Making a Living

Kelly Cafe_57G9633

My three main areas of interest are photography (since around 2001) and music (since forever). Then there’s cooking, which is a hobby.

Photography and Music make up my income stream.

This week I heard the old joke about “Whats the difference between a 12″ Pizza and a Photographer” (or a Musician), and it got me thinking – hence the post.

Answer – the difference is that a 12″ pizza can feed a family of four!!

Asking a professional musician to come to your house and then expecting them to play or sing socially is the same as asking a plumber to dinner, and afterwards hoping he’ll have a look at that dripping tap. (In my case, being a church organist is a distinct advantage – my repertoire isn’t exactly the stuff of after dinner soirées!)

If he’s a buddy he’ll probably get you out of a hole, but how many times would he keep doing it? and how often would you keep doing it before you started to feel guilty?

And as for wanting photos for nothing – don’t even get me started.

So how do you politely get out of this without offending or embarrasing your friends, or indeed prospective (or current) customers. I’d say you don’t, unless you are very polite and very charming about how you answer.

I do free work for two charities that are close to my heart, and thats it. Anyone else asks me, I tell them ‘sorry, I gave already’ –  and that as my bank manager requires me to bring in at least a small amount of money every week, I can’t really oblige! In fairness, most people offer to pay, so the trick is to graciously thank them when they offer to pay you, to make a fair deal, and then to take the payment.

Commercial clients are a bit different. Just make a deal before you start shooting and STICK TO IT! And include payment terms.

We self employed have the best and the worse of both worlds – only we can decide which side of that fence we sit on!!

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