A few days ago I got a question from a reader over at Blackstar’s blog who wanted to know what I think of the work for free controversy.

Here’s the story. John Harrington, a very well known Washington photographer is  a contributor to Blackstar as well as a blogger. On July 13th he posted a great piece, called the  12 Excuses for Shooting Photos for Free and Why They’re Bogus. It’s been retweeted 295 and gotten as of today 99 responses. Click here to get to the original post.

While I know free is touchy, free does not equal free. My answer to free is really – it depends. I work for free. I have a number of photographers and photo professionals whom I often give a helping hand as a mentor without getting paid. Why? Because everyone needs a little help sometimes and I know it’ll come back to me because it always does.

I also work for free for some heavy hitters in the speaking industry. That’s how I got to meet Glenn Morshower a well known actor, because I helped my friend and motivational speaker Craig Duiswalt for free. I offered it myself. Why? Because I want to learn how good events work and I always learn something.

The second part of free is that there are plenty of win-win scenarios that you should put under consideration before saying no. A good barter deal sometimes has incredible value.

Now when someone just wants you to bring your camera and says come on it’s not a big deal, well in that case I suggest you run far and fast. But before you say know examine if you can find a value in a deal.

Here’s the video I recorded for Blackstar:

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