I do not by any means consider myself a “professional” photographer. I am highly critical of my work so I am not sure if I will ever be a professional, by my standards anyway. However, I do have a photography page on facebook. And I will admit, so far, the only photo shoots I have done has been for my family. I also love to do landscape/nature photography. But just because I don’t have a portfolio yet, doesn’t mean that I want to work for free. I was talking to someone yesterday who, I felt, was hinting around to me taking family photos for her for free. She had asked awhile back how much I would charge for a family photo shoot. I told her and I never heard back from her, until yesterday. Now, it was by no means an astronomical amount. It was a very fair price. She has seen some of my work and to me, if she feels confident enough to ask for me to take photos for her and her family, she should be willing to pay for my services. She didn’t come right out and ask me yesterday if I’d do them for free. She was just mentioning how for her last maternity shoot, the girl that took the photos did it for free because she was building up her portfolio. She then asked if I was working on my portfolio. I just kind of let the conversation dwindle down. I know I am not “the best” photographer, but I am not working for free. People don’t realize that the shutter on a DSLR has a maximum number of times it can be used. If I took free photos for everyone, I would actually lose money because I’d have to eventually purchase a new camera that would come solely out of my pocket. Also, gas is not free. I would have to drive to the location and back home. Not to mention I’d have to give up spending time with my family. Then, I’d probably have to spend several hours editing the photos. Now, I don’t do a lot of heavy editing. I try to get it right straight out of the camera. But sometimes, things have to be edited.
I feel like asking some of the people who want free photo sessions how would they feel if they were expected to work for free at their jobs. They’d probably tell their boss absolutely not and walk away. I guess that is mainly why I prefer to shoot photos of nature, landscapes, and old buildings. And, if someone ever wants me to send them the full size files of those types of photos for free, I won’t do that either. Photography is not just about pointing a camera at an object and pushing a button. It’s so much more than that. Photographs are as unique as the person who takes them because everyone has their own take on what will make a good photograph. It’s an art just like drawing or painting. It’s time people start realizing that.