For all of us who haven't got fat agenies or representatives to back us up there are a couple of things I would like to know about the true/real meaning behind the word "Freelance". You check it up in a Learners dictionary and it will tell you this :
"-earning one's living by selling one's services or individual pieces of work to several organizations."
As we all have to earn our living one way or another and I guess we all kind of sit in the same boat (us freelance photographers anyway) as individual craftmen doing something we love doing and that we, by our selfs have chosen to do to, as the dictionary tells us, earning our living by selling one's services. Then this small predicament comes up. Who do you sell to, who do you not sell to and how do you do it? How do you approach the marker with your "idividual pieces of work" and keep it going during the years.
We all face ups and downs on a regular basis and some times you make a killing and your budget is back way over plus, sometimes it's so far between payment that you wish you lived in some Northern European country where the governments social safety net would back you up and take care of those bills. But hey, high hopes fellow freelancers. Thats the beauty of it all I think, you have to fight some to get some. For me a longterm business relation with a publication and client is worth every minute of e-mailing. To keep a good client for years and to know that you can trust that your work is going to be published and payed for gives you a secure feeling that is hard to beat. You are going to work hard to keep that contact and you don't want to toss it away to anyone else without a fight. But to keep that balance between keeping a client and still make enough dough for that new digital masterpiece (I need to grade up...again...!) or whatever it might be can be tricky sometimes.
I think that we as freelance photographers need to respect the buyer if he gives you the respect you deserve, by not selling your work to just anyone and then especially this guys rivals. Of course you can if you want, you're freelance remember, and there are seldom no contracts you gonna break by doing so and your bank account have probably never seen better days, but this is short term thinking and we need to think logn term to stay afloat. I have recently made deals (verbal, so bevare you know-whats-best-for-you kinda people!) with some publications that I will sell my work to their specific mag or web site first hand and then after they are happy and all is in print, then I'll approach the market outside their selling field. This means in general one publication per country. English is spoken in more than one continent and many publications sell only on their specific market or territory. I think this is a fair deal that both parties can gain from and have a fruitful longterm business relation to lean back on from time to time.
Classic Sailor Jerry quote - "Takes two to tango..!"
Please send me a comment of what you think of this world of freelancing or how you deal with small but important predicaments like this.
High Hopes Brothers & Sisters