Quick Question/Opinion

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mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742
Quick Question/Opinion

So, this is kind of business related and I apologize if it's inappropriate for this forum. I can remove if needed of course. I have joined other photog sites where people talk more business stuff but frankly they are so large with so many people that I don't have time to participate! I should probably work on that lol. I just hate being lost in a sea of people, it's what has always attracted me to this site.


My best friend's sister is due with a baby in September. She's contacted me to ask about my maternity/newborn availability, pricing etc. I have a package option that includes an on-location mini-maternity session and a newborn session for $250 (prints not included obviously).

I really struggle with charging people I "know." But, we have never been close friends (at all). I know her through my best friend of course, but it's not like we have a close relationship. At the same time I feel bad asking her to pay when I did the same shots for free for her sister, KWIM?

But then I get myself into a vicious cycle where everyone is someone I "know" and I really just won't do this for free anymore unless it's family or a very close friend. It takes a lot of time away from my family and is a lot of work. So what would you do? How would you feel in her shoes? I'm thinking of offering a discount?

I've also been up since 4am with tornado warnings (no tornadoes, just 6-7 warnings, one right after the next...) so I'm exhausted. Hopefully this is coherent lol.

La123's picture
Joined: 04/11/08
Posts: 815

You could make up a 'friends & family' pricing list.. you can casually offer it to anyone who is an acquaintance, if you want to give them a discount. You really shouldn't have to work for free at this point, IMO. Smile

This is funny, if you haven't seen it yet.


carg0612's picture
Joined: 09/23/09
Posts: 1554

Meagan - I think you are one of the nicest people I know!

You need to charge her. If you feel you need to give her a discount give her a 5% or 10% "referral" disount. I think that's appropriate.

Besides, if your best friend is offering you out for free you should probably talk to her about that - just so she knows that you expect to get paid but that you are more than happy to provide a discount as a referred customer.

GL - I know you'll do what's right (charge her, girl) you are smart (you need money from her) and you're a great mom (who needs money for your kids college). (did I make my point??)

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Lauren, OMG, ROFL "You are no prostitute" LOLOLOL...

I love you Christina! Smile My friend didn't tell her I would it for free. Her sister contacted me on her own and asked about my pricing, fees, etc. So I'm pretty sure she doesn't expect anything for free. But I always wonder in the back of my mind if she's expecting me to come back and be like "oh, no charge! I'll take care of you!"

It's the same struggle of "am I good enough for people to take me seriously." KWIM?

JDBabyHopes's picture
Joined: 02/16/09
Posts: 1149

Meagan, I think you are AWESOME and totally should not be working for free (barring immediate family and super close friends you personally want to gift with amazing pictures)! I say charge her full price, or even the "referral discount" that someone mentioned above! Stuff is not cheap! Gas prices are through the roof, so that alone warrants some kind of payment, considering it's on location. I say 5% referral if you are thinking any sort of discount. You are totally amazing and definitely worthy of being taken seriously AND being paid! Smile

ROFL at the website! Definitely no prostitutes here!

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2333

"mlark1128" wrote:

It's the same struggle of "am I good enough for people to take me seriously." KWIM?

Ummmm... TOTALLY GOOD ENOUGH!!! No question!!! I love your work!

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

I agree. My first thought was to offer a small discount. And you're TOTALLY good enough to take seriously! I wish I was! lol!

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Thanks girls. Smile

sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6175

YES!!!! You are good enough!!!! Don't ever doubt yourself!

As for charging her- I think you should. I mean it's hard, but you can't just do it for cheaper every time.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3395

The others are absolutely right, Meagan! At most, offer her a discount, but otherwise, I think your package you already have is a great deal for her.

You are SO worth it!!!


mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

You gals are making me feel so good, thank you! It's nice to feel validated lol! Smile

I emailed her and said I would offer a 20% discount on the session fee and 15% off prints. I keep trying to tell myself that is a generous discount, but in the back of my mind I hope she's not scoffing at that. LOL.

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 402

"La123" wrote:

You could make up a 'friends & family' pricing list.. you can casually offer it to anyone who is an acquaintance, if you want to give them a discount. You really shouldn't have to work for free at this point, IMO. Smile

That's a great suggestion--one that I will definitely consider when I start charging!

CJWilkes's picture
Joined: 01/04/09
Posts: 880

Charge for your time. If you have your business and insurance in place then you should be charging. Your work is worth it!

Stay safe hun!

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Thanks Cindy! And yes I'm licensed and insured, I made myself official last year. Maybe I should carry the license around with me as a reminder lol.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

It's funny Meagan, because I offer a 50% off discount to the friends who I sing in a chorus with. So far 5 people have inquired about booking headshot sessions with me. 2 have actually booked, and I suppose 50% off was still too much for the other three?


I guess they thought I'd do it for free? Whatever!

I constantly struggle with feeling like I can't ask people to pay me what I need for my work. Not just friends...but anyone. It's a sickness! I wish I could just be confidant that my prices are fair, competitive, and that they're getting their money's worth. Intellectually I know that it is, but emotionally...I couldn't possibly afford my services, so that makes it difficult.

Meagan, you are certainly worth it! I know I could tell you over and over til the cows come home...but if you're anything like me it's probably just going to take time for you to believe it.

Jeffininer's picture
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796

I guess I can only add a raised hand. You have a talent that is WORTH being compensated for.

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

Jumping in a day late, yes, charge her, and don't feel guilty. The discount you offered is MORE than generous. I love your newborn work, and you're worth every penny!