Last week I had posted an ad on Craigslist in the Creative Gigs section. In the ad I mentioned that I was looking for musicians, bands, or singers who would like to do some TFCD work so that I could start to build a music portrait portfolio. Part of the agreement that was in exchange for their time, I would give them a CD of select images that they could use and I would be able to use those images in my portfolio. Simple and straightforward, right? I’m afraid not for some people.
I got an e-mail from another photographer here in San Diego, who we’ll call Melissa. (Made-up name used to protect the part involved.) Melissa was upset that I had posted such an ad and felt it necessary to e-mail me. Here is what she wrote:
“Thanks to you and others like you, the rest of us miss out on legitimate paying work.
Thanks a lot.”
I wasn’t bothered at all by what she wrote to me. I do know that a lot of other photographers feel the same way that she does however. Even still, there are great guys like fellow photographers Chase Jarvis and David Hobby who think that doing a limited amount of work for free is a great thing.
I did respond and I’ll let you read what I had to say:
I must say that I’m a little confused. The people that I am shooting with are likely not those who would be willing to pay a photographer for a photo shoot. If they were, they probably wouldn’t look on Craigslist to find one or they would post an ad in the Creative Gigs section.
If you know of a way to shoot a type of client that you have never shot before and get them to pay you without having something to show them first, please let me know! I’d like to get in on that too! It would certainly save me a lot of time and effort and raise my gross income at the same time! Heck, I am sure there are a lot of photographers who would love to get paid thousands of dollars to shoot a wedding without having ever shot one before. Also, I highly recommend this Wikipedia article about Supply and Demand. I think it will give you a little more insight into what I’m doing and why I’m going about it this way.
I’m sure that there are a lot of photographers who oppose what I’m doing. Yet there are great photographers like Chase Jarvis who think this is a great idea. But the bottom line is that I’m doing something for someone and at the same time they are doing something for me. They get a few great pictures, I get to build my portfolio. It’s good karma and what goes around, comes around. Please know that I have no intentions of doing this forever. I’m simply working on a portfolio.
Good luck in all your endeavors and if there is ever anything that I can do for you, please let me know. (Yes, I’m being serious.)
I really hope that Melissa understood where I was coming from and what my position is on this matter. I wasn’t there to bash her, be disrespectful, or otherwise. My intent was simply to inform her. We, as humans, make a lot of mistakes along the way because we are often misinformed or we misunderstand someone else.
If you are reading this and you don’t happen to understand, read what Chase and David had to say (see links above). I think it will really open your eyes to how doing something just like this can open some doors for you. Not to mention the fact that there is a lot of experience to be gained.
I’ll be out to sea this week so the blog will be a little scarce. I’ll have some photos up for you tomorrow from a photo shoot on Saturday. Have a great week!