So - I am GUILTY of this - and not that long ago. A few years and thousands and thousands of $ later, you can bet I am terribly sorry!!!!
The main reason it happened? Well, it wasn't because I was trying to get something for free. It was cluelessness, pure and simple. I didn't get it. So that is what I keep in mind now. Most people don't get it. They are diving maybe once a year or only in the summer months (certainly around here), they don't bring a camera, and they just think you have this cool camera and a cool hobby. It doesn't occur to them that you have spent unbelievable amounts of money to get your rig set up a particular way. It doesn't occur to them that editing RAW images is amazingly time-consuming - most of my friends don't even know what I'm talking about when I mention RAW images! It doesn't occur to people that this "hobby" is an obsession that you are perhaps hoping to parlay into published shots, contest wins, stock image sales, personal satisfaction - whatever.
Doesn't make it right, but it may help you understand. Most people are fascinated - and they don't realize that they are asking for something you may have a big attachment to. When it happens now, in some cases (when I'm on liveaboard, for instance) I might give people mid-res images that I know are not my best of the trip - decent shots, but "throw aways", if you will. In other cases or if they ask for an image I hope to do something with, I simply tell them that I am consider submitting it for publication and/or entering it into competition. People have been really nice about it. Then again - I'm not teaching them, DMing them, etc.
As for your situation in particular, there is a difference, as you are working when with these people. I would simply point them to CDs available for sale and tell them you are working on your personal portfolio for competitions, and you cannot sell your newer shots at this time. Frankly, if people aren't understanding about it - well - that's kinda their problem, isn't it? I'd think you could potentially make some money out of making a few images available for purchase on an individual basis - but you know your time constraints better than a total stranger would!
PS - Not 5 minutes after I wrote this, I got a phone call about an acquaintance's cat. Hm.
Edited by vetdiver, 09 December 2008 - 10:45 AM.