There are countless discussions about working for free in the photo industry and many points both for and against the practice. This is here is not a debate on the ethics of “hiring” someone for free or the dilemma of portfolio-building that most every newcomer faces. This is about how bringing someone along on a shoot without pay can screw over your business.
While trolling Reddit, I stumbled across a post by a sincere photographer new to the game who was offering to work as a second shooter without pay. At first, I was struck with admiration for someone who is so willing to “pay their dues.” In today’s world of self-entitlement, it is refreshing to see humility like this. However, my next thought overruled it: “How dangerous could this be to me as a photography business owner?”