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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 10 Mar 2009 (Tuesday) 08:08
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Very Long!! Need Opinions.

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Joined Jul 2007
Location: Germantown, Maryland
Mar 11, 2009 18:22 |  #31

Jen, I feel your pain. For years I worked as a freelance photographer under contract to one company or another. I finally got tired of being expected to bring my camera and equipment and shoot photos of everything from family/fiends to family reunions where I was NOT a relative. My solution; go into business for myself. I printed up a nice letter explaining that I was stepping out on my own but wanted to offer my friends and family a 50% discount. Along with the letter which I mailed or e-mailed, I sent a price list. The letter started out something like this: " I'm constantly being asked about my prices so I decided to send everyone a price list for you to keep on-hand."
Problem solved.

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31 posts
Joined Aug 2007
Mar 12, 2009 17:56 |  #32


Greetings Jeni,

First of all, DON'T do something you don't want to do.

Next, protect and guard your business as you do with your own family. Would you let someone take advantage of your children? Of course not! You have come to one of the crossroads that is going to distinguish you from a professional versus a person with a camera selling/giving away pictures. You make art and sell art that COMMANDS whaterver price you set.

Don't make up an excuse or "white lie." Don't bring you camera. If you are asked to go and get it then use this simple reply that I LOVE...

"I'm sorry but I no longer mix business with pleasure. Uncle Sam has a hard time telling the difference." I normally would then hand them a business card and let them know a price list and calendar is on the website. In your case after you use the line you can add something like "...and it is such a pleasure being here and not working."

Your neighbors may be a little upset or greatly upset but in the end you will look like a profesional business person and they will look like what they have been... cheap.

In the whole realm of life this is important because as a business person, you need to maintain your dignity. Shame on them for taking your kindness and generosity (your inital act) as a weakness.


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Joined Nov 2008
Mar 12, 2009 18:39 |  #33


I somewhat disagree with Redrum's line. I think that line could be considered very patronizing and I don't think the neighbour will look at you as a professional. I do agree that maybe a whitelie might not always be the best thing however.

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Mar 12, 2009 19:59 |  #34

Don't do it...just leave the camera at home.

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Box ­ Brownie
Cream of the Crop
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Location: Surrey
Mar 13, 2009 08:25 |  #35

A long thread with a mix of good advice to whcih I would add my simple thoughts.

1) Yes, you broke the golden rule and as a result this 'nice' neighbour is (potentially wilfully?) taking advantage of you. If she as you say is well connected the risk, which only you can assess, is that by changing the footing you have with her she could affect your business!

2) ref your business - you say it is a community of 1500, well I presume you have already made some inroads and sold somewhere amongst them at commercial prices that your neighbour has had no affect over???

3) You remarked that her hubby had copied your images and cropped out the watermark ~ don't they know about copyright laws in your town!

3a) You initial goodwill is being abused ~ yes it makes sense to create good connections as word of mouth is important but based on what you say so far "she" is not helping you build the business.

4) ref the party - leave the camera at home but IMO I suggest you let her know in advance that you would be delighted to join the fun and celebrate the 1st birthday. If she asks about you taking pictures well now as is a good a time as any to put the matter on a business versus pleasure footing ~ letter of agreement up front that details special rates (as needed). IMO this needs no other explanation than to gently remind her that photography is your business and that you are simply formalising the way you transact it.

4a) I know from personal experience that not all neighbours are good ones ~ if she makes life hard then that will just have to be taken on the chin because again based on your OP and the updates so far this could be a "no win" situation ~ blackmail is too strong a word for what she could do, so split the business from the pleasure and formalise it as soon as possible. Do not make excuses or white lies ~ if push comes to shove and I know not what business her hubby is in but as appropriate think of an analogy relating to it to show that business needs protecting & developing. By this I mean if he is a motor engineer you would not expect him to halve his hourly rate for you and also supply parts at cost, afterall sparkplugs are only $5 so why are they $15 on the bill (no idea of real prices :lol: just trying to show my thinking).

Best of luck with the business and what you decide to do :D

That was a great meal ~ you must have a good set of pans :p
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Mar 13, 2009 09:47 |  #36

This is rough I know. I had a friend ask me to do her wedding. I said sure we can discuss it later when it gets closer. Well when later comes up she says thanks for doing this. People charge so much to do this. She wants just the cd of pictures taken and she will get prints herself. Saying this is a great gift.

I was speechless. She implied I would do for free. I was planning to give a reduced rate 33% of my normal price and a high end album as a gift.

Now I am in the process of telling her she should get a second shooter and I will show up as a guest per my invite and take a few photos, edit and give prints. I cannot do this for free as it will take so many hours to do and edit. I feel bad but it has to be done. It is a no win situation.

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Joined Sep 2008
Location: Minnesota
Mar 13, 2009 13:32 |  #37

So you'll have to tell us how things went???


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Joined Aug 2007
Mar 23, 2009 22:04 |  #38

KAD wrote in post #7516966 (external link)
So you'll have to tell us how things went???

Inquiring minds would like to know...

Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 24, 2009 02:57 |  #39

jenirose3 wrote in post #7493485 (external link)
Her husband does printing and has access to print prices so my usual line of '50% of my prices is my cost' wouldn't work because he could and would find out that it's more like 90% (I know that doesn't include my time....).

Why would that 50% thing be your usual line if it isn't completely true? Is there a need to lie or to stretch the truth? If it really is 90%, which you claim it is, then why would your usual line be to say that it's 50%? It's really much better to not explain your pricing at all than it is to lie to people.

"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

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Mar 24, 2009 05:58 |  #40
bannedPermanent ban

Honestly if this woman is expecting you to do her wedding pictures and you know she is expecting it and you still haven't told her otherwise... I would probably just take the pics. I then might sit down with her in a couple weeks and explain the whole situation, how time consuming it is, and that given the current economic environment that you (The photographer) really need to stay focused on "Money making" ventures.

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Erich ­ in ­ Az
176 posts
Joined Aug 2007
Location: Tucson
Mar 25, 2009 15:42 as a reply to  @ CJinAustin's post |  #41

Show up to the party with the camera but a dead battery, then tell her your equipment is getting worn out and since you aren't making any money on the last few shoots you did, you can't afford to replace it out of your photo earnings budget ;)

Always remember to plunder BEFORE you burn!

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Senior Member
323 posts
Joined Jan 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Mar 25, 2009 21:50 |  #42

I would think that being two weeks later this party has either happened or is happening soon. I am kind of curious how you handled it because I am kind of in a less serious, but very similar situation at the moment.

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Cream of the Crop
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Location: North Andover, MA
Mar 26, 2009 13:18 |  #43

take the photos but photoshop Yoda into all of them. (external link)
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Mar 26, 2009 13:40 |  #44

<--------Has brilliant answer. Three words....

Coin operated camera. Problem = solved!

Senior Member
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Joined Feb 2006
Location: Knoxville, TN
Mar 26, 2009 23:04 |  #45

When I go somewhere that I am not "working" I still take a camera - after all I do this because I love photography - I just take my G9. Great photos but not "professional" looking gear. Then I give them a disc. I can then act like a proud neighbor, snap some nice shots and have fun. If they ask where my "real" camera is I can just say I enjoy this one for fun, non sales work

So much "stuff" - so little time

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Very Long!! Need Opinions.
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