The title of this blog post is pretty self explanatory. This topic has always been on my mind. Among my circle of friends it’s something we’ve talked about, however I’ve kept quiet about it on the blog. It’s about time that I’ve said something. Know your self-worth.
Many times a creative may be asked to work for free in exchange for exposure. Whether you accept or decline that’s up to you. However let me tell you some of the implications that go along with accepting unpaid work.
By working for free or even at a deeply discounted day rate you’re telling others that you don’t value your own work and time. This also brings down the industry as a whole. For the sake of this blog post I will refer to Brands. This will encompass companies, businesses and the like. Basically the folks that will be the consumers of our creative services.
If you continue the practice of offering free work or discounting yourself, Brands will expect creatives to work for free or come down in price. It will get to the point where Brands will devalue the craft and won’t budget for creative services. If you having a hard time grasping this concept think about the last time that you’ve been approached by a Brand wanting to work with you. When the conversation got to the point of budgets what happened? See my point.
Now I get it, as a young creative in the early years as a fashion photographer that want to work with brands and are willing to do so in order to get your name out (i.e. exposure). But working for free is not the answer.
Let me put this into perspective. If those same brands have worked with creatives without having to pay them their expectations have been set and will seek for those that are willing to work for free. By accepting those unpaid jobs you also reinforce the industry to continue the practice of seeking creatives that are willing to work for exposure, however in reality you’re just working for free. You’re only doing yourself a disservice. You’re also bringing down the craft and devaluing it.
So that’s my soapbox moment. Check out the video above for an good insight into the business side of the creative industry.