Photograph my event for FREE!

Would you photograph the upcoming event for Free?

We will offer you exposure!

Long exposure landscape of lake shore

This photo is one type of exposure in photography!

This article is more related to commercial photography.

I received an email last night that blown my mind. I have to be honest that many companies contact me for these kind of jobs.

Would those company offer me free services for exposure? Would those companies give me their products to use for exposure? Obviously not! So, why do they expect others do it for FREE!

Are you a start up business? I don't care because if you are starting up a business, you should thought of marketing budget.

My Answer is


When I started up my photography business, I didn't ask Canon to give me a free camera and I would share their website on my social media for exposure or give me Canon 1DX for a cheaper price because my budget is tight or don't have any budget at all! NO!

I paid for every single equipment that I use. Moreover, I still do pay for training and maintanance.

You may say that I shouldn't name them in this context then I would ask you why?

Here is the Email:

We are looking for photographer to take part in our film festival in London, UK - London Indie Film Festival. Event date: April 12. We would like to make a photoreport about the event. It will be published on our website

There won't be any special events, only film screening held at Benihana Chelsea ( We need to take photos of screening (visitors, the films on the screen, etc.).    

We are looking for 2-3 photographers who could help up make a photoreport for free.

We cannot pay you, but we are able to promote you as part of our team on 'Festival team' website page (your photo, bio, and a link to your website). This publication will not expire, as we won't delete it. We have a lot of traffic, so you'll get 24/365 advertizing and will be able to tell everyone that you have worked at a film festival as a photographer.

All we need is a simple photoreport.  Example photos of our festival 'Meters':

If you are interested, please send us information about yourself (or the link to your website) and tell us you agree.  

You will have to come to Benihana Chelsea that is located at 77 King’s Rd, London SW3 4NX on April 12, 2 pm and make a small photoreport and then send it to us. That is all we need.

Thank you. We are waiting for your reply. 

This is my response:

Thank you for writing to me. I will go to the point as you offered me job with exposure opportunity.

As you are coming from an art background, I am sure you do understand that exposure doesn’t pay for my living cost, camera repair, insurance and etc.

Would you offer me the location 77 King’s Road FREE for my exhibition? I would add a link to my website about you and your social media.
How about make a movie or video clip for FREE on one of my photography day that I can share in my social media, this way, not only I promote you but also I promote my photography services.

I know there are many photographers out there that may do this for you, but please do your research on professional photographers before asking them to do a FREE job for exposure.
I suggest you to approach students whom are studying photography and just starting up.

You may find my email harsh, however, I do need to be honest that these kind of emails are insulting to professional photographers.

I wish you the best.

I may have suggested to approach students, however, I believe they still should get paid for the time they spend to photograph the events or any other project. You may argue that we have to start at some point, which I do not disagree with you. Before you open a business, you would go on training and learn the skills, then you start running your ideal business. You don't open a business in the first day than start learning.

My advice is do not sell your time and skills for free, charge your client but in a cheaper rate untill you are confident to raise your price.

We, professional photographers, do have expenses, need paying for our bills, storage, maintanence, ..... etc.

I have collaborated with individuals for different projects and I don't reject all the requests that come along; however it depends on individuals. I mean I have collaborated with Stylists, models or makeup artists, but that is a different scenario, which is my personal choice.

There is something called 'License Fee'!

Licensing your work

You cannot hire me for free but I could give you discount on a license fee or agree not to charge you the license fee for usage of the images on your website after getting paid for documenting your event or photograph your products ... etc, in one condition that you give me credits and link to my website and social media every time you use my work or print my images.

This sounds more reasonable in my opinion that do it for FREE. This way both parties benefited.

I can photograph your products or events or any other project for FREE!


You accept one of the followings and sign a contract:

  1. Pay for my camera and lenses maintanence.
  2. Pay 3 months of mortgage or rent of my property or studio.
  3. Pay 12 monts of business insurance.
  4. Pay 6 months of my council tax.
  5. Pay for one year of my photography training.
  6.  The list will go on..... Contact me for more information.


There is another note that many people confused with collaboration. Yes, I will do collaborate on a project for that day as any other member of the team that are giving their time and talent; the day is over and everybody would go to their home but the work for the photographer is not over yet. He/she should make sure all the images are backed up and then start working on the images, which means a photographer (wedding photographer, product photographer, portrait photographer, editorial photographer) spends more hours or days to work on the images while others had done their work and waiting for the images to get ready.

Do you get my point here? Yes, photographers do more hours to finish an image where you use to promote yourself. It is not only one day of collaboration.

So, if a photographer agrees to collaborate with you, don't take advantage of them! If you wish to be treated fairly, be fair to photographers too. Obviously, this may not work for everyone because I know there are many nasty photographers out there too.

Please note that this is my personal opinion. I would be happy to know what is your opinion!