Representing yourself as a second shooter.

ApSciPhoto

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This summer I collaborated with a local photographer to help fill in gaps in my schedule as her second shooter. I honestly had never shot as a second, and when I hire someone on as my second, I do things completely different - I'm a little in the dark here.


When we hooked up, she told me that I'd be "representing [myself] completely". This sounded like a great deal at the time - I didn't get paid much but I gave myself delusions on the great print sales I could potentially get from it; also that it would be a great portfolio filler, and a nice way to meet some new people in areas I don't go to often.

Now that a few weddings are out of the way and I've finished my edits, I feel like I'm competing heavily with her for attention. I'm posting images and finding it difficult for the clients to understand that my images are not included in her package, that if they want them they have to purchase them from me. I can't find a graceful way to "represent myself" to them. Basically I hate this set up, I feel like I'm being ripped off twice for the work I've done and that potential clients are seeing me as pushy.


***I don't know if this will show up as new, but I think this really important and now I need super advice.** Like said before, I understand better ways of working this situation. When I hire a second shooter, I pay a percentage of the final package as purchased from the couple, collect unedited raw files, and give proper credit when due. The bride and groom only deal with me, never with my second.***

So all this has happened:

I photographed two weddings with a woman who has now presented herself as a person who has just started (I'm not a regular reader so I don't know if there's a fair term. I call her a blog-mom photographer.) She is definitely someone who has asked me to work with her to bail her out because she doesn't know how to handle difficult situations (low light, jealous bridesmaids, why-do-I-have-noise-at-1600-and-why-do-I-have-blur-at-1/30-what-are-these-numbers-I-read-this-on-a-blog-to-what-I-should-set-my-camera-at, whatever). She texted me earlier demanding that I stop posting images because of the agreement between her and the couple. Of course, I'd be fine with this if she paid me more than the $150 she paid me. This demand has put me in a sour position because:

1. I'm not being paid enough for the amount of work I've done, and for the quality of work I feel I produce.
2. The original agreement of "representing [myself]" means I REPRESENT MYSELF, my way. When I make a bad ass picture, I want to show it off. So I do.

(If it matters, the agreement was, in the beginning, $150 per wedding, as my own representative. My images would not be included in her package, would not be a part of her album, whatever. I'm responsible for my own edits.)

So I posted a few images of a wedding we did at the beginning of June. THE BEGINNING OF JUNE! I don't know about you all, but I edit images FAST because I want the couple and their family to stay super excited about the wedding. I pick a few favorites, post them quick, then over the next few weeks post a few more like "OH MY GOODNESS HOW AWESOME IS THIS?!" and it's always been great. My clients feed off this, I get more jobs because everyone's excited about how awesome they look and how awesome their photographs are.

Right?

I don't want to work with her anymore. I have like four more weddings scheduled as her second but I feel like it's hurting me hard. I want to walk away. I'm doing this all by myself and the $150 for her to bully me around at this stage is not cutting it. If it was $150 and I toss her the files to do whatever she wants with, I'd be okay. But it's not. It's all backwards. I don't know how to deal with her.

Please don't judge me for working for $150/wedding. I'm getting married next year and I don't know how I'm going to afford my photographer on my budget without whoring myself out every now and then. :D?


Also, I keep repeating this "representing" part because those are her words, on the record.
 
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Destin

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That's ridiculous. IMO, as a second shooter you should get paid a flat rate, and your photos should be turned over to the other photographer. You shouldn't be able to sell them, at least for a certain time period after the wedding, but you should be able to use the for your portfolio.

I've done a few weddings as a second shooter, and I've never even edited the photos that were actually sold to the client, the main photog did, so that the post processing remained consistent looking.

It's basically a work-for-hire situation, where your client is another photographer who needs supplemental images for the event. You personally should never have to contact the Bride/Groom, because you aren't working for them, you're working for the other photographer.

How you work the copyright for the images is up to you. I've heard of photographers who pay the second shooter a set amount for each one of their photos that gets sold, and I've heard of second shooters getting pair a flat rate (this is how I do it). There are a million ways it can be done, but I would not agree to the way you have been doing it personally, because it almost makes you a competing photographer at the event. It's almost like the B/G have hired 2 photographers who have to compete to get the winning shot. NOT a good setup from what I can see.
 
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ApSciPhoto

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Destin,

That's how I feel. Just to save myself I'm giving the bride and groom a DVD of lo-res files. For how little I was paid I can't justify anything more than that. When we first started talking I told her the way I hire my second shooters, that they get a percentage of the final package, they don't edit for the final product, but that their name will be included when necessary (for those that are trying to get out there). She told me she couldn't afford that since she's just starting out. She just wanted the piece of mind that someone else was there, she didn't want to shoot another wedding alone, whatever.

I should run away screaming for as little as it is, but I'll take any money anyone gives me right now. :\ With the two weddings I've done so far with her the brides haven't seemed too concerned, they're pretty excited that their pictures are popping up on two different Facebooks instead of one, that kind of thing. It's just going to go sour quick, I know it.
 

NikonME

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Got links to both websites? Yours and hers?
 

Robin Usagani

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Wth?

RULE #1:
2nd shooter doesnt contact the client unless the 2nd shooter is friends with them

RULE #2:
2nd shooter hands over all of the images to main photographer

Rule #3:
The beauty of being the 2nd shooter is that you can just edit the ones you want for your portfolio. Why are you wasting your time editing all the photos?
 

imagemaker46

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When ever I hired a shooter to cover for me when I couldn't do a shoot I paid them the same as what I was being paid to do the shoot, they didn't have the same experience and the quality wasn't the same but they were still paid for the work. All the images came to me. As a second shooter, the photographer should be paid to shoot, understand that the photos go to the photographer that hired them, it's neat and clean and everyone goes away happy.
 
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ApSciPhoto

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#1: I don't want to at all, but that's the position I've been put in.
#2: She didn't want them, that was the agreement when she wanted me to work with her.
#3: I'm wasting my time because it's either they don't get any of my images, and I've wasted my time being there in the first place, or they do get my images and see how bad ass they are.

Like I said I hate this situation, I didn't realize this is how it would end up. This is NOT how I hire my second shooters, this is how I was hired.
 

Big Mike

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I agree with what all the others are saying. It should be a work for hire situation and the second shooter should just turn over everything to the contracted photographer (or company).

But it sounds like you know this...are are just stuck in a bad situation. Live and learn. Let her know that you she want's you to continue doing this, the arrangement will have to change.
 
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ApSciPhoto

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I agree with what all the others are saying. It should be a work for hire situation and the second shooter should just turn over everything to the contracted photographer (or company).

But it sounds like you know this...are are just stuck in a bad situation. Live and learn. Let her know that you she want's you to continue doing this, the arrangement will have to change.

Thanks for actually answering my question. That never happens on here! I have another wedding scheduled with her in a couple weeks. I don't think I can change the financial arrangement, but I can at least change how the couple gets their photographs.
 

Kerbouchard

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I think the world is coming to an end because I actually agree with Schwettylens and Destin...

I agree with everybody else, you should be giving the first shooter a copy of the images you take, using the images you want in your portfolio(if agreed to by the first shooter), NOT contacting the client, and should be getting a flat rate at the end of the night.

It sounds like this is one of those cases where the 'first' shooter is looking for you to bail her out because she is in over her head. I agree with you, it's a nightmare situation. I say, walk, don't run. I would also fix the arrangements before I shoot that next wedding in a couple of weeks. This can't possibly end well.
 

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