Lately I have found a plethora of ads on Craigs List of people wanting Fair Trade or even free photography for their “modeling portfolio”. All with words to the effect of “I will grant the rights to use the images in your portfolio as well.” It sickens me to see this. Because what these individuals do is discount the art of photography. First of all if you want to be a professional model, hire a professional photographer. Secondly would you model for free if you were a professional model just so I could improve my portfolio. Thirdly. As the photographer the images are mine. Not yours. I will grant you the right to use the images. Not the other way around. And finally. You get what you pay for. Now granted there are a lot of individuals out there who aren’t professional photographers who can do an amazing job. Some better than others. Some better than people calling themselves professional photographers. But what you are doing by placing these ads is making it hard for the true professionals to make a living wage. People already discount photography. Mainly because everyone and their uncle has a decent camera. AND think they know how to take a good picture. But it goes far beyond the camera and equipment. When you hire a professional you hire someone who has knowledge and training in lighting and posing and now-a-days post production. As a professional I have hours behind the lens crafting my skills. I have spent countless hours taking courses and studying the photographers I admire. I have also spent a lot of money to be a member of professional organizations such as ASMP or PPA or NAPP or others. All of this to guarantee you as my client a professional image when done. It is tempting to answer these ads especially when things are slow. But do yourself a favor and join one of the local photography clubs. Some of them put together meet ups where everyone pitches in a few dollars and hire models. Everyone gets a chance to shoot. Everyone gets to improve their skills. Everyone gets to improve their portfolio and in the long run nobody feels that they have asked anyone to do something for free.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Here’s another image from the sunset at the Getty. Have a great Saturday!