There's rightly a lot of debate these days about working for nothing. (Yes, I get the irony of posting this cartoon from the Oatmeal with them receiving nothing for in return for it - sorry Oatmeal.)
Should I work for nothing? Sometimes I should, yes.
Photography is my hobby. I don't want to get paid for a hobby in any serious way else it'd be my job and I'd very likely stop enjoying it. What I want are opportunities to try different things. Sure, perhaps in ten years when I really can't hack writing software any more then I'd like for a way to earn morning in a different creative way. Until then free work is a way of finding more photographic avenues to explore.
Last week I think it was I took a photo of a guy who said he was a rapper, and he contacted me the week after to ask me to take more photos (no money was every mentioned). I had half an hour free to I took some (well, 127 to be precise). I think sorted through them, picked about ten and editing them to my satisfaction. Apart from him not initially crediting me for my photos (which I must say pissed me off a lot) I guess I was an okay way to spend a few hours.
So, he texts me for a third time and says he's found a girl that he'd like me to photograph in t-shirts he's designed and wants to try and build a brand around. Again, no mention of money and a vague assumption that I'll definitely say yes.
I am pretty much always happy to help people out with photography because - as I've said - it's my hobby and get better (hopefully) by being pushed out of my comfort zone. "Fashion" if that's what you could call his requirement isn't something that particularly interests me (unless it's some high-concept stuff).
What makes me think about saying yes, or saying no? An equal sharing of the workload. Show me that you're every bit as invested in this work as I am.
If I spend an hour taking photos then i'm probably looking at five hours for editing, cataloguing and backing them up. That's half a day. Can I spare that? I guess I can.
But... what are they bringing to the table? I want to know their idea is.
"Take some photos of someone in a t-shirt in Debenhams." isn't cutting it.
Firstly Debenhams's won't let you, or indeed outside in the shopping mall as it's a privately owned space. Secondly even if we go into the street then we can't have another shop show prominently in the photo as it'd look like they were endorsing it.
So, if i'm giving up my time then you give up yours and tell me; "What do you actually want?"