Should you shoot for free? Thats probably a question that is asked many many times in the world of photography. Actually it's a question everybody should answer for himself and so I thought I probably wouldn't do free work. But then we went to Bali. Read the Story how that changed.
We took some Surf-Lessons in Bali. Well, my amazing girlfriend took them, I gave up after one Lesson and said I will take some pictures of her and our very talented surf-teacher.
First of all it was quite a challenge to capture something thats so quickly moving (neither houses nor food generally move much ;) ). On the other hand I wasn't properly equipped, 400mm focal-lenght are a bit short to photograph surfers out in the waves. But it is exactly this challenge that makes photography so fun and interesting for me: make the best out of what you have.
At the end of the session our teacher Jaya took a few - for him to small - waves. To be honest with you, I was quite surprised how good the pictures came out. The light was just amazing - it always ways short before sunset - and the waves had this beautiful turquoise color. I only wished the waves were a little bit bigger. But again, you have to take what you have.
After post-processing the pictures we send Jaya the pictures so he can use it for his Facebook-Page. For free of course. He really liked the pictures and they where online in a few minutes. He even changed his profil-picture to one of my pictures. Thats a really great feeling and so it felt great to give away this few pictures for free.
So I absolutely think you should shoot for free. But, and thats for me an important but, not in a field you usually work in. Surf-photography is a lot of fun and I had luck to get a few really cool shoots. But those shots are far off of the ones real pro's do. So why not try to learn something new and make other people happy with it? Theres nothing against that. But don't distroy your business by giving away your work for free. Your client's won't be happy to find out that you worked for others for free but they had to pay for it.
Here are a few shoots I am talking about:
If you look for an amazing surf-teacher in Bali, please check out Jaya's Facebook-Page (Link).
If you wan't to see more of my regular work, please visit my website or follow me on the following social-media-channels.