I have a good friend who is an entertainment lawyer. He has his expertise in copyright law, intellectual properties and trademark law. Those are his specialties. He has a lot of impressive clients under his belt in the music, photography and film industries. He was my friend even before he passed the bar and now that he negotiates contracts on behalf of Getty and Corbis, I have to take my hat off to him, because he is, as they say, “doing the damn thing.”
He got married about four years ago, and he wanted me to shoot his engagement, his wedding and his reception photos as well as all the wedding portraits and videography work. He asked me my rate. I didn’t know what to tell him. I mean I KNEW my rate for such a project, but I didn’t know what to quote him because he is a close friend of mine.
When I said I will get back to him, he asked me why. “I know what you normally charge, hell, I helped you develop a price listing.”
“But” I responded, “I don’t want to charge you that rate, because you are my friend.”
“Soooo… does that mean that you do less work for me because I am your friend? When I drafted all your contracts and agreements you best believe that you did not get a discount.”
I thought about it for a second, because when he did draft the legal documents that I needed, I booked him like he was a complete stranger and I paid his full rate. It was something my mother instilled in me: “you’re going to have to pay to get a job done, why not pay it to your friend if he provides the same service.” I didn’t want to cut any corners, I didn’t want special treatment. I wanted the same stellar service he would provide the “big dawgs” and I was willing to pay for it, once the tables were turned, he returned the favor in kind.
“You don’t believe in the ‘Friends and Family Rate’?” I asked.
“Hell no.” He replied quickly. “And if they are your so called ‘friends’ or ‘family’ they should understand that you run a business and if they can’t respect, or won’t respect what you do, or the service you provide, then tell them to go some place else, because the next person is not going give them special treatment.” It was an eye opening moment for me and he made a lot of sense.
In order for me to achieve what he wanted at that wedding, I still had to rent equipment, get other photographers, a videographer, travel, etc. And all of that came at a cost. For me to hire other photographers, I would still had to pay those guys, and trust me when I say they would not have given me a special rate. So in turn I would’ve incurred fees that I would’ve eventually had to eat.
The reason for this blog was just for that. People that I know constantly wanting me to cut deals, slash prices and give special rates, however, they still want all the bells and whistles and professionalism that goes with providing a service. Like I stated in the previous blog “How Much for 1 Look” (https://dallasjlogan.com/blog/how-much-for-1-look/) a lot of them don’t realize that I still have to provide things for a shoot that doesn’t change if I am shooting a friend or a client. I still have to eat, I still have to pay bills. I still have to pay rent, insurance, taxes and so forth and guess what? None of these people EVER EVER EVER give me a family or friends discount.
It is unfair when you ask me to do the same.