A Friend's Wedding

pd0signihtyreve

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I think I misunderstood my friend. She wanted me to take photos for her wedding this Saturday and had agreed to pay me an hourly rate of 50 dollars. Really great to have a project and get a first experience, wasn't even a wedding ceremony, she was eloped so it would have just been the reception.

> I think she just wanted me to take photos for free and come to the wedding but she never sent an actual invitation.

Finally got in touch with the wedding coordinator last week, asked about a contract, "oh sure I can make a contract." Friend wants me there for 3 hours, no big deal, make a contract if you really want to.

Wedding Coordinator sends me the address, she's still making the timeline. Had something come up that I must attend the morning of the wedding, it's over at 1:30. The wedding starts at 4:30, I wanted to be there at two. I found out it was a two hour drive to get there!! Called a photog friend (friend from school) who's done weddings and been shooting more actively than I to ask about travel compensation. She's like yes, are they putting you up?

I call my bride friend, stressing about this reception and try to set up a coffee meet at any point that day.

>no time

I understand, I still wanted to "talk shop" at this point. So I sent her a message asking her very politely and point blank, "Basically, the shop talk is travel expense. I didn't expect the drive, in the future I will be requesting more information up front."

The response I got was not positive. I still remained polite. I would have been spending a large portion of time doing this event, and I am not a novice photographer. It's just not what I spend all my time devoted towards doing because it's so hard for me to get paid. So I held my ground and wrote a contract (she requested one after I wanted gas money). I was going to leave straight from my morning obligation, go to the event an hour early, take the family photos and have a rented external flash for the reception and after dinner. (Which, was I invited to that? Because I really would have appreciated a written invitation to that.)

Of course I was going to give her all the photos on a cd.

Guys- this was an important lesson for me. I am so glad that this fell apart, but now I don't know how (or if) I should try and make it up to my friend.
 

Robin_Usagani

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You are not a novice photographer and you have no external flash?

800px-Paris_Tuileries_Garden_Facepalm_statue.jpg
 
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pd0signihtyreve

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I mean, you're right. I don't have my own lighting equipment, I've not created a business for myself. I've been out of school for about a year 1/2 and didn't want to put down the dough to buy the lighting equip I needed to pursue photography.

I might be a novice in the business world but I have been learning about photography for ten years now. I have a BA degree in photography. I know that doesn't mean I am a "professional photographer but a friend shouldn't say that.
 

JohnTrav

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Sounds like your friend was trying to take advantage of you in this situation. Plus if you were going to post process those shots it wouldn't have been worth it.
 
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pd0signihtyreve

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Thank you for the responses. I feel like I avoided a huge misunderstanding about what could have been expected. I definitely learned a bit about how I would approach any paid opportunity. I guess I will just have to let wedding fever settle down and be friends later on. Bridezilla came out ya'll. I felt we were going to have a very beneficial time of this reception shoot, I am building a website and would love to put some more event shots on it. She was appalled that I would ask for travel expense.

I feel blessed that this happened. This wasn't going to go well for anyone at all. I am not going to take any paid event, ever, without being with someone who has done it before. I could have just gone and taken photos, sure BUT where's that invitation at? Like, seriously I am offended. She thought I was trying to get a wedding gift out of her for 30 dollars in gas money. Like, brains full of wedding crazy and a side I have never seen her so malicious.

But if the bride is my friend, and having a fallout right before the wedding...
 

JohnTrav

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Thank you for the responses. I feel like I avoided a huge misunderstanding about what could have been expected. I definitely learned a bit about how I would approach any paid opportunity. I guess I will just have to let wedding fever settle down and be friends later on. Bridezilla came out ya'll. I felt we were going to have a very beneficial time of this reception shoot, I am building a website and would love to put some more event shots on it. She was appalled that I would ask for travel expense.

I feel blessed that this happened. This wasn't going to go well for anyone at all. I am not going to take any paid event, ever, without being with someone who has done it before. I could have just gone and taken photos, sure BUT where's that invitation at? Like, seriously I am offended. She thought I was trying to get a wedding gift out of her for 30 dollars in gas money. Like, brains full of wedding crazy and a side I have never seen her so malicious.

But if the bride is my friend, and having a fallout right before the wedding...

It's not that you need someone with you or that has done it before. It's all a learning experience. Plus your friend should have known all the details to give you before hand and also what she expected out of it.

Seems like you did avoid a huge misunderstanding/mess.
 
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pd0signihtyreve

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Thank you, I don't want to upset her any more than the situation already has. I want to tend to the relationship somehow though. post-wedding? I can try and contact her after the wedding and give her a handmade gift. I know that her negativity towards the situation felt warranted at the time and she's under a lot of stress.

I feel like I've committed a faux pas, and without being physically invited to the wedding there's no way I'm going now.

We're also about to be colleagues in the same trade. I've been in private school all summer studying the trade she's already involved with. Now I would feel at odds if I ended up in the same environment, even if we can make it all better.
 

bratkinson

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As a friend, I'd shoot the wedding for free, and provide prints and CDs. Call it a wedding gift for them. Call it good experience for you. You'll have to eat the cost of travel and whatever else you feel you need.

The question is whether or not she still wants you to be there. Get that settled first.

But to me, the bigger issue is 'down the road'. As you've indicated you're about to be colleagues, don't be surprised if somewhere down the line, you'll be at the same employer. I ran into perhaps 15% of my business collegues as co-workers, subordinates, and as their subordinate over a period of 30+ years in the same town. My reputation for quality preceded me into a variety of positions. I learned long ago to never 'burn my bridges' with any of my co-workers/employers/employees through the years. I recommend you don't burn any 'up front', as well.
 

kathyt

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I would not recommend doing it for free. Requesting gas money and a small fee per hour to cover your expenses is still doing her a huge favor. If she is still trying to take advantage of you then I would look inside the friendship. I had a few experiences similar to this, but on a smaller scale when I was starting out but I stuck to my gut feelings. Bottom line....you have to value yourself and your work or no one else will. Period.
 

SCraig

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So, if I read this correctly, you agreed to a contract then found out it was a 2-hour drive to get there and wanted to change the contract to include compensation for travel time? If that's the case your friend is more understanding than I would have been since these are things that you think about BEFORE agreeing to a 3-hour contract. What would you have said if your friend wanted to change the contract from $50 an hour to $25 an hour?
 

12sndsgood

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As SCraig said, I somewhat read it the same way though the way it was worded I was getting lost in what in the hell was going on. It sounded like you agreed on a price before knowing all the details. That is more on you then her, you (if i read this correctly) agreed on a price, then came back and wanted more money for the travel. Definatly have a lot to learn if you want to do this as a profession I would have thought that sort of thing would have been taught in a photography degree. do they not teach business with photo degrees? or is it just simply teaching you how to take photos?
 

terri

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I would have thought that sort of thing would have been taught in a photography degree. do they not teach business with photo degrees? or is it just simply teaching you how to take photos?

Oh please. They don't even teach physicians how to run their businesses! The ones who really want to understand that end of it usually go get an MBA for themselves, or hire management personnel they feel they can trust.

As an aside - Guys: if this thread dissolves into pouncing on the OP, who has offered up a tale and openly admits what he knows and doesn't know, expect "moderator input". :) The OP is here for advice, not to be drawn and quartered!
 
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mishele

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You lost me after the third sentence i don't even know if you even shot the ****ing wedding

Gary, don't make me slap you around. :mrgreen:
 

12sndsgood

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Mine was actually an honest question. I never went to school to learn photography, I just assumed they would have a course or two on how to run a business. It wasn't an attack at the OP at all.
 

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