Networking to the right crowd is your key to success

Recently, on the PPOC Facebook page, someone posted a link towards a Happy Hour Club looking for the services of a photographer, basically in exchange for exposure.

Different comments were published going from, this is a reasonable idea to absolutely, I’m not going to work for free.

At first, one can react as this is a lack of respect for a professional who has invested both time and money perfecting skills. It is normal to expect fair compensation for work.

When you read the ad, the language is extremely positive as to the “benefits” of this opportunity. Obviously, it is to attract candidates. Being visible in front of a crowd, we all want that. Particularly if you are new to the business and finding potential clients is a must.

Two scenarios to consider.

  1. One can argue with reason that working for free is not a goal nor an intention. That’s perfectly fine. Offering our services for free, will cost us money regardless of the amount of work prior, during or post event. How much is this really worth and if you cannot afford it, your option is to pass.

  2. The second option, and this is the one the organizers are hoping to portray, is the opportunity to make a name for yourself by being seen in front of a group of people. You may be a person who is seeking that exposure. At one time or another, all if not the great majority of photographers have done pro-bono work during their career.

You could consider this as part of your community involvement. I personally did pro-bono work in the first years of my business for the local Chamber of Commerce. I know you want to find out if it paid off. Yes, it did but it took time and a proactive attitude on my part to benefit from a fair exchange.

Things to look for before considering:

  • Is this a qualified group of potential clients?
  • Are there opportunities to do “paid” business with people attending?
  • How open is the organization for you to expand on their initial proposal of exchange, meaning, how far can you suggest extra benefits for you outside of money?
  • Will you have direct access to those present, both other service suppliers as well as attendees and gather their contact information for eventual follow-ups?
  • Are you able to post images and comments on social media with permission?
  • Do you have a follow-up plan designed to draw paying benefits from the event? If not, can you create one?
  • Are you able to limit your involvement so you don’t feel like being taken advantage of?

All these questions must have an answer before applying.

My own experience and its outcomeLouise; my experience will be in the form of a short video

Check this video. It features my experience and how I prepared this campaign.


So, what will you do?

You decide!

  • It depends on where you are in the development of your business.
  • How much exposure do you need?
  • Are you willing to ask for fair exchange and not just rely on their initial proposal?
  • Can you put a fair retail price on your services and make it known to the organizers, so they understand the value of your services?
  • Are you willing to prepare and distribute, professionally designed documentation to showcase your services?
  • Are you willing and able to follow up after the event?
  • Are you able to set a limit to your “free” involvement?
  • Do you have the right attitude for such involvement?

The decision is yours and whatever you do, it’s OK!

No one has the right to criticize it.

Andre Amyot