This is something I’ve seen time and time again and usually I let it wash off me because let’s face it, people can and will do whatever they want. What am I talking about? People asking to do commercial jobs for free.
Doing trade or TF has exploded with the advent of the internet. It is so easy now to find people to collaborate with, to work with, to shoot with, and I love it. Without this I wouldn’t have found my joy for photography or be able to do what I do now. And trade has a legitimate place in the industry- often times called testing- it’s the way to build your portfolio, to create art and to express your creativity.
What gets really aggravating however, is coming across people who think they can and should get commercial jobs done for free. Let’s break it down now- doing trade is not doing it for free- I’m exchanging my time, effort and skills in return for someone else’s time, effort and skills so I can build my book and they can build theirs. A commercial job however is a paid one, I’m giving my time, effort, and skills to do the advertising campaigns, the look books, the promo materials, the hundred and one other things that people will be using to MAKE MONEY for their business. Therefore I think, legitimately, I should be PAID for MY business. All these offers for experience and exposure, is something that should be relegated straight into the trash bin and not even be worth the time to read them, because frankly no one is going to care two hoots about the photographer who shot that commercial job for free. There is no exposure. And experience is something you’re going to be getting anyway, because you’re always growing and always learning.
Funnily enough, this sort of attitude is perpetrating beyond the internet into the real world of commerce. Big multimillion dollar companies think it is perfectly alright to hire photographers with the promise of ‘exposure’ and without pay, to shoot their events for them. How do I know this? I’ve encountered it first hand, and I know the very people who’ve just undercut my fellow photographers.
It shows a genuine lack of RESPECT to expect people to pay you for what you do, but in return feel no need to reward the people who are working for you. And photographers, respect YOURSELF and your time and energy and skills, because you are worth something.
Trade is trade, business is business.