Venting...

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by rub, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

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    On the weekend I shot a small wedding. The bride was a childhood friend, although we had lost touch over the past 15 years or so. We connected through Facebook once again. She saw my photography work, and contacted me about her wedding.

    She was looking for someone to give coverage for the ceremony and formals afterwards. The brides sister (also MOH) is an artist who has been pursuing photography recently. The bride was wanting her sister to do the rest of the photos, as she obviously could not cover the ceremony and formals.

    On the wedding day, everythign seemed to go along smoothly. There was a lot of waiting for family to get organized (I did have the help of a groomsman) but we stayed on time throughout.

    During the day, however, I felt like I had a shadow. And it wasn't the brides sister, but the sisters boyfriend. He had the sisters camera and seemed to be everywhere that I was.

    Tonight I posted a couple of teaser pics on Facebook. The bride just so happened to log on while I was on, so I sent her a link to the album. She responded with a comment "Im looking at hers, but im way more excited to see yours!" I have no idea what that meant, other than the fact that her sister was also online, and maybe she sent the message accidentally to me? I brushed it off - no need in overreacting to something when I didn't even understand it.

    Then the kicker. I go online later, and wow - there are my pics! About 40 of them! I mean, the crop is a bit different, and the processing is different...but there they are.

    The sister has posted her pics. The ones the boyfriend took. And they are all the poses I did. The angles are two feet to the left of everything I worked so hard to do. The bride has RAVED about how awesome the photos are.

    She didn't even comment once on the ones I posted.

    ouch.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you were counting on print sales...you have good reason to be P.O.ed.

    This problem isn't uncommon. Sometimes it's someone really close to the B&G, or sometimes it's the infamous 'Uncle Bob'...or sometimes it's 25 people with digicams.

    I have a clause in my contract that says I am to be the only one taking photos. Of course, that is rarely the case but I usually don't enforce the clause because it wouldn't look good on me...but in some situations it might be necessary.

    Of course, if you are selling the digital files, rather than prints...then you don't loose any money because of someone taking the same shots as you.
     
  3. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    That's pretty shady.
     
  4. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

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    I don't know what I will be selling now. They paid by the hour, and with other sales to be determined.

    Maybe it was worth the small price they paid to have me there for 2 hours, just to set up the shots.

    Hmm - seems sleeping on it just has me more upset.
     
  5. Derek Zoolander

    Derek Zoolander TPF Noob!

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    The photographer at my sister's wedding asked people not to take photos and he kindly explained why. Obviously the person who got told was embarrassed, but everyone else understood.
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    How d'ya figure that Mike? If B-I-L or Sis has taken similar shots, and the Bride likes those, why is she going to spend money on Kristal's work?

    I agree this is low, but at least if you've been paid for your time, then other than wounded pride, you're not out anything. I will say however that I think conducting any sort of business, even with [supposed] friends over websites like Facebook is both unprofessional and likely to lead to problems.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow... though one.

    When this has happened to me, it's usually not for the whole event. I'll stop when it begins to interfere with what I'm doing. For formals, at least for a while, I will hold the pose when I finish and allow anyone else to take a shot. This, of course, slows everything and ends pretty quickly. I won't this this beyond a few formals. After that, we all just have to move on.

    Good luck.

    -Pete
     
  8. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

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    I guess I need to address this in my contract. I had just felt that the bride had specifically asked for certain coverage, and I full well knew that the sister would be there, and that we would overlap some of the shots as well. I was comfortable with the arrangement - and that really had nothing to do with an old friendship.

    John, as for your comment about doing business over Facebook, I strongly disagree.
    I alway meet with my clients in person, over coffe, with a contract, showing my portfolio and print samples. Most of my communication with clients is through regular email through my website. I just am able to showcase my work quickly on Facebook, as I have a group there. I would say I have received 90% of my business through Facebook to date.

    I think that if you approach social networking sites in a professional manner with your business, it is professional, economical and highly valuable.

    I only send quick messages if time is short, ie. sending a mesage to the bride last night that her teaser pics were up. Otherwise I would have emailed her with the private gallery login information from my website, including a small note that some teaser pics have also been placed on Facebook for viewing and sharing. (I usually post 4-8 watermarked images that they can add to there profile, email to family and friends etc.)

    As for not being out anything, I guess thats debatable. I count on print or DVD sales when calculating my prices. So for me to work for 2 hours, plus all the PP time, this will net me far less than my target price if no sales are made.

    I guess that is another thing to re-evaluate.

    Thanks again for the feedback.
     
  9. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

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    I will claify that I was to shoot the ceremony, family formals and wedding party shots. I was not doing any shots of the bride and groom alone.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For the most part, when you turn over the digital files, you won't get any print orders. (if you do, that's great but I'd consider it a bonus rather than the norm). So if you are indeed charging enough for the files, none of your income is reliant on print sales...you are essentially paid up front....so what does it matter if someone else takes the exact same photos as you?

    But if your income is reliant on print sales, then obviousl you would be less likely to get orders of shots that the bride has files of (from somebody else).
     
  11. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

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    I do not give the digital files, but I will sell them. That being said, I may not even sell a disk of images due to this.
     
  12. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    Get paid an up front fee, it's the only way to gaurantee some money for your effort. Then everything else is a bonus.
    Also, take the B&G away from the crowd for a while, then make sure that the exclusive shots are packaged in with the formals. A good time to get them on their own is the short space of time between ceremony and reception.
    It's harder work than most people think but it's a great way to make an income, so persist.
    Be firm (you have a job to do) but fair (they are friends or family of your client) and let everyone know that you are the pro.

    And here is the most important point.... never never never agree to share the responsibility of photographing a wedding. If you are employing an assistant or second shooter that is a different thing,,,,,,,,,, but "sister of the bride who has been pursuing photography recently and is an artist" who also wants to be MOH and then passes her camera onto the boyfriend reeks of trouble from the word go....
    The problem we all face at some point in are careers as wedding photographers is that at the begining we all want work, either for the money or experience so are willing to bend a little too much.
    If it is for the money, stick to your work ethic, charge what you are worth and give great service.
    If it is for experience, dont expect any financials and anything you do recieve will be a bonus, and takes out the threat of disappointment.
    I have heard people say "I need to earn SOMETHING for my time. Only if you are pro or semi (part time) pro is this true.
    Whatever, dont give up.
     

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