Identifying if you should do it for credit, portfolio, free, or a lower pay


New Member
Feb 18, 2012
I benefited from a business talk session ran by Hart from Tomato and Maryann from StudioLoft lately and I thought it would be good to share a little of what I comprehend after a bit of planning into my own business. I am rather green here but below are some of my personal views which might not work for you but may be good for a laugh. :D

The next time you get offer for credit/portfolio in the free work you do for another, you can consider the below if they would be beneficial for you.

1) if it isn't your focus area or the direction of your business, then trading your food for a credit won't help u, because reference from such sites would have a lower return in sales converted from queries generated

2) if it is charity purpose, there is much more needs to verify if the person whom contacted you come from the charitable organization or another organization who is trying to associate themselves for publicity in exchange to sponsor a charity event. Should u take such offer, you are helping a non-charitable organization gaining publicity because they just sponsor an event through means of sourcing for free sponsors. You may feel you are indirectly doing charity here, but in actual fact, the organization who manage or host such an event should pay u because they are showing the public a form of their charitable work in return to the society.

3) if they don't have a budget, but it's always true. Nobody has a budget, budget are created through plans. Would you have budget to get married if you don't create a saving plan? Probably the girl who stick with you for the last four years would have left you because you been giving empty promises. How about sudden marriage situation due to a unforeseen situation? Not trying to rip them of their situations, but they usually pay extra levy to bridal shop, if they are your friends and you are willing to help them unconditionally without complains or risks of being penalized, then don't complain and be ready to compensate them if things happen. This is what you have succumb, nobody force you.

4) you just started business, it's for the greater reason of socializing and networking to know more clients and I seriously want to help you expand your circle. You can always request to attend the event as a guest more than a photographer, this give u more chances to mingle with people. Of course, bring your camera to do some work for them, but 80% of the time you should be talking to people instead of photographing the event. But remember not to sign or provide any work scope otherwise you probably end up with more problems. The return of image after the event should have your friend or business partner sign on a release form that they should grant you a minimum credit for each line of work, ideminity must be stated so they remember not to breach it out of your sight. This only works if you target to see yourself doing event photography as a mainstream of your business.

5) i don't have the budget to pay you this amount and I hope you can give me this and that for $x amount less. They are probably comparing, it's normal. You can extend it freely if you want but what happens if the next referral customer ask more than him? You might lose the immediate deal if you stick to your firm price but you would never lose him as a customer because they are still looking for the best deal from you. If you start extending freely, he and she might know each other and what you get is short term business and long term losses as both customers may degrade you. This is most important if you want to be seen as a certain image by your customer.

6)my business is not doing well and my peers are doing better if I don't lower myself to compete. How would you know? US and Europe are down if China start saying they are growing by an extraordinary figure then you know you have been thinking too much and not planning. It's just a thin line of differences but we all get confuse at times. Probably planning your next one year would be important, getting yourself out to socialize with your peers would help. You never know if they really couldn't cope or have something for you. But not every peer is willing to meet as they usually see such networking with an intend, so it's good to prepare a proposed plan even if it's verbal for that meeting.

There are actually much more I could write but I just thought maybe some senior could add on somethings that I miss out as well.

Hope you would enjoy reading :D

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