I was reading the blog post This Photo Is Not Free. I have read a lot of people who get very irritated when they are asked to contribute their artwork for free. This seems to happen to graphic artist more often than anything else. I have been asked this a few times myself. Being a crappy photographer I am flattered when I am asked for a photo. Some times I say yes, but often I say no. I am not insulted or irritated when I am asked for this.
I first want to point out the the author of this article that you are not alone in being asked to do things for free. Everyone is asked to do things for free. My sister is a lawyer, she has tons of stories of people asking her to work for free. She works in the non-profit sector for a living and people still ask her to donate her time to non-profits.
This also happens more often in the creative fields. People are asked all the time to do things for free. I have heard musicians, cartoonists, writers, painters, actors, theater techs, and recording producers all tell stories of people asking for free help. They are asked by all types of people. Please don't think photographers are special.
Photo by Blue J
There is something happening with Photographers that is not happening with other professions. The line between amateurs and professionals is getting very blurred. There are people who are more or less professional photographers who are not making their money by selling photo, but in the internet influence economy. If I was making money off a blog or website, it would be easy to give photography away for free.
photo credit "Scott Beale / Laughing Squid"
Here is the truth of economics, Photography will not go away if professionals photographers go away. The question is will people be able to get the quality of photography they want at the price they are willing to pay. Please say no to anyone who asks for photos for free. Please encourage other people to say no to them also.
Just realize that you are competing with people who are giving their photos away for free. Your photo has to be worth more than a free photo. That is the truth of the economics. Your photography has to be that much better than something they can get for free.