Professional Makeup Artist | Organic Chemist | Educator

Saturday 18 June 2022

Building Portfolio - Is Working For Free The Answer?

Storytime! I was once a passionate but naïve artist who wanted to get some images to her portfolio.

Portfolio building

In the pursuit of doing so, I wrote to several agencies and photographers hoping someone would reply and I might strike a chance to work with any of them.

I did get a few replies. And I did get a shoot confirmed as well.

I was told I would get the images as compensation like others since the entire team on the shoot was a newbie. I agreed.

Though everyone was not a newbie, yet it was only I who wasn’t paid in money.

I did get the images, still have them in my portfolio.

But, is this the right way to build your portfolio?

From my professional point of view and experience, no, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Working for free just to get images does two major harms to your career right off the bat,

1.     The same people who call you in for free never call you back for paid projects, take it from my years of experience. Any price you set after will always be ‘too much’ for them.
2.     It gets really difficult for you to set a value/price for your work. You will have to work really hard to get there.

Instead, look for creatives who are on the same growth level as you or who are looking for fellow creatives to do TFPs (Time For Photos). TFPs do not involve monetary transactions for anyone. Everybody works to get the pictures for their portfolios.

Build your portfolio, set a rate (without undercutting the industry!), send it to potential clients and work towards securing the gigs.



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