Is Shooting for a Bad Magazine Good?

Today on a generalist Photo Forum under the Portrait Fashion category, someone from a small independent and in my opinion based on what I saw on their web site, not very good fashion magazine, placed an ad for photographers for their magazine. Now that seemed strange in the first place, which I go on to explain in the copy below. Here is part of the content of her query.

I have left out the name of the magazine and the name of the person.

We are looking for an up and coming photographer each month to shoot images for our cover. This is an unpaid commission, but provides great exposure as the cover stays on the front page for one whole month

This was my response to her…

Hello …

My concern is that if you are coming to a forum to seek out photographers for your magazine, then that speaks volumes about the credibility of your magazine. I have been in this strange business for over 20+ years and do know one thing; the minimum one should know is where the sources are, where the press offices are which agents represent which photographers and what are the agencies representing the models etc. Now, perhaps you are new at this, so I will consider this query as naive, but, I do know that if I had to put  a production together and I wasn’t the photographer, I would know exactly where to find them.

That tells me, that getting exposure in your magazine could be considered poison in disguise, wrapped in a sweet chocolate covered coating. Why? Because anyone in the know would see immediately by the content, layout, choice of talent and advertisers what your standing is in the Fashion community. This may sound cruel and arrogant, but the reality is, in looking at your web site, I would recommend to anyone wishing to shoot for this magazine the following…“Buyer Beware!”

Getting to shoot for VOGUE, Harpers, Elle, Marie Claire, Numéro, V, W, or ID has and never will be a question of “How Much Do I Make?” that is a joke! You couldn’t pay VOGUE enough money to shoot for them! The status associated with doing so is the following…“Once you are in VOGUE, you ARE in Vogue” and your phone will slowly start ringing off the wall to shoot Ad campaigns that command 5 to 6 figure numbers per day. Now let me repeat that, anywhere from 10,000 to 250,000 dollars per day!

There is a very simple barometer in this business. The less credible the magazine, the more perks  and amenities it should provide for the team, as the exposure the team gets may actually be more detrimental to them than if they hadn’t shot for them at all.

 If you want a Photographer, Stylist, AD, Make-up or Hair stylist, Set Designer, etc…  just order LeBook. Now if you didn’t know about Lebook or other sources for talent, you should NOT be in the Fashion Business. If you want to play the game, learn the rules.

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…