One of the phrases we often hear is “exposure doesn’t pay the bills.” So an offer to work for exposure makes most photographers fly off the handle. But according to Miguel Quiles, you can turn that exposure into cash and he proposes three ways to do it. So in the end, you might actually be able to pay the bills with exposure. In a certain way.
Repackage the content
Repackaging is another clever way to take the advantage of the “exposure work.” In other words, you can use the work you’ve done for free with one client and offer it to a similar client. Let’s say a fitness club wants you to take photos for them for free exposure. You can approach it as if it was paid and take some really good shots. Later on, you can show the photos to other potential clients in the related fields.
As Miguel explains, this shows you’ve established some credibility in working in this field. Consequently, you can get a higher paying job. Of course, the new clients don’t need to know you did the initial work for free, not you have to do other projects for free.
If you agree to do the first photo shoot for a client, you can offer to do it for free or at a discount. This allows you to start a relationship and can bring you more work with the same client in the future. However, if you accept to work for free, make it clear that you’ll charge the client for the future projects and set the price in advance.
This approach could bring you more projects with the same client, but there’s one more benefit. You can also repackage the work and approach other companies, as explained in the previous tip.
It’s been discussed a lot whether or not you should work for free. There are some situations when it’s okay. But more often you’ll just feel like someone’s trying to use you when they offer you “exposure” instead of cash. I understand and support the decision to always charge for your work. After all, photography is a job like any other. But I guess it can’t hurt to know that you can turn that exposure into your advantage and eventually make some cash from it, too.