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  1. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so close to the truth. And the worst part of the comic skit is, the stupid shit, TOOK THE JOB! Also to close to the truth. Sometimes we only have ourselves to blame. Try saying “NO CAN DO” once in a while, or at worst case redirecting the client. Grow a pair! (Sorry, it hit a nerve!) -Ed

  2. This would be even funnier if it wasn’t so close to what is actually happening.

    • @Scott,

      The only thing missing was the announcement that “we only pay our contributors after 90 days now”.

      This IS what is happening. I’ve had those conversations I think we all have. This is what makes this whole industry such a joke.

      On one hand we’re being told to spend $$$ on marketing and networking and sucking up to ADs/CDs and Photo Editors and on the other hand this sport of conversation is what all that comes to.

      Meanwhile the next troop of kit lens wannabees and kids are thinking being treated worse than a minimum-wage employee is the norm.

      It’s no wonder there’s so many of these skits doing the rounds now.

  3. Saw a link to this on Flickr. Hilarious and painfully true. Sad to say, he was offered better than some of what I’ve seen.

    Still, Robot should have said”Fuck off” and walked away.

  4. As a former Photo Editor who never would have caved on my photographers, I’m so glad to not be a part of what’s going on now. All the publications are hurting, true, but honestly they shouldn’t be in operation on the backs of artists. Photographers and Illustrators should stand firm on their fees and do their best to keep overhead down. If a publication doesn’t know what it costs to be in business, perhaps they shouldn’t be.

    • @Kathleen Clark,
      You have been a very luck photo editor indeed. Sad, but this is all too true. There is always someone that will take the shoot for a can of oil.

  5. Reminds me what a photographer, I used to assist, used to say about photography ‘The hours may be be long, but at least the pay sucks!’

  6. I have to pipe in here to say that YES, there are clients who have the nerve to ask things on this level – but there are plenty of us out here who are 1. saying ABSOLUTELY no to the work and 2. still working.
    Assignments like this joke SHOULD go to the “plenty of photographers out there who will take it” because that is the level of work that they will get out of the assignment and thus continue to get going forward. Times are indeed tough; and although there are some clients taking advantage of artists, there is still viable work in our industry. The cup is still half full people!! Attitude and perseverance still do, and always will, play a role in who makes it through tough times.

    • @Deb Schwartz,

      “pipe in”


      I think the photogs problem is overactive bladder. should try vesicare…

    • @Deb Schwartz, Well put Deborah.

    • @Deb Schwartz,

      right but you were also the rep who told everyone that you’re not only full up, so don’t bother knocking, but also that if photographers are out there doing cool stuff, we’ll be discovered, (though not by you, since you’ve got your hands full.) the robot with the lady-voice who had ‘fuck all’ for a budget is easy to dismiss if she happens to represent some shoddy rag of a magazine. but the ‘cool’ magazines sometimes have the smallest budgets of all, or even a negative one, where a photographer has to eat the film costs, or the cost of a location, or front the stylists expenses who may also be working for free, because of the one in ten thousand chance that someone out there, who might one day hire us, may be watching. sure, a chin up approach, gets you farther than bellyaching. the cup may be half full, but there are ten people drinking from it. the poor robot schmuck took the job, cause it was all he had. if you’re getting bled dry you might as well at least grab the free cookie.

  7. why cant we turn the tables and say sure, ill take the job, but then say for that rate, I can only take one photo, if it turns out to be one you like great, if not, then i cannot afford to keep pressing the shutter button unfortunatley. times are tight and the wear on my camera is too high of a risk. For subsequent photos, there will be additional fees incurred. Also for travel, I can only get halfway there, gas prices are too high for me to be driving any further than 5 miles or so. As far as post, well all I can supply for that rate is a watermarked unretouched jpg at 600 pixels. anything larger than that is really going to put a strain on my computer. Also I would like to be paid in rupees.

  8. the designer’s version —

  9. This is sad, but hilarious…and there was something mentioned that I have always said: Cut from the top down, not the bottom up…kinda like cutting grass…

  10. I deal with this kind of editorial + advertising situations all the time.

    The client says we have a great job for you, we love what you do, we will look at your bid and take into consideration what your costs are. Also we are looking for good photography and are not going to go for the lowest bid.

    Then a day later I speak to the client and they take the lowest bid.

    Then a month later the same thing happens and they accept my bid.

    Just a fact of the times. I hold out for the better jobs and thankfully haven’t gotten a regular job, but it’s tough. I’m not living the life of my dreams, but I still have dreams about photography and shoot almost everyday for myself.

    The one thing I always mention during my lectures and talking to young students is that this is a career. There are no guarantees and it’s a long way to the finish. We are experiencing one of the downslides on a profession that’s only 150 years old, flexibility is key. What do you expect.

    Like Deb says, hold your ground and change your attitude.

    If you have vision, go for it, were only here once to go around, better make it your turn.

  11. So much bitterness here on the internets… not good for the soul… bad deals are everywhere in every situation, you can choose to accept them or not…

    Do what you love, keep your wits about you and try to be a pleasant person and you’ll be fine. Don’t be afraid.

  12. OMG that was hilarious… If only we photographers could actually talk like that, lmao.

  13. just to give credit where its due, this was scripted by Graham Trott –

    a UK based editorial and commercial photographer. who also happens to be bloody witty.

  14. really, Ben? that’s ultra-cool to get to the bottom of this. did he do the design one as well?

    • No, I didn’t do the graphic designer skit – I was just inspired by it. Ripped it off more like. Plagarism, maybe. Copyright infringement? I doubt it – everything on the internet is copyright free, isn’t it?

      Anyway, Robotog 2 is released now:

      Makes more sense to UK operators, due to geography knowledge, but hey, fil yer boots, mate.
      Ranting Robotog

    • @ben roberts —

  15. Wow, how old school. A male photographer talking to a female client like she’s an idiot and he’s arrogant, surly and an ass. How’s that saying go? If you want to hear a photographer complain, give him a job……

  16. Somehow can’t see any link or video or nothing from the UK (at least not on my computer) so, wondering what you were all looking at I googled “robot photographer” and fond this:-

    “A robot photographer has numerous advantages. One interesting observation indicates that people feel less self-conscious in front of a robot. After an initial period of fascination, they begin to ignore Lewis as a photographer and lose their perception of being captured in time.”

    So how cool is that ?


  17. Further reading of the background to that brings us to this:-

    “Lewis currently assumes that people are between 4 and 7 feet tall, so children may need to stand on a chair.”

    I am guessing any people in wheelchairs will be missed out of the album too, unless they have a child standing on them.


  18. The photographers who are still working are the ones who are spending their time and energy finding new clients, marketing and improving their skills instead of spending energy bitching and moaning on photo blogs.

    Now excuse me, I have to get back to editing.

    • @Tim,

      True, but some still working are also those who quite happily hand over all rights and accept ridiculously low fees “all in”.

      Before the net photographers had to accept this sort of crap on their own thinking it was their fault they were being treated like this. Now we know it’s rife.

      Remember folks, if you’re working an “amazing” gig for way below market rates they haven’t hired you for your photographic skills. They’ve hired you because you were the cheapest quote and because they know you don’t understand business.

  19. Way too Funny. This is so funny I brought tears to my eyes that guys won’t stand up for what is right in the industry.

    Hack from the top down is a good adage, that should include how a photog does business, are you as efficient as you can be, skills top notch not sloppy, I don’t like have to look for customers in different areas but you know what it is rewarding because there are people out there that see the value of what I do. I am not keen of portraits and weddings but if it fills the gapps I am still shooting and making money.

    When people don’t want to pay I don’t play. TTFN.

  20. After finally getting that video to work in Firefox (tip for you, Robert P) I was a bit underwhelmed.
    This issue is already a stuck record, and from where I sit (in London) clients with budgets (both Editorial and Commercial) are already beginning to show concern that we Photographers feel fairly treated and decently paid.

    Tightening deadlines are just another part of the massively increased speed of our working lives, but no matter how fast machines get there is a point at which I let a client know what’s feasible, and where quality will suffer.
    They don’t want you to bring back bad work, and you don’t want to set out on a shoot already feeling like you’ve been screwed.

    Sort the wheat from the chaff, and stop accepting work from bad clients.
    Make sure you explain why you’re saying no, in the hope that they become better at commissioning us.

    As for working Editorially for free; it’s a choice many successful Fashion photographers make, and if they’re truly great it pays off.
    If you want 8 pages in i-D, Self Service or EXIT, spend some of your own money. Think of it as a personal project, seen by many more people than you could ever visit with your portfolio.

    Don’t work for a Commercial client if it’s going to cost you money, or make no profit. It’s truly pointless, and the work will suck.

  21. So good it hurts. Like my favorite Mekons record.

  22. This is very close to the truth and I would say, a negotiation nightmare
    in Cartoon form. It makes you laugh but like all black humor, not really funny in the end. So take time to laugh anyway. Makes for a better day. I always like shooting for myself. It’s fun, interesting and challenging.

  23. yes, yes…
    it’s why i’m in nursing school now…

  24. Super funny but unfortunately, it’s also spot-on.

  25. This is Target, if you are a Target photographer, you know what I mean.

  26. My GOD! It is as if the writer of this skit listen to conversations I’ve had over the past week. This is funny, but also to close to home to laugh to hard. I wish I could say no to these jobs. If only the economy wasn’t complete crap.

  27. Oddly funny, though I agree with some of the comments in that it should have ended with the photographer not taking the assignment. When some publications and companies think they can get any photographer to shoot something, that is when photography is a commodity to them, and not a talent that improves their image. Amazing that they understand the need for photography, but then place so little value on it. They should try publishing a magazine in which the articles contain no images, and the only images are from the ads in the publication.

    This situation many photographers are running into reminds me of some recent developments in the shipping industry. I have photographed ships for ship service and shipping companies for years, so I get some insight into their realm. What happened over the last year is that shipping rates for some cargoes fell bellow the cost of operating certain ships. Some companies needed revenue no matter what, and tried to pick up the difference on loans, which they hoped would carry them until rates picked back up. Chartering companies usually control the rates, but the shipping companies can choose to accept them. Very recently the largest shipping company Maersk, announced they were mooring some ships to decrease their number of available ships, and they announced they would no longer accept any below cost rates. Soon a few of the other large players decided to do the same. That was a bit over a month ago, and now suddenly the rates are coming back up. About 98% of everything manufactured spends a portion of it’s life on ships, either as raw materials or finished products, so this was a very big deal in the global economy.

    While I don’t think photographers could follow what the shipping industry accomplished, I think there is a great lesson there in the power of refusing business. When you are aware of your CODB, if you knowingly took on assignments that were below that, then you would have to figure out how to make up the difference. We are not just photographers, we are business owners, and we need to make decisions that allow us to continue our business, and hopefully grow our business. The images that we make should accomplish those same goals for our clients, and help their businesses. It’s like a relationship, it takes time, and both need to grow together.

  28. We photographers have become a very sad group. I know it’s easy to get pissed off at being treated like this but we really need to take responsibility for a lot of this. The market place is flooded with talented photographers willing to work for almost nothing. Clients are reacting to the market and I can’t blame them. Their budgets are shrinking and they smell the blood in the water. They know we will work for nothing if they sell it to us. We really need to evaluate or business models. Like other posters have said. We need to be putting time into producing better work, looking for better clients and working harder to help younger photographers understand all of this that sometimes the best business move is to just say no(thank you).



  29. […] saw this video clip on photoeditors blog which is about how photographers are getting shafted by the media industry. […]

  30. please, repost it! this was easily the wittiest, funniest piece that I have ever seen on the web, and i miss being able to share it with my peers.

    i’m begging you…..please.


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