If you're a professional photographer, the chances are that you'll have heard some iteration of "it'll be great exposure" over the course of your career. This shudder-inducing phrase is bad enough when it comes from a private individual – but just imagine how much worse it stings when coming from the producer of a Netflix show!
This is what happened to wedding photographer Megan Saul (opens in new tab), who was recently approached to work for five days on Netflix show Love is Blind. She received an email stating, "I'm a producer for the show "Love is Blind on Netflix and wanted to reach out because we would love for you to potentially be a wedding photographer for our upcoming season".
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Megan says that she was initially "super [excited] for all of 20 minutes". However, when she sought clarification on payment, she was told, "This would be an unpaid opportunity, but your photos will be used for the promos, in US Weekly, People, etc."
After receiving this disappointing email, Megan took to Facebook to discuss her experience (opens in new tab): "What goes in to my work is not just my time, my artistic eye or my ability to capture moments they wouldn’t be paying me for. To give you a highlight: My camera gear ($35k+ and any rentals I may need), my team (bare minimum $500/day), insurance ($2000 a year but likely would need additional coverage for something like this), my attorney (because someone is going to need to look over the contracts), my editing time, my computer, my gas every day, food, and gosh I’m sure I can think of plenty more expenses that go in to what I do.
It’s clearly more than my time I am donating for a major corporation to profit on my work."
Megan does note that it wasn't actually a Netflix representative that emailed her, but a producer from Kinetic Content, the company that produces Love is Blind. However, she also says, "Netflix is the one supporting the show and their values. They shouldn’t support free work that they will profit on by using images from an unpaid gig."
It's disappointing to see that a major production company thinks that it's acceptable to take advantage of photographers in this way – especially when wedding photographers have been so badly hit by the pandemic. Kinetic Content is yet to provide any comment on the matter.
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