Out of the last 15+ photo shoots I have done, I have only been paid for one. This is both a good and a bad thing.
It’s a bad thing because of the obvious reason is that I’m not making any money. This is super annoying, as photography is my profession, not a hobby. At the same time, the last 15 photo shoot have really changed my view on photography and really thrown me into confusion about what kind of photographer I want to become.
In the last few months I have shot a look book for my university, had two of my images put into two different course prospectuses, shot for some amazing people, shot images for a printed magazine and tried shooting beauty photography for the first time. I definitely would not have had any of these experiences had I asked for £50-£200 per photo shoot.
So where does this leave me?
Well, I feel like I have got the start of a portfolio out of the way. As well as shooting fine art work, I now have experience shooting beauty and fashion photography, genres which I have long admired but never really got into. I feel that I am now confident enough to go to a client and say “I can photograph A B & C for you, and I charge £50-£500 per shoot.” I feel that I have the ability, confidence and knowledge to shoot the images that clients will be happy with.
Because of this, I have decided that I am not going to do any free work for other people UNLESS:
A. I definitely get images out of it for my portfolio. I have way too any images sitting on my hard drive that just do not need to be there.
B. I do tests with models. One of the things my work really needs is models, so I am more than happy to shoot images for models for free, provided I get images for my portfolio.
It may seem somewhat harsh, but I’ve come to realise that I really need every shoot I do to go towards my portfolio.
Online, it looks like the last time I shot an image was at the start of March, but I’ve done at least 6 shoots since then. It may be a case of me being super critical of my own work, but I will not put an image online just to upload something. I want every image I upload to really reflect my artistic vision and ultimately, my brand.