This isn't a rant, which is a first in a while,
this is really an opinion based on doing 'art work for free for exposer' - usually when I read comments or blogs or forums about this, it boils my blood.. which I won't get into but for anyone who has been on this route.. they know.
This journal isn't about ranting about working for free for exposer, it's rather than what you want out of this. A lot artists are feeling that pressure of not getting commissions or getting the exposer for their art work.. which is 100% tough to deal with, its not fun its stressful and a headache which in the long run causes bad art work to happen. So my advice is, if you are being approached by someone to work for free, or those god forsaken trade images nonsense, try to find the middle ground within this.. by this I mean do some research. Write a list of the pros and cons for working or submitting art to them. Do research on the employers background, or model or even photographer or whoever the person is.. do homework on them.. and make a list of it. Rather than hastily say "yes" and accept the work to produce art willingly for exposer. That list of pros and cons you find can be based on their side of exposer of work, do they credit their artists?, do they use the art work created by artists for commercial use? like posters and t shirts, do you get a small percentage out of that.. do the research.. there is nothing wrong with you asking questions about what perks you can get. Rather than be fooled by the common phrase or comment 'we will expose your work' which I personally feel - Is like is a freaking trap for any artist to do art for free for nothing.. so be careful when people say this to you for art work.
There is nothing wrong with making a stand for yourself and say 'No -Thank you'
"Believe in yourself and believe in your work" is what I would usually say.. but as time changes.. it's really down to "Do your homework and balance out the pros and cons" and from that you decide whether to work for this person / group. Knowing what the facts are and what you will expect out of it. It's tough and it's never fun, since there are a lot of groups or people always trying to get free art from us.. I do believe there are some groups that are fine and will respect the usage of art and credit those.. but you got to be careful in the end.
Remember this, your artwork is already been exposed the moment you shared it via the internet of your social medium sites, granted it may not have the amount of views you wish it you would have, but don't get fooled by easy fake wishes of 'more exposer' from groups who target those who want them.
Best wishes to all fun fellow humble or raging angry artists out there.