Friday, December 26, 2014

Stop the Free for All Madness!

Ah, free work: the bain of the creative pro existence...... It is usually necessary to do it in the early stages of our careers in order to build up a portfolio. But how much free work is enough? It is highly debatable but I'm going to throw out a vague idea for you to think about.

Do as many projects as it takes to gain a minimum of 5 flawless projects. These projects must best represent your abilities. They must visually speak for you and tell the world you're an AMAZINGLY talented fashion stylist. 

The amount of free work aka practice it takes will vary from person to person for a variety of reasons. Always count internships as free work too not just the projects you do for TFP (time for portfolio or prints). The point of doing it all is to get enough diverse experience to earn a coveted assistant job with an established stylist and even your own clients. 

Along the way, if you want to start charging people, do it! Please tell potential clients the rate that you feel you deserve and DON'T LOWBALL IT EITHER. Try it and you might be surprised that you'll get paid more often! High quality potential clients don't respect free and low rates, so charge what you're worth as early as you have your very first portfolio piece to show. 

Also, do free work for the biggest names possible whenever you have the opportunity to do so and they just won't pay. It will look the best on your resume and client roster.

Here is a suggested list of the 5 types of flawless photo projects you need in your starter portfolio. Of course this will be different for everyone since everyone will have different opportunities. But you get the idea.

2 Editorial Photo Shoots
1 Print Advertisement
1 Designer Lookbook
1 Online Store

Plus, an internship for a stylist and/or fashion company.

I hope this gives you a basic framework to start with. Let me know in the comments how you handled your own free work conundrum.

Thanks for reading, take care.

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