If you’ve been in the creative business long enough, chances are you’ve been requested to do some spec work. As a photographer, you are rarely asked to do a complete shoot as spec work, but there is a good chance that you;v been asked to pitch a concept along with other photographers. And if you also provide design services, then this is may even be a standard practice.
The idea behind spec work is that many creatives work to create a concept to suggest to a client. The client than picks one concept and anyone who did not win is not getting payed.
Of course, this will not fly in any other industry. This movie by Zulu Alpha Kilo shows what seems to be real situations like. It pitches spec work to an architect, a chef, a personal trainer and a framer. None would have it
If you are not sure what spec work exactly is, this movie has a great explanation.