It’s one thing when a non-profit asks for a freebie, or an influencer offers “exposure” for your services, but what just happened to photographer Tim Wallace is on a whole other level. Wallace was recently asked to provide free prints to a millionaire, who didn’t “have the budget” to purchase them for their $12 million “coastal retreat” home.
Wallace shared the text of the email exchange with DIY Photography. The initial request came from the millionaire’s designer, who said that they were “working to remodel their $12m coastal retreat home.” The wealthy client apparently loves Wallace’s work, and would like some prints of his car photography for their entryway.
Hi I have a very important client that I am currently working with to remodel their $12M coastal retreat home, they love your classic car work and would like to have **** print for their hallway as you enter their home.
At first, you imagine that this email is about to lead to a VERY healthy commission. But then the designer hits Wallace with this line:
They unfortunately don’t really have any budget for this however so I was wondering if you’d be interested in sending us the high resolution files if we did the printing so that there is no cost to yourself?
Wallace responded as incredulously as you might expect. And while he chose to use some harsh language and a healthy dose of snark, it’s hard to blame him for being angry at this request. Here’s his response in full:
Hi, oh wow that’s so cool and thank you so much for the kind feedback regarding my work. It’s such a tempting offer to supply them with my work for absolutely no benefit to my business what so ever and it’s hard to know what to say.
I think the fact that they have the revenue to purchase a $12m second ‘coastal retreat’ home would suggest that they are the type of people who feel that they deserve the very best but shouldn’t have to pay for it. Unfortunately I don’t really do business with cheap people and your offer clearly shows me that whilst they love my work they do not respect the hard work that goes in to creating that. Therefore I will have to respectfully suggest that you stick some of that overpriced drift wood art that you interior designers are always so good at knocking out on the wall instead. I’m assuming that you are getting paid or do ‘they love your work too’?
Lucky you, it’s such a fabulous project and you’re so lucky to be in their presence.
Good luck with it all
Let us know what you think in the comments. When dealing with a millionaire client—even an entitled one—is there any benefit to actually letting them display your work in their home for free? Or did Wallace handle this exactly the way that you would have in his shoes?
Update: This post has been updated to include the full text of the request and response emails.