The comments that he received show that there are clearly groups of people who sit firmly on each side of the fence. The post generated a plethora of differing reactions from both readers and other photographer-bloggers such as Vincent Laforet and, of course, John Harrington.
Even fellow plugin-writer Jeffrey Friedl decided to rant about the rants.
I have nothing new or revolutionary to say on the subject; I feel that all the arguments, both for and against, have now been laid bear.
However I would like to react to the many people that responded with the suggestion that working for free is a good way to get a “foot in the door”. I personally don’t think it is such a good idea, so I thought I’d mention I technique that I’ve used to get my own foot in the door that isn’t so much about working for free as much as potentially working for nothing.
I recently approached a potential client that was completing a revamp of their interior. It was a job that interested me but I didn’t have anything in my portfolio that I could use to approach them with. Instead, I showed them what I do, remained enthusiastic about their project, and asked them for the opportunity to do the shoot. If they liked the images then they would pay me my usual fee – and if they didn’t then that’d be fine too, but in this case they wouldn’t be able to use the photos.
The technique worked and they paid me for my work. They even called me back a month later to do some more.
My point though is that I didn’t have to sell my soul to get a foot in the door – they didn’t have to pay me but then they couldn’t have the images. I’d have worked for nothing, but I wouldn’t have worked for free, and I wouldn’t have implanted the idea that I was a free photographer or that I don’t value my own work.
Now, before responding to any of this bear in mind that I’m just talking about the concept of working for free to get a foot in the door. There may by plenty of other fully justifyable reasons to work for free, but I’m not commenting on those….
- Incidentally, being controversial is a great way of gaining an audience. I’ll have to think of something like that. [↩]