Working for free & shooting at a gig are 2 completely different things

Self development is very important to me, i’m one of those annoying people who always wants to be better than I am and believe there is no such thing as perfection. With most creatives, the best way to see if something works or doesn’t is to jump in the deep end and see. 

As photographers we can sometimes gain access to the photopit under no publicist or with any official links to bands, simply shooting there for portfolio uses and no pressure what-so-ever. Its great when we get these chances but sometimes they are hard to get.


This is where we need to understand our principles are and limitations to those around us who want to use our images. Its very simple to break this down I believe, there are 2 categories to this… ‘Working for free’ and ‘Shooting a gig’.

Working for free to me is when a band approaches you, or asks you to provide images for them to use. Straight up there should be a fee to this, just think of your overheads…. insurance, equipment, travel, subscriptions etc. Its expensive. Right now my monthly overheads on just keeping the business running remotely are £100.00. Its not much but it has to come from somewhere. 

Shooting a gig is a completely different thing, and I will go in with a range of mentalities. The first of which is because I want to try new things, maybe its a new way I want to try shooting, or see things from a different perspective, for example last night I wanted to focus on close ups and a new lightroom preset that I have been working on (images below). As well as this, there might be a vision, a band who are supporting or playing might be coming back to the area soon and you want them to notice your work so you can build up a relationship with them to hopefully open up new doors. Sure I will send the bands a link to my work, I really don’t mind it going on social media to showcase the event provided i’m tagged in the post. Its nice they like my work and is just another marketing channel. Plus its great for building relationships too. Bands follow bands, I remember I shot 1 band a while a go, and someone from another reputable band approached me asking if I was the person who got a particular shot of the band who posted my image. It was great to get noticed (who doesn’t love positive attention.). If the bands want to use the images for official use with financial benefits, there has to be a fee in my opinion, easy as that.

So heres how I sell it… Package deals. With every band photoshoot I do, I offer a complimentary show with it. I lose nothing by doing this, I offer fair prices which work well for both parties and at the same time build great relationships. I want to see these bands do well, and would always love being around them as they grow. I am working with a couple of bands at the moment who I think are destined for greater things so want to help where I can, yes its ‘only photos’ but those photos become marketing tools and if my images are splattered about the place, it looks good for everyone. 

I hope this clears things up from my perspective, if you have questions, want to share opinions or want to point out grammatical errors (i’m a photographer, not a writer :p) I welcome it, head over to my social media platforms and drop us a message.

Last night I was shoot AT Dodgy, Babybird and Tony Wright (Terrorvision), with the intention of trying new things, take a peak below.

Using Format