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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #1
LadyDanger
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Default unhappy clients

Ok I need some help! Yesturday I did a shoot that was paid for a new company. The woman wanted the shoot doing at her house in a barn, bad lighting etc and a bed sheet up to the wall as a backdrop. Nightmare from the start. She'd hired some lights which didn't help much at all. So after the shoot she asked to see the pics on her laptop so I agreed which I shouldn't have. She then copied over all the pics to her laptop without asking me. Me being a pushover I didn't say anything. So, bad lighting etc meant alot of the photos were out of focus. Not all of them, to say how bad the lighting was I did quite well to get any in focus. (I am also used to shooting fashion outdoors in daylight!) There were plenty usable and she did say in the beginning she wanted a few photos to use. She was moaning that she couldn't use them and that I must go back next week and do the shoot again. She said she'd pay me next week. I am not going back there with that terrible set up and doing it again. I have already given her a 50 discount as it is (200 instead of 250). My question is how do I go about getting my money? She might not be happy with the pics but I travelled an hour to get there, was there 5 hours, wasn't offered a drink or anything and left with a banging headache from the stress!! I at least want paying for my time. Esp. since she has all the pics on her computer so nothing is stopping her just using them. Argh. I seriously am sticking to unpaid test shoots in future. I mean if she wanted amazing photos why use a blacked out barn with a bedsheet stuck to a wall?! Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #2
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Default Re: unhappy clients

Obvious answer, is you should not be doing paid shoots.

Tell her no, go perfect your craft, once you really know what you are doing this type of thing will not happen to you.
Probably not what you want to hear, but there it is.

As to getting your money, why would she pay you. She already has the pictures. From what you are saying there is no reason to believe the return visit photos would be any better, so you will end up in the same place you are today, only with even more time and energy wasted.
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #3
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Default Re: unhappy clients

From the client's perspective, she doesn't think that you fulfilled the terms of the agreement. At least she gave you a chance for a reshoot.

If it were me, I would feel obliged to fulfill my commitment. What I would get from her is a shot list that describes exactly what she is looking for. If you can't get it with the lighting and backdrop that she provided, then you need to get her to move on that.

As for downloading the images on her laptop, shoot in raw mode. She won't be able to view them. If she says she wants you to shoot jpegs, back out of the deal, telling her that the conditions were marginal and would result in unacceptable quality in jpegs.

Your post raises a lot of questions. You're the photographer. Why didn't you arrange for the lights and backdrop? What kind of lights did she provide that they were good for nothing? By the way, poor lighting does not lead automatically to out-of-focus shots. Did you mean movement blur?

You may think that she should pay for your time. However, I'll bet that she thinks that she's paying for acceptable photos, which she doesn't think she has gotten.
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #4
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Default Re: unhappy clients

I don't know why shooting in raw means she can't see the images... Apple computers view raw files just fine, and while I don't know for certain, I feel Windows probably does too.


As far as advice goes, I'd say you need to stop being a "pushover." If you want to get paid (a professional) you need to be a professional in every aspect of the word.
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #5
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Default Re: unhappy clients

Here's what I think you should do.
1) STOP letting people walk all over you. Viewing the images on her laptop (knowing the session conditions were poor) is a big no-no. Why would you 'let' let copy the images to her computer?? Like someone else said, you need to be (or at least act) like the professional. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN.

2) Come prepared... and ask questions before hand. Find out what conditions the barn is in. You might have been able to 'save' this session had you asked prior... rented faster lenses, lighting, backdrops etc. which leads to... NEVER let the client prepare the 'studio setting' for you. As you found out, you'll end up in the same situation you were faced in. Clients that have to knowledge about photography think any old lighting will be fine and any old sheet will get that 'studio backdrop' look. (SOOOO not the case).
If you want to to sessions, YOU need to supply everything. Relying on your client for backdrops and lighting is unprofessional.

3) Here's what I'd do now... Tell her you'll need to buy the things you'll need to successfully shoot in that barn. You'll need professional lighting, faster lenses, proper studio backdrops, etc. So she'll need to pay you the session fee in advance for these things.
When you're setting up, do some test shots so you know if you need to adjust your lighting, camera settings or backdrop.
Tell her after the shoot, ***before she has a chance to say "ok, let's put them on the laptop and see how you did"*** That her images will be available to view at such and such date, at such and such location. Toss in a compliment, generate some excitement towards how much better they turned out this time and you can't wait to get started on editing them!!
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #6
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Default Re: unhappy clients

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shockey View Post
Obvious answer, is you should not be doing paid shoots.

Tell her no, go perfect your craft, once you really know what you are doing this type of thing will not happen to you.
Probably not what you want to hear, but there it is.

As to getting your money, why would she pay you. She already has the pictures. From what you are saying there is no reason to believe the return visit photos would be any better, so you will end up in the same place you are today, only with even more time and energy wasted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mhappy View Post
Here's what I think you should do.
1) STOP letting people walk all over you. Viewing the images on her laptop (knowing the session conditions were poor) is a big no-no. Why would you 'let' let copy the images to her computer?? Like someone else said, you need to be (or at least act) like the professional. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN.

2) Come prepared... and ask questions before hand. Find out what conditions the barn is in. You might have been able to 'save' this session had you asked prior... rented faster lenses, lighting, backdrops etc. which leads to... NEVER let the client prepare the 'studio setting' for you. As you found out, you'll end up in the same situation you were faced in. Clients that have to knowledge about photography think any old lighting will be fine and any old sheet will get that 'studio backdrop' look. (SOOOO not the case).
If you want to to sessions, YOU need to supply everything. Relying on your client for backdrops and lighting is unprofessional.

3) Here's what I'd do now... Tell her you'll need to buy the things you'll need to successfully shoot in that barn. You'll need professional lighting, faster lenses, proper studio backdrops, etc. So she'll need to pay you the session fee in advance for these things.
When you're setting up, do some test shots so you know if you need to adjust your lighting, camera settings or backdrop.
Tell her after the shoot, ***before she has a chance to say "ok, let's put them on the laptop and see how you did"*** That her images will be available to view at such and such date, at such and such location. Toss in a compliment, generate some excitement towards how much better they turned out this time and you can't wait to get started on editing them!!
This ^^
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #7
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Default Re: unhappy clients

Why didn't you bring your own lighting? Sounds like you were underprepared and delivered sub-par images to the client. How is that the client's fault?
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #8
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Default Re: unhappy clients

Please don't take this as mean spirited - You have the opportunity for a reshoot, which is very, very fortunate. Have a frank conversation about what you'll need to do the job properly, and if she balks, walk away and chalk this up a lesson learned. Then practice your low light shooting some more. And sorry to say, while it might be polite clients aren't obligated to give you a drink while you're there working.
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #9
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Default Re: unhappy clients

THAT^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #10
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Default Re: unhappy clients

I agree 100% with bring your own lighting! and with everything the stig said
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #11
Christopher Steven b
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Default Re: unhappy clients

If you want to work as a professional you have to be much less passive about the way you work. Much of your description seems to suggest that other people or 'outside forces' are responsible for the shoot not going well rather than it being your own lack of knowledge, equipment, and presence of mind.
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #12
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Default Re: unhappy clients

Stig nailed it. It would help to know what you are working with and perhaps we can help a bit. Do you have lights? Low aperture lenses? Was she the subject? Was there any usable portion of the barn? Barns can provide some cool shots, and if you have a good light, you can do wonders. Do you have samples to share?

Do not be afraid of the shoot, but at least next time you know what you are dealing with and have this community to help. Also do not go back without an additional fee. Do not listen to those telling you not to shoot it, but do listen to the advice about what to discuss with the client. If you do not have lights, tell her and explain that the barn might not be the best place for the shoot. If she is unreasonable, refund her money and walk away, but it does not sound like you got money yet. Next time get a down payment, and full payment at the time of the shoot. Always deliver photos after, and do not let her take your photos before you process them. Setting expectations up front is the cornerstone to any successful customer relationship model.

I am not sure if you are just starting out, but share some more, let us see what we can do.
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Old 28th of October 2010 (Thu)   #13
Christopher Steven b
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Default Re: unhappy clients

I should add--I don't think that she should be able to have any of your images (regardless of their quality; and indeed, some will likely be useful to her) without paying anything. I'd recommend giving her a massive discount and calling it even--unless you really think that by returning you'll be able to satisfy her.
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Old 29th of October 2010 (Fri)   #14
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Default Re: unhappy clients

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Steven b View Post
If you want to work as a professional you have to be much less passive about the way you work. Much of your description seems to suggest that other people or 'outside forces' are responsible for the shoot not going well rather than it being your own lack of knowledge, equipment, and presence of mind.
Truth. You're supposed to be in control, & you need to be able to say why you can't shoot under those conditions & make suggestions for alternatives.

Experience helps to know what is possible under crappy conditions, but without an image to look at, I don't see how we can help you figure out if you could have saved the shoot, or should have rescheduled & rented the equipment you needed.
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Old 29th of October 2010 (Fri)   #15
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Default Re: unhappy clients

In the future if possible do a pre planning trip to your site. That way you would have known ahead of time about the setting and the lighting and could have returned the day of the shoot prepared.
You should also state to your clients what dificulties there might be and try to get them to open up to new ideas.
It is also a good idea and common to ask for deposits prior to doing the shoot, usually at the time of the booking.
Develop a contract that will spell out exactly what is expected of you and the client.
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