If there’s one thing that really annoys me about photography gigs it is being asked to do one for free. Photography isn’t my career, I have a normal (and boring) day job to earn money, pay the mortgage and the bills, and put food on the table but this doesn’t mean I am going to be giving up my spare time taking photos for someone else for nothing. I have little spare time, and it is precious so I am not going to give it up for free.
I get approached by many companies and businesses requesting corporate portrait services (for their websites), general workplace photos of their premises/factory/offices for their advertising literature, photos for them to hang as wall art in the directors’ offices, and photos of their business functions, corporate events and staff jollies. This wouldn’t be too bad if I was being offered cold hard cash for my time and skills but I am not. Some businesses offer to put my name on any photos I take for them, some offer to put my business card on their reception, some offer to put my advert in their monthly internal newsletter and some offer to promote my services for me. This is great, but I don’t want or need to be advertised since I get enough photography gigs to keep me amused on my own. These businesses and companies are simply taking the p**s, after all I bet they don’t give out freebies, so I flatly refuse to work for no money at all.
In the past I have also been asked to provide photography services by local charities for their events and jollies, and all gratis. Yep, these charities expect me to give up my time photographing a fundraising event so they can raise money for some cause I have no interest in, which as I am sure you have already guessed I don’t do.
I know for a fact that the people working for the charity get paid (some are on a salary but most submit expense claims for their time/travel costs/expenses etc.) because I actually audit the accounts of several charities in the local area. If the people organizing the event are getting paid why shouldn’t I? Why are they expecting me to donate my time and services for free? I hate it when paid charity organizers start laying on the guilt trip and pressurizing people in to giving money, donating time, donating services etc. when they themselves aren’t donating their time for free. It simply isn’t right.
Right now you’re probably thinking that I am uncharitable and selfish, but I can assure you I am not. I donate money to a few charities, but they are charities I want to donate to, charities that mean something to me and charities I have an interest it. They are also charities that don’t press gang me in to do anything unless I actually choose to.
A few months back I was asked by a couple of local music groups and bands to take some photos of them for their website and fliers to promote their up and coming gigs. This request came totally out of the blue, and after telling some work colleagues about the request I then found out our new starter, who used to work at a venue where these bands play told them about me. Once again these bands expected me to provide my services for free, although they did say I could get free entry to the gig where I was expected to take the photos of them on stage! As much as I wish these groups every success I am not going to help them in their journey. I don’t follow the bands, I don’t like the style of music they play and I have absolutely no interest in them whatsoever. If I were one of their groupies I would take some free promotional shots for them, but as I am not and they haven’t mentioned payment – I don’t think so.
In the past I have photographed a few events for free, however I wasn’t approached or asked to do them – I offered because I wanted to. I photographed a play by the local am dram group, I offered my photography services as a raffle prize for the local scout group and I also did some photos for a local motorbike museum.
I have had a bit of a hard time from several people about not providing photography services for free, which I think is actually quite unfair. These people don’t seem to appreciate that I have little spare time and neither do they appreciate that after the shoot I then have to spend hours and hours going through the photos and deciding what ones to keep and bin, and then editing those keepers in photo shop and making them the best they can be. These people seem to think that all I need to do is turn up, take a few snaps, burn the photos onto a disc and the job’s done. If it were that simple I would donate more of my time and services, but as it’s not I don’t and I demand payment. It’s as simple as that.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
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