Ask any young gun, and they’ll tell you they’d love to get paid for work they love to do. If you drop the E word (“Exposure”) anywhere near them, they’ll cringe. Mostly because they want to get fairly compensated for the work they do, not get taken advantage of.
Get out of the whole exposure conversation once and for all, and find out what you really want.
If it’s pay, ask for it.
If it’s a chance to have a 15 minutes conversation with the senior designer of a company, ask for it.
If it’s free product, ask for it.
If they say no, move on.
Negotiate instead of accepting a deal as it comes. Try “Thank you for passing on this opportunity for me. While I don’t believe working for exposure will give my career any value right now, I would appreciate if we can open up conversation to other transfers of value”