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Iowa City Photographers Guild

Events • Portraits • Seniors • Graduation • Wedding

Category: Uncategorized

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Working with National Photography Companies


National photography companies are always looking to hire local photographers for real estate photos, graduation photos, news stories, and corporate photography. These companies typically pay you less than you might otherwise earn in a direct relationship with clients. However, if they get you business you might not otherwise have, then you may come out ahead. Because of the lower pay, these types of jobs are better suited for photographers who are just getting started.


National firms have a lot of money for advertising, so they may reach markets you can’t afford to reach through advertising. These companies also may provide some value added services that you can’t offer your customers, such as broader exposure. For more information about what’s available, read “Earn Money Taking Local Photos for National Companies” by Stephanie M. Kelley.

Before continuing with a national company, read the rest of this page for some important considerations and warnings.

Keep it Local

Perhaps the biggest drawback to larger national companies is that they take a cut of all revenue. Think of it like a local sales tax, but instead of that money going back into our community, it gets syphoned away. So, ultimately, it’s not great for our local communities.

Build Relationships

We all win when direct relationships are built between customers and local businesses. Inserting a corporate franchise layer between customers and service providers ends up depersonalizing the experience for all parties involved. Successful businesses build direct relationships with customers and the community. As a result, they are able to better know and serve those they work for.

Beware of Companies With Bad Reputations

Teaming up with a national company that has a bad reputation can bring down your reputation as well. Your skills and the quality of your work may be top notch, but ultimately customers will develop a perception about you based on the company you work through. If their customer service isn’t great, or if they don’t treat their own employees well, that could be a problem.

Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find out more about a company before signing up. You can learn more by visiting GlassDoor.com to learn about how employees feel about the company.

Here’s an example… The ICONIC Group, formally known as Event Photography Group or Grad Images, has established a very poor reputation according to ratings from the Better Business Bureau and on Glassdoor. This might be an example of a company to avoid.


Companies that develop a very poor reputation will sometimes change their business name rather than changing their business practices. This can go on for years under the same management. So, be sure to do some research into past business names of anyone you plan to work with.

University of Iowa Website Incorporates Exceptional Engaging Photography

Website Photography Considerations

For websites to be engaging, they must include high quality photography that captivates the site visitor. The University of Iowa has recently moved toward a responsive website design that features a full width 1100×580 ‘slider’ (slideshow) featured image collection. Selected photos from 24 August 2014 are shown below. There are a few things to be pointed out about these images:

  • File Names. The photos themselves don’t have descriptive file names. That’s fine, although when images are copied it’s sometimes better to include some meta data in the file name such as a date, name of photographer, and description — as well as some SEO helpful keywords. Some information has been added to the repostings here.
  • Credit – Retroactive. The photos don’t include any retroactive credit or caption. This is actually helpful for websites with responsive design because you want the text to continue to be a readable size regardless of how the images are being sized. A retroactive credit is one where the photo itself doesn’t contain a credit, but the person using it will add a credit to the photo or in a caption under it.
  • Credit – Proactive. There’s a growing movement of photographers providing royalty free content to higher education and non-profit organizations. The benefit of not watermarking your name or commercial website on your photography is that it has broader use. Sometimes a photographer’s watermark, name, or copyright statement on a photo can be distracting from other content on the site, the site design, or detract from the photo itself. Often photos need to be cropped or constrained to certain dimensions and sizes. In this process, if your name is on the photo, in the lower right area for example, part of it may get cut off.

Photo Examples

Below are photo examples from the University of Iowa website. They are being used here non-commercially, in the spirit of fair use, for the purpose of promoting the University of Iowa, and for the purpose of driving traffic to the UIOWA website. If anyone has a concern about their use, feel free to contact us. The last photo of a sunset over the UIOWA Campus Recreation and Wellness Center is from the CRWC web page. Click any image for a larger gallery view.

On Iowa Video

Below is a video with glimpses into the On Iowa event.


A timeline of beginnings – Valerie Duvick Photography Business Timeline

A timeline of beginnings.

via A timeline of beginnings.