Working for free, for pay: Congrats to Justin Van Leeuwen!

Want to view more of Justin's wonderful photos of the Marriott? Click the image.

We’ve been meaning to congratulate our dear friend Justin Van Leeuwen, for using his guest post with Local Tourist Ottawa as a jumping point towards an opportunity with the Marriott Hotel. 

On his blog he writes:

“Working for ‘free’ gets a bad rap, of course it’s also often misinterpreted in what free involves. A few months ago I was contacted by the lovely folks over at Local Tourist Ottawa to write a blog post that included a good selection of my personal work from the Ottawa area. Now, I do believe that writing is a commodity and has value, as do my photographs, and I do charge for their use on websites.

Photographer Justin Van Leeuwen

This time, I decided I was very much okay with the terms of this relationship as I like the blog, found it a good fit, and was given freedom as to what I would write and include photographically.

This was a mutual exchange – they gave me creative freedom, and I gave up my rates because I was happy to do it. No fuss, got some exposure, showed my work, all for a few words and photos I had already taken. A month later the article was retweeted by the Ottawa Marriott twitter account – in short – praising the photographs.”

After offering to shoot the hotel for free, Justin used his talents (and beautiful photographs) to wow the Marriott and successfully “turn ‘free’ into work – good paid work.”

Check it out!

To learn more about Justin's work, visit

The moral of the story?

“Not every situation will work out this way…but if you are not booking jobs, your full time job is to MAKE jobs happen, all the while expanding on your personal portfolio,” writes Justin.

Congratulations Justin, and thanks for sharing your story!

To read the whole story and view more photos please visit Justin’s write up.  Have you come across a great opportunity following your guest post with LTO? Send us a note at to tell us about it.