The very mention of working for free makes most photographers and filmmakers blow their top. But what if, in some cases, working for free can actually be good for your business? Aviv Vana of CineSummit discusses this topic and teaches you how to get more work by doing free work.
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.
Clients can sometimes be… tricky. Okay, “tricky” is an understatement in some situations. They can be absolutely horrific. I’m sure you’ve been offered an “amazing opportunity” to work for exposure at least once in your career. Or maybe you’ve even had an offer you just couldn’t refuse, like working for socks or spray tan. I wonder if people would apply the same logic to other professions. Guys from Foil Arms and Hog wondered the same thing, so they have created a really funny video that shows what it would like if you ask a plumber to work for free.
I always say that if you want to see creativity, ask a photographer the various ways potential clients will respond back to rate requests. I decided to turn that into reality!
I asked photographers the worst stories they had with potential clients responding back after being asked what their rates were. I promised to keep the responses anonymous so they could let loose. Sadly, it happens to even some of the best photographers.
The point of this is to make you realize that you’re not alone. It’s a part of the industry. I think in time, it gets easier to handle knowing that it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you, but how awful people can be sometimes. And hopefully, by sharing this, people will know that it’s really not cool to act like this!
I decided to collect the *best* (of the worst) 35 responses and here they are below:
Today we are going to have a debate! And the subject is TFP, something which I have a had a fair few debates on already in Photography groups on Facebook. Now I’m pretty sure you all by now you know what TFP means and what it entails, if you don’t, you are either very lucky, or very unfortunate……or you have been stranded on a desert island from birth, catching fish with your shoelaces and drinking your own urine. If you are said, bearded castaway then let me explain :
The word “testing” can have a variety of different meanings in the industry.
But it always refers to creatives sharing their time to create something as a team.
In commercial photography the test is done to see if the model is suitable for a commercial shoot, since models cost a lot of money and “bad chemistry” can cost the client too much.