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The difference between collaborations and non paid jobs

I normally don’t share stuff like that, as I don’t want to moan or rant on social media, but I thought it is important to share it to create awareness. So I am going to share this from “a lesson” point of view.

The other day, I got this email, see the image below:

Sadly, I am sure this email isn’t uncommon. I am pretty sure lots of photographers have received something like this or in the same line.

Again, this is not supposed to be a rant about people not wanting to pay freelancers, that is an old-known story ( sadly). What I want to do with this post is create awareness for young creatives and also a reminder to old ones ( like me!) who may be experiencing a low period of job enquiries.

So lesson number 1: Do not accept to work for free. It’s simply not right and fair.

One thing is a collaboration: a project you may have planned to build your portfolio where every single part involved gets something out of it.

For example, the other day I wanted to get some new brand images for my portfolio, so I invited a creative to come to my studio and pose for me. I invited her.

So we shot on my terms, I created my pictures, my rules. I decided how long the shoot would take, I was totally in charge of the creativity. And she was super happy to pose for me and get some new images. She was so thankful for the shoot that she insisted on giving me some money for it.

Then I said: I will give X amount as a collaboration because that is what we agreed, then, if you want any more, you can purchase them at X price. And she did! She bought some extra ones.

So you know, this type of collaboration can lead to paid jobs. So make sure the opportunity you are taking is worth it for you at some level.

Someone asking you to go and work for them, give you a whole brief, demanding a quick turn around and asking you to start at 7.30 am ( I mean, you need to pay me a lot to do that 😅) for free?

That is nonsense. And if you accept it, you will be seen as nonsense too.

Again, this is just me sharing a lesson, no shaming: we all accepted shit jobs or non-paid jobs just to do something or to take the “opportunity”, or even sometimes out of fear.

I did it. But I am not doing it ever again because, funny enough, then it was me who paid the price.

If you feel yourself in doubt in front of an “opportunity” like this, think this:

Would you ever go to a coffee shop, order a coffee, take a picture of it and say to the waiter “ I am not going to pay for this coffee, but I will post my picture on my social media and credit you, so people will see how delicious your coffee looks”? Try it and see what happens!

Also, crediting your work… well, that is a whole different topic for another post that will come soon too.

I hope this post has helped you to think twice about those “opportunities” that come to your inbox and value your work more.

Have you ever faced a situation like this one?

Let me know in the comments below.


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