Every day I read 10 times over, someone wanting you to work for free. And with the current direction of this industry with more and more social media make-up artists, there always seems to be someone willing to work for free (normally someone starting out, with no or very low outgoings, who think that the ‘exposure’ will help them have a full time career.)
With so many people in the creative industry asking others to work for free I decided to write a post aimed at helping you to understand what is and what isn’t a collaboration.
My intention is to help you to understand why you may decide to sometimes take on collaborative work which could benefit you as well as the rest of the team and should also help you to value yourself and your services as a make-up artist and hair stylist.
So, what is a collaboration?
collaboration; the action of working with someone to produce something.
In simple terms, it is where a team of people may decide to work together for free (or to collaborate) to create an idea that they have. This can be to gain experience, try out something new, network and the opportunity to work with a new team, to gain photos for your portfolio and more. The main purpose of a collaboration is for you all to work together to produce final images that can be used by every member of the team and that is agreed on beforehand.
Some people may decide to collaborate just for fun, to have a creative outlet or simply because they like to work with particular people and this gives them an opportunity to work together again.
To be clear, a collaboration should be a team of people coming together to create something that benefits everyone. A theme is helpful, but shouldn’t be dictated by any one member of the team. It is good to work together beforehand and create a moodboard to all get on the same wavelength but no-one should be dictating exactly what is required by others as this then becomes ‘their’ shoot and you are simply working for free.
Obviously, this topic isn’t completely black and white. If a look is dictated to you and it is something that you would benefit from having in your portfolio then you may agree to it. The main point that I am trying to get across is that a collaboration should benefit every member of the team that are working together and show all of your strengths as and when it can.
So, when is a collaboration NOT a collaboration?
Put quite simply, it is when one person is profiting from that collaboration.
For example – If a designer would like you to collaborate on a photoshoot that will create images for their website, this is not a collaboration – This should be a paid shoot. The designer will be selling their clothing from the photos on their website. This is their shop window and it is how the clothing looks overall that helps to sell. Therefore the designer will be profiting and you will have worked for free for a designer.
My personal opinion is that if one member of the collaborative team profits, they should be sharing out the money with the team that helped them to make this money.
So, can we do anything to stop the struggle within this industry?
YES – I believe there is a lot that we can do. It starts with;
- Supporting each other. By offering work for free, you are stopping someone from earning. If we all work together and come up with a minimum wage that we are willing to accept then people will expect to pay us for our skills, experience and professionalism – This minimum should be £50 per face but in reality, a photoshoot for a designers lookbook or marketing job should start at £250
- By knowing your worth. Yes, we all have to start somewhere, but as my previous post suggests, you need to be charging at least £30 for one make-up before you are in profit. Anything less and you are actually spending money on the shoot that you are doing. Knowing your worth and valuing yourself also means that people will value you.
- Communicate, ask questions, get advice from other make-up artists. Stop being so precious about the job. Listen to others, trust your own decisions. Trust your gut.
- Stop seeing other Make-up artists as ‘competition’ If we all help, support and guide each other, not only are we helping each other, but we are building a community to be reckoned with. The more we get to know each other, the more we can all start passing paid jobs to each other if we get double booked.
- Any more suggestions? – please comment on this post and I will share. I love to hear your opinions and feedback so don’t be shy.
Happy working 🙂
All the best,