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FREElance or freelance work?

This past weekend during an assignment I was approached by someone asking if I did freelance work. Thinking I could make some extra money I started talking to the guy who explained to me about his business that sends photographers to cover events around Phoenix. He surprised me when he told me that they don’t pay their photographers but rather offer an “opportunity” for amateur photographers to get their name out there and get the experience.

Although I don’t have a problem with this guy creatively trying to make a living in this slow economy, it does bother me a bit that he is making money on other people’s work without compensating them financially.

Now, one could say that what he is offering is like an internship so people can build the experience needed to get a real job. The potential problem I see here is that with so many people willing to take this kind of “FREElance” work there will be even less real paying jobs out there.

I wonder if the desire to get into professional photography by taking non-paying photography jobs is actually hurting the very chances of new people to find work in the field.

Do you or would you work for free? When do you think is it okay to work for free?

3 Responses to “FREElance or freelance work?”

  1. Branden Eastwood

    I find it to be inexcusable to offer or to take jobs like this. If we are ever to be taken seriously as photographers we must demand to be treated like professionals. Any time a situation like this occurs I explain in mostly nice terms that they are disrespecting me and damaging an industry. Never take this type of work.

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  2. Rachel Jimenez

    I definitely don’t work for free. It would be different if it was an internship where he brought students to events to teach them how to photograph different scenes, but all that is is taking advantage of people. In the long run he may be hurting his business because the only people that will be willing to do that is seriously amateur (just barely picking up a camera) photographers while the businesses he competes with use professionals.

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  3. Everardo

    I don’t work for free but will work on trade on rare occasions but I’ve also set a limit for myself. It’s disappointing to hear “This will be a great opportunity for you” because in my experience those people don’t value work, won’t respect my time or craft.

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