It is all too easy , if you are skilled in photography, to become the unpaid clown in the circus. I don’t mean that you will attract the love of the masses and the laughter of little children – I mean you’ll just get kicked around for the general amusement of the masses. And the only thing you will have for your trouble is fresh bruises – and an invitation to bend over again.
This is the case when photo professionals allow their friends to persuade them to ” bring your camera along and take a few pictures for people “. If you want to be accommodating you do so, and then discover that half the people don’t want their picture taken and the other half want pictures all night – and prints the next day, as well as jpegs, video clips, and as many CD’s as you can burn before the iMac explodes.
Your fee for this is grudging permission to do it and the advice that your pictures aren’t as good as the girl at the last party took.
It is also the case when photographic clubs invite you along to tell them how good their pictures are and to show them the latest equipment so that they can go buy it off Kogan. If you are lucky they will provide you with a cup of lukewarm Pablo and a Nice biscuit and if you are REALLY lucky they won’t. Expect to be out late, home tired, and out of pocket. Again, you will have the valuable advice that the girl at the last club meeting did it better.
The answer to both of these problems is the same – you must accept all invitations with a delighted smile and assure the hosts that you will be more than happy to do whatever they want. Then ask them how many billing periods they will require you for. Set your fee as low or high as you wish but insist on full payment. Carry a receipt book and ask the club treasurer or the party host for the payment in advance. Should they demur, re-employ that delighted smile, bow, and gracefully usher yourself out.
If you have a small yellow car with a loud horn, toot it as you drive away.
Note for charity balls: If they want photographs explain that you do not wish to be the subject yourself of charity. Otherwise it is balls.