Thursday, September 16, 2010

Advice please

Help me out here.

Sooooooooooo.....I love doing photography!  As a matter of fact, I think the reason I've been doing so well in my recovery with ED is because I've found something that I am so passionate about and somewhere to focus my energy.  When I first started I did a bunch of free stuff and I'm glad I did.  It gave me a portfolio, plus it gave me experience.  I've told Dave that I need to shoot once a week in order to grow.  So sometimes I take my girls out if I don't have a shoot scheduled, or I'll call one of my former YW to play around and practice new techniques.  I don't mind doing this at fact it is fun, cause it's stress free.  

So this is where I need advice.
I start to feel guilty when friends need photos done.
I feel like because we're "friends" I should do them for free or give them a discount.  I don't want to feel this way.  I mean there a few 'bests' that I don't have a problem doing this for.  And there are some situations that I want to do them for people etc.  But for the most part I want to make money.
So is this just me, or does people feel this way?  I feel that friends expect a discount or a free pass.
  What do you think? 
What should I do?
Should I have a standard when it comes to friends, or do it case by case? 
If you were my friend what would you expect me to do for you?



Ashley Barnum said...

Maybe you could work out a way for friends to earn discounts or free photos. If they refer someone who does a session with you, they would get a certain discount or a free print or something.
Maybe for family you could offer them one free session per year, but charge them a discounted rate for a disc of some prints and a copyright release so they have to pay to have them printed themselves.
I don't know. I'm just randomly brainstorming.
I do think you have to draw a line somewhere if you're going to turn it into a legitimate business. Good luck! I'm sure you'll figure it all out.

Mary Ann Carlile said...

I like Ashley's advice. I have no idea...but you do need to draw the line. What do other photogs do?

Liz said...

It is hard when you have your own business. We run into this pretty often with Wes. I don't think you should be giving a discount, unless perhaps you advertise that friends get a discount for a certian day or week. I've been watching things and it looks like are are already doing this when you have an open spot. Besides months ago you already were doing free work up to a certain date. I say stick to your regular prices even for friends unless you are advertising a special. Don't feel guilty, this is your work. :)

mh said...

I think this is a tough one! We run into that a lot too. Blake finally just made a website with his prices, and when people want photos he refers them there. That way they can just read the price and decide if they like it or not. You need to get paid for your time!!!!!!! But, if they go into it expecting more, and you feel like giving a discount, that is up to you. I guess it is always good to help people, but you have to make it worth it for you. How will you upgrade materials or buy supplies with out the income? Can you tell this hit a nerve with me?=) Good luck!

Sovic Clan said...

Don't even get me started on this one!!:) I am a hair stylist and I cannot tell you how many times I have had people not pay me or expect a major deal because we are friends or go to church together. You do the work, you get paid. It's as simple as that. You have to just tell yourself that and then let it go. Does your hubby run around fixing all of his friends electrical problems for free?

You work hard for your money and should be paid for it. When you have a special, tell your friends and family about it. Or have a friend's and family deal twice a year where you do it for a special rate just for them.

You have a talent and should be paid fairly for it:)
Just my two cents!!

Carolyn said...

It's an awkward situation, isn't it? I think a lot of friends DO expect free sessions and full rights to all images just for knowing you, but I know of no other service in the world that you get for absolutely free.

I think there are gray areas such as doing photo sessions as gifts, but if people ask me to do a session, I expect to be reimbursed for my time. It's not fair for someone to expect you to take the time away from your family, especially because editing is too time consuming.

All in all, charge full price if people approach you. Make your rates known so that people don't think you're changing it as a case by case thing, but also don't over or underprice yourself. Easier said than done!

N Gines said...

I know that you posted this last year and I'm sure you have a handle on things but if there is anything that I have learned from being a photographer is to not give out your work for free. You put a lot of your personal time into the shooting, editing, uploading the images, etc etc. You are allowed to get paid for that. I have been in the same situation before and although I love my close friends and family members it wasn't worth for me to lose the time that I could have spent with my husband and child conducting their sessions for free. So, I came up with a plan. I charged full price on the sitting and if they referred a certain amount of people they would receive a discount on prints. It was hard at first but you begin to realize that it's well worth it in the end. :)