Can’t pay, will not pay, why do I have to pay – and other stories…

Today I spoke to a young and aspiring photographer, he/she (I am just trying to protect their identity), with only a few hours before going into a pitch interview for a dream job at a large and well known company. The person in question had compiled a list of questions and we even did a bit of role play to iron out any modicum of nerves or questions they had about their own abilities. Admittedly, most of which I offered was protracted wisdom with a smattering of incoherent psycho-babble that funnily enough, was just what they needed to go to the company and give the best performance of their life – so far.

Now for some, this brings the kind of skin crawling discomfort only matched by the thought of licking broken Doritos off the floor of a number 52 bus or offering your mouth to a first year graduate dentist for some route canal procedure.

In fact this led me to believe that there is room on this broom (seasonal reference) for a permanent advise page here at Medium Rare. I‘m not suggesting the day-to-day tabloid advise pages, for example “my boyfriend stays at friends all night, do you think he may be sleeping around?”…no (by the way, yes he is..). No, what I actually want to offer is a specialist page for the collective of Photographers out there who are experiencing issue or umbrage with the alarmingly regular misfortunes of commercial agency work.

The advertising industry in Europe and the US have many ports of which to dock their ship of misery when a Creative Director ‘kills’ the work they have been working on for 28 hours breaks and now all they have left is a serious digestive problem and DVT sock marks on their calves.

So here we go, opening the flood gates on the masses of suppressed talents, the ‘ruled by the cosh’ creatives that wish for pastures greener or just those of you who wish to find out if you are right and they are wrong.

Ask questions. Expose these careless harbingers of misery (without getting the sack you understand). Show some of your work (under strict privacy guidelines) that the Directors have dropped and ask if they were right.

I suggest you suppress no more of those worries that keep you pacing the kitchen floor at 3am, hoping that the spark you once had would return. No question is too strange, petty, bizarre, (or slanderous) but if we can keep it somewhat linked to photography/editorial/advertising then I can guarantee a more positive response.

You will get some feedback and so will the Medium Rare community. By doing this, you are not just getting my opinion (for what it is worth), you will also receive a wider audience’s points of view. This perspective may be utterly useless and undermine any hope you had in man kind, or it may be every word you needed to hear. Either way you get to see that there are enough of us out there that actually give a shit.

So now you are still reading this and most, if not all of you may be asking, “where does this guy get off suggesting he is in any way knowledgable or experienced enough to offer me any advice. Well, actually quite a lot.

My advanced years of dealing with a litany of brands, media agencies and private clients. To name just a few, being left high and dry, dropped after the image has been used and even chasing people with Solicitors and Judicial Courts is and has been part of my many years in this industry.

But most of all, I care. I care about you and your business, after all, you may already be or are a potential photographic client of mine and your security and longevity has a direct impact on my business.

I cannot guarantee an immediate response, but I will do my best to get back to you with full anonymity – it being the whole point of this.

Everyone has problems. Hell I have problems, but a problem shared is after all…….

But also take this as a thought, taking pleasure in liking something than disliking something is something we all need to do. Being constantly critical of anything or anyone is a waste of time, people who are like this are equally a waste of time. Their opinions are moot and they hide behind their own insecurities and failures and often call themselves critics.

Critics such as this are rarely sophisticated or educated enough to understand that with time we all come to appreciate things we once loathed – take into consideration Olives, blue cheese, vodka, the Jaguar XJS convertible….all of which passed us by the first time we experienced them, but over time we grow to love, often depend on them to get through the day.

I was recently told by a learned ambassador for the arts – “if what you’ve done isn’t so great, just remember that those who can’t say so with grace, those who seem to take pride in criticising you, their opinions don’t matter. It may very well be that you’ve created a masterpiece, and they’re just children.” I am sure there was more to this conversation but that is all I managed to scribble down during his address.

So type away and lets make the Photographic Community a better place, one that our clients understand more and can – eventually – accept that we all have higher standards of practice and you are someone worth investing in.


Supporting material is often difficult to find for many articles, however, the fact that so many photographers around the globe who, like you, make their sole income from making pictures, selling those pictures for money and spending the rest of your time battling with the growing issue of clients not wishing to acknowledge the fact that this not a free service.

You may also wish to take a look at the blog of Mr Tony Wu (see image above), he addresses this issue in a more direct yet polite manner. Certainly a lot more polite than I could ever muster, something that could be easily adapted in building bridges with those clients who think you do this for a hobby and actually you are a successful F1 driver, and do not need to be embarrassed by asking for a few Pounds, Dollars, Yen, Euros etc..for the effort you have put into delivering more than they asked for.

Tony goes into the finer detail of why we as photographers should be very aware of just how important it is to gently inform clients that in a utopian world where money is no object and to ask for cash for services rendered, services that the client directly profits from, is rude, unfathomable and usually followed up by the well thumbed comment – “anyone can take a picture”.

There are many more, however, I digress. The article goes into dept and justifies why the reasons professional photographers cannot (not should not) work for free. Apart from the obvious [if you do, this opens the flood gates to a large number of people and clients who will expect it from you..resulting in you getting typecast as a bit of a pushover] this has catastrophic effect on not just your cash flow and your credibility but the credibility of the industry as a whole. Like it wasn’t difficult enough to operate within the means of the cost of living to expect anyone to get images for free.

Have a read of Tony’s blog article, it makes total sense and if enough of us use and re-use this then maybe, just maybe ‘they’ will wake up and smell the coffee and ‘we’ will see this as a career again.


Papa x

Lend me your ear….

It was once said that we have no control over who we are, but total control over who we become (or words to that effect). So after spending one’s school years learning that ‘i’ comes before ‘e’, except after ‘c’…mathematic equations, about the Tollpuddle Martyrs and the intimate details of the formation of an Oxbow Lake, I am still in wonder that so little investment into our state schools makes it through the filter into creativity and the arts.

Now as I suggested last month, one thing that busy photographic studios around the globe suffer from is a surplus stock of used Colorama. Some of you may or may not have used any in months, some of you may use it every day. Now think about this, you have lets say…10 rolls of 2.72m wide, most of us buy the longer rolls to make more financial sense and what happens when you or a client uses 5 or 8m of it per shoot day? Where does it go? What happens to the hundreds, maybe thousands of square meters of fine grade paper go? Well if you have worked in the studios I have worked in or for in the past 20+ years, they end up in the Biffa Bin out back.

This has to stop today. Now Damn it!

As of today I am asking to hear from fellow studios and photographers who benefits from their surplus Colorama. Today I am launching the “Paper the Cracks” project.

The issue I have with schools nowadays is that unless you are lucky enough – and luck is the key word here – to live in a catchment to a heavily subsidised school and the art class is just as important as the maths or science lab, then you don’t really need to concern yourself with this. However, if you live near or have kids in schools where 600+ children only have a budget of £200/annum to pay for creative supplies and trips outside of school, then you can see why art and creative curriculum is taking such a pounding these days and therefore, is no longer considered important.

Offering paper to your local school is an opportunity to allow children to express themselves outside of the confines of this modern assessment lead curriculum. This resource allows the schools to offer so much more than the 3 R’s.

So what is stopping you? I currently have over 50m of various colours and the obvious black, white and grey, and approx. 18m of 3.55m wide in grey and white. My chosen school in Manchester will now have more than enough paper resources for the foreseeable term – also taking into consideration that we have the festive period to look forward to.

Do your bit, the client has already paid for it, now let someone else profit from it.

Any suggestions or studio hire companies/photographers that want to promote this – drop me a line.


Papa x

Calling all the heros….

ⓒ Dan Winters

Time for submissions.

Throughout the month of November, I am inviting you to submit a creative photograph of your own or something that you can signpost my way, anything that inspires you and is fitting to the open brief of “people”.

The image will be copyrighted and if I have access and knowledge of the original photographer, their website will be by-lined. I boast an average of 800 people/week looking at this blogsite now and that can only be a good thing (especially as I have been rather quite of late).

I have a lot of positive changes to announce at Slaughterhouse Studios and on Medium Rare, new articles and obviously the odd rant, so get involved and feel the love.

Oh and one last thing, if you chose to send any Hipstermatic images I shall take time in making it very clear that you know practically nothing about or how to create credible photography. If you want to live in the 80’s and live the “ironic” life, like wearing a scarf in July etc..then may I suggest you refrain from taking photographs of your shoes in a variety of trendy East End Bars, remove yourself from society and if dressing in an pseudo 80’s style be the centre of your universe, then sell your iPhone, take a 11K per annum job and let the real creative people salvage the mess you have made.

Thanks. x

An offer you can’t refuse…


In order to say a big “thank you” to our customers who have

made this summer our most successful to date, we at

Slaughterhouse Studios would like to offer a huge discount on

studio hire from now until the end of October!

We are proposing that any weekday (Monday to Friday 9am –

6pm) booked in Studio 2, our upstairs daylight studio, will

cost only £200 (&VAT).

Studio 2, otherwise known as The White Room, is our second

floor day-light studio (that can be screened off to turn it into a

dark studio). It consists of 1,100sqft of useable studio space

(see floorplan at, ceiling height of over 25ft at it’s peak,

32A power supply, it’s own make-up, wardrobe, kitchen,

toilet, colorama (that we have in stock) and fast wifi included

in the price.

So call us now on 0161 745 4232 to take advantage of this

incredible discounted price.

New Kit for hire…

Huge thank you to all who turned out last week, you will all receive a personal thank you later.

It was great to see some new and regular faces.

With so much new kit it will be coming back on 1st December (11am – 5pm), so look out for exciting news of events on the blog and Twitter over the next few weeks.

We will be hiring the new Broncolor equipment and will have some news about new projects and affiliations over the coming weeks.

Take a look at this to better understand the kit – Scoro

Papa x