Is a tricky question many of us have been faced with. In answering Ted makes a few valid points to consider.

Ted Forbes from The Art of Photography answered a very important question yesterday, “Should I work for free?”. Anyone who’s worked in visual art has at some point been faced with this question and it’s a difficult one to answer.  Needless to say, it depends very much on each individual.  Some decide to go for it and others simply say, “No way!”.  For me, personally – yes, I worked for free when I started out as a photographer.  My reasoning at the time was that I wanted to build a portfolio and gain some real experience.  It worked, and it didn’t.

Take weddings for example…

I did a few free weddings, and as Ted rightly points out “question the quality of the project you are about to do”. Generally someone who is keen to have a pro bono photographer also has a small budget to work with. So visually for my portfolio, it didn’t help that much.

On the other hand, I did gain plenty of experience and it made a huge difference in my confidence.  So for me, there were two sides to the coin.  Would I do it again?  Probably not.  Instead, I’ll do more assisting.  This again opens a whole world of questions.  If you haven’t worked in a field before and you’re looking to gain some experience – assist.  This could be one example of “trade” as Ted mentioned.  You need some experience and a photographer needs someone to help out at a shoot.  You both win.  You add value by being a helping hand and in return you have an opportunity to learn and gain experience.

Again, it depends on each individual’s path and what your goal is.

You can get more great advice from Ted at The Art of Photography by following them on any of their channels: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or their Website.