The next time you see them, why don't you just ask them what they have in mind? Words like "help" and "teach" are ambiguous enough that they may be using them with out even thinking. With out knowing what they are thinking, we can come up with all sorts of scenarios, from they want you to give a few pointers to these people are blood sucking creatures who should be sent to hell without stopping at go and collecting $200. Find out what they want, if they even know, and then discuss it. Communicate.
I suspect that they will go away if you mention a fee. Your time is valuable and should not be given away for free. I do a lot of bartering but also ask for fees. Sometimes I get the fees and sometimes they go away. If I don't care to do it for free or a barter than I ask for a fee.
I agree with Allen in the sense that communication eliminates BS, but I've found plenty communicated by the way people first come at you, in terms of their being honest and upfront as opposed to hiding behind a fog.
I find that when people are on the 'up and up', regarding what they want from me as a photographer, they tend to address.................'what will that cost?............Would you be interested in that, and for how much? By the same token, the manipulative and the devious hide behind the vague.
..............................When I first saw this post, I read it with an open mind, but I have trouble with this, if it truly represents what was said, and said within context.............
.....................'Each time we see the couple, they make the same statement, "I really need to get you to work with my daughter."
I mentioned that I had no problem giving tips, advice and information occassionally and informally. But the help has now turned into, "I'd love for you to teach 'Amy' about photography."
In the most recent encounter with the couple, the husband mentioned to my husband that his daughter needs a darkroom set up. She could 'sure use the help.' There's that word again!'..................
Of course I may be mistaken, but characterizing what you say with............'I really need'..............and 'I'd love for you to'..................are the way people who like to use people use these terms to push buttons.
When someone brings up a suggestion to me like this, I can depend on true friends to KNOW that my non-response/non answer to a proposition made like it's been made here, means I'm trying to be diplimatic about the fact that I'm not interested.
To keep 'hitting on somebody' to do something like this from people who you really don't know, and who really don't know you, to me, again and again, I wouldn't trust, also, again, I may be wrong, but this sounds like the 'come on' of folks who confuse kindness for weakness.
I've been doing this for 40yrs and now don't have the slightest problem with being very direct in order to cut through any awkwardness that comes along with a sitiuation like this. Because I can reverse the situation by turning this into a good test of friendship in the sense that when I tell someone what I need to do whatever I do for them, their reaction tells me whether I've got a true friend or a snake.
I'll get slightly off topic and say that if I've found out anything about life, is that you can lead a fairly simple and carefree life if you understand that most of life's complications come from how you deal/fail to deal w/people you KNOW, not people you don't know, .........it's the people you know/friends/relatives who can hurt you most when they turn out to be 'snakes'.
A stranger may ask a favor of you, you say yes or no without any stress at all, of course the asking of a favor from a friend or relative is DIFFERENT, some folks KNOW that when they ask,..................Good luck.
Very good advice, Jonathan. It bears repeating.
Originally Posted by Jonathan Brewer
I've been giving it some thought. SOme folks talk about free health care free auto work etc...
I have received all of the above and throw in free law advice. Some favors were from friends and others-the doctoring was from a perfect stranger. He hauled me into the ER fixed my bicycle wreck wounds handed me some pain meds and sent me on my way. Another doc put stitches in my head when I was little and had a run in with ice. people offer their time to help others for free all the time. Both docs called it good Karma-and I was able to partly pay it back when i found one of the docs stranded on the side of the road and gave him a ride to a phone then back to his car to wait.
So, helping out a friend or someone in need is great. I also look at my start with watercolor painting. I never would have even started if it was not for the niceness of the the art teacher here at the school. his time is way more than I could spend and he went insane helping me. I asked one simple question and the next thing I knew I was handed watercolor paints, paper, a how too book and he spet several hours showing me how to get started and we had a great time.
No real point aside from, not everything is about money all the time. SOme times it is about being nice.
Too each their own I guess.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
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As a lawyer, I'm often asked for free advice and assistance. On a reasonably regular basis, I give free advice and assistance, when the circumstances are appropriate.
Every lawyer I know donates a fair amount of his/her time and expertise in one way or another, whether it is helping individual clients with limited or no means to pay, or volunteering or contributing to education etc., etc., etc.
One also has to balance this, of course, with a need to make a living.
One point though - it is one thing to choose to give some thing of value, without fee. It is an entirely different thing to have someone expect something free from you, without even having the courtesy of asking.
Some clients are so scared about possible costs, they won't even bring the subject up. I always encourage clients to express those concerns.
Dorothy, you should decide what you want to do, based on your own judgement, and on what you can find out about the young person in question. It may be that if the request came from her, and you knew more about what she was looking for, you would be happy to work out something that both of you would benefit from. What you are willing to offer her should, however, be only on terms that you are comfortable with.
Wait for it >>>>> My two cents worth
My wife spent years as the Asst Director of Admissions at an ivy league college in New York City, then 10 more years as the Director of College Placement at a private, all-girls school in Philadelphia. Nothing brings the people wanting free advice out of the woodwork faster than a college admissions professional at a cocktail party, football game, etc. She would come home from social events wiped out; often having had the biggest crowd around her of any one in the room - - often embarrassingly large.
But as time progressed and we got to know many of these people, all professionals of some sort, and we often found cause to use their services... And, as was mentioned above, there was never any hint of a "discount" in the transaction, yet many of them (in the lawyer's office or in the doctor's office) asked for college admissions advice for little Johnny or little Susie, then proceeded to hand us the bill for their services.
It may seem cruel, but my wife finally adopted the response that they should call her secretary on Monday, schedule an appointment, and they could discuss rates and services. It was hard for her to say the first few times, but in the end, it actually allowed relationships with these other professionals to return to normal rather than one of dread for her.
Since you live somewhere in central NC, I have a suggestion. The next time they ask--send them to either Southeastern Camera or Peace Camera in Raleigh. Both stores have darkroom supplies and people on staff who could help them. the more darkroom business we send to these stores in our area, the better we'll be in the longrun for getting supplies ourselves.
Originally Posted by Dorothy Blum Cooper
I have taken time out to show people how to set up darkrooms, or to help students out. I don't really have a problem with that, but then again, I'm not a photo teacher. I don't help people out by shooting stuff for them, because I'm a photographer, and when I'm not working, I don't want to be working for free, if that makes any sense? I brush these sorts of inquiries off pretty fast. I've blown off so much side work, it's not even funny probably to anyone who freelances, but I'm just not interested, when 75% of the time, the reason why they ask, is because they don't want to pay a living wage. This is a generalization, of course, but like Jonathan Brewer says above--it's a manipulative ploy often, and you can tell.
So I'm pretty upfront with them, and just say, sorry I'm not interested. It's helpful to think about it this way--when people approach you, it's not like you are bidding on a job, or making a cold call. They're asking you to do something. If you're not interested, but they persist--then it's their problem. For me, when this happens, it's usually somebody wanting me to shoot something. If they persist---what I do is give them my "nuisance fee" which is high bid. really high. you can gauge it by your interactions with them. if you think, well, it might not be that bad, but it would take this amount--then see if they're interested. If they turn out to be the clients from hell, the kind everyone has had to deal with--then the nuisance fee can be pretty high. you just bid yourself out of the ballpark. it's like self-preservation. life's too short to spend your off-time dealing with difficult people.
but seriously--send them to a camera store. we have some good ones in the triangle that are still stocking used darkroom stuff and supplies.
maybe invite the daughter to have a snack at a local café,
bring a few photographs and ask her to show some of what she has done ..
then offer a book on photography or something similar
( maybe a website like this one to visit and learn ) ... if she is still interested
after that, maybe if you want to offer paid lessons or something else ...
when i was in boy scouts i went to a local bookbinder for instruction.
he said to me what he said to all the kids who went to him
"build a sewing rack and come back after that and i will teach you the merit badge"
at that point i went home and built a sewing rack, went back and learned
about bookbinding. the kids before me went home and lost interest because
they had to do something to show their interest ...
i guess in a round-about way i am saying, find out from amy what her interest is and give her a book to read ...
Back in the days when I was making a living at doing things like photographing weddings, on more than one occasion, while a guest at a wedding of some relative, a parent of either the bride or groom tried to hand me their 35mm camera - 'Oh, you know how to do this, here, take some pictures'. I politely declined.
This thread reminds me of the story about the doctor and the lawyer at a social gathering. After being approached several times by someone seeking free medical advice, the doctor asked the lawyer if it would be appropriate to bill someone under those circumstances. The lawyer said 'Yes, and that'll be $75.'
"I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.