As the title complies,
Should you work for free and why?
Let say that you had an opportunity coming up working with someone that is a high-profile client and he or she or them was asking you to do a project (pro-bono) but you'd need the work to add to the portfolio. Now you're just starting out and want to know if this is something you should do in order to get your foot in the door?
This is a tough question to answer and I know that everyone's career path is different. There is no true formula where you can do it. I'm and personally working for free is very controversial topic. I'll personally had my share of upsetting pro-bono projects that didn't turn out so well. Now I'd hate the idea and don't want to work for free no more and let me explain why you shouldn't not work for free. So let's take the time and help you make some suggestions.
First and foremost, working for free isn't something to say yes to. If it's a high-profile client that wants you to do free work, I would question his or her's quality of the project that you're about to do. Explain, if they are a high-profile and they know what professional work looks like, my concern is that they don't take this particular project very seriously as a high-profile client and want to use you as a means to maybe get this work done and maybe pass your work off to somebody else or be doing a favor for. This can all be due to your probably of just starting out and doing it for the exposure. Yes, it's a little bit annoying because you would never ask your brother to pay your rent for you while you live for free.
It's pretty ridiculous but for some reason visual art or all the arts in a position where people will do that work for free and somehow it's become a little bit accepted to able to ask and for that to be alright. Personally and you're going to have to figure out or considered working for free. This is very common especially for people wanna try to break into doing weddings, candid, etc.
I'd understand the conditions you are in right now and I was once there, but starting out you don't have a huge portfolio of work. Listen, that's certainly acceptable to maybe work for free but think about the possibilities. But the client like to use pro-bono also used to applied to nonprofits organizations.
Now let's say you do the job and the client is not paying you but you stil have to behave as if their are employed and they have expectations that a client will have on you during the course of the job. Now I'd really think this is where it's going to get tough and then you're done with your high-profile client of yours that got your foot in the door, then it's all up to you to do all the work to promote the work that you did for the client. And again you're rally not in a position to get much promotion out of it because you did it for free.
What it come down to is the word boundaries and the word boundaries is something that should be verbalize about more often. With boundaries there are a set of rules that you will not do and at the top of that list is working for free. So my advice to you is to please consider drawing that boundary. The point of this Tutorial about working for free is that it will never end up in the right place.
Another suggestion that I would make here and that would justify things clearly, always thing about doing a contract even if it's free but in that contract you want something in return. This is where I'd like to call it a trade-out. For instances this can work really well with people in our business as a photographer or videography. There is a such thing called trading. Keep that in mind and I hope this has help you understand. But I'd still and really don't recommend it over the traditional method of I do the work and I'd get paid. You're going to have to figure out what works for you and I can't tell anybody what to do in this matter but only give some suggestions. Just make sure you write that list of boundaries down and what are your manifesto is in your business. You will have no business if you work for free so let's keep our heads high and hope this help you.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on working for free and I'd appreciate if you feel free to join me on my fan page on Facebook and Google by clicking the icon above this page and to maybe donate $1 or more to my cause. by clicking on the donation button below. Thank you and hope photography brings you good friendships and opportunities.