Photography by Ian L. Sitren

Posts tagged “working for free

Pay The Writer! And Me Too!

Harlan Ellison has passed away today at the age of 84. Who is Harlan Ellison you are asking. An extraordinarily talented and visionary science fiction writer who was actually the imagination that brought us the Terminator and some of the most iconic episodes of Star Trek, the Outer Limits and Babylon 5.

He was also just vicious as a businessman protecting his creative rights as in this video. Concepts that I truly embrace and a video I have not been shy about sending to companies who have asked me for something for free.

Must Be Some Nice Shirt!

I have received a few e-mails from people I know this week about an ad running for Inside Fitness Magazine looking for “Inside Fitness Ambassadors”.  All asking what I thought about it. So I will let you tell me what you think about it.

Let’s start with the “Benefits” all directly quoted from them…

  • Opportunity to be a part of the Inside Fitness Women’s Team of ambassadors
  • Exposure at Inside Fitness Women’s events, trade shows, OPA shows as a brand ambassador of Inside Fitness Women
  • Exposure on Inside Women’s social media
  • Opportunity to appear in the Inside Fitness Women’s Magazine
  • Potential to appear on the Inside Fitness Women’s website
  • IFM Shirt

Then “Duties Of An Inside Fitness Ambassador”…

  • Be a part of Inside Fitness Women’s team and help push an active lifestyle brand to women across the globe
  • 1 -2 post a week on Social media sharing or promoting Inside Women’s content. Sample post ideas: share specific article from print or digital, post about them doing a workout, post of them making a recipe from the magazine, etc.
  • Send us photos of you training based on an article in the magazine or website, recipes you have made from the magazine or website, competing, wearing Inside Fitness Women’s gear/with the magazine
  • Be available to cover OPA shows at Inside Fitness booth
  • Be available to cover trade shows and Inside Fitness events specific to your region
  • Potential to be a part of online content collaborations Inside Fitness Women’s social media (Instagram, guest blog posts, Pinterest, YouTube etc.)
  • Create 1 monthly video on a certain topic that will be edited and potentially posted on the Inside Fitness Women’s website
  • Add ‘IFM Ambassador’ to social media feeds
  • Potential to be part of Inside Fitness events, be part of and promote seminars, IFM events and boot camps at the Inside Fitness Centre

And what do you get for all this work? … Nothing, Zero, No Money.

And what do you get for all the money you spend to do all this? … Nothing, Zero, No Money.

And what do you have to do for them? … A Lot!

Oh wait… You do get the shirt!

What does Inside Fitness get? A lot of content, free labor, your money making the content, your hopes and dreams and hard work.

What else does Inside Fitness get? The opportunity to sell advertising and pay all of their salaries and expenses, meals and trips, drinks at the bar (the best drinks), buy their cars and travel nicely and stay in nice hotels. Of course while you are standing in their booth at some shows in your high heels for 9 hours. And in some ways you are working for it and financing it for them.

But you get the shirt! Must be some nice shirt!


What do I think Inside Fitness Magazine should do? Pay people! If you don’t have the money, go get a loan at a bank, borrow on your house, sell one of your cars, get out your credit cards. Do not be scamming these people into working for you for free and putting up their money with your vague representations about potential, opportunity and exposure. Wear your own shirt!


$75 For You, Millions For Me, But We Appreciate You!

‘We pay $75 per day for you to work in our booth at the Olympia.’ ‘We pay $20 per photograph that we use and we give you photo credit.’ ‘We don’t pay for articles but you will get a lot of exposure.’

How many of you have heard things like this from supplement companies and others? Now let me give you a real life example about how much money these companies are making when they tell you about their woeful budgets and hardship tales about paying you…

“During the period from October 2008 through October 2013, the conspirators collected at least $400,000,000 in revenue…”

“Transferred over $230,000,000… proceeds from USP Labs business account at Chase to the USP Charles Schwab accounts”

“… transferred over $154,000,000 to at least 21 other financial accounts maintained at Charles Schwab, Chase Bank, TD Ameritrade Bank, TD Bank, and Bank of America”

These are quotes directly from a Federal criminal indictment filed on November 4th against USP Labs and S.K. Labs and their principals. You saw their products at the shows and in all of the magazines like “Jack3d”and “OxyElite Pro”. The charges involve fake ingredients, frauds, deceptions etc. Importantly however, the indictment does give you an idea about how much money is involved with supplement companies and such.

Now I will say that there are good companies out there. Their products are good, real and they treat people well. But they are seemingly few and far between.

So remember that when you are standing mostly naked in a booth at the Olympia, feet hurting in those high heels that the money you should be making you have given to the owner of the company to go have dinner each night at some high end restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip.

Or when you spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your photo equipment, you are paying the interest on your credit cards so the money you should have been paid is being transferred, when the company owner drives over in his Mercedes SLS Coupe, to the bank to transfer a few million dollars to his other accounts.

The full indictment can be found here at United States of America v. USP Labs et al.

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Free Exposure – Yeah Right

More following my prior posts about working for free etc. This is an e-mail exchange from yesterday. Another company trying to get free work by offering free exposure. Free exposure at best is worthless but from a start up company that has no exposure, free exposure is worth even less. Obviously the person just does not get it. And sadly they will sucker some people in who are just hoping to find some way of getting ahead and trying to be hopeful about it. I have left out the person’s name and the name of the company so as to not embarrass them, at least for the moment. Please read all of it. Enjoy the exchange and if I can answer any questions just let me know at


The Power Of No!

In follow up to my post below about getting paid for your work and not working for free or cheap. This is a quote from top model Patti Hansen from 1975. It appears in the book “Arthur Elgort, The Big Picture“. A photo essay of this most famous and respected of photographers. Sometimes you just have to say No!

$75 Mostly Naked Booth Babe, Is That You?

I have talked with so many of you about my opinion of working for cheap or free as models for supplement ads or magazine features and more. Basically if someone is making money using you, then you should be paid. And not in $50 of supplements or standing around mostly naked for $75 as some booth babe all day. A company making like $40 million a year can afford to pay you. Time to just say NO! This is what top models are making for the last year per Forbes Magazine 2015. Yes they are at the very top but hey, this is a very very long way from free. In between would be much better for most of you I would guess. If you want to chat about it, just send me message and I will try to help you out. My E-Mail is