I STOLE THIS IMAGE !
People that work, work for a paycheck. If you work in retail, you earn your paycheck. If you work in an office, you earn your paycheck. No matter your job, you earn a paycheck.
Nobody works - for free. Unless you are volunteering your service and I only volunteer for animal rescue. When you book a session with me, I charge a retainer fee for my services. All prints and digitals are purchased separately.
When a photographer works, it includes: all the years of experience, education, equipment, insurance, taxes, props, fees, websites -the list is huge. There are many expenses owning your own small photography business. Photographers take their hobby and passion to form a small business. (Many of us lose our hobby & passion over our business)
Photographers and small businesses can NOT pay bills by giving away work. Have you ever said to a photographer, "Photograph my kid or my pet & you will get exposure!". Exposure does not pay bills. Has another business ever said, "Photography my business and it will get you tons of exposure!" Again, free work and exposure, won't pay website fees, email fees, insurance fees or even my camera maintenance bill.
Also, let me mention, free work is not valued. How many times have you received a free gift with purchase. You value your purchase, you paid for it. But the free gift, you may give it away also. Free is not valued.
All photographic images that I take are copyright protected. From the moment I click the shutter, the image is copyrighted to me. When you get your proof images, you will have some sort of proof watermark on them and there is NO option to download the images. A proof watermark may look different. Each photographer uses their own.