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Have You Been Asked To Do Photography For Free? Yeah, Me Too..
Brilliant. This one's for every Photographer out there that's heard the "You know.. do this job and you'll get tons of exposure!" If only we could run to B&H or Adorama with a fist full of exposure. Thanks +Katrin Eismann for tweeting this one!
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Sean Branch's profile photoMichael Seneschal's profile photoAelwyn Rees's profile photoKurt von Ahnen's profile photo
57 comments
 
Like the chicken to the pig - let's make some eggs and bacon - I'll provide the eggs, you provide the bacon!
 
All the time, but I used to get that with web design too for years. The creative industry has so many people who don't value it. Our job is to find the ones that do and learn that we can actually say no, even if you need money. I learned from Charles Lewis, never let the inmates runt he asylum!

I also enjoy "Your camera takes great photos" to which I respond with "Do you say to a chef, you have a great oven"... though I have seen a better one on the What The Duck comic series (fantastic if you've never heard of it)... Respond with "Your mouth makes great compliments"

Oh, and I think of "exposure" credit card expired.
 
I'm sharing this with everyone I know who thinks I should shoot for free thanks RC.
 
If they ever make video business cards I'm putting this on the back.
 
The promise of more work in the future = more work for free.
 
Social media such as Google Plus, a well developed portfolio and the way you sell yourself along with your image IRL and on the web is exposure. The client's approach is trying to get apples for free at the fresh market,"because you are going to tell the guys back at the office how good those apple were". It's in the description- "Professional" - it is a profession.
 
share it with the world!! Im going through my contacts to see how many ppl i can pass this through..
 
How true! All they see is us with our camera not all the hours editing, driving to and fro.... ill stop now!
 
This actually gives me some confidence to step out there with my photography.
 
This is awesome! Thanks so much for posting!
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you +RC Concepcion
It's good to see photographers who have high follower counts sharing this idea, countering the "give it all away because those people won't pay anyway" mentality that some are putting out there. So far I've seen that mentality work for ONE person and not work for millions more. Yes, times have changed but all that means is that we have to change how we do business, not just accept the fact that photography is no longer a viable business. Instead of magazines, we have websites. So those websites should pay for using images just like magazines do.

IMHO as much as we teach newbies about things like aperture and composition we should also be teaching them to value their work, for the sake of all photographers! Stop sending your images to the local paper and local TV stations. Stop shooting weddings for peanuts. Stop giving your work away for free. Nothing good comes of it and it is slowly eroding what was once a realistic way of making a living.

Don't we hear all the time about job creation in the U.S.? Pay me for using my photo and you've created work for someone. Seems pretty obvious to me. ;) Remember folks we don't have a union or high powered attorneys looking out for us, like the music industry does. We have to start protecting ourselves and spreading the word is a good start.

Thanks again RC. Keep up the good work. :)
 
+RC Concepcion
Over the past 3 or 4 years I came up with a good solution to this situation.

I used to have a similar comeback like the one in the video. But the people who ask for free photography won't instantly change their minds no matter what I say.

Instead, when asked to work for free, I always say is that I want to charge for my time. I place the value on time instead (which, in theory, time is the photography said in a different way... a different way that is more quantifiable to the type of person who is asking for free photography). BTW, I just quote my normal rate for 'time'.

I told this theory to a few of my photographer friends and all of them came back saying I was wrong for shifting the focus on time rather than photography, that I should essentially argue with people who ask for free work. I'm not going to argue with anyone, or coach them on why they are wrong. Just because they are asking for 'free' doesn't mean they are bad people, and it doesn't mean they are any less of a customer.

I've never had someone say they didn't want to pay for my "time". So far I have a 100% conversion success rate (which is all of like 6 or 7 times, not a ton). When I don't use the line "I just want to be paid for my time", and I preach about the value of photography, I have a 100% fail rate.

I see this as the psychology of business. Since a photography business actually has more to do with customer service than it does photography, you can satisfy the customers needs with your "time" or with your "photography". Either way the customer wins (and so do I).
 
I agree with +Michael Seneschal trying to explain doesn't work...they don't really care....showing them the video will just make them think you are a twit.......tell them you would love to do the job...your hourly rate is ....... and leave it at that.
 
Yes Anthony... So much with the web stuff. As if I need more portfolio stuff! ;)
 
**fun snatcher alert** **fun snatcher alert**
 
Another problem solved by a polite, "No."
 
i like crtoon animation :D
 
100% spot on. I don't photograph, but I do quite a bit of design in Photoshop. I get asked to do things all the time, and when it's time to pony up, i hear things like "you want how much? But it will only take you a few minutes!"

Maybe so, but it took A LOT more than a few minutes to develop a craft. It took a lot more than a few minutes to learn Photoshop's interface and hidden intricacies. And it certainly took a lot more than a few minutes to earn the money to buy Photoshop, a Wacom, and a computer capable of making the most of it.

Nobody works for free, nobody. You invest time, money, and energy. You make sacrifices, you alienate your family, and develop a permanent squint. You can no longer simply enjoy good design and art because you're always in critique or study mode. You're certainly not going to give your talent away.

And besides, undervaluing your time and your work will actually cost you more money in the long run. If you don't think you're worth it, clients certainly won't.
 
Applies to not only photography! Thanks!
 
Everyone wants their computer fixed for free, too! I guess the best things in life are free, eh?
 
I work for free all the time...and I get what I pay for.......
 
Free food for a year might be viable. :)
 
nice to share, so now i just share this video to people who want to free picture hahaha
 
Same deal for all creatives, it's never the artist that makes money on their own work. You want it you pay for it!
 
This is really unfortunate. Photography has always been something i am happy to pay for. Having a photographer capture our special moments is priceless. I recently had to major events for which i hired photographers. The 1st one the photos were terrible and we will never get those moments back. In fact when i look at the photos it makes me sad. The 2nd event the photos were fabulous and when i look at them i relive that day with joy all over again. So yes i am happy to pay you for your TIME and TALENT. Thank you for sharing.
 
B...bu....but RC, are you telling me that when you go to B&H or Adorama they're not giving you everything you want for free because of all the exposure you have and all the exposure you'll give them by telling about it? That's terrible! (goes sobbing, rolled up in a corner of the room, thinking about his just shattered dreams) ;) </sarcasm>
 
Out of context this doesn't work, in my opinion. Given the right exposure, meaning that the work will have an audience that they're interested in selling to, I think it's a perfectly reasonable idea for a photographer to consider this proposal. Lots of professions, especially artistic ones, have to get out there and prove themselves for little or no pay before they get a break. If your work is good enough to sell your services then doing it for free can sometimes be logical if it serves as advertising. For a seasoned pro who is already making a comfortable living, or for a job that really doesn't put your work in front of people who have the means or the desire to give you paid work in the future, then this is, of course, just as ridiculous as the video suggests.
Khush N
 
this is so true and so perfect.
 
+RC Concepcion i just got asked today by a model to shoot and create 10 composites, poster-size quality, including some where i would have to buy stock photos, in TFCD. She wanted to do it for fun. I just couldn't stop thinking about that video. As you can guess, I had to decline the offer.
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