The Exposure Calculator & Should You Work For Exposure?


“Hey Jeannie, could you whip something up for me really quick? Thanks!”

I get requests for pro bono work, and if it’s for family or friends, of course I will oblige. However if a complete stranger is asking me to write copy or design a website in exchange for ‘exposure’, well, that’s been a hard no since I became established. Exposure unfortunately does not pay the bills.

I ran across the Exposure Calculator today and it made me want to scream to the world ‘preach brother’.  If you are in any kind of creative industry, you will feel an attachment to this, as odds are that you have been asked to work for exposure in lieu of actual money.  

This calculator was created for photographers, but still gave this writer and creative all of the feels. It calculates how much ‘exposure’ you should get in lieu of actual payment. 

Find out exactly how much “exposure” you should receive for your hard work, based on important metrics and complicated scientific algorithms.

exposure calculator
(above) the exposure calculator


Creatives being asked to be paid in exposure is way more common than people think

The calculator, while stated on the website is an obvious parody,  does hit home with how creative industries are treated with respect to payment.  

This is such a common occurrence that a designer from South Korea named Ryan Estrada created the Twitter account @forexposure_txt and it has resonated with creatives the world over.

Social media & influencers may have made ‘exposure’ a viable payment method

All of the above being said, I started my business pre-social. Since the takeover of social media in our everyday lives, working for ‘exposure’ has become a different game. If you are a creative, established or not, and an Instagram model or brand with millions of followers asks you to do something for exposure, it might be worth the time. It will just come down to the cost/benefit/time equation that each creative need to work out for themselves.


Exposure has long been something that, once established, I would have always said no to. But if the right opportunity came by with enough of the right followers behind it, this die hard no exposure girl might just say yes. Will I do your web design for exposure? Tell me of your millions of followers…