Photographers Are Furious at This Ad on Craigslist


These types of ads seem to pop up fairly regularly and send the photography world into a fit of rage – you know the ones – those that ask for a free shoot in return for “exposure” or experience.

But even by those standards, this ad is a doozy, asking for some solid experience and a lot of very topline gear – ie. gear only a working professional is likely to have.


This has ended in much hilarity online.

This one was found by the folks over on Reddit and resulted in a pretty funny thread of comments.

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Rob is the founder of Light Stalking. His love for photography started as a child with a Kodak Instamatic and pushed him into building this fantastic place all these years later, and you can get to know him better here.
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Everything went very well. Until that comes the list of equiments needed for the task.
If the person really wants to help a novice photographer, which I do not see as a problem, this person should ask for beginner equipment …I just think so

This person/couple does not care about helping a new photog develop a client list. What they want is free wedding photography.

Maybe it is tongue in cheek, maybe it isn’t. It is also a riff on the old do it for free so you get “exposure” proposition offered artists and musicians. If your band plays my gig, you’ll get so much exposure…. yada yada yada. People do it, non-profits do it, businesses do it. Don’t get played for a fool, if you’re good enough to do the gig, you’re good enough to get paid.

How do you afford equipment like that if you don’t get paid when you use it? How ’bout an alternative offer? You pay me to shoot the wedding and I’ll use that money to pay for the advertising to get my own clients? That’s fair, right? If any of your guests want a good photographer, they can still book me and pay for the service too. I’m pretty sure that’s how all this works.

I don’t know who is trying to scam who here. Who ever wrote this ad obviously knows something about photography (how many people who only shoot selfies with a iPhone know what a “full frame” camera is) and how to evaluate a photograph (exactly what is an “amazing” fashion shoot). Any professional or even semi professional photographer that is producing consistently good results with the kind of equipment listed that has gone to the trouble of producing a website and a presentable portfolio has certainly had the opportunity to shoot at least one wedding. Any decent photographer that is working around young women (fashion) consistently has already been asked multiple times to shoot a wedding. My youngest niece, a year before she graduated with a degree in photography had several opportunists to do weddings.
I don’t know who is trying to scam who, but I think I would contact the person who posted this ad and offer to double my rates just because their a twit.

i can do it. I’ve never been to America before and would enjoy the experience. I have to bring my assistant (my wife) and her two assistants (our daughters). As you are paying expenses I would like to stay in a five star hotel and would require a nice car to run around in. I will stay in America for the whole of the next fortnight after the wedding (at the hotel) and edit the images so that they are ready for when you return from honeymoon. I will also need some food money for evening meals and lunchtime treats.
I have had a word with the airline carrier and they will fly us there gratis and the hotel will put us up free as well. Isn’t that nice of them, all I had to do was mention your name. I had a word with Donald and he would like to come along as a guest, he would have to bring thirty of his cronies (bodyguards etc.). They can stay in Trump tower for free, so that’s good, he has even offered to give the bride away (not sell, you notice) a very generous man. So, all in all this should be a very low budget wedding.
If this is still too much, I could pay you for the privilege of shooting you and your bride and maybe the rest of the family.

Unbelievable. He wants the photographer to have around $10,000 worth of photo gear so the photographer can shoot his wedding for free? I wonder if he also expects the caterer, DJ, wedding planners to also all work for experience – maybe they should pay him for the opportunity. He may be the type of person who, if everything isn’t perfect, he’ll sue them, so better have lots of insurance. If I was the photographer and I was going to do something this crazy (thankfully, I’m not), I would tell him he gets no photos until I got at least 10 (more?) new paid clients from the gig, which would be in the contract. Oh, and he’s responsible and would have to pay for any of my equipment that might go missing during the coverage.

I’ll be happy to shoot this wedding for no charge. All I ask is that they compensate me by providing me with all the photo gear they require and allow me to keep it, along with all the wonderful experience and contacts, after the shoot. And, oh yes, I’ll need batteries, memory cards, at least one capable assistant and suitably professional editing gear and software. And their profound, sincere thanks for shooting their wedding for free…

I question how long this wedding will survive…

I thought the goal of running any business was to make a profit? I suspect that all the other services that this soon to be, happily married couple, have hired for their wedding are getting paid. Why then should the photographer expect to do this for free? Or did the couple use the same story with all the services that they require for the wedding – think of the exposure and possibilities.
I think the old fashion proven method is the only approach to take – hire me for the going rate and I will do my own marketing to find additional clients, and I just might be able to afford all that expensive gear that you want me to have for your wedding.

Almost a similar situation except that we promised to pay and the Photographer excepted. The remuneration was not fixed and assumed on professional trust – I a retired Advisor, world’s largest conglomerate and an advanced amateur. And the Photographer somewhere between a Pro & an advanced amateur. We were both members of the same prestigious photo club and Pentax Google Group.
The session was a family shoot – we and our children from the US & Canada.
Note: Pentax did not have a full frame DSLR then, but I knew the Pentax K-5 was a tad better than the full frame Canon 5D as per DxO Mark Rating.
So he spent some 2.50 Hrs on the photo shoot. I paid him a part amount as he left.
He submitted the photos online and later RAW + processed hi-res JPEGs on a DVD.
They were all amateur shots. No Pro quality stuff.
We made another payment, in all total about 60 % of Pro Remuneration.
What do you folks think??
I wish this smart Alec on Craigslist had offered to gift the Photographer some substantial Accessory he may not have had in his professional pursuit as a young photographer.

I would bet at the ‘meet and greet’ the equipment gets stolen. Classic ad of thieves. That’s why they list what kind of equipment they want the photographer to own. Beware.

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