Photojournalism is a Business – Remember That!

Cape Town, July 14, 2016 – Today students got a large dose of something other than photography and story telling.  Your blogger taught a two-hour course in the Business and Legal Issues of Photojournalism.

The course started with the useful reminder that, to continue in photojournalism, one must earn enough to live.  Thus one has to think of their work not only as journalism, but also as a business.  To survive, the photojournalist must earn a fair income for their work and protect its inherent value.

The course then moved on to the concept of copyright – what is it, when is it created, who owns it and how is it protected.  Instructor and South African photographer Jodi Bieber, who sat in on the class, pointed out that the default ownership in South Africa for freelancers gives the copyright to the commissioning entity, unlike the US where the copyright generally belongs to the freelancer unless it is signed away.

The class then received and read a series of forms of actual form contracts between photographers and acquiring entities, with each contract being assigned to a student for analysis, after which they explained elements of the contract to the class.

The class ended with a focused discussion on negotiating, pricing and billing strategies,  including ways to find out market prices through specialized software and Web resources.

Neal Jackson, reviewing forms of contracts with students in special class on Business and Legal Issues of Photojournalism.
Neal Jackson, reviewing forms of contracts with students in special class on Business and Legal Issues of Photojournalism.

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