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Wednesday, 05 October 2011


Brilliant! I have been asked to provide either images or shoots for free recently, not by friends, but by businesses! So I always ask them to provide their product/service free to me first, so that I can get them more business through word of mouth. It's amazing how many never take me up on the offer...

Sadly, this seems to be reality, to be de rigeur during the recession. So many kids with new college degrees are competing for, being selected and offered unpaid internships. It's an apparently accepted new form of "employment".
I can't believe it. It is so exploitive. And what happened to minimum wage laws?

Nice grab, I just reposted on Google+ (of course with a mention of your blog) because I thought this was fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Holy G:!!! must put this ad on the local paper! Maybe at least i get my home plumbings repaired...it' officia: the economy is receding back to barter.

Sad...but all too true!

I have been in this industry since 1966 on both sides of the camera and in the wholesale/retail photographic business. It doesn't matter.
Clients want the models for free, they want the photography for free and if they are an "Agency" they want to buy the supplies and rent the gear for free. They will always have more assignments for you in the future. This photographer just nailed it so well.
Another Mike

Do I detect a hint of Zack Arias in this ad?

Ha, this is a good one!

I'd love to hear what he has to say about the Free Software Foundation and the movement they spearhead, but I doubt it'd be anything too flattering.

Still funny to see this attitude from photographers though, considering society's stereotype of artists with the whole "dying for the art" thing.

Great ad, but he forgot to add, that you must have the best most up to date, top of the line tools and other equipment to do the job.

I will have to frame that on my wall.

That right there is some grade "A" snarkiness!

There was a very similar story that just made the rounds in Seattle, which an equally witty take: http://groozi.com/2010/03/12/score-this-photog-1-cheapskate-0/

You know, barter ain't so crazy. Do they tax barter deals?

Gotta love this, of course, it's an update of the old "Vendor-Client Relationship" video making the rounds on Youtube:


...which I'm sure many of you will recognize as the methodology of any ad agency you've dealt with in the last ten years!

What's weird to me, is within the last ten years or so, how many small to medium sized agencies, especially in the city I live, advertise on Craigs List for creatives to do jobs for little or no money: illustrators, photographers, designers, web-site builders, etc. It's not just businesses clueless about the advertising/marketing creative process.

Apparently now that the Gen-X, Y, and Milleneals have entered the market, they somehow think you can buy thousands of dollars of equipment, get a million dollars of liability insurance, and work for free? When I talk to these people, all I can think about is that the critics are correct, we HAVE the worst educational systems in the history of the nation!

The correlation to this is also the business models that says: "I'm going to start something like a magazine to make money, and the way I'm going to do it is to get all my intellectual content for free." Hence the late and somewhat lamented JPEG magazine, and they were also in the early stages of a travel magazine as well, where YOU pay and go on your vacation to some exotic local, YOU take the pictures, YOU write a witty and interesting story, and YOU turn it into the magazine, and if THEY think it's witty and fun enough, with good enough pictures, THEY publish it and YOU get the reward of having it published! No remuneration tho...and they make money.

I'm glad every time something like this fails.

Perfect. It's amazing how people will take a photographer's work for granted. The idea seems to be that taking a good photo takes no real effort, so you'd be happy to do it for free for me, wouldn't you?

Now I gotta admit, since I don't make my living off photography (cruel reality intervened in my case), I do shoot a lot of music acts for free. But....it gets me into sold-out shows, gets me all-access passes, and gets me free drinks....

This is not barter. This is foolishly (or arrogantly) thinking one person's time & effort, not to mention creativity, is worth less than another person's. No wonder his/her company has no jobs.

From "Avoid this job", we have "Getting Paid For It" (http://avoidthisjob.com/8/getting-paid-for-it/)

"combines every 18-24 year old girl’s favorite things: multiple exclamation points, bad grammar, money, and (obviously) the moist touch of a craigslist stranger"

Unpaid internships are not a recession driven thing, but de rigueur in the humanities. For the past four years my daughter has been doing 8-10 week long unpaid internships doing things that clearly benefit the "hiring" company financially, in violation of CA law. To add insult to injury, the law insists that the student receive credit for the unpaid internship, in an alleged attempt to protect them. And how do you get credit? By PAYING a university to "enroll" in the appropriate "class". So you end up paying to work for free. It is really scandalous, but not much that can be done about it under the current legal framework.

Musicians fight this problem too. My group would often be asked to provide music for an event for free in order to gain "more exposure". I would reply to them with "Honey, if we get any more exposure, we'll get arrested for indecency!"

I'll take you up on your offer. I am a software engineer who would like to create a web server that you can use for free, image processing tools you can use for free, a web browser you can use for free, and an operating system you can use for free. All because I enjoy creating cool things.

Apache, ImageMagick, Firefox, and Linux Developer

Yes, people do work for free. Work you use all the time, even if you don't realize it. They do it because they love it and don't have a lot ridiculous ideas about how they "must be paid!"

"I went to school for a long time, so I must be paid!"
"I worked hard at this, so I must be paid!"
"I spent a lot on this camera, so I must be paid!"
"I'm so talented, so I must be paid!"

If your work is good enough to be paid for, then people will pay for it.

"I am a software engineer who would like to create a web server that you can use for free".

So I can call you up have you come over a code a special personalized web server for my wedding site, or my company's customer service chat site?

You analogy is more like a photographer putting some of her images in the public domain. Or perhaps shooting some images specifically for the public domain. I like that idea, it serves a common good.

But shooting a company's new product for free rarely advances the common good, it just increases a companies margin.

This goes for writers, too. ;)


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