Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I just finished watching the keynote discussion from the Photo Expo in NY last week. I had to go to class during the live presentation, and Chase Jarvis posted it on his blog today.

Zack Arias quickly touches on three values that he balances when he decides which jobs to shoot and which clients to take on.

1) Economic 
2) Creative
3) Opportunity

It was glossed over fairly quickly during the discussion - but I think it is something well worth discussing.

We as creative people need to learn to compromise between each of these things. 

For instance, the more a client is willing to pay me, the less creative freedom I need over a job. Conversely, the smaller the budget the client has, the more I feel the need to do things "my way."

There has been a lot of talk in the last couple years about working for free. I have absolutely no problem working for a low economic value, assuming I have lots of creative freedom and/or the job offers me a great opportunity.

That opportunity may be working with a new model, an art director, a new client, or trying a different style. Mainly, I see opportunity as a way to network. If Heather Morris (of Glee and Beyonce fame) wanted to get photos done but couldn't pay me - I'd do it for free simply for the chance to photograph her. I've done a full day of photography for absolutely no pay, and that day got me five paid shoots down the road. Worth it? Absolutely.

On the other hand, if something I am shooting takes an opportunity away from me, or offers no future opportunities, I'm going to charge a bunch more.

That's a few thoughts about what value a job has to me personally. I'll write a post soonish about the value that we as photographers provide to our clients, because I think a lot of us are selling ourselves short.