Am I the only one amazed by people still offering exposure as a currency to pay our bills and a way of getting ahead?


  • Update. The discussion is going on and it looks like there's will be a chance to add a dropdown menu items like 'Paid' or 'Unpaid' in the 'Ask' setup. The Dots staff is thinking about to something like this.

    I also talked about the lack of feedback: how many times do you get notified for an 'Ask' you answered a month ago? To me almost every day.

    I proposed timed 'Asks': after a week or two the post would expire to prevent people from continuing to respond to gig proposals that have probably been covered up and somehow 'force' the post author to give feedback. Let's see waht will happen.
  • @Javier Fernandez I hear you. Although some companies would rather hire people in house or with little or no experience to produce content, some companies do understand the value, well researched and executed work from professionals in their field will add to their image, set them appart from others and generate return.
  • @Michelangelo Torres Hi Michelangelo, opening a discussion on the Beta testing area is a really good idea. I can't see why The Dots which is a website and concept that was created to support creatives would dismiss suggestions from the creative community on ways to improve their support. Let us know how the conversation goes.
  • Here's a story about a time exposure worked for me:

    Back in 2009, before I was a writer, I had a little etsy shop selling handmade jewellery. One day I got an email out of the blue from a massive weekly glossy magazine, asking could I send one of my pieces in for a photoshoot. Of course I jumped at the chance, skived off early from my day job to get to the post office in time. They didn't offer to pay, it was for exposure. My god, it worked. I went from a couple of orders a week to 10-20 orders *a day*.

    The difference is, the product I was selling was my jewellery, and the editor put it in their magazine which was read by the kind of people who would pay money for my jewellery.

    Now, as a writer, this works for my books: because the books are the product that people pay money for. So when my books get exposure, sales go up.

    But when it comes to creative content, copy, blogs... the readers don't expect to pay for these things. The product is my time, expertise and creativity and it's editors and companies that are the customer, not readers. Unless an editor is going to publish my work in a place where people who pay freelance creatives are going to see it and know they can hire me, it's not the same thing.
  • Only in the last month I have refused three free job offers: in one case it was a 'student project' and at least I can justify it (even if in this case it would be better to turn to classmates and not professionals).
    Two others were from companies and this is not acceptable and the serious thing is that someone who works for free will find it anyway.

    I have read several interesting answers to this topic such as the separation between paid and free proposals, a campaign against free jobs etc.

    I am part of the Beta Club here on The Dots and I could gather some ideas that I have read here, add my own and open a discussion in the Beta testing area.

    Can it make sense?
  • I would say it will only stop when creatives will saying OK for such an offer. What goes back if we can articulate that being a creative is not subjective by any mean and there is a science behind. What would lead back t the problem with design education... if you know what I mean.
  • Yep Still amazes me too! I often find that the people / companies who want to offer exposure more often than not can't because they themselves are not well known, it also tells me a lot about the values of that company. Design / creativity is an essential resource in the world an needs to be valued as one.

    I think we as creatives are partly to blame for this and we need to change it from the inside out. We have all taken that project for exposure or a small fee but where has it really gotten us and we need to set a standard for our craft. If we don't value our own work enough to demand a fair price, why should other people value us.
  • Nope.

    We can’t pay you now but think of the exposure…
    Exposure doesn’t pay bills. Think of the bills.
  • Not the only one, as you can see.... I been in the photography industry for more than 20+ years and never seen it so bad as these current days... a photographer use to be a respetable professional, today, they are considered just "picture takers", not makers, and everybody consider themselves phoyographers, we're not seen anymore (there're always exceptions, of course) as something worth to pay it's real value, in experience, knowledge, artistic quality and creativity, at all, very sad for us and the market in general.
  • @Emily-Jayne Nolan Hi Emily Jayne. It's a sad thing to say but photographers are their own worst enemies. There is always somebody willing to undercut you, and digital photography has made this worse as everybody can call themselves a photographer. The dimise of the stock photography market is the classic example. The poor returns and the pre-eminence of Royalty Free is due to amatuers pumping millions of photo's into microstock agencys devaluing the proffesionals content. For some reason they are happy to know that there work has been chosen to be used for the few cents they get in return.

    The kind offer to work for free should I think only be considered if it made by an existing client that you work for regularly. Somebody you trust. That wont take the P--s. If you have a good working relationship with them you know that a favour wil be reciprocated. You be given more work to make up for your efforts. We all understand that to grease the wheeels of commerce favours sometimes need to be done.

    Photographers are a disperate group they are hard to organise ( many folk have tried ) on the hole fairly independant people. Long periods of the phone not ringing can make for a lot of internal angst, I'm finninshed !! nobody wants me anymore !! so it probably makes us easy to manipulate.
    Stay strong deep down you'll know when they are going to stiff you.
    Just say know

  • @Carine Buchanan I hear you. I have also seen it with models, because I have been repping an actor, who also models. 80% of the "work" offered is for free.
    The worst offender being one of the most successful reality/competition shows on TV here. First I made the booking guy run around to his bosses to get some pay for my guy, and when he had been tortured a while with that, I called him and told him no, on the grounds that it wasn't right for my client's image. We still laugh about it, but it is much too common.
  • @Carine Buchanan replying to the point you made, "Too many opportunities are given to amateurs simply because they're in a position to work for free..."

    It's so frustrating that people take on all this free work because it lowers the standards for everyone else. I don't blame people for taking on free work as we've all done it when we're starting out. But it shouldn't be that way, EVERYONE deserves to be paid.
  • @James Oaten We're not in an economic system in which exposure and credits are a currency to pay for bills and goods. Until such system is put in place to enable us to do this like a UBI for example, I can't see how most of us creatives and self employed professionals can keep on keeping on. The pandemic has been destructive and exposed the inequalities already wrecking havock in our sector of the industry even more.
  • @Christiane Lange without naming the company which is on The Dots, they openly mention the fact they will not pay you but happily give you credit and exposure.

    Send us project credits! Especially for the images. We are rarely able to pay for photography but we will happily give credits, links and full copyright details where appropriate. Many photographers happily give us free imagery as publication on (.....) is a good way to promote their work and often leads to commissions from other publications. NB you MUST ensure you have the permission of the copyright holder for all material you submit. For more details, see our submissions terms and conditions.

    This is unacceptable as they make an insane amout of profit from us and pretend to support us. This has to stop.
  • @David Rowland thanks so much for sharing this. As a professional you get undercut by the amateurs. The amateurs lower the quality of the work being put out there for everybody to see. There's so much great work being produced by professionals and super talented people without experience. Too many opportunities are given to amateurs simply because they're in a position to work for free, build a network to support them and a push up in the industry they want to move into. Not one them, just to clarify. I had to work bloody hard to get to the level I'm at for many years.
  • @Kevin M thank you Kevin for adding to the conversation and for your input. I agree that the Dots would be the perfect platform to champion transparency in order to support the creative community. What do you think @Pip Jamieson ?
  • Adding this resource to the conversation: - a knowledge base with advice on business, marketing, money and contracts for photographers and independent creatives.

    The Dots could be a great platform to champion more of this type of transparency in my opinion - with jobs ads required to declare the salary scale and hiring processes, as well as all asks having a mandatory field to declare the budget available vs the industry standard.

    Work without pay is a favour and providing favours isn't a sustainable business plan.
  • @Lydia Robinson I agree.
    What's really annoying is looking at a job advertisement, thinking 'yeah, this is something I could apply for', only to scroll down and see it's unpaid.
    I definitely think The Dots need to find a way to separate unpaid opps from paid opps.

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