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Babbs in the Woods: The ethics of photography with words

Recently, I posted my view about why it is important to pay photographers for their work that accompanies the written word. You can see the post at The Women’s Outdoor Media Association’s site.

What are the obligations of a writer to a photographer or vice versa, if you have been on the same media trip and one of you sells the story idea or photographs and the other holds the key to the success of the sale?

Photo by Jason Baird.

The gist of the story is that a writer asked a photographer if she could use that photographer’s photo for free. The writer gets paid, but it’s a “package deal.”

Also, I’m wondering … what are the ethics involved if you’re out on a media trip or otherwise, and someone in the business asks you to photograph her with a fish or trophy or whatever on her camera? OK, so it’s her equipment, but your artistry. I’ve decided not to do that any longer, recently having been burned on that one, where the photograph showed up in a publication that I would never sell to, and also, without my photo credit.

That will just make things simpler. Just say no and handle my own camera equipment.

This is the stuff that comes between friends in the industry, and it really doesn’t need to, does it?

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • Stacey Huston says: February 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I touchy subject indeed~ I have 100’s of photos of Other people from events ~ and I rarely use them without their permission~ unless it is a group shot~ Then I always make sure that everyone in the photos looks good Before I will post it~ as for credit.. I always try to give credit where credit is due~ but having said that , at the last event I attended ~ Two of the guys had all the camera’s taking group shots~ I edited the ones on my camera, but have no clue who took them~ so I didn’t give credit, but I also didn’t put my name on them either ~

  • barbara baird says: February 6, 2011 at 9:27 am

    noticed your comment and question about photos and I would say
    yes … and I’m going to be more diligent about giving photo credits,
    even when I don’t pay, such as in family trips or hunts or whatever!
    Or out with friends and someone snaps a shot that I use later in my

    It also helps for search engines if you note the photographer’s name.
    But, hey, everyone likes to see his name in print. Sometimes, if you
    use a photo that came to you from someone but there’s no credit, you
    can add Submitted Photo to the caption line.

    Thanks for asking.

  • Mia Anstine says: February 6, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Just currios. Was the picture posted in an article that the person was paid for? Should I be giving the husband or the daughter cudos on each photo they take of me even if it’s not a paid article?

  • Chris Mathan says: February 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    The publications I write for expect photographs to accompany the stories. No extra money. The standard for what passes as professional photography has been lowered to include anyone with a digital camera and some spare time. The publications say they don’t have the budgets so what do you do? I can only look at it as a PR opportunity though it irks me to do so. I understand the less professionals are willing to work for…well…it’s vicious circle.

    I’d love to know how others handle it.

    Chris Mathan