If you've been in the creative field for any length of time, you've surely been approached by someone and been offered the opportunity to work in exchange for “exposure.” In almost every case the query is met with a response that sounds something like, “I can't pay my bills with exposure,” or a clever meme breaking down the investment needed in order to take images in the first place. Before you lose any more sleep about it, let me share with you three ways to turn these types of “opportunities” into cash.
Another clever way I've turned exposure opportunities into cash is rolling the work I create with that client into promo materials that I use to market to other companies or people. Remember, just because you are "working for free" doesn't mean that you have to work that way for future clients. I've taken images that I've created in these situations and used it to work out paid opportunities with competitors and other related businesses. In the eyes of your new prospects, you've established some credibility in working with this other company which can often net you a higher paying job than if you were to come in cold turkey. The key here is that you have to go out and market this work. You won't get business just by posting up the images on your website and waiting for it to be discovered. Put in the effort and it will yield results.
This idea is so simple. In the event that you can create a recurring work scenario with this potential client, you simply offer to do the work in exchange for exposure on the first go-around with the written understanding that future projects will be done on certain dates at an agreed upon cost. I've used this many times in my headshot and portrait business and the results are powerful. By offering to do the first job at low to no cost, it allows you to start the relationship and show them what you're capable of producing. If they are happy with the work, your next two (or more) projects will already be set at a price that you mutually agree to. You could always roll these opportunities using the repackaging tip to approach other companies and gain even more business.
Making money in photography doesn't have to be difficult. Look at every one of these exposure opportunities individually and see if you are able to use these tips to get ahead. Who knows, you may find that there is more money to be made doing these types of projects than if the client actually paid you.
Cover photo by JESHOOTS via Pixabay.