Sometimes people ask me to work for free or volunteer and I have thought about the subject and sometimes accepted to do some volunteer work for non-profits, but in recent reading in a trade article I found someone who did a tidy summary of this subject – his point #5 of 7 – although many of his listed “mistakes” involve the amount of money charged for work. This is on the subject of photography, but in my opinion this would apply to any professional work – websites, photography, etc. It is DAMAGING to the trade for professionals to undersell themselves and/or work for free.
#5: WORKING FOR FREE
This is an interesting one, and encompasses a subject I see quite often in the many online photography groups: The idea of photographing for free (or almost free) in the hopes of gaining exposure.
You can’t be in the photography business for very long without someone asking you to photograph something (often an event of some kind) for a very low rate on the promise it will give you great exposure or the prospect of more, higher-paid, work down the line.
This is an insult to the photographer, and does a lot of damage to the photography industry. The promised “exposure” more often than not turns out to be non-existent, and further work usually entails poor compensation at best.
Consider the concepts presented in items #1 and #3 when making your decision about these types of jobs, and you can’t go too far wrong.
My advice to new photographers is to not fall into the trap of imagining that just because you’re not experienced in the business that you can’t ask for what you and your photography are worth.
full text of the article is here:
(The article was again sent in the daily email April 24, 2015)