It's become obvious that this site is composed primarily of people who see no value in their own time and skills and therfore is has devolved into the "come to place" for all things free. If you don't value your own skills, certainly no one else ever will.
I believe my time here has come to an end, this is getting ridiculous.
Hi Hawkeye -
You may not be aware of this, but, like you, all the free (and absurdly low price) photoshop work being done on either here and elsewhere on the Internet has profoundly bothered me for years. My feeling was that:
(a) Such work undercuts people who are trying hard to make a living from their Photoshopping skills. The analogous trend is also occurring in photography: More and more technically good photos can now be made by non-pros, and many people who just bought a $300 low-end DSLR then think they have automatically become a talented photographer. As I have worked as a photographer for decades, I know that this simply is not, and can not be true.
(b) I don't want to reinforce any expectation among the public that while one obviously has to pay car mechanics, plumbers, and other skilled individuals to do work for you, payment just isn't necessary for Photoshop work.
However, after much soul-searching, I have come to realize that:
(c) Free PS work is inevitable. It's little more than a continuation of the historic trend in work-related complaints like, "factory workers are taking work away from skilled artisans"
, "machines are taking work away from skilled factory workers"
, "computers are taking work away from skilled machinists"
, etc., etc.; and,
(d) Requests for free PS work do serve a purpose in our community. As pointed out previously, such requests serve as a quasi-realistic training and testing ground for people just entering this field. There's nothing like the feeling one gets when you know there is a real need for a product, even if there is no payment. Such requests also serve as a mode of artistic expression for people who have no intention of becoming a working pro in this field.
In addition, I have come to realize that there is little economic threat to working pros from the visitors who come to PSG or other Internet venues looking for free personal PS work. This is because such visitors would never pay anyone to do such work, so no income for the pros is lost from this type of "competition".
I also realize that if we don't allow our folks here on PSG to respond to such requests, the alleged free-loaders will simply go elsewhere and find someone who will volunteer to work for them for free. Maybe the quality of the result will be acceptable, maybe not. If not, the visitor will eventually learn that they generally have to pay for artistic quality / workmanship, professional business practices, a high probability of success on the first attempt, timely response, a continuing relationship, etc.
Such education by experience is a critical part of the process of determining the true and current value of a service. No matter how much I would like it to be different, this economic equilibration process that is following the democratization off Photoshop simply can't be avoided or bypassed.
That being said, while I can accept (and ignore, LOL) the kids who come here to have themselves photoshopped into a picture with their favorite actress, the business people who come to PSG looking for free PS work for their money-making businesses definitely do rub me the wrong way and I would dearly like to educate them.
So, IMO, free and ultra-low price photoshop work has become a fact of life here in PSG and everwhere else. I know you don't like them (...neither do I...), but my suggestion is to simply do what everyone else does who don't like them: just ignore these requests and let other people make their own decision as to whether to volunteer their time or not.
Just my $0.02,
PS - To foster a good discussion of the important topic of free edits, I don't want to see this thread derailed by the introduction of other, at best, tangentially related topics or suggested solutions to other perceived problems. Let's try to stick to just this one issue.