We as photographers get asked so many times to come to an event like a wedding, or family function or even a corporate event that we had planned to attend anyway. However, there is usually the traditional statement of, “Hey, why don’t you bring your camera and snap some photos while you are there?”
So, of course, since my brother is a plumber, and when I ask him over to dinner, I alway ask him to bring his wrenches, soldering tools and a pipe cutter. No, not really.
If a successful photographer is shooting something for FREE for someone, you must be a pretty special person. Because now, instead of being a guest at your event, they are now WORKING on their time off. They are using their Thousands of Dollars in equipment and years of experience to perform a task for you out of the kindness of their heart.
As photographers, yes, we are a SERVICE industry. And we rely heavily on Word of Mouth for our work to continue to come in. In the early years of our photography, we do a ton of FREE STUFF, just to get more experience, or some of us did it for more exposure. And of course, our friends and family always had that line “If you shoot them for FREE, I’ll tell everyone how great of a job you did and you’ll get a lot of people to pay you to shoot stuff for them.” Actually, that doesn’t work at ALL. If you paid me to shoot them, would you never tell anyone that I took them? Would you tell them I didn’t do a great job?
What does work for photographers is to do some free work for good causes now and then, as long as it isn’t interrupting your regular flow of things and paying clients. Building social capital, building relationships or just shooting something to build on your skill set if it is something you have never tried before.
Creating relationships with Vendors or just the occasional client brown nosing works too. If you have a client that pays most of your bills for you on a regular basis, there is nothing wrong with doing a day of work to tell them thank you for their continued patronage. And this isn’t to sound as if other clients aren’t as important, but for those that are truly keeping the lights on for you, show them some extra love.
Family on the other hand is a different story. Sometimes, you do this just because you know they cannot afford it any other way, or well, it’s family. My brother will bring his tools over to fix a leaky pipe for me if I asked him to, so I shot his wedding with no hesitation. (note to self, edit brothers wedding).
So, the next time you ask your friend, the photographer, to bring there camera and snap some photos, take into consideration the thousands and thousands of dollars plus the fact that they have to do this every day for their job. And make sure you feed them too. We really, really like food.
Have an amazing day and enjoy everything in life that makes you happy.