the truck up. First of all, if you generally don’t ask for something for nothing, then let’s stick with that policy. If you’re going to be in the habit of doing that, though, then maybe skip that sentence. Secondly, you’re a major, for-profit publication. I think you can spare a few bucks for a stock photo budget. To tell me my images are worthy of publication, but only if they’re free, is a bit on the insulting side. If you were a non-profit group, it would be an entirely different story. But to pretend Conde Nast doesn’t have a little money to offer for such things is, well “Condescending*.” I heartily decline your offer.

(*Many thanks to Tony & Sam for letting me pinch that term. It fits the bill quite nicely.)

12 Comments to Ooh. Tempting. Oh, wait. No, it’s not.


Clearly, your content is worth something to them, or else they wouldn’t want it for the magazine. It’s just not worth enough for them to pay for it, I guess. (I’ve even been turned down when I’ve asked for a free subscription in exchange for photo licensing rights.)

When will Big Media learn that Flickr user != sucker?


OH, but to have a credit! to have your name show up in a big time publication’s work! You didn’t wet your drawers at the very thought?

Feh. Too cheap to even buy you dinner? Feh.


Cool that they asked. Maybe that’s their way to get photos now instead of hiring someone (sorry, no job for them) – just peruse Flicker etal and ask for free stuff. That’s sort of sad. You would think they could at least have a simple standard fee they would pay for photos.


I got the same email, for the same New Orleans guide. They’ll keep trying until somebody bites, I’m sure. I responded with this video:


+ I shall begin reading your blog.
- I shall unsubscribe to GQ.


Kudos to you for not caving in. I wonder if it says more about their practices or how much they value their online product.

mahendra singh

I’m an illustrator & publications designer/AD. I commend you for your backbone & for sharing this.

The magazine made this ridiculous & insulting “offer” to you because they must have done it before, successfully.

I am utterly sick & tired of wealthy publishers ripping off desperately struggling illustrators, photographers, writers, etc. Their mentality is precisely the same as certain swindlers on Wall St.: pay nothing, charge a lot.

A tip of my ink-soaked chapeau to you!

czeltic girl

Hi, all. Thanks for the backup on this. (And welcome. Fair warning: I’m a lazy blogger. Don’t expect frequent updates.)

I know of several people who got this email from GQ, identical except for the photo location they wish to use. Hooray! Not only do you want to use something of mine for free, but you can’t even be arsed to use a something besides a form letter for your request. Special!

I’m contemplating starting a Flickr group called “Photos [X] likes, but not enough to pay for.” Anyone who gets an email like this from a major pub can add their photo. :)


Like the other posters, I get a lot of these requests. I’m actually more willing than most, but I have one strict demand I don’t negotiate on w.r.t. print media: If it’s going to be printed, I want two copies. I’ve gotten a lot of nice books and some decent magazines that way, but now a lot of these places don’t even want to link to one of my pages (hey, if they at least linked to a blog of mine, there’s a few buck in ad revenue I could get…)

I’m liking czeltic’s idea of a “photos [x] likes” group…


Ha! A fantastic response – they mùst have got the message. Hilarious guy!

Mr. Gunn

By and large, this isn’t a problem until it becomes a pattern. If major media outlets are printing your photos several times a month, then it’s probably time to start asking for some dough.

If they’re not, perhaps initially offering them for attribution only would be a good way to get there?

I’ve been honored to have some of my pics featured in New Orleans travel guides and whatnot, but nothing big. My whole stream is currently CC-BY licensed.

czeltic girl

kaszeta: I think two copies of the final printed piece is absolutely fair. If a book publisher had asked for my photo, I’d have been more than happy with printed copies. But a magazine? Meh. Not interested.

Mr. Gunn: I get your point, but I have close to zero interest in getting my photos published, so it’s not at all a big deal to me to tell publications to take a hike. (Non-profits will usually see a little love, though. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for people trying to make their communities better.) And I had a CC license on my photos for awhile, but I got sick of chasing down the people who think any CC license means “do whatever you’d like with this” that I changed it to all rights reserved.

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