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  1. #11
    billschwab's Avatar
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    You'll be suprised how many people simply go away as soon as you mention a fee.

    Good luck,

    Bill

  2. #12

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    If someone is sincere about learning photography from someone there are many ways to do so besides paying for lessons. From my own experience I interned, with out pay, for 4 photographers for my last semester of high school. I learned a lot through that experience and was then able to work as a paid assistant during the summer and on the days when I didn't have college classes. Eventually assisting full time. Truly the best way I found to learn is by assisting.

    The bigger problem is that photography and the passing on of photographic knowledge just is not valued. Most people have no clue to the amount of information, technique and methods that can be learned. I am doing this full time professionally for over 30 years and still learn new things about photography on a daily basis. However with the digital capture of an image, somewhat properly exposed and nearly color correct being a "point and shoot" experience, the general public has even less respect and knowledge of the amount of photographic information that is needed to actually do photography well. We are at a point where everyone can claim to be a professional photographer, and many with even the most rudimentary skill level often do. Shoot a friend's wedding for $50 and you're now a pro. With that common experience why would anyone think that they'd need to pay someone to teach photography to their kid.

    In the case of Dorothy I think she should stick to her guns and charge for lessons, or have the kid assist her free in exchange for knowledge.

  3. #13

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    These folks are users, who mistake kindness for weakness, they know exactly what they're doing, seeing if they can make you feel awkward as a negotiationg ploy to pay nothing/very little for your services. They've already 'told' you by their actions what they think of you, .............'pay us when you want something from us, we think we can 'game' you on the other hand'.

    They're NOT your friends. Say nothing when they attempt to manipulate you for favors, eventually they'll get an 'attitude'/blame you for not letting yourself be used, and they'll go away. Or as an alternative, be direct/honest, tell them that their request would involve time and money regardless of friendship, and that would need to be discussed before teaching/mentoring their daughter, the result will be the same, being users, they'll blame you for sticking up for yourself and will go away.

    My wife has friends and relatives who are always hitting on her to get me to give up 'freebees', or the famous sob-story #109,............'listen, she says they don't have a lot of money'.

    Years ago, I had a lady approach me for portraits, the first meeting was one long sob story, at that time, I was dumb enough to cut my sitting fee, she then shows up for the portrait in a different more expensive car(BMW), sharp dress, shoes, and tries to work me to death w/additional requests for shots we hadn't agreed to.

    When I mentioned that I was doing her a favor by doing the job for what we agreed to, she said nobody put a gun to my head to do the job, ...........so I'm telling you that there are plenty of people out there that will use you, that will want your services, don't want to pay/pay much, and will work you to death, promising that they'll recommend you to everybody else in return. Work for what you think you are worth, if you want to do a favor, do it for nothing, don't mix up business with friendship, both will suffer.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  4. #14
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    My wife came to me the other day and told me that her nephew would like me to design a website for his new business. After I wasted my breath on the five minute speach about how I have enough on my plate and working long distance with a client I can't sit down with is cumbersome and that if they're not web-saavy I'd be taking on a long term commitment for updates and maintainance...she indicated that they were looking for a favor...not to hire me.

    I just told her to tell them whatever she wanted but that I'm not interested and that frankly, I found the implicit assumptions insulting.
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  5. #15
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Well, it does occur to me that it the daughter is interested enough to consider a darkroom, she may very well find her way to this very forum...

    Bottom line is to always be up-front and straightforward. If you do not want to do it, say so: explain that you are a professional, not a hobbyist, and the fees you charge and the amount of time it would take to teach their daughter anything useful would add up to a sizable bill. Direct them to any local photo courses and clubs (if they are not all-digital theses days) and leave it at that.

    If you have the itch to teach then you could try the local colleges to see if they are interested in your teaching evening classes etc. She can then attend those.

    Cheers, Bob.

  6. #16
    DBP
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    The other option is to consider whether you have a use for a part-time apprentice.

    The tendency to be asked for favors in your field is universal. Fortunately, in my particular case, I get very few requests because no one understands what I do for a living. But every doctor has been asked for advice at a party, and I would bet that most lawyers and other professionals have as well. My observation of doctors over the years is that most draw the line at anything beyond pointing the person at the appropriate resources, or giving a short answer to a particular question. So, following that model, a list of suggested books and websites is a reasonable response, as are recommendations of schools and teachers, and of sources for equipment.

  7. #17
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothy Blum Cooper View Post
    Just curious how you handle friends/acquaintances who ask for help with photography.
    There's a distinction you sometime blur in your post between training and handing out knowledge. Of course, in a practical endeavour like photo, not all knowledge is theoretical, and therefore is equivalent to training. But if the person who wants to learn just wants to talk about photo, and get some insights from a more experienced practicioner, it's a little different than having her as a pupil.

    Personally, I think knowledge should be free as possible, but that you should also charge whatever you want for the effort involved in getting it across. If someone can make do with as little of your efforts (e.g. you loan a few books, suggest exercises and best practices then let them go), then there shouldn't be a reason for withholding knowledge to them. On the other hand, if you are spending your evenings and your afternoons showing someone how to develop film, then you're entitled to a paycheck.

    At a university, the course in fundamental physics costs as much as the course in american literature. The knowledge in the first one may have involved more millions for its discovery than the latter, but the fact remains that for the professor and the institution involved, the effort to get the knowledge across is similar enough.

    EDIT: I do however agree with some of the other posters, that according to your description, these folks seem to be interested in getting a free lunch from you. If they are, then I wouldn't even consider engaging in any form of knowledge exchange because they'll use that as a gateway. But you're the one who knows.
    Last edited by Michel Hardy-Vallée; 02-06-2007 at 12:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  8. #18
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    I think I agree with most previous posters! As a professional photographer and writer with 40+ years experience, I feel some obligation to share my experience with the young. BUT - I am very careful how much time I commit. I am happy to talk to anyone for a few minutes, if it looks like getting serious, I would have no problem inviting people to my house, where I can refer to my library and other material, and talking with them for an hour or so. Occasionally students do contact me and they get a considered reply, if necessary going to a full page of A4. This, however, would be the absolute limit of what I would do for free - any question of giving a series of formal or semi-formal lessons, and I would ask for money without hesitation!

  9. #19

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    I don't know how much of your photography requires an unpaid assistant but if you do your own processing then there may be a quid pro quo whereby she earns her keep by assisting and learning at the same time.

    The key is how much does she want to learn and how much is she prepared to give in order to learn as opposed to how much her parents want her to learn. It sounds as if you haven't had the chance to learn of her feelings as opposed to her parents.

    The first ten to fifteen minute talk with her about photography will probably tell you all you need to know. It could be the only talk you ever have with her or the start of a mutually beneficial relationship.

    pentaxuser

  10. #20
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    I was recently asked to 'help out' a young violinist/teacher whose job also included teaching cello which was not a skill she had yet acquired. I realized, from the way the request was posed, that the expectation was for free lessons although that wasn't expressly stated at that point. I've been doing this long enough to know I needed to just state my fee directly and not wait to even hear an excuse for a lower 'professional courtesy' rate let alone a freebie. After politely doing so, I am happy to report that I have never heard another word about it.

    Many years ago I was asked to play in the cello section of a 'Doctor's Orchestra' in Queens. I asked what the fee was and was told, "No. There's no fee", to which I less than politely asked what free medical services I could then expect to receive. Again, I never heard from the person who asked me after that.

    I wonder what possesses anyone to assume that people in 'the arts' just do it for the love of doing it. Try getting someone to repair your car 'just for the love of it'.......yeah.....right!
    John Voss

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