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Victor Rivera had two questions about a portrait photography job he’s doing, and with his questions, he hit on a hot and touchy topic in the photography world, namely, working for free.

That’s not all he asked about though! He was also wondering about what lenses and lights to bring. Here’s Victor’s question:

“I’m going to be taking some portrait business pictures in an office room, and my thoughts are to bring my soft box lights, (2), and a flash for a possible halo look in the back, my back drop cloth is dark grayish and thought I’d try my 50mm,and bring my 70-200mm lens.

Any advise would be appreciated?

It’s just one person. Any thoughts also on what they charge for such? or,since it’s my first photo shoot, should I do it for free and just ask to use it my Web along with a reference ?”

To the gear, the simple answer is that I typically recommend you take all your gear, because it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. 🙂

As to the money question, that gets more complicated, and I discuss it in depth in the video, but the bottom line there is that you shouldn’t work for free.

That doesn’t mean you have to take money as payment, but you should be getting some kind of value for the work you do. Most of us decide to work for “free” in order to get work for the portfolio, or to make a connection, for referrals, or something else.

One thing you shouldn’t do is say you’re working for “free”. You can use language like “complimentary photo shoot”, or “for trade” or something else that suits you and continues to put value on the work that you’re doing.

Your camera is an amazing tool, but it’s no good to you if you don’t know how to use it!

If you want to take control of your camera and use it to take amazing photos like a pro, check out my Guide to Shooting in Manual Mode video course.