In the years I’ve been doing this, I have done many free shoots.
Some I do for charity. Some I do to help a business locally get off the ground, some I do for friends because it’s a gift I can give. I am happy to do those shoots.
Sometimes I am asked to shoot for free for other reasons… But in the years I have been doing requested ‘free’ shoots, not one of those clients has come back to me as a paying client.
Did you get that?
NOT ONE OF THOSE SHOOTS THAT I DID FOR FREE (excluding those I gifted) MEANT THAT THE CLIENT CAME BACK TO ME AS A PAYING CLIENT.
Why not? Shouldn’t it have got me more work?
Because if you shoot for free, then you have removed your value as a photographer.
You are saying ‘There’s no value to what I do.’
Not only that but you’re telling everyone that there’s no value to what other photographers around you do either. Heck, if you do it for free, so can they. Right?
Even if you’re new and trying to put together a portfolio, put a charge on your work. Cover your petrol cost, or put a $ amount on your time. Don’t give it away.
Shoot for free and the ONLY thing you’re communicating is that you’ll always shoot for free.
My work comes from recommendations, from repeat clients and from meeting people.
It has never, not once, come from a free shoot. Shooting for free will not get you more work, but it will get you more clients who want free work (these I call ‘D clients’ – more on that later.)
Bottom line, shooting for free, DOESN’T WORK!
Please, let’s value what we do. This is a skill, constantly being learned and updated. We take years to learn this stuff. Equipment is expensive. Materials are not free. We all have bills.
Place a value on your work and let’s get back to some sanity. If we all do it, folks out there will stop treating photography as some sort of cheap commodity.