By Julie Wilmes
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and has been enjoying time with their families, holidays around my house are always interesting and full of story telling. I know that holidays also lead to the inevitable question, “Could you snap a few pictures of us for the Christmas card?”
How do you go about answering that? I mean, as a professional and business owner the adage is “If you do it well, don’t do it for free.” You want to have your business and talent respected but you want to make your family happy. So what do you do?
Well, in my business I have a few rules regarding friends and family. And I want to share them, take them at face value though because this is what works for me. You have to do what works best for you and your business.
For immediate family and closest friends, I don’t charge. I love them, I don’t mind so I don’t charge for any portrait sessions (and I have a special price for them for weddings.) I tell them that they have to work on my schedule and I give them a set of dates to pick from, they get a 30-minute session and 20 photos. That’s it. If they want more, they pay. I make this pretty clear every year to them and have yet to have an issue.
For semi close friends (not in my friends that I would gladly fork a kidney over for) and larger family, I have a friends and family price. Same rules as before, smaller price.
Everyone else gets the regular price, oh but what do I do when this sentence comes along? “Julie, we were besties in second grade! What would you charge me?” The same as everyone else. I tell them, “I am so glad you’re asking me to photography you! Here’s my price list, let me know if you have any questions.”
Here’s the thing. I used to feel bad asking for money, I used to let people guilt me into shooting for free, next to nothing or giving them my kitchen sink. But now I have overhead, rent to pay and three dogs to feed.
STOP FEELING BAD ABOUT CHARGING. I give you permission to tell them no. In fact, I’m demanding it. Earn what you are worth, make your passion and a business and feel good about it!
Also, I never and I mean never bring my camera to events anymore. Unless it’s something I genuinely want to do, I won’t because I’m there to enjoy the time not the work. No baby shower is going to boost my portfolio. Nor is it going to bring me tons of business. What it will bring me is more editing, more questions and more “favors to ask.” I answer anyone who asks, “hey, why don’t you bring your camera and catch a few shots?” with “I’m wanting to enjoy everything but if you really need me to photograph it then, here’s my event photography pricing, if you don’t want to pay though then I will have to decline bringing my camera. After all, you’re not working, so I don’t plan to either.”
So let’s say it again, STOP FEELING BAD ABOUT CHARGING.
What are your ways of stopping the holiday favor handout?