We’re often told as photographers not to work for free. I disagree. I think when we’re starting off, it is a good idea to work for free. Then as you build your skills, start to charge a lot of money.
We love FREE!
People love this concept of “free.”
If you’re a newbie photographer, with a good camera, and you want to build your portfolio, offer to make photos for others for FREE.
Shoot a wedding for free. Shoot an engagement for free. Shoot a portrait for free.
Build up your portfolio and build up your skills.
Don’t shoot for free forever.
But once you have a portfolio you’re proud of, stop shooting for free.
Start charging a lot of money.
That means, if your old clients tell you that they want more free work, just tell them:
Here is my new price sheet for my services.
Email them a PDF (professionally designed) of your new rates. If they don’t respond or say no, it is ok. Just move on.
You don’t want leeches holding you back.
Barbell pricing: Free or Expensive
I learned this from Nassim Taleb: the barbell theory. Imagine a barbell at the gym, extreme weights on both ends. Avoid the middle.
For example, I either do things for free, or charge a lot of money.
For example, I’ll shoot a friend’s wedding for free. But if a company contacts me, I’ll charge a lot of money, or refuse to do it.
No more free work for big companies.
I’ll give free photography advice to young photographers. But I’ll charge a lot of money for my photography consulting services.
I’ll give away all my information, books, and videos for free here. But for workshops and experiences, I’ll charge a lot of money.
When should I start charging for my photography?
So the very basic concept is once again:
Shoot stuff for free and give things away for free when you’re starting off to build your brand. But when you are confident in yourself, charge a lot of money.
But when is the right time to start charging for your services?
I don’t have the answers. Only you do.
When you feel 80% “ready”– go for it. There will never be a perfect opportunity.
What is 80% ready? Follow your heart and gut.
How much should I charge for my photographic services?
And also when charging for your services, how much should you charge? My suggestion:
Charge 25% more than you think you should.
Why? We often under-sell ourselves. Don’t sell yourself short.
Photography Entrepreneurship 101
Learn how to make a living from your passion:
How to Make Money with Photography
- Photography Experience Economy
- How to Charge More Money in Your Photography
- Why You Should Not Pursue Photography as Career
- Can Photography Make You Rich?
- How I Earn $200,000+ a Year From Photography
- How to earn $10,000 a month as a photographer
- Why you must be an expensive photographer
Photography Marketing 101
- How I Became an Internet Famous Photographer
- Photography Blogging Ideas
- Why You Should Promote Your Own Name
- How to Build a Following
- How to Stand Out as a Photographer.
- HOW TO GO VIRAL AS A PHOTOGRAPHER.
- How to Master Marketing
- How to Sell Yourself
How to Hustle.
- Entrepreneurial Advice to My 18 Year Old Self
- How to Become Insanely Productive.
- 5 Lessons From Hesiod on Hustling
- It is Better to Beg For Forgiveness Than Ask For Permission
- The Free Way to Become Rich
- JUST DO IT.
- 7 Steps: How to Make a Living From Your Passion
- How to Do What You Love for a Living
- How to Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- How to Fail Big
- How to Invest in Yourself
- How to Be Bold in Photography and Life
- Mission: Cover Your Rent and Food
- 1,000 True Fans
- The “10x Principle”: The Only Difference Between “Success” and “Failure”
- Make More Value Not Money
- We Live in a Photo Utopia
How to be a Full-time Photographer
- How to Make a Living From Photography
- The 3 Principles of Making Money With Photography
- Advice for Aspiring Full-Time Photographers
- Don’t Go Into Debt For Your Photography
- How to Brand Yourself as a Photographer
- Trust: The Most Important Thing You Need to Succeed as a Photographer
- How to become rich from photography blogging
- How to Make a Living with Blogging
- 50 Blogging Tips For Beginners
- How to Start Your Own Photography Blog
- A Photographer’s Guide to SEO, Blogging, and Social Media
How to Teach Photography
- How to Become a Photography Teacher
- How to Teach a Street Photography Class
- Why I Teach Street Photography Workshops
- Why I Deleted My Instagram
- The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
- Why Do You Need More Likes or Followers?
- Instagram is Going to Be the Next Facebook
- Don’t Trust “Free” Photography Social Networks