For the past 4 years, I have been learning DSLR photography and constantly aiming to improve. I am now getting the odd request to do photo shoots for people and these people are more than happy to monetarily compensate me for my time and effort. As I do not feel I should be asking much, I always, so I have been told, under-value what I suggest to people with these requests and I have never had anyone complain about my suggestions. For close friends and family, of course, I am more than happy to offer my time and services in kind, because I'm more than happy to do this for them as a labour of love.
Now, here's the kicker - I received an email from the sister of one of my close friends, requesting a photo shoot. Late last year, I did do a freebie for my close friend and as his parents and sister were also in the same state at the same time (a rare event), they were also included in on this particular family shoot. I do not consider his sister a friend, more like an acquaintance whom I am polite to when we meet. In fact, well, lets just say we have greatly differing views, ethics and ideologies and just quietly, she really grates on my nerves. In this email she detailed that she wanted this, she wanted that, she was going to use it for promotional purposes in a semi-professional arena, that she wanted numerous costume changes, etc, etc. At the end of the email she wrote "I know, as you're 'still learning' you don't charge for a session, seeing it all as experience", which I found incredibly presumptuous and rude, especially that she is seeking me out stating that my services are good enough for her promotional purposes, she just doesn't want to pay for them.
Aside from this, I am 8 months pregnant after a very difficult pregnancy. There is every chance I could go into labour at any point and there is the chance that I could be admitted as soon as next week because the baby is measuring two weeks ahead in size and on my 4'11" frame, the doctors are a little concerned about my ability to carry this baby to the planned 39 weeks. I was even ordered to stop working 6 weeks ago because of a few medical issues that had popped up. As a result of my personal situation, I am even LESS inclined to put myself out for anyone at this stage.
I know this is a common occurrence amongst many photographers, especially those who are not established enough to have those clear-cut boundaries. How does one politely say "No" or "Get nodded" or "Not on your life!" in this situation? I know I can use the impending birth as an excuse now, but there is a chance I may need to use this in the future and I DO NOT plan to be pregnant every time! LOL! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.