Did he think I was stupid?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by misol, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. misol

    misol TPF Noob!

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    or was he?
    This has been eating at me. I had a government contract to do portraits of children. I met with the woman who hired me, agreed to terms and pay and scheduled a couple dates. Sadly the woman in charge of the project fell ill and went out for months. I wasn't canceled so I went to one shoot and worked the 6 hours. There was another photographer there (the one they told me they were trying to replace) but he didnt work, he just sat and talked to me. I got the feeling, although he has been doing it for 20 years, he really had no passion for it. He was nice enough, but I prefer to work alone. But he is in charge of sending out the photos under the new person in charge of the photos.

    So one of the terms, I was going to give them web-sized files and then they would buy prints from me and I would give them a reduced rate for buying in bulk. But at the end of the session he told me I needed to give him my RAW files. I kind of ignored him and called his boss. She said to just go by the lady who hired me. 15 minutes later I got another call from this man insisting he needed my raws so he could print. I told him no, I dont give RAWs to anyone and that wasnt what I was hired to do.

    It happened over and over, even a meeting face to face with the lady who was now in charge. She was very close to this guy and seemed to agree with me but take his side anyways but finally said to go with what I was told when hired. She kept booking me and canceling less then 24 hours before saying they had "contract" problems

    Final straw, even after they used some of my pictured for their original purpose, this man called me and said he needed my full sized edited files. I almost lost it on him, then called the lady and quit. I lost ALOT of money in cancled bookings and when I was hired I was told I would be working alot, I put off really launching my business so I would have the time to do this.

    It was a nightmare!

    lesson #1 dont work for a government agency that has the WORST reputation of all similar agencies in the country...its that way for a reason

    lesson #2 get it written in a contract BEFORE you do the work, even if you have a verbal agreement.

    lesson #3 dont be nice to "photographers" who are hanging out at your shoot...they dont need to be there and might be looking to take your work????

    I just wanted to get it all off my chest and put a little warning out there for start ups like me. As it is, I have no idea if I am going to get paid the money they owe me (which is over $1000). Wish me luck! Can you take a governemnt agency to small claims court?
     
  2. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    Did they sign a contract?
    if so they have a legal agreement to pay for your services and you are stupid IMO for giving them prints before they paid you...

    If it wasn't for #2 (i had assumed all the cancelments had a written contract before they cancelled) I would have took them to court and sued them for Business extortion (they were keeping you from running your business by hiring you then telling you no at the last minute meaning you lost potental clients.)
    and if you don't recieve the money for the work you did do, Since they entered a legal agreement to pay you, And it was signed
    it is then considered theft, and they are infringing the contract therefore you can easily sue them.

    Dont take my word as gospel, im only 16 using my KU but im about 90% sure that you can sue them on the terms i stated above.
    at the least you will get the money they owe you.
    on a good turn out you will get Expenses paid to you (they ask how much it is per hour, How much money they have made you loose by wasting your time, then they pay out however much you would have made if you had gone along with the job) but it would have required a written contract, and im sure breaking a legal agreement is an offence in itself.
     
  3. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    If you did not have a contract. And no witnesses to your side of the negotiations. Small claims court would be a waste of time. As you know at least 2 people on their side would be against your (old photog, and his friend). I would just chalk it up as a learning experience and move on.

    Or better yet, go back to them with a contract. And have them sign it (make sure its authorized persons). Then do the prints and what ever else you agree too. As long as you didn't burn the bridge, you may have an opportunity to recover for the time already worked, and keep the new prospective clients!
     
  4. misol

    misol TPF Noob!

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    The only contract I ended up with was one stating I was going to make 15k an hour (a mistake, it was 15 k for the job). I am going to bill them and cross fingers. I just hate to be used. But no more EVER being lax about the paperwork (we negotiated and she was going to get the contract written up but I was excited to do the work and get started I didnt wait for it to start...and after 2 months of games, I never did end up with the correct one)
     
  5. misol

    misol TPF Noob!

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    going to bill for what the lady and I agreed on
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Was the 15k per hour contract ever signed by anyone from the government agency and/or you?
     
  7. misol

    misol TPF Noob!

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    No but they said it was activated as soon as I acknowledged receipt. However, I have no desire to collect 15k an hour from an agency that is a) paid by tax dollars, and b) is suppose to care for children.
     
  8. jess28

    jess28 TPF Noob!

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    Wow, that is a mess! I would make sure to *always* have a signed contract. My rule is it gets signed before the camera comes out at all. Seems like even if you get one 99% of the time it will be the 1% that give you a problem that could have been avoided with a contract.

    Honestly, without one I don't think you have a lot of recourse. They are currently using your images without having compensated you at all?

    After the first no show or late notice cancellation I require at least a 50% deposit (non-refundable) to hold a date. For larger events there is always a deposit due ahead of time. People are much less likely to forget or blow off something they have a monetary investment in.

    Good luck, I hope you are paid!
     
  9. Yemme

    Yemme No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh this is just sad:hug::. Well just be happy you knew when to walk away. Some people are not so smart. You're better off in the end.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Thank you for sharing your amazing story.

    Good luck to you in your career as a photographer.

    A Basic Photography Business Library

    Professional Business Practices in Photography a compilation of the American Society of Media Photographers. www.asmp.org
    Best Business Practices for Photographers by John Harrington www.johnharrington.com
    The Photographers Guide to Negotiating by Richard Weisgrau
    Business and Legal Forms for Photographers by Tad Crawford
    Photographers Market by the Editors of Writers Digest Books (Yearly)
    A Digital Photographers Guide to Model Releases by Dan Heller www.danheller.com
    How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules For Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients by Jeffery J. Fox
     

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