Should you work for free as an up-and-coming creative?

Being a creative isn’t simply just about creating things. You also need to be paid for your work. But as a graduate freshly starting out, how much do you charge, or if at all?

For everyone that’s in or wanting to be in the creative industry, the first question that arises straight after the learning phase is: “do I charge for my work starting out?” It’s one that’s baffling to say the least, and both sides make compelling points. But really, what do you do?

Whether you’re a designer, photographer, videographer, or journalist, we’ve all been in the same boat. Doing freelance work for pittance or being part of an extended unpaid or bare-bones internships are hurdles many of us have been through.

Some people would say that any work is work, and exposure is great, while others say that you might fall in to a trap and never get paid for your work.

Ted Forbes, the current multimedia manager for the Dallas Museum of Art and long-time creative, addresses this question in his latest vlog and supports the idea of getting paid for your creativity.

For him, charging for your work – and receiving pay – indicates that the client values your work, and values their project. Would you want to work for a company or client that doesn’t value their own projects?

His video is aimed at those in the photography community, but the ideas in the video can be applied to any person who is working in a creative field.

What are your thoughts on free work? Do you occasionally “help” a mate out, or charge them for your work? Let us know in the comments section below.