This sort of involves a back story, but the thread's title is my main question. This is my first wedding season, I'm very cheap, I've shot 2 weddings on my own with 5 more coming up, and I want more experience. I found an ad on CL about a photographer looking for an intern/second shooter to work for free for some weddings. So I respond and am working as a second for her for about 7 weddings this year.
She charges triple what I do, this is her 3rd wedding season, and she's shot a total of 12 weddings so far, with 10 more to go this year. Based on her not-so-updated website, I think my work is comparable to hers and this would be a good working relationship. I'd get more experience, she'd get lots more photos to deliver to clients. She has told me I can give people my business card at weddings (I haven't), and I can use the photos for my advertising. She is very open to 'sharing the wealth' and treats me as an equal.
Turns out...people are liking my photos a lot. She said it's okay for me to post 'sneak peeks' on facebook, and I have a faster turnaround processing my images, so people are seeing my photos first and loving them, and I think she's noticed.
Today she asked me what LR settings I used for a shoot we did together so that she can make sure both sets of our photos look cohesive for a wedding magazine article. I told her that I'm providing all my RAW photos to her so that she can process them in the style she prefers. She then said she really likes my aesthetic and that's what she wants to have in her photos. She asked me to email her step by step instructions. I may or may not get photo credit.
Honestly, I feel uncomfortable doing this. We have competed for clients before and she has booked them. She is a very good marketer, great personality, and has more experience than I do, so I understand them choosing her. She's been so great at letting me tag along to weddings and I really appreciate it. But basically my only advantage is my processing and how my photos look--if I give it over to her, she has it all!
Do I need to be put in my place? I keep reminding them of the intangible benefits--experience, networking with the vendors at weddings I wouldnt be present at if it wasnt for her, gaining a personal work relationship so we can cover each other's backs if one of us gets sick, she invited me to the fake wedding she organized for a wedding magazine--I might get published! etc.
I know this post is long but I wanted to give as much detail as possible. Am I right, wrong, stupid, naive, smart, what? What would you suggest? What would you do? (Note: I dont have any special processing presets, it's just very basic stuff that adds a lil more pop, contrast, etc). Edit: I've also given her a ton of advice in other aspects like marketing that she wasnt doing, new trends I researched, a few specific LR adjustments I make, advice on posing, album software, etc. So it's not like I haven't done anything for her.
Update: Thanks everyone for all your comments. I thought I'd put some of my updates from this thread here so people know what happened:
I gave her a general run down of how I use LR. Nothing specific, because I dont have anything specific that I use. Basically just advice like "I use tone curve for contrast, instead of the slider," "I dont touch the saturation slider, but I like to boost up the clarity and vibrance a bit."
She emailed back and thanked me and basically she knew everything I told her.
I also wont and have not given out my business card at her weddings. I think that goes too far. The topic came up because before our first wedding I asked if she had extra cards so that when guests ask I can give them one of hers. Also, I'm not friends with any of her brides so they would never see my FB posts of their wedding images. But this photog is friends with me and saw my friends' comments about liking the photos. Then she suggested I post on her wall some of the images/asked for my LR settings.
Anyway, that's that. I still think the intangible benefits are worth it. But after our last planned wedding together, I will ask for pay if she wants me to second some more.