Friends and Money

Dear Stefanie Shutters,

I did a newborn session for a good friend of mine and she didn’t have the money to pay me at the time. So I agreed to do the session and she’d pay me the week after one she got paid.  The session went well, I have great images, and started editing already too.

This morning she messaged me asking to pay a little bit each week and I’m so annoyed I don’t even know how to reply to her now.  I have been counting on having that money paid tomorrow and now it’s not happening. I don’t know what to do now, and I just feel like she is taking advantage of our friendship.

~I knew I shouldn’t have Done It

Dear Done It,

If she’s a really good friend, then you can use some kind honesty that I wouldn’t recommend in use with a pure client. First, answer her as a friend would. Then talk business.

“Oh, no, is everything okay? Is there a way you can make a larger upfront payment now even if you can’t pay the entirety now, and we’ll set up a payment plan for the rest? {Insert info about taking credit cards here if you accept them since that will get you paid now and she can pay later – essentially putting the loan not on you} I’ll be honest, things have been really tight for me too, and I was counting on your payment tomorrow to cover groceries this week <pick your guilt trip>  I know life throws stuff at you, especially with a new baby, and you’re my friend, so I know you’ll understand that I need to pause my work on your session until paid and focus on my other billable work first… but don’t worry, your images are safe!”

Also, since no contract was made between you two other than a verbal, did she sign a model release?  Without something signed to cover you, I would recommend not posting sneak peeks or anything since she’s already altered a verbal agreement once.

And finally…. regardless of the outcome here, she’s your FRIEND. Money can ruin a friendship. So make a conscious effort to remember this unless you want to lose a friend over this.

UPDATE:   Photographer has responded that her friend is going to be paying in full the next day as planned!


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