Should a Photographer Work for Free?

Have you ever been offered a job, only to find that it’s only compensation was to “add to your portfolio” or give you “exposure” to a wider audience? Maybe you even graduated with a degree in photography or graphic design and were hoping for at least a small stipend with your internship, but everyone expected you to work for free, as if your groceries would some how pay for themselves? If this is you, then you’ll probably find this skit by the Irish comedic trio Foil, Arms, and Hog both painful and hilarious:

“This is going to be great for your portfolio”

If you’re a professional photographer, the theme of this skit is probably quite familiar to you. And while it’s doubtful that anyone has literally tried to pay you in Tweets, you’ve probably had all sorts of offers come your way, especially when you were just starting out. And while most folks know they need to pay the plumber and electrician, there’s always someone who thinks photographers and other artists should do it for their “portfolio.”

When they want to pay you in exposure

“20 Tweets. Will that cover it?”

But who knows? Maybe social media’s come so far that tweets (or rather, the exposure they promise) might actually be worth some currency. What do you think?

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current: