Steal This Email: Responding to Requests for Free Photography

Figuring out what to say when a non-profit or other organization wants you to donate your photography skills or tells you they don’t have a budget for photography can be difficult. When photography is your business it’s important to be professional, but it’s equally important to value your work.

A black bear cub sleeps in a tree while waiting for his mother to return
A black bear (Ursus americanus) cub takes a nap in a tree while waiting for his mother to return. Using foliage to frame your subject helps add dimension, and leaving a wider crop allows for plenty of room for photo editors to crop the photo to meet their needs. Photo by Annalise Kaylor

Many people, both photographers and non-profit clients alike, don’t realize that your time and photography services are not tax-deductible, even if they give you a receipt. Tangible expenses, like parking fees or the cost of a photo print for a silent auction, are tax-deductible, but your service fees are not.

Figuring out what to say when a non-profit or other organization wants you to donate your photography skills or tells you they don’t have a budget for photography can be difficult. When photography is your business it’s important to be professional, but it’s equally important to value your work.

Below is an email template that you are free to modify or use as it best suits the request and your business.