I don’t think I’m a particularly brilliant photographer. Sure, I’ve carved out a little niche here in a small part of the world and my landscape photography is relatively well known amongst the local community, but I’m no big-shot Instagram influencer, I haven’t got a nationally or internationally recognisable name and I sure as shit do not earn a living from photography.
I’m sure that many of us have been asked to work for free in all sorts of annoying ways. One cheeky couple recently sent an email to a photographer asking for a coverage of their 10-hour wedding. In return, they offered exposure to the incredible number of 300 guests, 117 of them unmarried. What a tempting offer, right?
Tim Wallace is a top-notch photographer, he has shot for McLaren, Peugeot, Lexus, Aston Martin, and a bunch of other global clients. It’s always fascinating to me how some “potential clients” approach Tim Wallace for free work. It fascinates me, even more, when Tim takes the time to converse with them. The result of Tim patiently explaining to the client why he will not work for free is absolutely hilarious. Other than that, it serves as a good reminder to always be aware of your value.
How many times have you been asked to work for free or “for exposure?” No matter your experience and skill, I bet this has happened more than once. But why are there more and more people who aren’t willing to pay photographers for their work? In this video, Jessica Kobeissi discusses this problem and how we can solve it.
The very thought of working for free makes most photographers blow their top. Many of us would agree that working for free is a no-no, but there still are some exceptions. What happens when close friends and family ask you to take their photos for free? It can be a tricky situation. In this video, Tony and Chelsea Northrup discuss this issue and give you some tips when and how to do it (or not to do it).
Weddings are expensive, and one of the big costs is certainly the photographer. So, why not ask a professional to cover your wedding for free? Which photographer wouldn’t be thrilled to shoot a strangers’ wedding in exchange for “eternal love and gratitude?”
It’s probably what one couple had in mind when they created this Craigslist ad, which caused plenty of reactions within the community. They look for not one, but three photographers with pro gear, experience, talent, portfolio and developed business. And in exchange – they offer love and gratitude, and a chance to say “I’ve shot a wedding before.” Wow, who would want to miss this?
How many times have you heard (or pronounced) “Everyone is a photographer nowadays?” Indeed, there are so many people who bought a DSLR yesterday and created an “Uncle Bob Photography” Facebook page today. They throw photo shoots on super-low rates or often for free, and we all know it’s a big no-no in the industry.
You may feel like these people are harming the industry, taking away the clients and harming your business. Since they have such low rates or even don’t charge at all, it’s logical that you feel this way. But the truth is – they affect you less than you think.
Working for free has the biggest stigma on it. And for good reason, because if you don’t know how to work for free properly, you can be taken advantage of. When you work for free, you need to try and always put yourself in the best possible position to gain something from the work.
Whether you’re just putting new work in your portfolio or you’re adding to your network, you need to realize that working for free can benefit you, especially early in your career.
I really dislike it when photographers aren’t treated with respect for their time and talent. It happens way too often sadly.
Justin Rosenberg recently fell into this situation. He was recently approached by a media personality that wanted to take advantage of her position. The funny part is that she had less online engagement than he did so there was legitimately no value to the over-inflated claims produced in the beginning.
The conversation below is exactly how NOT to approach a photographer when you want someone to produce content for you.