Why Photographers Cannot Work for Free

the chilliwack river in winter
The Chilliwack River in Winter

   If you request free work from other people, or you tend to do work for free yourself, this is for you.

   It is not a rare occurrence for someone to contact me requesting an image for free. Often these are companies that expect me to give up my work for free for their commercial gain. I am sure this happens to other artists as well – I know graphic designers are also plagued by those seeking images for free. Occasionally I have turned some of these opportunities into situations where I was paid adequately for my work. Most often though when I request payment they suggest “we will give you credit” and “this will be great exposure” in lieu of monetary compensation. Or they claim they simply have “no budget for photography”. I try to respond to this nonsense as politely as possible though sometimes the return response is hostile. I even had someone request a free print this year (of the image in this post). Sorry, NO.

   So I was quite pleased yesterday to see that Tony Wu had written a document to help us respond to these free requests: http://photoprofessionals.wordpress.com/. Many photographers have constant free demands for their work, and I am sure all are tired of it. I know I will be referring people to this article in the future, hopefully it will help educate.

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