Food Photography like a Pro
Follow our simple guide if you want to photograph food like a pro. These food photography tips will help make the process of photographing food easier.
We were commissioned by Divine Cuisine Caterers for a food photography shoot of the Caribbean food they specialise in. Although they had been in business for a while they had not had professional images of their food.
Why are professional images important?
Why are professional images of your product important? Think about when you are shopping online, imagine you know nothing about a product except what you see online. What convinces you to buy into that product? The images and the website. Business through word of mouth is excellent, but if you want to also attract business from outside of your circle, business from bigger clients your window to them, the first thing they will see about you online has to draw them in.
This is why professional images are important. A photographer is providing a company with one of their most important marketing tools, their images.
So how do you go about approaching a commission like this?
# 1 MOOD BOARDS
Understand what images the client is trying to create, what type of look, feel, lighting, textures and styling. If they are unsure take the direction in this.
Create a colour palette and mood board alongside your client. These points will help to create a clear idea of the direction of the shoot. It will prevent dissatisfaction with the final results, in a scenario where the client wanted something completely different.
We created a colour palette of bright vibrant colours we felt would compliment the Caribbean Food we were shooting and the spices used in the creation of that food.
Hire / consult a stylist. The main subject (the food) in food photography is only part of the picture. Depending on the company you are shooting for this may already be provided and you may work with the person fulfilling this role on the shoot. You may be able to style the shoot yourself if you have the skills for this. If not you may need to work with a stylist. We styled this shoot ourselves after a clear understanding of the clients needs.
#2 – LIGHTING NATURAL VS ARTIFICIAL
There will be photographers that advise about using natural window lighting and others that are in the artificial lighting camp. I am firmly in the second, natural window lighting is great … if you can get it; but this is England! We often have grey gloomy days, and days where the weather, shadows and colour temperature fluctuate greatly. This just makes for an inconsistent shoot and lots of post processing.
We were also working in a kitchen with no natural light. As a photographer we need to be prepared to work in a variety of conditions and still be able to execute the shoot for the client. So for consistency we used flash. This was diffused to create a soft shadow on the food and mimic window light as much as possible.
A constant light could be used just as effectively. We always light the food from an angle behind and use reflectors in various places to fill shadows.
The other benefit of using artificial light is that the scene can be set up anywhere and is not limited to shooting near a window.
#3 – STUDIO OR LOCATION
Some commissions will be easy to transfer to a studio, others are easier to shoot on location. This was easier to shoot in the catering premises where the food was being cooked, we had access to lots of extras that we decided to use as the shoot evolved.
For this type of shoot a relatively small space is needed, we set up a studio of about 1m squared in the kitchen.
#4 – LENSES
Nothing can beat a good macro for food photography. We used a Sigma 70mm Macro and a Canon 50mm f1.8.
If you do not have one of these an alternative may be a 50mm or 35mm. Take advantage of the lowest aperture setting, shoot f2.8 or below on standard primes and f5 or below on a macro.
Aim to have something in focus and other objects that give context to the food out of focus in the frame.
#5 – ANGLES
Unless your client has a clear brief to shoot at a particular angle, we always shoot a range of angles. We use the formula 25 degrees, 75 degrees and 90 degrees for each set up.
This will give the client a good range of images for their food photography, as items will look different at various angles.
#6 – THE UNREAL
Styling for food photography like a pro is styling for how it will look in a photo and not reality. By this we mean the main consideration in styling is what it LOOKS like, not what is logical or would taste best.
This may include undercooking the food item, adding garnishes that you would not normally have with that dish, but look right in the photo and using props such as cocktail sticks and double sided tape to hold items at a particular angle.
We also used contrasting colours that still stayed within our colour palette to dress the dishes, which looked aesthetically pleasing.
The contrasting green mint against the white cream and brown chocolate flakes and dar red cherries, which bring the eye to the dessert. The red tea towel also compliments the red cherry sauce in the desert.
#7 – STYLING
If you are styling the image think about EVERYTHING in the frame.
The shape of the plates, cutlery and glasses. The colour and shape of accessories like salt and pepper pots, the colour and texture of the surface you are shooting on.
We tried three different cutlery sets with this shoot. One felt right, the other two were totally wrong, which we could see as soon as we put it next to the food.
#8 – HERO CONTEXT
When styling it is important that the accessories give the correct context to the ‘HERO’ – the food your are photographing. For example, burgers accessorised with a knife and fork would make no sense, coleslaw accessorised with Worcestershire sauce again would not make any sense .
Surround your hero with ‘sidekicks’ that support it.
Do the dishes match the colour or style of the food? Are the sizes of the accessories proportional? Your HERO still has to dominate the image, it still has to be the biggest and be centre of the frame. Just like Batman could never be smaller than Robin, and still always takes the lead role. Imagine your main item is the ‘HERO’.
Use the ‘sidekicks’ to help tell a story to the viewer.
Accessories such as herbs, condiments, and utensils can tell the viewer how the dish is made. This is a styling method we used for this shot.
Cutlery, tins, glasses, jars, fabric, pots and dishes can speak of the origins of the food. For example if you see a tagine you instantly link this to its North African origins.
Place items around the ‘hero’ to add depth, meaning and a story to the photo. A top tip is that some of the unique accessories can be found in second hand shops. Most other accessories can be found in everyday high street shops. These were some of those we took to the shoot.
#9 – LAYERS
Food photography is very much like many other types of other photography.
Layering adds depth to a photo. Photographers speak about this in newborn photography, fashion photographers speak about it in fashion photography, even street photographers speak about this. It may also be referred to as foreground and background interest.
It is a part of your styling and important in building your image. You may want to play around with placing objects in different areas, taking the shot from the same angles, and deciding on the best photo from the group.
#10 – TRIPOD OR FREE HAND
Shooting with a tripod can allow you to make small changes to a scene and compare them all. This will give you an exact like for like comparison.
This is also important for shoots where you may want to shoot a range of ‘HERO’S’ but have the setting exactly the same. We did this on a cocktails shoot for Bottega Birmingham.
Once everything is shot and edited, it is worth thinking about your whole package, will you need a new logo and graphic design. How are the images going to be designed on a flyer or booklet or presented on your website?
We recommend a good Graphic Design and Web Design Company such as Creative Media Design to produce your a logo to compliment a new rebrand. A good Graphic Design company will also ensure your booklets, menus, banners and products that feature the new logo are consistent with the rebrand.
To commission Lensi Photography for your business Food Photography or to have 121 training sessions to improve your own food photography, contact us on email@example.com
To commission Creative Media Design for your graphic design and website needs contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Bitesize Copyright …
This is a short guide for our customers on what copyright means and how for us and for you, and just to clarify the idea held by some that , if you have paid for images, you can do what you wish with them.
Copyright is legal right that protects the use of your work once your idea has been physically expressed. The current copyright legislation in the UK is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You can find out more about copyright legislation by visiting the Intellectual Property Office.
The photographer (Lensi – as the author of the image) owns the copyright to the photographs we produce on any commission. We own them, but you get the right to use them. Hopefully the following scenarios will help you understand this a little more, incase you are currently confused. We will use a lot of analogies with music because this is often easier to understand for most, as the lines of photography increasingly become blurred with more and more people having access to photography, the internet meaning right click has left people thinking that images on the internet are free to use and hobbyist photographers contributing to the idea that images have little of no value by giving them away in all kinds of ways.
In the same way that musicians control who can reproduce their music, photographers control who can reproduce their images.
Shops, hairdressers and pubs etc all need licences to play music – photographers issue licences to enable people to reproduce their images.
When you commission us for a piece of work, we will ask you about your intended use for the images, and your paperwork will include details of the licence that is issued with your commission. All our commissions include a licence to reproduce for personal use for personal commission such as a birthday party or wedding; and a licence to reproduce for that sole business for commercial / corporate commissions, this means that your business can use these images for all your marketing uses.
Let us highlight this with a few examples.
We shoot your birthday party, you want to put the images on a Facebook folder – FINE
We shoot your birthday party you want to print images for your living room wall – FINE
We shoot your birthday party you want to get t-shirts made up with one of the images on and sell them to your followers – NOT FINE
We shoot your birthday party, you want to print some images to give to your grandma – FINE
We shoot your birthday party, you want to give an image to the newspaper to accompany an article about you – YOU WOULD NEED TO APPROACH US TO DISCUSS ADDITIONAL FEES THAT MAY BE DUE.
We shoot your corporate event, you want to put the images on pull up banners, websites, leaflets, other marketing materials that are not for sale – FINE
We shoot your corporate event, you want to put the images up on display in your school as wall art – FINE
We shoot your corporate event, you want to give the images to other organisations that were at your event also – NOT FINE, this is classed as relicensing an image, which you do not have the authority to do. It is a bit like renting and apartment from a landlord, then sub renting that to other people … you do not have the authority to do so. It would also be a bit like buying a CD from HMV (if one still exists in your area) then making loads of copies and handing them out to your friends … this is illegal.
We shoot your event and you want to place images in a book that is to be sold to third parties – YOU WOULD NEED TO APPROACH US TO DISCUSS ADDITIONAL FEES THAT MAY BE DUE
We shoot your event and you want to place images in a book that will not be sold to third parties – YOU WOULD NEED TO DISCUSS PERMISSION FOR THIS AT THE BOOKING STAGE.
But We Have Paid for the Photos!
Some of you may still have a voice inside saying … but we paid for the photos.
You have paid for the photographers time and expertise in producing these images and a number of prints / digital images. The copyright to the photos will remain with the photographer, and therefore any reproduction without permission would be an infringement of copyright. Remember we all buy computer software that we pay for also, if you look carefully our new copy of Windows 28 (or whatever it is on now) will state clearly what you have permission to do with that software. It will state you can install it on four machines, or that you can use it fora whole college. The usage will effect how much you pay for that exact same software.
Some photographers control the use of their images even further, stating what mediums the images can be reproduced on, this is normally the practice when working with large corporates.
What if I want to use the photos for something else?
Just as if you buy a copy of a book, a song, computer software or a DVD of a film, making that purchase doesn’t give you the right to make copies of it, use it outside the terms of your licence or broadcast it to the public. That right remains with the copyright owner. It is exactly the same with photographs. Photographers will negotiate their own rates or use image calculators such as the one created by The Association of Photographers.
I want full copyright
Full copyright is very expensive. You have heard about the copyright disputes over the Beatles and Michael Jacksons music catalogue and in most cases in photography, it is not needed.
Do you plan on making prints of the photos and selling them? Do you plan on placing the images for license on stock agencies? Do you plan on selling them to newspapers or to an artist to be used on an album cover? Do you want to use the images to market another organisation? Has a mysterious buyer approached you who wants to purchase that particular image for more zeros than you can count? If none of this applies to you, you really do not need a full buyout.
Music vs Photography
Often we understand the copyright issue easier with other mediums because photography has become so available to everyone, the lines get blurred. Let us give you another example : You commission a song writer and music producer to make you a hit record. They do this, it goes to number one, you perform this all over the world, who owns the song and the music? The Beatles will tell you it is not the person who sang the song or even asked for it to be written or produced. Photographs are exactly the same.
So in short, if you commission us for a personal or business / corporate event, our standard licence will cover most of what you need and want to do with the images, you may need to talk to us about any other uses.
Some further sources for reading :
Fantastic Opportunity to work for FREE!
Anyone fancy working for FREE?
Imagine a job request looking for someone to work for free, but not just ‘anyone’ they specifically looking for someone that is highly skilled, with years of experience, thousands of pounds of high end equipment, an extensive portfolio, ability to work independently and in groups, with their own transport and links to get articles / images / published in international high end publications.
I often come across or are tagged in a ”fantastic opportunity” that arises from someone that needing an “amazing photographer” and professional service but who does not want an amateur and at the same time to pay for professional expertise.
Reserved for Creatives
If you are not in the creative industry (including but not limited to writers, photographers, dancers, graphic designers, web designers, journalists, artists, musicians) you may have read this so far with a raised eyebrow, or a puzzled look. It doesn’t seem to quite make sense? but this offer to work for free , is an offer we (the creative community) get often.
After nearly 10 years of being full time, it kind of grates on you. Having spent all these years perfecting and improving my art (yes there is much more to it than simply buying a camera pressing a button), after having spent a small mortgage on equipment and training, having worked hard to get to the point where I have been published and work internationally, why do people continue to ask photographers (and other creatives) to work for free?
Work for FREE?
So again you may be scratching your head thinking “I’ve never heard anyone ask a photographer to work for free”. But it doesn’t present itself so direct and clearcut, it comes out in other guises, it has pseudonyms and disguises. No one (well not in my experience to date) comes to you and says “Hey professional photographer, can you come and work for free for me” .
To anyone in the creative community, being asked to work for free will not be a new story, but an age old one, rehashed again and again, but the one thing it generally has in common, the thing that does not change about this story is that your payment is usually EXPOSURE, we call it ‘exposure pounds’ in the industry. It doesn’t pay for new cameras, travel, courses or insurance. Some of the things photographers need to pay for to stay in business.
It is not accepted at ASDA when I do my grocery shopping, it is not accepted online when I want to buy a new lens, it is interestingly not accepted as payment terms by the very people offering this as a way of paying you!
The Work for FREE pitch
The sell usually goes along the lines of “everyone will see your work in our newsletter / on our instagram / website / Facebook and naturally this will bring you lots of pain work”.
So lets test this common sell. Ask yourself when was the last time you read an article in a newsletter or on a website and took time to look at who the photographer was?
If you can remember the last time you did this, then when was the last time this lead to you contacting them for business? If you knew they worked x event free, when was the last time this lead to you hiring them for paid work? Facts show that less than 1% of consumers look for the creator or any piece of online content.
I did look up a photographer from an online image a couple times. I saw an amazing image on google, it was one of those images on the holder screen when you are about deciding which Netflix program to watch, I looked up the photographer, flicked through his Instagram, didn’t even actually add him, and carried on with my binge tv day.
Are you still with us?
I expect many of you haven’t even got to this point – looking up a photographer from an image you see online or in print – let alone an image on a company page / bloggers instagram / corporate website, because in my experience, when these same people want a ‘proper’ job doing, they contact the highly paid professional, not the one valuing their work as ZERO being prepared to work for free. You see, this type of ‘pro bono’ ‘fantastic opportunity’ offer has little value or appeal for most photographers, once they are established.
It’s a LOT of work
Six hours shooting a conference could range from an average of £500 – 1000 for many photographers, is this ‘exposure payment’ going to be worth that amount? And what if you end up getting a potential booking for a big paid job on the same day? Do you turn down the paid booking to work for free? Or break your agreement for the non paying client, for a paying one? Now, if someone wants to paint my house in return for a job such as shooting a conference, that may be pro bono I would accept (painting takes so long!), but funnily enough, no one wants to work for free, not THAT hard for FREE … because that’s just outrageous!
SOME OF ITS DISGUISES
In case anyone needs any tips on recognising when someone is asking you to work for free or even when you are asking someone to work for free, here are a few of the forms it takes:
1. PRO BONO
Payment : Exposure, portfolio images, credit
A “pro bono opportunity”
The conversation usually goes along the lines of – we have an event coming up that we would love some amazing images of that we can use across our social media and printed platforms. We have some amazing speakers and we have spent so much on the venue and food that we have no money for a photographer. You will be able to use the images for your portfolio, and we will credit you. Notice no one actually says the words ‘work for free’.
My response – “sorry I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with for free”.
Points to note
It is also worth noting that crediting the copyright owner (the photographer) is legal, not something the photographer is being given as part of their payment.
The photographer being able to use their own images in their portfolio is also something that is legal, not something they are given by the organisation/ person they are shooting images for. So this takes the exchange to simply ‘exposure’ and work for free.
The organisation thinks everyone will see these amazing images of a regular event like a conference (of which you probably have tons of examples already in your portfolio), contact the organisation to see who shot their images, find out you were free, but somehow want to pay for your services.
An amazing image or two
(Here are a couple of our conference / event images by the way, we do cover them, if you are blown away by this image, please feel free to contact us for our services).
I have on previous occasions suggested £600 worth of their services or products in return, which would be the cost of an average conference, but that is usually seen as an outrageous exchange.
Please shoot my line for free
I was contacted by a blogger / influencer / insta model who had a clothing line with Pretty Little Thing or Asos I can’t quite remember which one it was now, but to have a line on either of these multi million pound businesses is pretty major in my book
She wanted me to shoot this – for FREE. It would of course be an amazing opportunity to get my images on such a huge platform (which shows no credit to photographers anyway), and her instagram (which does credit photographers) that has thousands of followers. I suggested £600 worth of clothes, but this was so ridiculous to her, I could literally hear the laugh through the text message.
So in reality you are well …working for free.
It is also worth noting that a 6 hour conference would also accrue a couple hours of kit preparation at home, maybe 1.5 hours travel there and back, another 5 hours of image culling, editing, storage and delivery; so you have in fact done near on two days work for free.
PAYMENT – Exposure, Credit, Sandwiches and Drink (sometimes a free bag for life with the charity logo printed on it)
A Charitable Cause
It’s for the poor
The conversation is usually along the lines of – we work for x charity, and do some amazing work with x community. We are looking for someone to come along to shoot our event and support our cause, we will credit you on all out social media platforms and there will be drinks and sandwiches at the event that you are also welcome to have.
My response – “I respect your charitable organisation, I am a for profit business and sorry I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, for free”. It is also worth noting here that many of these charities have bosses with 6 figure salaries, millions in the business bank account and not doing too bad at all. They may not be ‘for profit’ but many are in heck of a better financial situation than myself or most photographers I know!
3. AN INVITE
PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, having a great day / night out
Just come along … and bring your camera.
This conversation usually goes along the lines of – I’m having a birthday party / launch event / christening / wedding, I would love you to come if you can make it. Can you also bring your camera and “grab a few shots while you are here”.
This actually means you are the event photographer, organising groups, individual shots, wearing working clothes to the event not heels and a nice dress that I may otherwise wear, with the responsibility of making sure everything is covered.
Your work for free soon becomes very professional when the person that made the request comes back to you and ask why there is not a photo of x person, or when x spoke, or when x cut the cake – even though you were supposed to be just “grabbing a few shots”.
My response “I’m sorry but I can’t be a guest and your photographer at the same time, as a guest I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, on a night / day out”
4. PORTFOLIO BUILDING
PAYMENT – Exposure, portfolio enhancement
As above – but it is stressed that these will be great portfolio images
This is especially so, if it is an event there may be some celebrities there. If it is a wedding it will be an amazing wedding, with a beautiful couple in an amazing venue. If a fashion show, there will be some amazing new talent showing.
You will be able to use the images for you portfolio as they will be so amazing. My response “Have you had a chance to take a look at my website, I have quite an extensive and varied portfolio” – having shot amazing weddings in the UK and as far
afield as Rwanda; public figures such as Barak Obama and celebrities such as Jamie Fox. I also shoot London Fashion Week and The Diamond League athletics – just to highlight some of my diverse work. So to date, I am pretty happy with my portfolio, and dare I say, I have some amazing content.
My response “I already have an extensive portfolio that I use to show clients the quality of my work. I am also sorry but I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, for free”.
It is worth noting here that they rely on you being so blown away by the idea of shooting a celebrity, that that will suddenly mean you have no desire to get paid for your job.
If a wedding they rely on the idea that because they are a beautiful couple or are booking a nice venue, you don’t already have beautiful couples and great venues in your portfolio; Or that conventional stereotypical beauty is worth more. All established photographers will already have experience and a portfolio.
5. JUST GIVING A FREE IMAGE
PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, seeing your image in print / or a popular platform
“Can we use your x image for free in perpetuity, across all our platforms with credit to yourself”
This is usually line from newspapers and magazines, if you scroll through twitter you will often see tweets from newspapers asking to use images they find online.
It is also common with wedding and such venues after you have covered an event in their venue. Some of these usages would literally cost hundreds of pounds, sometimes thousands if there were to pay the going rate for it. I often get this after fashion shows from models, or events from the people present.
It’s just a photo, its not worth anything
Somehow, some people believe that giving away something of this value is not working for free. There is also a huge misconception that because they feature in the image, they have a right to it. This may come as a surprise to many but being the subject of an image gives you no more right over than image than not being in it. Celebrities do not own the images thousands of photographers take of them, royalty do not own the images taken of them. I also remember my mom having to pay for images that featured me when I was at school. Whats the difference?
The image was created because of the equipment and education you invested thousands in to be able to create it. If you are not compensated for this investment, you are again …working for free. My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, as such all of my images are licensed, as part of my income, I can send you my licensing rates if you would like / the price is x”.
6. SPEAKING TO OUR GROUP
PAYMENT – A thank you
“We would like you to come and talk to our group of up and coming photographers, share some of your knowledge and tips”
I have spent a lot of money on education to get to my position; some of that money was spent with other photographers imparting their knowledge to me. I paid for their expertise.
I paid for the shortcut to know how to do particular things, because they had already put years into perfecting that thing. Knowledge has a value. Students pay thousands of pounds to go University …to gain knowledge.
That’s a little stingy of you, not everyone can afford to pay
This is the way of the world. We would not question BMW for not having their cars at a price everyone can afford. No one would complain to Apple for not making their iPhones at a price we can all afford.
A small business is no different.
My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, as such my time and knowledge has a value, this is my income and I do not work for free”.
PAYMENT – Amazing images you can use for your portfolio to gain exposure and experience from
“Do you collaborate with other businesses / do you do collaboration shoots?”
If I come up with a crazy idea that I would like try out to test my artistic genes, this is a collaboration. A business contacting you for commercial images they need to market their business, is a commercial shoot, not a collaboration.
That’s a little stingy of you, not everyone can afford to pay
Yes some people can’t, they may be a small business like Lensi, and will have to do without some things they need.
Sometimes they are a huge business who wants to give shareholders extra money rather than paying a small business. Sometimes they see no value in photography, therefore just don’t want to pay for it.
But you do not need to take only these few thought out examples as gospel, the internet is littered with websites exposing the same.
Photographers also need to make a living too.
My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, this is a commercial shoot not a collaboration, the cost would be x ”.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN WORKING FOR FREE
Just like a car, a camera has what I call “click mileage” a certain number of actuations and wear and tear, before it needs a major costly service, then before it dies altogether.
Yes camera’s has a life expectancy! They do not go on forever.
Enough of these free jobs brings it closer to this point, without contributing towards its repair or replacement. If photography is your business, your living, this makes little business sense. To keep using something, building up the wear and tear and click mileage, without any payment to replace that very thing. Imagine and Uber driver giving away free rides to charities, or for exposure because they are carrying celebrities and such. There then comes a day when they actually have a huge fare, someone that wants to travel from London to Birmingham for example, a nice payday … but unfortunately they cannot take up the offer because …their car has broken down due to the extensive free rides! Now working for free has actually ended up costing you the loss of real money!
DAMAGED OR BROKEN KIT
Another consideration when doing a free job, if something were to happen on this job, who pays? Who would pay for your kit if something is stolen or damaged at this free job?
You are already working for free, so is this organisation / person going to then say “I know we were not paying you for this gig, but here is £2000 for your stolen camera / here is £500 to repair the lens your dropped while covering our event” …
Would you simply get a sorry and an extra ham sandwich?
An insurance claim may cost you an excess of at least £250, so on top of the costs of working for free, this could cost the photographer quite a lot, all with any payment.
If the worst were to happen, and you had a paid job the next day, it would be irritating in the least, having to pay to hire a lens for a paid job, because the lens you own was damaged or stolen on a FREE JOB
WHAT USALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU CANNOT AFFORD A SERVICE OR PRODUCT?
My last general consideration here is where I ask you to question what happens if you want a service or product you cant afford.
You have a few options:
- Steal it
- Do without it
- Buy a cheaper version
- Restructure your priorities / save for it
I can think of very few cases where I would ask for it for free, or steal it. So just for fun, I have given you a few examples of putting the same exposure requests that creatives get to other businesses and services.
WORKING FOR FREE REQUESTS
GYM OR FITNESS CLASSES
I would love to have a few months worth of sessions for free to enable me to get into shape.
I do loads of great work in the community and you would really be helping me out. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to pay for this … but … I will credit you on social media every time I am at a class, naming the gym and instructor. I will also bring extra water with me to class for you to hydrate yourself with.
I need a new bathroom plumbing in. It is a lovely modern home which would be amazing on your website. A real show piece. I cannot afford to pay for the plumbing because I have already paid an electrician so much. I have also invested in some great designer artwork for the walls. You will be able to use images of my bathroom on your leaflets and website to show the quality of your work. I will also give you a great review.
Come along to my BBQ that I am having on Sunday, while you are here can you just bring your hair kit and give me a quick wash and blow dry! It is going to be a great day, great music and my famous BBQ spare ribs. It shouldn’t take you long.
SOME OF MY PERSONAL FAVOURITES OFFERS
(yes I have been personally approached with all these amazing opportunities)
1. A local council that had had their budgets cut during austerity. They were putting on a conference, but didn’t have the money to pay for this conference, so were asking everyone involved to work for free. Interestingly though, the council workers were being paid as it was part of their day job, so it was actually only small businesses that were being asked to work for free. The bigger businesses such as the one where the event was being held had been paid. I have a policy to never ‘help’ established multi million pound organisations or companies with FREE WORK.
2. A magazine who contacted me for an image they did not want to pay for (i.e free), to accompany an article about people not wanting to pay photographers. (I kid you not).
3. A very high end fashion house (think dresses in excess of 15k), think A list celebs, contacting me to use an image for free, not sure why as they had their own paid photographer at the event, maybe they did not capture the image that i did … who knows.
I have a policy of not giving free stuff to companies who have dresses that cost more than my car or what some people earn in a year.
4. This was was experienced by a colleague. He had shot a wedding a venue, the venue approached him to use a photo from this wedding. He was willing to do this and asked if in return he would use the venue for a styled shoot. The venues response “there would be an applicable hire charge for this, as a commercial venue for hire”.
So yes … we will happily have your work for for FREE, but please do not be so ridiculous as to ask to use our venue for free.
BEFORE I GO
Before all the critics rolls in, let me also clear up a few things I am expecting.
1. Everyone was new to the business once
People who are just starting in the business, with entry level kit and little experience will take up these opportunities; I did myself; but these are not the types of photographers the people who pay with ‘exposure pounds’ are looking for. Your value increases with the more experience (and kit) you accrue.
Think about how much you may pay a newly qualified solicitor compared to a Barrister. How much a Newly qualified teacher may get paid, compared to a year Head or Principal; an Actress with decades of Hollywood Blockbusters under her belt compared to someone just getting into the business. A consultant compared to a newly qualified doctor.
2. Lots of people do voluntary work.
Volunteer – “a person who OFFERS to take part on an enterprise or undertake a task” – see the key difference there?
3. Remember where you came from or started
I do. I remember starting at the bottom and spending thousands of pounds on courses, training and equipment, and investing thousands upon thousands of hours gaining the expertise that allows me to shoot and capture images the way I currently do. But I see no correlation between remembering your humble beginnings and being asked to work for free.
Just like some of the professions I have named above, I have done my ‘internship’ of FREE WORK. If you were asked to earn the same in your job that you have been in for many years, the same as someone who is not even qualified in it yet, would it slightly raise the irritation levels?
4. I would be overjoyed to have my image in print / on the instagram page of x organisation / x celebrity
Thats fine, and your choice. I would rather be paid with real money.
I will update this article periodically, but as of its publication that last time I was asked to work for free was August 2019.
5. I cannot see the big deal, what are photographers going on about, it is just a picture.
Try saying this to Karen Anvil who is rumoured to have made £50,000 from a photo she took on her phone of The young Royals on their Christmas walk.
Photos are how I pay my bills. Yes in todays world they have become so accessible. But each photo is worth something to a photographer, especially full time ones. Imagine being asked to come into work for one month for free …would you be jumping for joy at the opportunity or working for no pay.
My free work offers so far in 2019 total to £7,000 (August 2019)
I would be interested to see which other average everyday people give this amount to charity in a year.
This is what some other creatives have said about it?
My hope for this article.
I hope the article reaches some of the people it needs to…
We (creatives) hope those who ask people to work for free understand their request.
I wish that professionals that work for free understand what they are giving away.
Thanks to all my clients for the respect of paying me in real recognised currencies!!
Follow us on instagram to view some of our working for pay jobs!
Conference Photography Birmingham
Conference Photography Birmingham
Conference Photography Birmingham – If you are looking for Conference Photography in Birmingham, or searching the web for conference rates, and conference prices, or conference pricing you have arrived at the right place.
Lensi Photography covers a range of events and conference photography in Birmingham and throughout the UK to the highest levels.
You may have a shot list that you wish us to work from, or want us to use our own experience to cover all the essentials of your conference in Birmingham, images can be used to advertise future conferences in Birmingham or another area, for press releases and any other future marketing.
We have covered conferences for a range of sectors including Higher and Further Education, International Delivery Companies, Education Sectors, Corporates and Charities.
Conference Photography in Birmingham would cover essentials such as :
- Keynote Speakers (from various angles)
- Headshot portraits of speakers if required
- Shots of the venue
- Natural shots of the delegates interacting in workshops and Q&A’s
- Images of the awards
- Delegates being awarded certificates or awards.
- Real time social media posting
With rates starting from £375 we have a range of both full days and half day packages that will cover all events adequately. We can also provide bespoke packages.