I charge very little for portraits for people I know. I'm just not comfortable quoting a healthy rate to co-workers, friends and family. So instead of struggling with what to charge, I am going to start offering a new zero-price structure. Yep, nothing.
What'd I'd rather do is shoot these portraits for free, and then have the subject sign a contract to "pay it forward." It will read simply: "In exchange for this photo session, I promise to do something nice for someone else."
I know this is a sensitive subject to photographers, but this is the choice I've made. It's not like I will be shooting without compensation. The compensation will be going to someone else, perhaps a church, a community center, a person in need. It's valuable to me -- and hopefully to society -- to foster a community that cares for itself.
I'll ask my subjects to email me the details of the good deed and I'll post it on this blog and on my web site, http://www.hotshoedigital.com/. And occassionally, I might reward someone who has already done a good deed with a portrait. I'll let you know how this works.
It might not change the world, but it might make a difference to someone, somewhere.