Turning Down an Assignment


Lately, I have started getting assignments frequently. Which assignments should I be focusing on, given that I’m just starting my pro career.
Gurpreet Sandhu, Chandigarh

This story was originally published in July 2014.

Lucky man! The way we see it there are three kinds of assignments—the ones you do for money, the ones that are unique and interesting, and the one that are deeply personal. Getting an assignment that fits all three categories is what dreams are made of. That said, if an assignment fits two categories, you should take it.

Here’s how you can divide assignments that fit only one category. Figure out how much money you need to make to survive for the next month, three months or a year. Taking up one well paying assignment a month will give you enough free time to pursue personal projects.

Clients who are open to creative photography may not have the budget to pay you what you want. But as long as your costs are covered and you make some amount of profit, these assignments allow you get creative and build a body of commercial work that stands out. The future of your “well paying” assignments will depend on how creative you get on these shoots.

Shoot personal projects to maintain your sanity. Catering to clients can be draining, and may cause you to get fatigued with photography. If you can get someone to pay for these ideas, even if it means just breaking even, great!


Tags: Question of the Month, Q and A, which assignments to focus on, how to turn down an assignment, starting my pro career