Ruth Ellen Brown

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Hi,

I'm posting for an opinion on something that left me feeling quite disturbed the other day...

Long story short, another photographer came to my shoot uninvited and shot every setup I had created.

The shoot was for an extremely high profile client and my makeup artist cancelled at the last minute. It was all a bit of a rush and I posted on makeup forums for a makeup artist. I received a reply from a local mua, and arranged for her to come to the shoot.

When she arrived, she started actively networking with all the team members of my shoot telling everyone she was a photographer as well and was on the lookout for good team members and models. After handing out her business card to everyone, she pulled a camera out of her bag with a flash attached and started doing BTS photography. I asked her politely if she could stop for a minute as her flash was triggering my studio lights and disabling my sync.

A few moments later she came over and asked if she could take a picture of the models. I let her. But after I finished a set of images, when I was distracted talking to a team member and with my back to the shoot area, she came in again and began shooting with the model and did a series of posed pictures with the model.

Unaware of what had happened, I continued to shoot the next look. With the next look finished, I said we should break for lunch, and while I was distracted with the lunch arrangements, she went over to the models who were still in situ and proceeded to take about 50 posed shots of the models. I know this in retrospect as I was streaming the shoot on periscope.

When I noticed she had been taking images, and she replied 'don't worry - I'm not taking over, and my images won't compare in any way with yours hun'. I gave her a warning that they would be only for her own record and that they were not to be published anywhere as the shoot was going to be submitted to a magazine.

What disturbs me about this, is I've worked for almost seven years as a fully professional photographer now, I hire the studio, I spent three weeks planning the shoot, with full art direction, did all the styling myself (I'm very OCD about getting everything right), worked out all the technicalities of a high-end lighting setup, had all the models poses and shots planned out...And this other photographer came in, and took the images I was taking - which were the result of all my hard work. Thankfully, she had to leave in the afternoon as she had another appointment, but told everyone on the way out to get in touch with her via facebook for images and to arrange shoots.

I'm just wondering what other photographers think of this - has this ever happened to you? What do you think is the point where someone crosses the line? And how would you handle this? - Thanks in advance for your opinion! :)
 

Overread

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I would say that its your shoot and your event; she did, at one point, ask and you did say yes - at that point you could have said no or wait till the very end of the shoot - both would have given you cause to prevent the continued disturbance. At the lunch point you could also have requested that she stop shooting to allow the models a moment to rest/have their own lunch.

In the end they were pushy and you sort of let them be; its a hard call as you can't appear rude; but at the end of the day its your shoot and your rules. Passing out her own business card is very bad form - networking is one thing but doing so right in the middle of another persons shoot is somewhat rude.


Always two sides to a story but it sounds like the line was overstepped here - at least you know not to hire this person again or if you do to be more strict with what you do and don't allow them to do.
 
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Ruth Ellen Brown

Ruth Ellen Brown

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That's interesting that you called up the business card issue - to be fair, I've never had a problem with people exchanging business cards at my shoot. What crossed the line for me was her being hired as a mua, not mentioning she was bringing a professional camera and then trying to capitalise on my hard work - as a photographer. I'm just wary about where the images will end up now as obviously I'd set everything up and with her camera triggering all the lights, there could be images distributed under her name that look very similar to mine.
 
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Ruth Ellen Brown

Ruth Ellen Brown

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I was totally taken by suprise by it, and chose not to rock the boat as it's terrible when you do a shoot and there's a bad feeling hanging around.
 

jcdeboever

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Lessoned learned is what I read. I am not a professional photographer but basic business ethics would apply here. You have them but the other person does not. This actually was a blessing in disguise. Even the very best at their craft can improve. You now have been through an event that will make you a stronger set manager. Embrace it. You are an awesome professional who just tweaked their set managing skill set.

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Ruth Ellen Brown

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Thanks, and you're right, I was just mentioning to my partner - better to have your hand slapped in a small way than have it happen on a bigger scale. He actually mentioned a really good idea - that I should email the team ahead of time politely asking them not to bring professional cameras to the shoot for commercial exclusivity reasons.
 

jcdeboever

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Thanks, and you're right, I was just mentioning to my partner - better to have your hand slapped in a small way than have it happen on a bigger scale. He actually mentioned a really good idea - that I should email the team ahead of time politely asking them not to bring professional cameras to the shoot for commercial exclusivity reasons.
There you go. At the end of the day, some things are not always as they appear. Additionally, you probably helped many others by posting this thread.

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tirediron

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Personally, I would have bounced her @$$ down the front steps. If you hire someone as an MUA, that's what they're there to do. If it's a TPF shoot or something, that's one thing, but when it's a full-on paid job and you're hired her to paint faces, she'd best have nothing but a brush in her hand. I would have given her one warning, and the second time, fired her, even if it meant rescheduling the shoot.
 

vintagesnaps

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Where I see a problem was posting on forums to find a substitute... that left you more open to an unethical, disreputable person hanging out on message boards, seeing an opportunity to get in and take pictures for herself (and hopefully it was just for her wannabe portfolio, I'd be concerned about where they might end up and maybe you'll need to follow up on that).

Probably you would have needed to put a stop to it when she started getting out her camera. Once the makeup was done, pay her, and then a - thank you you're done we don't need anything further today etc. - or just tell her to leave, she's done (since she sounds like being subtle may not have worked with her!). That may leave you with a need for touchups later but I don't think it worked well having her stay. If it was that necessary for this shoot to have a good makeup artist there, maybe you would have been better to reschedule (although that may not be a great option to bring everybody back).

From now on, you probably need to have some backup plans. And do some networking so you have better options for a no-show. So you could contact fellow photographers or your regular makeup artists or models you work with and see if they know of anyone you could get last minute. And they could do the same, contact you in a pinch to see if you can recommend anyone. Usually pros will help each other out.
 

Dave442

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Having a good set of contacts, backup for the people just like you probably have backup equipment.
As for the incident, just part of the process and makes for a good story. I do think that having the message out there ahead of time gives a much better position for you to make a strong request to the person. Having an assistant is also a big help in these situations just so one can handle the clients while the other addresses the unforeseen issue.
 

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"Nice camera you have there, missy."

"Be a shame if any ting should happen to it."

"I'd keep it in da bag if I was you."

"My shoot. My models. My camera. My lights.
Capiche?"
 

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This thread is a first of its kind on TPF, I think. This was a most unusual situation! It's pretty shocking how badly this woman behaved. I'm sure you will never work with her again.
 

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"Dat MUA with a roving camera lens might have a hard time making her next appointment without kneecaps."
 

Overread

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This thread is a first of its kind on TPF, I think. This was a most unusual situation! It's pretty shocking how badly this woman behaved. I'm sure you will never work with her again.

Aye it is pretty extreme; but its these kind of once-in-a-blue-moon events that result in terms and conditions in contracts which stipulate things like "you cannot bring your own camera" etc... Sometimes they can sound draconian, but they can avoid problems like this arising in the first place (assuming of course that the TC is easily readable and points like this highlighted so that people do notice them).
 

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