Learn from My Mistakes

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by chrisburke, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    well i've got a lesson for all the people here who are new to photography... well the business side of it.. and to those who are in the business side, who maybe havent been in this situation.

    I've got a situation which is going to cost me about $200.. I know, its not a lot of money, but, at the same time, it is.

    Heres my story:

    End of May I get a call: "hi there Chris, I'm getting married in August, and we'd like to have you do the photos"

    I accecpt, I love shooting weddings, they are very fun, and I believe I have the eye for it (i've been doing them for a while now)

    Beginning of July, I call up a friend of mine's wife. She is pretty new to photography, but gets some pretty decent pictures (she shoots in auto and doesnt know how to post process) well I call her up, and I say "Hey I'm doing a wedding the beginning of August and want to invite you to come along to take some pictures cause I know you want to do photography professionally some day, so why not start practicing now, and hey, I'll even give you $100 and include any good images you take in the package.

    August comes, wedding day. We arrive at the location, beautiful. we get there about an hour early to have a second look around.. make sure everything is the way it was on my first visit... uh oh.. her D80 isn't working.. it seems to be over exposing everything, and the mirror seems to be shifting when she takes pictures. LUCKILY I always have a backup (lesson number 1) so I say "here, just use this one, slap your lens on it, and shoot away."

    no problem, day goes great.. its really freaking hot out.. she gives me back my camera body, takes the card because she wants to look at them at home, no big deal.

    well a month later I finally get the pictures from her... good thing I always tell my clients that it'll be 6 weeks before they get their pictures (lesson 2) her husband drops off the card to me... but he talks to me first. "i thought you guys agreed that you were going to do a 50/50 on this, so she should be getting more money... i say no, I would never do that, shes a beginner, I would never give half of the money to a beginner.. well we're friends, so he just says I know you'll do the right thing.. and I don't want to mess up our friendship, cause we're great friends.. so I say "i'll give her another $200... all is well.. he leaves.

    I get into my house.. load up the card.. import the pictures... NONE of them have been touched.. she shot in auto, and just gave me the card... now I have to go through 400 images, crop them, clean them up... so even though she only did 2 hours of work and I've done the 2 hours for the wedding, plus 10 hours so far in process, and now will be likely another 5-10 hours editing her images cause I can't hand them in the way they are... and yet I'm still giving her money for this...

    it's a lesson learned.. don't work with friends unless you have stuff in writing...
     
  2. Ron Evers

    Ron Evers Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Chris, that is bad but even worse when you get screwed by family for thousands.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ahh well but you knew she could not post process to start with - better that she did not touch them than she touched them wrong I think (small blessing in disguise I think there).
    Though I think the payment is the wrong way around - should she not be paying you for the experience to shoot and learn rather than you her?
    Either way a very good gesture and keep it up - tis from those willing to teach that those willing to learn - well - learn ;)
     
  4. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ouch. I have a friend and he and I occasionally do business. He's pretty much my best friend and has been for years, so we're always worried about this and we always write something up and sign it. We've never had an issue, but reading what you've posted here illustrates why it's a good idea to be careful.
     
  5. Weaving Wax

    Weaving Wax TPF Noob!

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    Why was she even paid? She's a beginner and should've just went for the experience. I'd say that you knew she wasn't very good to begin with and you agreed to pay her anyway. Plus, it's no surprise that the card came back with no post processing done to the images....she didn't know how...

    I wouldn't rule out working with a friend who wants to get into it, but maybe not pay for the experience....
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You know, I gotta say... thinking about this more...

    I probably would call her up and tell her I can't pay her the extra $200.

    I can't tell you how to handle your friends, and I certainly shouldn't be making judgements, but it doesn't really sound like they are putting your friendship as a priority here, so I'm not so certain why you should be.

    This was a professional arrangement, and you had a verbal agreement and were doing something nice for her. Certainly it theoretically helps you out a bit, but she gains a lot more in the experience aspects of it (or at least could have).

    Were I you, I think I would make that call, tell her sorry but no, explain why, etc. If it becomes a big issue, well then maybe that friendship is over and maybe you're better off for it.

    This is, of course, keeping in mind that I'm somewhat a cold bastard at times. I'll do anything for a true friend, but I have very little tolerance for stuff like this.
     
  7. jenn76

    jenn76 TPF Noob!

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    I have to agree with manaheim on this one. I have been that beginner and second-shooter. The first wedding I shot with a friend was SEVEN HOURS and I did it for free. She was using that one to judge my skill to see if she wanted to pay me to second-shoot some other time. Still, because I am just learning, the wedding and event that I have shot with her since then, she only paid me $10 per hour. If anyone is interested in seeing the wedding photos I did (I PP'd myself, since she just dumped the pics and gave me the card back... I use them for practice), it's http://web.me.com/flygirl76/Site_2. I think I did ok since I've only shot 2 weddings, especially given tough light situations. I don't use them for advertisement since I was working for someone else.

    The moral of my little story is that if you're learning, you sure as heck shouldn't expect a 50/50 deal from the photographer you're shooting for! I would have been happy with $100 for the events I've second-shot! I no longer shoot with her though... she wanted me to sign a contract stating that I would not work for myself or anyone else.... however, I was not guaranteed any work with her either. Screw that! :D
     
  8. Crimsonandwhite

    Crimsonandwhite TPF Noob!

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    Chris,

    To say the least I have grown up a lot from how I would normally advise someone in a situation like this... Old school James would say, f that, piss off, game over.

    New school James says give her the money and never ask her to do anything again, when people betray your trust then they don't deserve your charity and believe me she knows what was said before hand, that means they are lying and lying people suck. With you compromising and giving that extra $200, you are being the bigger person, you are not burning a bridge and you will feel all the better knowing you did more than was called for in this situation. Walk away a smarter and more savey businessman from this....

    If they presist on 50/50 after you offered the extra $200, disregard everything I said above about being the bigger person. Tell them to get a lawyer and to piss off, cya in court $%^$$#@#$^%....something of that nature...

    Good luck
     
  9. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I have to agree, at least to some extent. If the friendship is a strong one, it should at least be able to stand up to confronting the problem. Perhaps you still end up giving her the money in the end, but maybe it really was a misunderstanding. Or maybe when they hear where you're coming from, they'll understand better. Or maybe like Manheim said, they had no intention of keeping the friendship a priority and neither should you. But either way, it seems unwise to simply leave it untouched.

    Unless of course you're really not hurting for cash at all, in which case maybe you should confront the problem with the full intention of paying anyways.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    just as a point it was the husband that asked for the extra money not the friend - the husband who might not know an SLR from a point and shoot.
    Might be that he felt his wife was up to the task and did not spend a day learning, but a day spent working - hence assuming that her status was as a joint shooter, not as a ghost. Hence he feels that you are stitching her up on the cheap to do your dirty work - so he wangles a little extra for her - and if you argue back and she joins in he can always say - Oh I got the wrong end of the stick on the 50/50 bit

    the money argument here is NOT with the photographer assistant, but with her other half ;)
     
  11. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    i hear what your saying.. but the reason the husband confronted me is because he is my friend... and shes just far to quiet to speak up about something like this.. i could tell from our conversation that it was something he had to build up the courage to do, because well.. it took them a month to give me the card.. . and we live next door to each other... I think im going to sit them down and explain that I've put now 18 hours of work into this wedding, and she only put about 3 (taking pics the day of the wedding) and see what they say.
     
  12. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Not that my opinion means squat, but that does sound like a good idea. Good luck with it.
     

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