JDPhotoGuy wrote in post #14683468
1 - You're taking money out of your own pocket or another person who does this for a living.
2 - You'll end up with "those" clients. The ones that expect a $1000 session for free and will threaten to sue you if they don't get it no matter how little they paid.
3 - Ever hand someone a bill and have that "Oh, well I know XXXXX and you did theirs for free."? I don't care if you only do one session for free, the fall out from that will make the Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon look like isolated coincidence.
There is value in everything we do. NEVER EVER offer to give away free services in a field of expertise you plan on making a living out of. Period.
That is when you say "No."
Assuming you have done enough of your leg work to gain the skill and experience that your work stands on its own, then you should have no problems saying No. "I'm sorry, I did those shoots at that price to work on my portfolio. To cover the costs of my equipment and time my price is X."
Photography in and of itself Has No Value. Like everything else, its value is based purely on what people, the customers, agree it is worth. Don't believe me? Find out what the top paid photographer in the world makes for an hour long shoot, double it, and go out and find yourself a customer. Good luck. If you have no experience, if you have nothing to back up your word about what your skill as a photographer is worth, then you are going to have a next to impossible time convincing people to pay you a fair price for the work. And how do you propose one build a portfolio when no one will hire them?
Experience is worth a lot more than a few photo shoots. Why do you think photographers Pay to take classes? You have to start somewhere.
Basically the only things you need to keep in mind when you are offering to do photography for free from a business standpoint are these two things:
1. You are there to learn, practice, and explore. Use your time wisely to that effect.
2. Remember to Stop doing things for free or low cost! After applying point number 1 to good effect, you should quickly be moving above and beyond as you become a better photographer.
And if you're not becoming a better photographer, then may I suggest going to a trade school, or getting a science degree. Just because you love photography doesn't mean you are actually as good as you want to be. There is no shame in not being able to cut it as a professional photographer who makes a real name for themselves in the industry. Nothing says you can't enjoy it along side a common day job.
Canon EOS 7D | EF 28 f/1.8 | EF 85 f/1.8 | EF 70-200 f/4L | EF-S 17-55 | Sigma 150-500