How One Photographer's Open Letter Made a CEO Change Their "Work For Free" Policy

Have you ever applied for a gig online through a place like Craigslist, Mandy, or even Facebook, only to find out that it is a no-pay job, and they want to own exclusive rights to your images? I know I have. Jared Polin came across a similar posting from Live Nation, notoriously known for having a "Work for Free" policy, and he decided to do something about it– which actually got a response, and might create a change in that policy.

We've all been down the road of taking on jobs to merely build a portfolio, but when a company continually exploits a creative industry like ours, it's only a matter of time until the masses stop taking the company seriously. Or in the case of Live Nation, an outcry on social media got someone in a position of importance to take note.

Michael Rapino is the President/CEO Live Nation Entertainment, and after seeing the video above and hearing from many upset photographers on Twitter, a dialog was opened between Jared and Michael. Here is an update video that was recently posted with further details on the resolution of this matter:

In an excerpt from Jared's blog, he spoke to the outcome of all of this:

Live nation will be paying all house photographers who shoot at their venues. I had a great conversation with Mark Campana who is the Co President North America Concerts. I will be working directly with Live Nation to help determine the new house photographer position terms.

It's awesome to see a few things here. First, because of the audience that Jared was able to reach with his popular "Fro Knows Photo" blog, his rant was actually heard and video actually watched by more than just a few people. Secondly, by publicly shaming someone, it really pushes them to take action to address the issue. Social media is awesome for this kind of thing. Lastly, props to Michael Rapino for taking the time to be a professional and to address these matters. By repsecting the work we create, and paying for it, they will help themselves by gaining a better archive of images, and helping our industry to flourish.

So what do you think is a fair rate/use for this kind of work? And what other companies have a no-pay policy? Maybe we can go after them next and make some more changes happen!

[via DIY Photography]

Mike Wilkinson's picture

Mike Wilkinson is an award-winning video director with his company Wilkinson Visual, currently based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Mike has been working in production for over 10 years as a shooter, editor, and producer. His passion lies in outdoor adventures, documentary filmmaking, photography, and locally-sourced food and beer.

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Have you ever listened to Jared's rawtalks? He makes a lot of misogynistic and homophobic remarks. Definitely not someone to look up to.

Though this might be true. It doesn't negate any of his points that have nothing to do with the issues you pointed out. No one is 100% bad or even intends to be. If he's campaigning for creatives to be paid I think you should at least listen until he spouts something offensive along side it.

I could never show support for someone who mocks homosexuals, no matter what good they've done. There's no excuse for that.

Does anyone have any specifics? like video date and time of the offense. I watch him regularly and haven't come across this type of behavior.

This is the leading example?!!!! Are you kidding me?!...... someone is reaching for anything to be offended by if they're trying to find that as homophobic.

You've never been to a stand up comedy show have you?

I have only seen one or two videos by this guy, and there was none of that in the ones that I saw.

While I agree with you, this topic here is still important to address, and needs to be addressed further across the industry.

Have you ever contacted him about whatever it was that you saw? Hopefully he may respond to it in a positive manner.

Hi Barry, Jared again, can you share with me this so called "mocking" of homosexuals? I really would love to hear it, please share with me where this happened because it has not.

Again, you don't know me, you don't know if im gay, straight, bi, no idea because all you know is my show. Think about it.


PS. If you didn't see my first response, check it out below.

This is so confusing. Jared is defending his gay joke by saying it's ok because he's gay?

Actually no. There is no gay joke to be found, that's the point.

Ok. It didn't make sense that you would gay-bash if you're gay. I can respect that.

I find it strange that just plain male ragging and innuendo is all of a sudden a bash on gay, I'm from that PA area and that's just how people rag on each other.

Luckily for you he still supports you as a photographer by trying to get you (and the rest of us) a better opportunity to be paid and respected as creatives. You're very obtuse and easily offended by jests that don't have the meaning that you're trying to assign them.

You thought it was true, but still defend him?

I miss typed "thought" when I meant "though". but to answer your question, I wouldn't ever fully support/un-support any individual because we all do things that don't sit well with others while for the most part intending to do good.

This always gets people going but just think about it for a moment. What if a military leader rewarded his soldiers with extra personal leave if they quit smoking cigarettes because of the health issues that come along with it.

Most people would then say "That sounds like a good idea" But if I tell you Hitler (based on what I've heard) was the person I'm referencing, would you say he's wrong? The terrible actions or results caused by someone doesn't make them inherently evil. I don't support Hitler in probably 99.9% of his agenda, but I wouldn't say everything he did was bad JUST because he's Hitler.

It's an extreme example I know but Its just to get the point across.

I have owned at least a half dozen "People's Car" variants.

Hi Barry, this is Jared, yes it's me aka FroKnowsPhoto. Thanks for watching but unfortunately you are wrong.

Do I make some sexual jokes absolutely. The two examples you pointed out are two perfect examples of sexual jokes. The first one is actually a plug for HOYA and their filters are extra hard, that's how they market them. When I am doing a plug I try to find something to say where someone will remember it. Looks like it worked because you remember it. On a side note, my shows are all marked explicit which means there may be cursing or sexual remarks. So if that's a problem, you don't have to listen.

But on your other statement that I have made homophobic remarks, give me a break. You could not be further from the facts. You don't know me and honestly you don't even know if I am gay or straight or other right? So don't put words in my mouth or other peoples minds that you think I have said something homophobic. Im not going to sit here and attempt to defend myself against your statements any further than I already have because I don't have to.

You don't know me, you don't know what I stand for, who I stand for, what I am, you only know what you think you know. Like a few people pointed out above, they listen each week and have not found your statements to be founded.

You can like me, you can hate me but the one thing you can't do is put words in my mouth. If you can't handle sexual quips or jokes, don't listen. There are nothing wrong with sexual jokes in the least.


Jared Polin aka the FRO.

I honestly don't understand why you get such a hard time. Thank you for doing what you do.

Admittedly some of it is somewhat childish and the intro is very cheesy.. but that's part of the fun :).

Looking forward to seeing more from you Jared.

I agree that Jared's certainly too immature overly too often during raw talks. I listen, and agree with some points he makes but most of it should be taken with a heavy grain of salt. he's just an adult frat boy; he sounds just like most immature males do, but he's not a homo- or gyno- phobe and he generally means well. What's important here is, like him or not, he has pull and influence that can help the rest of us be heard.

I have a feeling FStoppers comment boxes is gonna be filled with people asking for their sexual orientation acceptance from now on. Why is everyone getting so sensitive ?

You're REALLY reaching if you think either of those comments you refer to are "mocking" gays. One comment was a joke about the porn industry (absolutely nothing said about gays) and the second was a joke about blow jobs, again nothing to do with gays.

In short... Shut up. Quit looking for an excuse to be offended.

so because he made a gay remark anything else he says is no good ? how does that make any sense ? just think about it. everyone is guilty of "off color" remarks, if you say you never have your lying. i do watch about 1/2 of his stuff and don't think he bashes anyone to the point that i notice it, well except for ken rockwell but he deserves it. he makes jewish remarks too, picks on steve, says peoples pics are crappy sometimes, well they are sometimes. i would not say he makes " a lot" of homophobic remarks. so you found 2 out of 100+ raw talks ? that's bunches of hours of raw talk. in my opinion people have gotten too soft on life and cry if someone says something that they don't agree with and are "outraged" if anyone else has a diff opinion than they do. grow up, put your big girl panties on and get over it. that's life. some people will always hate you because of the color of your skin or who you wanna kiss or who you pray too blah blah blah............that's life. i can give a crap about most people and most things that do not effect me, you wanna say that i'm a old fat white guy ? so what, ( i am by the way), go ahead. i don't care. i know i have said things that some might find offensive, again, i don't care. you might agree with me or call me ____________(fill in the blank), i don't give a rats ass.

jared changed a major companies way of thinking. love him or hate him, if you get a gig shooting live nation, you owe him a cut of your check. period.

as the great Japanese philosopher N I kon once said " once you shoot black, you never go back"

Thanks for the support. If you check out the two times he referenced they are actually two sexual in nature remarks. Go check them out and give it a listen. You will see nothing homophobic in the least.

since u are here.
love ur show, love the neutrality tone when you do suggestion or giving tips.
I wait for a new episode like I wait for a Saturday morning cartoon when I was 9.

you can make a homophobic, heterophobic, religion, racist, etc jokes. you have my approval :-p

keep it up.

squireellll i'm out..

don't have time to go looking for it. i'm way too abrasive for that. anyone who shoots Nikon is ok in my book. and when i say book, i don't mean to offend all you magazine readers out there. give me a shout out next raw talk.

Jared Polin is HomoFRObic :) BTW thanks Jared for everything you do. It has personally helped me become the professional I am today.

Fro is always so bombastic in his videos, in my opinion. I don't know why he is always shouting in his videos, but it appears that he embraces confrontation.
But he also makes sure to promote himself with "This is Jared 'Fro Knows Photo!'" Okay, there are others that know photography: Joe McNally, and others.
Normally, when I see that it's a Fro video, I'll skip it. But I listened to both videos.

Thank you Fro for changing Live Nation's policy.

Photographers! Respect yourself and don't work for free.
Those of you who shoots event's for free, you are not going to benefit. There will be always someone building portfolio so your portfolio won't matter! When your portfolio will be amazing and you will want to get paid, guess what. There will be 100 new guys building theirs.
Stop it now! Don't shoot for free.

Hello Jared and others, Usage fee calculators are found at every stock site there is... its an easy and respectable way to find out proper usage and licensing fees! Take a look at Getty ,find an image and ask for the fee's to be generated for you specific usage... tic the proper boxes and hit ok to see what comes up.... You will see why those people went the route they did... cus they are cheap! .............and im not talking about the pictures.

I cant help but comment. I'll be honest Jared I haven't watched alot of your stuff not because i didn't want too its just that I'm pretty full, taking pictures, paying rent, feeding kids, being a husband etc etc. Love life though. I did watch this stream because the whole free stuff is something that any photographer at some point in time has had to deal with. Enormous amount of respect goes out to you for calling out that Company and the CEO and taking some action. There are always going to be haters what ever you do. Commenting on your comments from previous videos is so far off topic that I don't understand what these guys are even doing. Do they have so much time in their miserable lives that they can go back through all of your videos and see if at some point in time you may have made some comment that may have offended them ? What deuche bags ! Jared, what you have done is very cool and I applaud you again !

Live Craigslist advertisement for a concert tour series coming to Cleveland.

"This opportunity provides complimentary admission to the festival and photo area access."


After initial email with the company, they have removed their post for "NO PAY". No new post yet.

I have been following Jared for years. I like his RAW style and his informative videos. Everyone has opinions on everybody, thats why we get to CHOOSE to subscribe or not.

RELAX EVERYBODY, the bottom line is he got his point across...
End of story... PERIOD!

Jared great job! Perhaps you could take tis to another level and advance the respect of photographers every where. ...

Jared - Bravo! Thank you for publicly pointing out the shameful business practices of Live Nation in respect to photographers. I hope that this rally cry can be extended across the industry. Photographers must be paid a living wage for their efforts, experience, and ability. If a company cannot afford a professional photographer, then that is their fault for not budgeting appropriately. The "work for free and we will pay you next time" or "do it for the exposure" arguments are simply lies intended to profit those who use these statements.

As for haters like Barry - their comments are off-topic and should be removed.

I'm not the biggest Jared Polin fan, as a matter of fact when he says his "Frooo...Knoooos...PhoTo" brand tag line it sounds like nails on a blackboard to me, but when I read this article I actually stood up and clapped. He's at a point with his brand that he's affected a real change and, at least with Live Nation, some respect for our work. Good job Jared fighting the good fight and being a positive force.

THANK YOU, Jared! It is so great to see a photographer standing up for himself and his peers.

Every time the debate over working for free comes up on a photographer website, there's always a few dummies insisting working for free or "exposure" is just fantastic and it will lead to some magical payday in the future.

It's amazing how much photographers will work against their own self-interests time and time again!

The most important thing I learned about photography is you can get paid AND get exposure for a project--it's not mutually exclusive! And projects that have a good budget often get you more exposure because clients that have money usually have an audience too.