Dealing With Friends and Family As a Professional Photographer

Photography is not easy. To become a professional photographer, you must first master the technical aspects of photography. Then you will need to work your way up through more established competitors in order to make a living.

Your first job will be with family and friends if you are just starting out in photography. These will be your first jobs as a professional.

Your reputation and experience will increase, and you will be able to attract more business from people outside of your immediate family. This doesn’t mean that your friends and family will not recognize the changes in your relationship.

Professional photographers often receive requests from friends and family for work in photography. However, it is not uncommon for professional photographers to get these requests. It can be difficult and delicate to handle those requests. These are the people who supported you early in your career, and they still hold that view of your relationship.

There are many ways to deal with friends and family asking for non-paying work. The easiest way to deal with requests for non-paying work is to point out a complete schedule and then explain that you are already booked. You still have the option to tell your friends and family that you are not available at that time. Some people find this helpful, while others find it too much.

Make it clear that you’re in business.

To avoid getting requests, make it clear that your photography business is being run. Your relatives wouldn’t expect you to run a service station, and they wouldn’t expect gas free of charge. Make it clear that your hobby is now a business before any requests come in.

If you are unable to say no, it is a good idea for them to know the cost of the same service. You can do this by sending them an invoice listing your regular rates and N/C above the total.

You can get promotional material at a minimum.

Comp work should be done for family members or friends. At a minimum, get them to sign a release to sell photos to stock agencies and to use the images as promotional material. Without having to say no, the introduction of paperwork can make your relationship more professional.

Another delicate topic is the pictures that you took but did not include in your photos because you didn’t like them. This is a matter that can be dealt with contractually for paying customers. It’s a bit more complicated for friends and family. This is one situation where it’s better to stand your ground than let the shots you don’t like see daylight.

You can communicate to friends and family that you are not working for free by adding a small process. If they fail to get it, you can be kind and honest with them, telling them that you are unable to do any comp work. This way, you gave them a hint before telling them that you couldn’t bring your camera gear with you to the next family reunion.