Working for free. This topic has been discussed by almost all photo gurus, arguing whether to work for free is better or not working for free is. So I’m going to share a little on this topic because most photographers and artists are bothered by this question. Should I work for free?

Well, the answer here is a yes and a no.


You should work for free. When starting os a photographer you do not have any of these two things: A portfolio and an audience.

Now, how do you build these two? You build these two by working for free, and by doing that also you can gain experience. Now, whatever you do from the start of your career is called experimenting. You’re going through the process of finding yourself and specializing in a specific niche. You cannot go about seeking a fee when you know nothing about what you’re up to.

When you get started in this creative field, you’ll first have to build a portfolio to show your work to the world and to do that you must shoot for free to have these two things; an audience and a portfolio.

All my works on Instagram are free because they are my works. People don’t call me to create the art that I love to create so I call them so I create with them. They love it and I also love it. Now that is me working for free. Building an audience and my portfolio. It takes years to build an amazing portfolio with amazing images.


People won’t value your work: Anything that is given out for free is not protected nor cherished mostly. You wouldn’t know the value of gold if it had no price. If you don’t value the work that you are doing, then nobody will either.

I have this friend who is also a photographer and worked for free, not always but to get straight to the chase he was to photograph someone for free. He was given the time to arrive at his destination and he was right on time. He got there and the person who was supposed to be working for, for free was taking her shower and not just that, the photographer had to wait for the makeup artist to arrive and also offer her services before they could shoot. That’s being said, the time of the photographer was delayed and not valued. Because it was free, she did not value the services of the photographer who was there on time to work.

When people give you something for free you do not value it as much as if you used your own money to purchase. When you buy something at a cost it means you needed that thing, it’s like an emergency thing. Back in school (either junior high school or senior high), you needed to buy past questions (a textbook filled with previous questions of final examination annually) to have an idea of how your final WASSCE exam will look like. When you bought it, it simply meant you valued your education.

Getting paid for your work will make you take your work more seriously: Some people do work for free and do not put out their best work, after all, it’s for free. Some others too will put out best work anyway whether they’re are working for free or not. Truth be told, getting paid makes you take your work more seriously because there are pleasure and pressure — you believe you have to put up your best to satisfy your client and make them hire you next time. Getting paid for your work will make your work better.


You should work for something. Work for something. I’m not saying work for fans or an audience I’m saying work for attention.

Work for free if you can exchange it for items of equal value.

When you’re going to have a session with a model for free, be sure to make the model covers everything including your transport, diet if necessary and when that is done, the person is actually valuing your services that is why he or she is willing to cover your transport and everything including comfort for you to be able to provide your services.

Work for free if you can legitimately leverage this opportunity for future use. (Keyword — legitimately)

When you work for free, there should be rules guiding your free work.

When I work for you for free, you’ll recommend my services to at least 3 people or whatever number you want depending on the service you’re offering.

When I work for you for free you tell no one it was free, you paid.

When I work for you for free, be sure you upload the works I shot with you tagging me as the photographer. (If you’re doing a five thousand cedis work for them, be sure you receive a five thousand Ghana cedis compensation)

When the person agrees to these conditions, then you can move on to shoot for free, if not you’re getting nothing.

Work for free when you completely want to be generous or kind. I do this. When I just want to shoot or be good to a person or a friend. I just shoot without expecting anything in return. You do not have to expect anything when you do this, because you have labeled it a generous act and there is nothing wrong with that. When you’re going to give, give, do not expect anything in return.

Work for something.

If it doesn’t give you two out of these three things, then it’s probably not worth shooting; money, portfolio, and relationships, said the CEO of Creative Live; Chase Jarvis.

You can also agree with him. He’s right. You do not have to work for free after your years and years of experience. You have to work for at least two of the above, either for money and portfolio or for relationships and portfolio or relationships and money. Make sure the relationship you’re creating in this area is a profitable one that could lead to more jobs for you the artist.


Clement Eastwood Sr.