So here is an example of shooting for free or for trade that might work out for the working photographer. We did some Bridal photos for a really great woman that works at a local dress shop last year. She loved us and we loved her so in the interest of working together again we came up with the idea what we would do some promo shots for her dress shop (see the time lapse of the shoot in the video at the top of this post, done with my W90 Pentax point and shoot and thrown together in iMovie) in exchange for some advertising. We will be printing rack cards out with our logo and their logo on them with a promotion for photography. The dress shop will give out the cards to each customer as well as distribute them to High School Grads that they hope to sell grad dresses too. They get some free photography they might not have been able to budget for and we get some advertising access to a market we have been wanting to break into.
All of the images in this post were taken with the Canon 5D mk II and either the 50mm f1.4 lens (the full lengths) or the 85mm f1.8 lens (three quarter and head shots)
Our makeup was done by a local makeup artist for a kit fee, rather than her full fee (basically covers the cost of her materials). We give the makeup artist images for her portfolio. We opted out of bringing in a hair stylist this time, but the model was paid with free images. She is a local high school senior we have shot with before and is a wonderful ambassador for our work.
I think photographers and other creative professionals have to sometimes make decisions about opportunities that are presented to them about 'trading work for rewards.' For us, we are still growing our business and getting our community aware of our brand. Our hope is that our name becomes the default brand for weddings, events and portraits in our community. We want to be a desirable brand, a fun brand and known as a creative brand that is unlike the other options in our community.
So today a well known local resort contacted us about doing some promotional photos for them for weddings. We were thrilled about it and have a great relationship with the co-ordinator there. You'd be amazed how many photographers promise to share photos with resorts and venues but never deliver on those promises. Being friendly with other vendors is very high on my priority list. I help them whenever I can at the cost of my time, and they pay it back in the same manner as an ambassador for our work. One of the biggest things you can do for your business is simply to play nice in the big sandbox with other businesses out there in your community and deliver on the promises you make.
So the resort is going to have us out for a half day shooting food and the rooms they use. We may bring models and of course we bring ourselves and give them our time. They don't seem to have a budget for us but in trade they will give us a preferred vendor listings, good faith and other goodies that help cement that relationship. Can we do this for every resort out there? Nope, there would be no time, but for a few of them, you bet we can. I believe photographers need to be stringent about charging for their time, their talent and place a value on themselves. You'll get a lot of offers for something in trade for your efforts. When you are new those offers that just say "it will help your portfolio" might seem tempting, but weigh out what you are really getting in return. Free work should further your business, build relationships with people that will help you (of course you have to help them too) and help you grow stronger.
Anyway, I hope everyone is having a fantastic week. My partner recently bought the new Canon 70-200 f2.8 OS lens. Once he gets over the new car smell of it I hope to get it away from him so I can test it myself. In the meantime I've rented the Olympus 14-35 f2.0 lens again from Lens Lenders for a whole month so I'll have plenty of time to play with it. Look for some photos from that lens coming soon as we have lots of shoots on the schedule over the next month. I'm excited to have the chance to have that lens once again, just wish I could pair it with the Olympus E5 which I still don't own as I try and get through my post Christmas spending bills like most other people!