Will work for FREE?

Two very interesting posts by David Hobby & Chase Jarvis today about working for free that are generating a lot of heat over the internet.

As a starting photographer I can relate to much of what they are saying.
All of my first work was done for free because I had to start somewhere, but it also helped me build-up the necessary experience, contacts, a portfolio and it allowed me to experiment.

In Chase’s article a very bold phrase caught my eye :

“To underscore my point, consider this: I normally charge a considerable fee for assignment work. But, effective immediately, I’m looking for one, interesting shoot/project–the right project– to do for free. Anywhere in the world, any subject matter, photo or video/motion. Send me your ideas. I don’t care if you’re a low budget magazine, a break dance crew, an individual, an agency or a brand, whatever. If you have an interesting project in mind–large or small–send me reasonably detailed brief, describing the opportunity and referencing this post, to info at chasejarvis dot com. I’ll review whatever comes in – if anything does, and I’ll get back you. Whether it takes three weeks or three months or longer — if something sounds like a good match, creative, or cool to me, then I’ll contact you, and I’ll do that shoot for free. It will be fun.”

But he is Chase AND probably has a whole thunderbirds team behind him to get something done OR the thunderbirds team will contact him to do some wicked shoot.

I’m still me and don’t expect the thunderbirds to send me any emails.

However, since I started I’ve been holding on to one value: if I do something for the first time I don’t charge. So my offer is “roughly” the same as Chase’s, if you throw me a new cool idea, I’ll shoot it for you.

Sometimes my own ideas are a bit ‘off the scale’ and I don’t have the manpower or resources to realize it.

So I’d also like to extend this to other photographers, to work together on our larger than life ideas and hopefully we can do our own ninja shoot together soon.

Thunderbirds are GO!

4 thoughts on “Will work for FREE?

  1. Thomas says:

    I’ve been doing the same thing with a couple of people from my photography class. Work out whacky and cool ideas for shoots and then work together to actually do them.

    Somehow very bold ideas seem a lot more feasible once there’s a couple of people who can help tackle the problem.

    Which is why I strongly believe in collaboration between photographers. I hate sitting on my own little island just doing *my* thing. I want to work together with people, pick other people’s minds, help them out, share ideas.

  2. ine says:

    I actually don’t agree on your rule ‘always the first one for free’.
    So this means if a big company like fe telenet would ask you, you’d shoot for free? C’mon… First of all, this way you’re saying, I’m not worth a thing, you don’t need to pay me.
    So I believe you’ll attrackign the wrong people hiring you.
    Often it happened I was ‘too cheap’ and people didn’t believe it could be good.
    Next to that you’re undermining all other photographers work.

    By saying this, I’m not saying: free is bad. Not at all…
    I do it myself once in a while, but seriously, I try to do it as little as possible…
    Most important rule: never for commercial reasons.
    Preferably for non-profit and when the project attracks me.

  3. tomleuntjensphotography says:

    Ine, telenet are like the thunderbirds.

    That is a whole different ballgame.

    there is a nuance in my message, not very clear, but it is there.
    “a new cool idea” … so that would mean something I see as something where I can explore & learn from.
    And I also couldn’t agree more withBert’s post, use your common sense.

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