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.
Phone conversation this morning…
Hi, we are a super car dealer in London and you’ve been selected to do some photography for us.
Hi, sorry you’ve lost me, what do you mean ‘selected’?
We searched Google this morning for car photographers and you come out on top as knowing what you are doing.
Thanks, its what I specialize in so yes I like to think I know what I am doing. Can I ask what this ‘photography’ is for?
Everything, we are revamping our website so its for that, as well as social media, magazine adverts and shows we go to.
What usage period are you looking for?
Where and when you are using the photography and over what time period…
Everywhere, I just said.
Okay, lets come back to that. What have you got in mind, do you have a brief of what you are looking to have shot and an idea of how you want that to look like, in studio for example or on location there at the dealership?
Just shoot everything that looks good really…
No brief then, do you have an idea of what images you need in the context of how many do you need for your website for instance and are the spaces that they are to go into already predetermined and therefore we have an idea of what size and shape those need to be?
No, we will just use all of them if they are any good…
Ok, in truth it’s very hard to give you an accurate quote on this without at least a loose brief of what is required, can I ask what sort of budget you have allocated to this?
There isn’t a budget, I only just started the job here as head of marketing and I want to shake it all up but currently there isn’t money available for marketing so I have had the idea that what ever you shoot we will print and frame and put your name on as the photographer. We get loads of really wealthy people buying cars here so I reckon you could easily make a mint from the free advertising that I am offering you here.
Hmmm, I’ve just googled the number your calling from as I was pretty sure that this was a joke call if I’m honest but you are indeed a dealer, not sure I would say ’supercar’ but yes you are a business. You said your the head of marketing?
…and you have no idea what usage is, you have no brief, and you have no budget?
No, but we have loads of amazing cars that you can shoot, what more do you need?
Not sure I am the right guy for you in truth, maybe you would be better approaching a keen amateur or something, I’m sure somebody there knows somebody in their family that’s got a ‘decent camera’…
We want a professional job not an amateur…
Yes I know but a professional job means you ‘employ’ a professional, which in turn means that they will be running a business. A business is a organisation that supplies goods or services at a cost. No business exists that works for free and that is what you asking for.
We are giving you free advertising!
With our help you’ll get your name out there and that’s good for business.
You already told me that you Googled ‘car photographers’ and I came up top of the list, why would I need advertising in a small dealership in London that has a turnover off less than £100k…
How do you know that?
Companies House, your a limited company, it’s public information and I am sat at my desk right now…
I can’t believe that you’re turning down an opportunity like this!
I cant believe that you would expect a business professional to work for you for free, have no brief, no idea what you want and then you would use what they created for the commercial benefit of your business.
If this is what you want to do then that’s your choice, I simply think that you should be approaching a different type of person.
I don’t understand?
On your website, it says that you have a Lamborghini for hire and its £1200 per day including insurance.
Yes we do, it’s an amazing car, you could shoot that, do you like that?
Can I hire that for a week, please?
You want to hire it?
What are you going to shoot it while you have it, good idea
No, I’m not going to shoot it I just want it for a week to drive around in
Are you wanting to book it now, as I will need to get a card payment.
I don’t want to pay, I want it for free…
What? I can’t do that
My point exactly.
So you don’t want to do this photography for us then?
No, but I wish you the very best of luck
Have you ever had the conversation of working in exchange for “hanging your photos”?