Ahhhh, the big dilemma. Should I charge friends and family for my services?
I used to have SO MUCH trouble with this. A friend or family member tells you they want some pictures taken. The thoughts that are probably running through your head are along the lines of: Are they expecting it for free? Even if they ask what my rates are, should I give them a discount? What are they going to think of me if I charge them? I feel BAD charging them my full price.
If you do free/discounted shoots for some people but not others, where do you draw the line? For me, it gets too tricky and inconsistent.
After having my own business for 5 years, I have come to the conclusion that business and personal relationships are separate. I choose to keep them separate. Taking pictures is my business and if you inquire about pictures, it doesn’t matter who you are – I charge the same rate for everyone.
This can be hard to do at first because naturally, you care what your friends and family think. One of the things that I have been able to let go of through the years is caring what people think, and I can’t tell you how liberating it is! If someone gets mad or offended that you charge them, it’s not personal. I actually think it’s too bad for them because I believe something like this isn’t something to get upset over.
My decision to charge also goes off my personal values – If I choose to eat at a friend’s restaurant, use their service or product (whatever it may be), I always expect to pay. I want to pay. They work hard to do what they do and my role at the time of inquiry is very simple – I am a customer.
Bottom line: Just do what you believe in and you will attract the right customers/people into your life.