I am a huge proponent of getting paid for your work. I also love photography and often do trade for time sessions. The photograph above was a trade for session for a local modeling group. This session was a vintage pinup theme. Even though it was nearly 100 degrees outside and midday this was a fun session.
This “free” session was worth my time and effort for a couple of reasons;
- It got me out of the house and a reason to shoot portraits, which I love.
- It helped inspire me for additional sessions.
I don’t work for free, but I will do trade for sessions. These are win-win trades. I get to photograph people, often with a particular theme in mind or for practice with lighting, poses, and locations. The models get to use the images for their portfolios to help them along getting other paid modeling jobs as well.
Often the problem I see with some of the trade for sessions is that they become very one sided, usually favoring the photographer. Why do I say this? It is often because the models end up with some crappy photographs. I have seen some horrible editing, horribly blurry or out of focus photographs where models are “tagged” on social media or where they share the photos themselves.
While it is true that new photographers need practice the trade for is more like each side is paying for their service themselves. Instead of hiring a model, a photographer can trade his time for a model and provide copies of the photographs for the model to use in their portfolio. Likewise, the model wants to keep their portfolio fresh and up to date with new photographs so instead of hiring a photographer they can trade their time by modeling for a photographer who needs to work on a new technique, themed shoots, or to keep their skills honed. We are both waving our normal fees to be able to work with each other.