Photographers (and other creative people – including models and make-up artists) are constantly asked to work for free on the promise of getting “exposure”. As I read somewhere, and I do wish I remembered where, people die from exposure.
Believe it or not, even in the digital age, photography costs money, and working for “exposure” does not pay my credit card bills. That said, however, there are times when working for free can pay off.
I recently shot some promotional work for Ink 4 Pink, a local cancer charity event. The event organizer, Jessica Hill (aka, JJ Diablo) is on my personal list of pretty tattooed girls I’d like to photograph. I have worked with one of the models in the promo piece, Kris Melton with Rock Fist Reviews, twice before – for free (a relationship that recently got me published in Prick Magazine again). I have worked with the make-up artist for the promo piece, Trisha Stowell, a number of times before – for free. It is those free jobs that got me in front of the event organizer. We did a really good promo piece, and had a good time creating it.
I got to work in a location that I would not have had easy access to before, with a creative team (models, make-up, wardrobe) that I would not have easily put together, and made strong network connections for future work.
Working for free – for exposure – can be a Good Thing. It ust depends on your personal goals as a creative