Gah - what to do?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shacklebolt, May 23, 2008.

  1. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    I just received this email from a sort-of-friend (lived in the same dorm, were always friendly, she once lent me a movie, I forgot to return it for a while and thus paid her back with a poster of Johnny Depp (and the movie)):


    My mom wants me to get pictures taken of me in my cap and gown ASAP so that she can send it to family with graduation announcements. I was wondering if you would be free at some point Monday, or Tuesday morning, and would be willing to take pictures of me around campus in my cap and gown. Please let me know. Thank you.


    As much as I would love to do this for free, I feel like this is one instance where I just can't. Bringing $4-6000 worth of gear and committing however much time to doing this is just something that I feel that I can't do for free.

    Is this a circumstance of just sucking it up and doing this for a friend, or sucking it up and saying delicately that "I'd be more than happy to... but I just don't do this for free?" Or is it secret option number 3: "Gah, I would love to, but I'm just going to be too busy on those days."
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    The quick answer: Close friend or not, I would do it for free. I have more invested into my photography than you do and I'd still do it for free. I like to consider it experience and just the general feeling of doing something nice for someone, even if I borrowed a movie, failed to return it then provided the movie and a free poster. Sure, I am giving more than maybe she gives, but I like to do nice things for people. It's a curse. I know.

    The long answer:
    If she wants prints you need to at least recover fees for your materials. However, saying you can't do something for free based on the monetary value of your equipment is lame and irrelevant. The value of such equipment should in no way determine the amount charged for any one job, free or otherwise. Moreover, if you simply do not wish to give your time to a "friend" or a would-be acquaintance then you simply say no. If she is not a good friend and you could care less if she comes or goes then frankly saying no should not be hard.

    While her e-mail implies she has no intention of paying, have you taken the time to ask? Any mildly intelligent individual will know that photographers, even those with $4-6k in equipment do not work for free.

    I think this is worth a return e-mail or a phone call. I believe before you do any work involving a $100 camera or a $4-6k bag of gear it is important to outline what your job is, what you're expected to deliver, when, and so forth. Regardless of there being an implied pro bono job here, you have yet to take any necessary steps to determine what is truly needed. If you have, you failed to mention those details.
  3. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    If your job is professional photographer, then you shouldn't do it for free. If it's just a case where you have expensive photo equipment, then do it for free.

    BUT if you're hoping to be a pro photographer someday, tell her that - and ask her to sign a photo release so you can use the photos in the future (for advertising purposes or whatever). But I wouldn't charge her in that case.
  4. sonor macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    London, UK
    Does she know you'd usually charge for this? It might be an idea to point this out, but say that as she's a friend you'd be happy to do the shoot for nothing and give her an hour of your time. You could offer a few free low-res images, which might be all she needs if it's just for an email message, but explain what you'd have to charge if she needed anything more than that.
  5. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2008
    I would vote for the 'too busy' card. In my eyes it defuses the situation with the least amount of awkwardness all around.
  6. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    No this is great, it means she owes you a favour now.

    Like in 30 years time when you need some bone marrow.
  7. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I wouldn't charge her, she's a friend isn't she?

    Just because you've got some expensive camera stuff doesn't make you a pro level photographer. Most people with a DSLR think they are though :rolleyes:

  8. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Easy, don't lug $6000 of camera gear around. Pick a sunny day and grab you body and standard glass and just take her picture. Walk around and shoot as you see fit for as long as you feel comfortable then email her the images....

    Don't charger her for a job that she doesn't want you to take too seriously.
  9. mcarnes macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2004
    USA! USA!
    Tell her you'll do it for free, but she may be called upon to perform a service for you sometime in the future, as one friend to another. Say it like the Godfather.
  10. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    If you're able to do so, do the job for free. Give her whatever digital copies she wants and tell her she can get prints at walgreens et. al.

    And if you want to, get that model release. It's not much to ask.

    You can't really charge in a case like this. If you don't want to waste your time, politely decline (option 3). Note, however, she could come back with a "well, how about <this other time>?" Reply the same way and (hopefully) she'll get the hint.
  11. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    I am not quite sure why you're even hesitating at the thought of spending a little time to use your good gear to shoot this sort-of-friend.....

    Yes, you have some great (and expensive) gear, but that should not be the issue here; basically, the way I see it, this is more about do you have the time and inclination to spend a few hours shooting some nice photos of your quasi-friend at graduation and in her cap and gown? If you do, great, and if you don't, well, just say that...."sorry, but my schedule's really tight and I just don't have the time." As for charging for the photos, I would not do that. I do agree that it's a good idea to get a model release signature so that then you can put the image(s) in your portfolio for future use. That way you both win!

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