Stop Giving Free Photography Services to Friends and Family

25 thoughts on Stop Giving Free Photography Services to Friends and Family

  1. What a load of garbage. If I choose help a friend do work on their house, to paint a fence, do I charge contractor rates to them? Do I charge handy man rates, or do I do it because they mean more to me than charging them? I swear, photographers are the biggest pack of whiners….

  2. This is silly. Photography is an amazing gift to friends and family, especially if you are good at it. The reality is that most photographers (good ones), need to stop undervaluing their work in the general market. It can take upwards of 5-10 years of almost daily work and experience to become a great photographer, you should be paid accordingly. Don’t worry if people think it’s too expensive, just be reasonable with yourself about how much it *really* costs to take a good (if not great) photo. (Hint: It’s not just a factor of your time.)

  3. Sure, give your mother a 10% off coupon. She’ll love it for Mother’s Day.

    Your brother works with computers all day, does he charge you when you call him about why your little icon thingy is not working when you click it?

    Your sister is a doctor, and you ask her to look at that mole on your back. Co-pay anyone?

    Neighbor is a car mechanic and comes over seeing your car hood up, should he hand you a “special” price before answering a question?

    If you always charge your family and friends, you really do not have any friends or close family members.

  4. I generally shoot for good family friends and ask them for nothing, just like they ask for nothing when we ask them to watch our kids for a while, take our trash out/in while gone, etc. They generally pay me something (definitely not standard rates) and provide dinner for our family. Additionally quality time with friends and family are worth way more than standard rates.

    Life isn’t all about money.

  5. While I normally scoff at the amount of base negativity in most comments made on FStoppers posts, this is a ridiculous article.

    There’s a huge difference between newbie shooters giving away their product in exchange for “experience” and photographers taking “free” photos for family and friends.

    Should my father send me an invoice for helping me move? Or my sister likewise bill me for cooking dinner?

    The author of this piece takes a truly legitimate issue to a ridiculous extreme.

  6. I shoot strangers for free too. If it makes me happy, I’ll do it. My job isn’t to protect an industry that has a barrier to entry so low a kid with a iPhone can do it. Good luck with your friendless life and estranged family relations.

  7. I think she read the TFP one from earlier and didn’t like the response lol. Kind of tired of other ‘professionals’ telling other professionals what to do with their business. If you want to TFP with half naked models until your shutter dies it’s your choice. If you want to give your uncle bubba a 15% discount on poorly exposed wedding photos that’s your choice. Stop telling other people they should do this or that with their business because you don’t/do.

  8. Yeah this is pretty awful. In a professional industry typically you have commercial rates for your commercial clients, indie rates for non commercial clients, and then you have friends and family. When a friend asks you for a photo it’s an understood friend favor – not a price fixing for your potential commercial competition. Take your damn family’s photo like a human being and then go make money when a shoe company comes in with a commercial bid. That’s standard. If a friend came and said, “will you shoot a huge project for me that will take 18 plus days and hours of post,” you either respond that you don’t have the time, or you sort of wait to hear an offer. Generally friends don’t exploit your services when they ask for small photo favors and if they do, id question the quality of their friendship to begin with.

  9. Be great at what you do, learn the skills to make magic and deal with people in a reasonable way and the bucks will follow….doing photography for free for people you then choose to is a gift of giving that in it’s own way is more rewarding than what you could charge.

  10. Silly. I understand the point and agree that all too often photographers don’t behave as professionals. But hey, if I was a doctor and had a sick brother who wanted my help I wouldn’t be explaining my “Family Discount Program”!!! Talk about being overly money oriented!!!

  11. My friends pay regular prices but I may on occasion gift them with something extra. For example, my best friend paid exactly what everyone else pays for her daughter’s senior pictures but I have her daughter a $150 gift certificate for images for her graduation present. I did the same for my cousin. However, I will never charge my immediate family. My parents, brother and sisters will not be charged for my services. They pay for prints or canvases that they ask me to order for them but only at cost. My brother in law is a contractor and would never charge labor to work on my house, my brother would never charge me to bring his backhoe over to dig out my ditchline, my mom wouldn’t charge me for babysitting and my sister wouldn’t charge me to take my blood pressure. Now, there have been times when they have given me some kind of payment anyway but I do not and will not charge them. We are family and that’s the way it goes with us. I feel bad for those who don’t have that kind of family that has their back.

  12. Photographers are not the only ones who get jumped on by people to do stuff for free. IT Monkeys get it too.

    I have never charged a friend for fixing their computer nor have I ever charged a friend for taking some photos.

    Friends and family are just that, friends and family. You dont charge your friends for stuff unless you’re loosing out yourself. Taking a day off work to do something means you’re loosing out, sure, charge for your time if you want but most of the time you want to help your friends anyway.

  13. I’m sorry. I can and should charge “friends”, those ones who just hang out to get free images or are your contact list and expect a “friend discount.” That is obvious and actually a sad thing if people pretend to be your friends only because you are a photographer. But I would never ever charge my brother for taking a business Portrait of him or help him out in retouching. Sorry, but I find it ridiculous to even think about charging your family.

  14. Wow so many of the comments on here surround around “I’ll do what I want and I don’t care what you say” its very telling about where we are in 2017 and why the industry has the issues that it has, and why for the most part I see peoples incomes declining and only staying in business a few years.
    A lot of you need to look a lot more long term or maybe care at all about those of Us that Do.
    And study a bit of micro and macro economics to know that things don’t happen in a vacuum.

  15. Counter point: act like you live in a community and give some mutual aid. We’re all struggling here. You can’t climb out of hell world on the heads of your friends.

  16. I love to shoot close friends and family, and if I offer it to them, I will never charge. Typically, because they value what I do and that it is my livelihood, they’ll compensate me for my service. Whether it be a trade, a home cooked meal, or even extending my social media reach, they do right by me. I would never expect money in return, because I want them to have portraits that mean something to them and I know I can give that. ❤️

  17. My photography is literally one of the most meaningful and heartfelt gifts I could give to my family and good friends. What a sad life to lead where everything we do for even the ones we love must be bought and paid for.

  18. This is the kind of pretentious attitude that gives photographers a bad name, IMO. They feel like their service/art is beyond reproach, that their skill is something unable to be replicated by anyone else, and they deserve compensation and freedom accordingly. I’ll never understand it.

  19. How about you stop writing articles telling us what to do with our hobby/lives. If we want to give it away to anyone for free, that’s our choice. There are plenty of people that give away skilled help for nothing or next to nothing and those related industries aren’t hurt. Stop writing stupid articles. STOP. IT

  20. When i first moved to nyc i told actor Thomas G. Waites to send me 2 of his acting students for “free” headshots. One of them loved her photos so much she hired me to shoot her wedding and another head shot session so what would have been a couple hundred became thousands for a wedding and more. If I told Thomas my price and to sell me there is a chance nobody would have taken the offer. Sometimes investing your time can pay off more in the long run.

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