So there I am working on a post. The my wife phone rings and it’s some one familiar. A conversation begins. It seems some one we know is looking for a photographer. They want to know if I am available. In my mind I am thinking “it time for coffee!”. My good mood was premature. The caller was my brother-in-law. I had a bad feeling once I found that out. So I have this conversation with my wife. My brother-in-law was, indeed, looking for a photographer. My wife asked me how much I would charge. I put forth a conservative price and I found myself haggling with my wife. It was not a good moment. I fell into the “it’s for family” trap. When you are starting a photography business there is one major obstacle you have to keep in mind. It is your family. Essentially family members can be your and greatest allies and your worse enemy. They have seen you study and work hard at developing your photography craft, yet, they don’t understand . They see you as a cheap resource. No matter how good you are. You have to change that perception.
You have to communicate with your family. They have to understand that you have invested time and money into your craft and they should invest in you. When family ask you do a do a job sit them down and explain why you will not do it for free or at a super low-cost. If you do not take your photography seriously, your family will not either. You have to set up a photography cost sheet. This give you a starting point when deciding how much to charge family members. You get to show them how much you charge people. You also get to show them how money you will be loosing if you don’t get your fee. Don’t just come up with numbers either , calculate how much you photography should cost.
There are plenty of resources out there to help you figure this out. Take time to think it through. Give contracts to everyone. Friends family and clients should have a clear explanation of service to formalize things. This helps puts you in a professional light and helps your protect your self if something goes wrong. Learn to say no to family.there is nothing wrong with saying no. The word ‘no’ can be your most powerful tool.
At the end of the day if a family member or a friend is pushing free photography, they may not respect your craft. They are not thinking about your well-being. They are thinking about their wallet. If you don’t say no you will be disrespecting yourself and other photographers. Don’t just say no to friends and family. Have referrals for them. Use this as an opportunity to have them choose another photographer. This allows them to see the worth of your photography through others. Giving your friends and family choices does not hurt and helps them put more thought into what you are worth.
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