My apologies in advance for the length of this post. I'm still pretty upset about it. Last Sunday, I was "fired" from a wedding shoot because the bride perceived that I was taking advantage of a "friend." I am a customer of the bride's, have been for a couple of years. She runs a business that provides personal services for a fee. She liked my fine art photography, and we have traded her services for photographs on a couple of occasions. She has one of my photographs hanging at her business. In mid-September, she told me she was getting married in November and wanted to hire me as their photographer. Wedding photography is not my primary book of business, although I photograph corporate and community events. I've photographed a few weddings, all for friends or co-workers. I told her I would need details of her plans before I could give her an estimate, which would be discounted, and part of my fee could be a service trade, because of our friendly customer relationship. At that point, she didn’t know where the wedding or reception would be. I gave her my rate sheet on at least three occasions but had trouble putting together an estimate because her plans kept changing. The wedding date changed twice and she didn't have a location until three weeks before the wedding. By early November, she still didn’t know where or what time the wedding – now planned for the end of December – would be. She told me that she was not going to have a reception and would "probably" just have a courthouse wedding. I gave her a preliminary estimate of $650 for an hour at an engagement party, a two-hour portrait shoot in a city 20 miles from where we both live, a brief courthouse wedding, and two DVDs with images from the three shoots. She asked about black-and-white photography for the portraits. I told her that I would shoot in color, and then we can select photographs that lend themselves to black-and-white, sepia, or other treatments. She wanted a black-and-white photo for a wedding announcement she would send out in January. I also gave her a price for designing and printing the announcement. I advised her verbally that an hour for the party was unrealistic and that she should plan for two hours, which was written into our agreement, along with a Dec. 10 delivery date for the DVD. I didn't push her for a signed agreement (she misplaced two copies of it), because she gave me a partial payment at the party and her wedding plans were still not defined (my second mistake after taking on the job in the first place). I delivered a DVD and proof sheets in a binder, along with an invoice of $300 (less the $100 she paid me at the party) for two hours of photography (I actually photographed for three hours but charged her for two) and DVD. Two days after the portrait shoot, she asked if she could see the portrait photos by the next day because her fiancé was leaving (he lives in another state). I left her a return message saying that I had two other commitments and that was why I had Dec. 10 delivery in my preliminary estimate. I offered to burn a second DVD for her to mail to her fiancé. A week after the portrait shoot, I delivered DVDs with 110 images in both color and black-and-white, in high-resolution and web-sized. That was my third mistake because she told me on the day of the shoot that she only wanted black-and-white. I should have given her color images and asked her to choose two or three she wanted to see in black-and-white. I also delivered proof sheets of the color images, a revised invoice, two 5x7” B&W images of what I thought were the best in the group, and two color images in 5x7”. I charged her extra for the full set of high-res and web-sized black-and-white images in addition to the color. I didn’t charge her for the 5x7s. I later agreed to waive the extra processing charge because we hadn’t discussed it in advance. When I delivered the portrait photos, she told me that she was now planning a church wedding with a reception to follow in a community center. I told her that I would need to give her a revised estimate, because my first estimate was for a 15-30 minute courthouse shoot. I emailed her a revised estimate the next day with options of $300 for just the wedding or $500 for the wedding and reception. Either price would include a DVD with high resolution and web-sized images, along with proof sheets. A week later, I delivered a new contract for wedding photography and updated invoice for the work I have already done. I asked her to call me to discuss, because she was with a customer. She agreed to call me that evening. Instead, I received an email from her the following evening (last Sunday) saying that she could not afford to hire me for the wedding so my services where no longer needed. She also told me that she thought my first estimate was pretty high but that she went forward because we are “friends” and she knew that I was struggling financially. Now she is trying to get out of paying me for the work I have already done. She wants to subtract my revised estimate of $300 for wedding photography from my original estimate of $650 (for four hours of photography and two DVDs with up to 400 images in two different formats). I billed her $600 for four hours of shooting and two DVDs. She paid me $340 and we were going to trade services for the remainder. That’s not likely now. She still owes me $260. Although I do not have a signed contract, we had a verbal contract for the engagement party and engagement portraits. Now I have little recourse other than spending several hours seeking a solution in small-claims court. I am tempted to request that she pull the engagement photos off Facebook (she has ALL of my photos posted there). She really doesn’t have the right to post those photos. Lessons learned: assume nothing (including level of friendship), explain published rates, and get a signed agreement. Oh! And turn the job over to a photographer specializing in weddings. I don’t have event photos posted to Photo.net, so email me if you are curious about my work. Forum rules are that linking to my website is a no-no. Thank you for reading and thank you in advance for your advice.