In this day and age, where some people would do just about everything to be seen, it’s interesting to see companies trying to take advantage of that.

Some time ago, I was contacted by the ad agency responsible for MasterCard’s Priceless web site. They wanted to use my pictures from Easter Island and write a little story about them, to promote priceless situations.

What would I get out of it? My name on the site, as a photo credit.

Maybe I’m a bit cynical now, but having an idea of how much money MasterCard, and no doubt their ad agency, bring in, I’m sure they have enough funds to actually pay for using pictures which will help them make even more money. It’s not really like it’s a charitable source…

So, I declined.

Photos for education

Just recently an educational facility in Turkey were interested in having one of my pictures from Brunei in a magazine for kids, helping them to learn things. They asked if it was ok, and said that they might want to use the picture on their web site as well to promote that specific magazine issue.

All I wanted was a copy of the magazine, since I thought it would be fun. Some weeks later, the magazine arrived and my picture was in it. Cool!

But attached in the letter was that a paper they wanted me to sign, basically giving them the rights to use my photo in any media known to man, and all other ways they couldn’t think of but wanted to reserve, and I would not ask for anything back for this. I mean, seriously?

The picture will be in the magazine, and that’s that. I have no idea how it went from being helpful about something which would make kids learn, to they taking over all control of the photo from my trip.

So, I declined.

Priceless, eh?


  • First, congrats for all the "nice" offers!

    And second, congrats for declining the "priceless" offer. I'm sure they found a photographer that thought it was priceless indeed and accepted, and Mastercard will be making tons of money with free pics because there are people out there who accept that kind of thing, but is good not being part of it, I think.

  • David Naylor says:

    Here's to standing up for photographers and saying no to ridiculous offers!

    I rejected an offer/blew a deal with the Irish magazine Garda Times (for retired policemen?) in November. They wanted to use this photo of a Swedish police car. I suggested a price of GPB 80 or 115 €, but that was obviously far too expensive.

    They said they usually pay 10-50 € for photos… Well, get real I thought. I spent several hours in the freezing cold to get that photo, I'm not selling it for petty cash. πŸ™‚

    So I went off with my ego intact, and with no less cash! πŸ˜€

  • RobertDM says:

    And so right you are!! You have every right to be paid a fair price for your photographs, and when it comes down to handing over all rights it should actually cost them quit a bit more. My brother's a professional photographer and he would agree with your point of view 100%!

  • Steven Clark says:

    There's a lot of greed out there Robert. It never ceases to amaze me how greedy people can be – such as wanting to take all rights to the photo even after you just gave them a free use for the magazine.

    Obviously the strategy seems to work for some companies though and that's what worries me. πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks, guys!

    I was sure I wasn't the only one who had gotten such offers, or who thought they were somewhat ridiculous.


    Great pic!

  • BART says:

    It 's not the greediness that worries me most in these stories (although that as well), but the arrogance.

    They just don't understand that some people take their photos quite seriously. (I do, and I'm not even that good a photographer.) They seem to think that having your name on such a website is enhough reward for you, humble man.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yeah, absolutely.

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