Here's 5 Reasons Why Professional Photographers Like Me Cannot Work For Free

by Mary Jane

Working Photographer

Photographers exert much effort to capture perfectly amazing shot. It is whether they patiently wait for sunset, adjusting lens, focus and angles to capture tantalizing photos or setting stage campaign advertisements. It takes well-developed skills and creativity to be professional photographers. Most individuals consider photography as an undying passion. Yet, the less they know, this is the source of income to many. In fact, it is a bill saver for them due to compensation they can earn.

Speaking of compensation, this does not only limit to the shoots itself but across legal matters in photography. Some clients are very inconsiderate enough to understand that professional photographers have also lives to live making them demand for fees. Photographer’s work were use and they were not able to receive rightful compensation. Indeed, some professional photographers have made to the point that they reach out the one’s using their images illegally. They are sending emails, cease and desist orders to remove such but have gained no response.

In this situation, professional photographers needs to approach for work compensation attorney on intellectual property. As the copyright holder, photographer can license the use of images to someone (whom he agrees) with compensation of course. This means that both should agree on contracts in which photographer can grant limited or unlimited use of images paired with fair compensation. In any way that the client will violate what has written on the contract, the copyright holder can file a case and call an attorney for help to protect his right in his owned images.

Yet, despite the hard work, skills invested and even copyright infringement that a photographer can possibly file; there are still a lot of clients asking free shoots. Some are even stealing photographs on social media. Client’s reason for asking such includes photographer’s updates in the portfolio, exposure, and not enough budget to pay. Some clients even accused photographer as being unreasonable for asking compensation since the work is just easy (as they thought) and that some offers it for free. These people neglects the idea that photographers has its reason why they cannot work without fees.

For people to understand that professional photographers cannot work without fees here are few reasons provided as to why:

Self and professional worth

When an individual demand free, they are trying to undermine an artist’s skills, capabilities and professional worth. Perhaps, understanding the effort of photographers exerted in the process is what expected to them. Despite all the flooded persuasion and innovative approaches that the professional photographers can hear, they would not say yes to free shoots.

Exposure are not converted to cash

Think of what you can gain with exposure. You see that people visit on your website; you got something to look good in your portfolio and gain good reviews. Nevertheless, have you think if this can possibly converted to cash? Can this pay your bills and essentials? Of course not. No stores, restaurants, and payment centers would accept exposure as payments. Practically saying, if photographers will accept free shoots, they are just gaining more unpaid work with no financial productivity.

Budget constraints

Photography is not budget-friendly as other think it is. Aside from picking penny in your pocket for your travels in good places to capture, the camera itself is costly from lenses to storage devices. Some parts of the camera are very delicate that once it falls, it breaks and needs replacement right away to avoid further damages. Camera parts are quiet expensive that it needs thousands of dollars every year. Therefore, how can photographers sustain maintenance in cameras if shoots offered free?

Ensure productivity in every time

It is not just the talents, which are devalued, their time also does. As what people say, time is money, photographers need to be productive in each of their time. If photography offered free, it can never be financially productive. Thus, it is just a waste of time settling into projects that earning money is impossible.

Your work has no monetary value

When agreeing to free shoots it gives clients a hint that it is okay and that approaching the photographer for another free is easy. Then, the next time around, they would ask it free again since it is in their mindset that why do they have to pay when the last time, they had it free. In addition, clients might generally assume that other photographers also offers it free.


Like any other professionals, photographers are compensation-worthy. They deserve such since, effort, time and capabilities are exerted, so as with money invested to equipment. Therefore, in return, fair and justifiable compensation is what they need.

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