Nothing In Life Is Free

Everyone has different rules or feelings toward the compensation they receive for their time and photos. I'm definitely not here to say whether they're all wrong and my perspective is right, or vice versa.

At the end of the day, it's your art & business so do what you feel is right for you. With that being said, I've seen so many social media posts saying that the rule for photoshoots should be "if I contact you, it's a free shoot or TFP, if you contact me, you're a client & should pay." I don't see it so black & white. There's a lot of gray area when it comes to free vs paid shoots in my opinion. If I charged every person who reached out to me to shoot, I may have a little more money in my pocket but also wouldn't have the experiences I've gained from collaborating with those people. If everyone followed that rule, no collaborations or photos would ever be created. Why is it a rule to charge a model who reaches out to you but not pay the model when you reach out to them? Is it only free when it benefits you? When faced with the decision of doing a shoot for free or expecting to be paid, I ask myself one question, "Is everyone involved mutually benefiting from this?" Whether I see it as a learning opportunity or an opportunity to network, it's not all about the money for me. That doesn't mean I'm rolling in money and don't value my art because that's the farthest thing from the truth but when it comes to photography, it's not what pays my bills right now so I feel like I have more freedom to be creative and don't have to focus so much on only doing paid work. If every model I reached out to followed that rule, I wouldn't be able to work with everyone I've had the chance to work with. I'm so thankful that they've seen enough value in my work to want to spend their time and effort to collaborate with me. And the ones who either declined or never responded when I reached out, that's okay too.


However if you reach out to a photographer (or a model, stylist, makeup artist, etc), free work should NOT be expected. If they don't feel like it benefits them enough for it to be a collaboration, either politely move on or if you value their work enough & have the means to do so, compensate them for their time & art. No one wants to be taken advantage of or feel like they're being used. It sucks & doesn't allow anyone to produce their best work. At the end of the day, no one is forcing you to do shoots you don't want to do & no one should be guilted into doing shoots they don't feel represents their art & brand. I think the bigger issue isn't about the money, it's about the respect. Respect everyone's time, skills & art. Respect their decision to charge or do work for free/TFP.


Okay, last thing, if you slide into my DMs with "we should shoot" 9 times out of 10, im not gonna take you seriously & we're not ever going to shoot. I see it as you're telling me what to do instead of approaching me as a fellow artist. this goes back to respect and no one owes you their time so act like you value them.