A woman wondered into the studio the other day and said she needed some photos taken at an event.

I do that, I said.

“Well,” she said, “I need them done for free.”

I don’t do that, I said.

“Why not?”

Because I’m in the business of photography, not a charitable organization.

“Well, I heard you did some photos for free for some other folks so I figured you would do them for free for everyone.”

Not bloodly likely.

That’s always the problem with doing someone a favor. Word gets around and, suddenly, people think your services are available — without cost — for everyone.

When we made the decision to move to Floyd County and open Blue Ridge Creative we knew our income would be far less than the glory days in Washington.

Less, yes. Nothing, no. We’ve shot photos for barter, exchanged services for free ads (like the new tourism brochure) and donated our services to some worthy causes.

But I like to eat as much as the next guy and my wife likes to have money for shopping, groceries and cat food. Which means that every so often I do have to charge for my services.

Charity begins at home. It stops when I open the door to the studio each morning.