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PHOTOGRAPHERS: When do you shoot for free?

Photographer educating on when photographers should shoot for free

Welcome back to our channel, we’re so glad to have you here! If you’ve ever wondered when photographers should shoot for free, look no further! In today’s video, I’ll give you three best practices and three reasons that we think make sense for you to shoot for free! Don’t forget to like and subscribe for […]

Welcome back to our channel, we’re so glad to have you here! If you’ve ever wondered when photographers should shoot for free, look no further! In today’s video, I’ll give you three best practices and three reasons that we think make sense for you to shoot for free! Don’t forget to like and subscribe for more business content – and stay tuned for our free, live training coming SO soon!

Today we are going to be talking all about when photographers should shoot for free. Before we dive into our three times that make sense to shoot for free, we’re going to talk about the three best practices.

Best Practice #1

Our first best practice for when photographers should shoot for free is to make sure that shooting for free is justified. Make sure you have a clear vision as to why it’s necessary to shoot for free vs a paid shoot. Make sure it makes sense for both you and your brand.

Best Practice #2

Treat the shoot as if it was a paid shoot. Walk through with your client the entire client experience. They should have the exact same workflow as a paid client. That would look like the same email communications, the same guides, and in addition, they would receive a contract.

Best Practice #3

The third best practice for when photographers should shoot for free is to show them what it normally costs. In that contract, lay out the typical proposal of services and make sure to have the full price right there at the top. We use Honeybook, and if you have any questions, here’s the link to a video we made about it!

Honeybook makes it so easy to lay out our proposed services. This is everything that the shoot includes so we’re super clear and because we’re treating it like a paid shoot! Underneath the contract, we’ll discount it completely, if the shoot will be free. So if the shoot costs $600, it will show a discount of $600. Then, their balance is $0 and no payment is due.

It allows them to value the shoot as it should be valued. That way they can say, wow this is a huge value and I’m getting it for free! It allows them to appreciate it so much more.

Reason #1 to Shoot for Free

The first reason we think it makes sense for when photographers should shoot for free, is if you are building or updating your portfolio. That could look like you’ve just started out and you need some professional material in some way. In addition, it could be updating your portfolio for a specific type of shoot.

For example, there would be a season in our business where we wanted to shoot at a certain venue but we hadn’t received any inquiries for that venue. So great, let’s go create this content for free. Let’s find a couple to model for us and ask the venue to host a styled shoot. Then we’re going to get that in our portfolio which will attract more couples that are interested in the venue.

The venue will share that work! Couples will arrive at our website and see our work at that venue and say wow, this is a perfect fit for us! Both of those instances would make sense to shoot for free. Either creating a portfolio to get started or updating a portfolio!

Reason #2 to Shoot for Free

Another reason for when photographers should shoot for free, is if you want to experiment with creative techniques. This will look similar to updating a portfolio. It’s that you want specific work, or you creatively feel that you need this to inspire you. Maybe that’s something like you want to shoot in harsh sun, but that’s not typically something you do with your clients. Maybe you want to shoot prism, or shoot with direct flash. Anything like that, that doesn’t necessarily go within the scope of your typical work that you are delivering clients. You don’t want to experiment on shoots that you’re contracted to shoot in a certain way. They have hired you for a reason. Instead, you should do a shoot for free that allows you to go wild and experiment however your heart desires.

Reason #3 to Shoot for Free

The final reason for when photographers should shoot for free, is if it’s a shoot for your inner friends and family. We advise to create a hard line of who that includes. It’s difficult with friends because friends can look like many circles out, versus your immediate family that is really easy to put a line on.

We recommend starting out and deciding where your line is going to fall. For us, we think it makes sense for our very, very close friends. If we were currently getting married and we decided to have a wedding party, who would be in that circle? Whoever is in that circle, we will shoot for free.

We also like to create a line at our immediate family. Anything beyond that, we let them know that it will be a full-priced shoot. That makes sense for us. We can’t go around having anyone that’s our friends or family get a free shoot. Instead, we adhere to that strict line.

Thanks for tuning in again this week! Those are the three reasons we think it makes sense for when photographers should shoot for free. If you are loving this business content, we have a treat coming for you!

In about a week and a half, we will have a free, live training. It’s an hour long and you can hop on with us, learn with the community and have a great time! It will be releasing soon, there’s a link here for you!

Until next time!

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