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kris416
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Build your portfolio=work for free


Hi,

I am by no means a professional photographer and I am trying to gain experience but I am unwilling to do it for free for companies just trying to take advantage of students.

Thoughts?

Example ad in Toronto.. .there are a lot of these

http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-jobs-tv-media-fashion-Photographer-for-Luxury-Fashion-Label-Pop-Up-Shop-W0QQAdIdZ535501589



Oct 24, 2013 at 12:55 PM
cwebster
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Build your portfolio=work for free


"unpaid" and "professional" are opposites.

I'm sure they get the unpaid part, but doubt they get truly professional results.

I did a fair bit of free work to build my portfolio, much was TFP but none was for people advertising for photo services. I chose who, when, and where I worked and what I shot for free.

<Chas>



Oct 24, 2013 at 05:00 PM
BenV
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Build your portfolio=work for free


There was a good rant on this on Strobist.com

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2013/10/your-real-estate-agent-would-like-some.html



Oct 25, 2013 at 03:11 PM
kris416
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Build your portfolio=work for free


Great rant! Funny that this concerns the Realtors, as my brother does strictly real estate photography here in Canada and is convinced that realtors might be the cheapest people on earth (generally speaking). He works for the agents directly, and so many of the try to haggle his already VERY fair pricing. They make thousands upon thousands per listing, and don't want to fork over what is equivalent to pocket change for what is in reality marketing costs.

I mean I can understand non profits and students etc but when it's clearly a business or somebody just trying to be cheap it's downright rude.

And on that note... I gotta go find some free work to build my portfolio



Dec 12, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Build your portfolio=work for free


cwebster wrote:
"unpaid" and "professional" are opposites.

I'm sure they get the unpaid part, but doubt they get truly professional results.

I did a fair bit of free work to build my portfolio, much was TFP but none was for people advertising for photo services. I chose who, when, and where I worked and what I shot for free.

<Chas>


Right on Chas!
I built, and continue to build, my portfolio on what Chas's stated. Saying that, all my paid photo services came from recommendations by clients, paid or free and also by "banging on some doors" to promote my work.

I keep a large supply of business cards on hand and pass them out at every opportunity that I think might turn into a paid service.
Even if it does not become paid, as Chas states, if I am contacted and the venue presents itself as an "endorsement" to my photography skills I will do it for free if "may" benefit me later.

I have found that this opens many doors down the road. PAID "doors"!
I have never seen an ad i my area for photo services but that is not to say there hasn't been one.
Dan



Dec 13, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Build your portfolio=work for free


I have done contras simply to gain access to places - gaining access means you get to photograph things you'd otherwise never be allowed to.

Once that's done, and you are known, it often leads to paid work.

I would not pimp myself out for dull shite, but to get into private areas and industry - sure.



Dec 13, 2013 at 02:31 PM
JoshI
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Build your portfolio=work for free


I hear photographers rant all the time about folks who are willing to do unpaid work for experience. When I was in college I worked as an unpaid intern for an investment house. I did it for credit and experience and it's something I'd do over again in a heartbeat. Most photographers don't go to college (for photography anyway), so why can't they work for experience while they get their feet on the ground. I find it much more disingenuous when photographers with no experience try to charge for work. There is a huge difference between being a decent hobbyist photographer and being a professional photographer, and I'd certainly never pay someone to do something they'd never done before.

Josh



Dec 13, 2013 at 05:14 PM
 

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kris416
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Build your portfolio=work for free


Josh I see your point, but I'm not attacking the photographers that do it, it's the companies that are just being cheap.


Dec 13, 2013 at 05:24 PM
drive_75
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Build your portfolio=work for free


JoshI wrote:
I hear photographers rant all the time about folks who are willing to do unpaid work for experience. When I was in college I worked as an unpaid intern for an investment house. I did it for credit and experience and it's something I'd do over again in a heartbeat. Most photographers don't go to college (for photography anyway), so why can't they work for experience while they get their feet on the ground. I find it much more disingenuous when photographers with no experience try to charge for work. There is a huge difference between being a decent hobbyist
...Show more

Josh,
I would do it in a heart beat too if it benefit me. Most of the rants are not as you said here and does not benefit the Photographers one bit. For example, company asking Photographers to shoot for free and give them credit. I don't know any Photographer getting another gig because of the credit they receive. Not that there isn't one just that I don't know of anyone. If I get an opportunity to work with the best Photographers in the world, I would take it in a heart beat. What most Photographers are asked to do is to work for free. This is not a training as you were when you took an intern job. An intern job is to train you and that benefit you as much as the company. A Photographer working for free is not training. You might say for exposure but that's up to the Photographer to decide if that exposure will benefit him.

I've done free session for couples that needed the photos and can't afford them but I wouldn't do it for a company that rake in millions.



Dec 13, 2013 at 05:43 PM
JoshI
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Build your portfolio=work for free


I guess where we disagree is that I do see it as training. The ad in the original link offers photographers experience working in a professional environment without pay. You and I already have experience working in a professional environment, so it would be silly of us to work for free unless we wanted to do it. But for someone who has never shot in a professional environment before, this type of opportunity can give them experience without some of the risk (for the photographer and the employer) of jumping in head first to a paying gig.

It's not training like McDonalds trains a new employee on working a fryer or building a Big Mac, but neither was my college internship. They didn't train me to do anything specifically. Rather, they provided me with the opportunity to experience the way a business operates; the strategies, decisions, challenges, etc. But that's training nonetheless. I use things I learned that semester on a weekly basis in my own business. And that's precisely why good business schools require internships.

I just can't see how having the opportunity to work, unpaid, in a professional environment is detrimental to an unexperienced photographer. If you don't need the experience or you don't want to work for free, it's not like these companies are forcing anyone to work for them. They're providing an opportunity. If you think it's a bad deal, that's fine, and you might be right for some folks. But I think saying that these companies are predatory or that the photographers who do choose work with them do not benefit from the experience probably shows a lack of perspective. Are these types of companies cheap? Sure, but so are many of the companies that provide internships to business schools.

I'm not trying to pick an argument, just trying to provide a different perspective on the subject.

Josh



Dec 13, 2013 at 07:21 PM
kris416
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Build your portfolio=work for free


DAMN YOU JOSH.... just kidding..

I totally understand your opinion. Trust me I am not a professional (if you were aiming that reference at me). I'm very green, and like previously stated, I'll work for free but would be very selective of the opportunity. I still need to learn a TONNE.
Maybe the ad I posted is a great opportunity for a student or even someone like myself, but I just get an immediate sense of being taken advantage of from a company that can afford to throw a student a bone at least ($100?)

Thanks for debating, it's why I posted this in the first place.



Dec 13, 2013 at 07:43 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Build your portfolio=work for free


Just remember if you book a non paid job such as the one listed don't think they will just walk away if your images don't come out or your card is corrupted and they are lost. They will be after you so make sure to have liability and E/O insurance in place before working. I would prefer to help someone just staring when building a portfolio more than someone who is just too cheap to pay for services.


Dec 18, 2013 at 08:11 PM
molson
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Build your portfolio=work for free


The only thing you get from working for free, is more clients that expect you to work for free - because you have established that your work isn't worth paying for.


Dec 19, 2013 at 02:41 PM





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