We've all been there or know of someone who has. A client asks us to provide a service for them, be it photography, design or retouching. But the budget for the project is minimal. So minimal in fact that it's non-existent. So instead of financial reimbursement, we creatives are promised payment in the form of free exposure which will ultimately lead to fame and fortune. And possibly another job from said client in the future.
Beginners especially may be lured by this "deal" as they consider themselves inexperienced and perhaps think of their work as being sub-par. But, as the graphic below illustrates, we all have rent to pay, groceries to buy and, if you're anything like me, a ferocious caffeine habit to support.
This however should not be confused with "testing" whereby new clients usually ask us to work on / submit a sample or two to see how adept we are at our profession. I still to this day test with various new clients and think of it as a healthy process for both parties involved. Doing entire editorials on the other hand, sometimes without even so much as a thank you at the end just seems a little unfair.