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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 23 Aug 2011 (Tuesday) 09:42
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Where did I go wrong with this shoot?

 
jamiepachomski
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Aug 23, 2011 09:42 |  #1

Hello Friends,

Thank you all in advance for any insight/advice you can provide after reading through the following disappointing experience I encountered.

Recently, I decided to get serious about my photography. So, I joined Model Mayhem. My goal: Build a portfolio of outdoor portrait photography in an effort to combine my love for nature and landscape photography with people and portraits. Compensation: Time for prints.

After successfully completing several shoots, I’ve learned a lot—both technically and about the business. Mainly, I’ve delivered positive results and have received positive feedback from most models I’ve shot to date…all but one. So, here’s the long/short:

Model contacts me. She likes what she sees in my portfolio. She offers to be my “first paying customer” and proposes a two-hour shoot, to yield 8-10 retouched images for $100. Delivery of images: one week. I agree, clarify her expectations and the shoot goes extremely well. I couldn’t be happier.

Treating this “first paying customer” with kid gloves, I deliver what I thought was well above her expectations. Of the 470 raw images I took during what turned into a 3.5-hr. shoot, within four days I provided her with 39 retouched images. As I’m still honing my craft, I was and continue to be upfront about the fact that I am not a professional—simply an aspiring one.

Thinking she’d be ecstatic not only with the results, but also the speed with which I delivered a final product, things start to slide downhill…and quickly. She responds by saying she only likes three of the 39. Perplexed and pained, I try to get clarity. Instead, she repeatedly makes demands to see all raw images, thinking we captured more than what we did (e.g., better angles, etc.). Using microscopic discretion, I attempt to reassure her that the images I selected captured her, the location and our overall experience in the best way possible.

She continues to request raw images, though never once did she tell me this was an expectation of hers. I explain my discomfort with her after-the-fact request like this:

“As a general rule, I don’t share/have never shared raw images with anyone I shoot. Much like a book with no ending, any photographer will tell you a raw image is an incomplete rendition of a final product and as such, not representative of a final “work.” In fact, and as a matter of course, once I decide which raw images I will edit/retouch, I discard the rest, as they are of no use.”

I’m afraid I won’t be able to meet her expectations and am trying not to get discouraged about continuing my pursuit to perhaps do outdoor portrait photography as a side business.

How do you recommend I proceed with future arrangements with models to ensure I don’t run into this situation again? Although I did a great deal of work, I feel not an ounce of goodness depositing her $100.

As part of my own process, do I offer the model a preview of raw images (including a watermark) beforehand? What’s your process? How do you protect your images so as to not make your raw images a free-for-all? What do you do?

Please help!

Best,

Jamie




  
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jimbob85
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Aug 23, 2011 09:46 |  #2

Some people will never be happy. You did what you could. Questions about a refund or discount will probably come soon.




  
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will227457
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Aug 23, 2011 12:55 |  #3

did you have a contract?




  
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jamiepachomski
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Aug 23, 2011 13:08 as a reply to  @ will227457's post |  #4

Thanks, all for the feedback so far!

I didn't have a contact, but did offer drawing up one as an added measure of comfort for her. Interestingly, and as luck would have it, she didn't feel it was necessary an declined my offer.




  
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darksike
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Aug 23, 2011 13:21 |  #5

I do agree that some people is never going to be happy. I think you responded to the situation well.
If you showed her the raw, it's like opening a can of worms.
next she wants "this and that.. then retouch this. oh not that, this one. Oh can you retouch like you this one? not that but this."
then she shows her friends, her friends don't like her picks then she comes back to you and the cycle begins again.


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Numenorean
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Aug 23, 2011 13:37 |  #6

Any time money changes hands = contract.

Also, I never give RAW files to anyone.


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IUnknown
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Aug 23, 2011 13:43 |  #7

I think most customers don't understand what a raw file is. I would just upload the entire set and watermark it proof. Let her pick her favorite 10. Contracts are to protect the photographer.


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givtu
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Aug 23, 2011 13:57 as a reply to  @ IUnknown's post |  #8

Always.
Have.
A contract.

Even if it's family.
Even if its free.

Not only does it C.Y.A. by outlining what you will and will not be responsible for, it is a courtesy to your customers so they know what the can and cannot expect of the service you are providing.


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GerryDavid
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Aug 23, 2011 14:09 |  #9

One thing ive learned is what you may love, another person will not. Everyone has different tastes.

Ive learned its best to have an in person picture viewing, go through all the approved images from the session and make notes of the ones they like. Then go through the list that they like a 2nd time to narrow it down even further.

I do get rid of the ones with bad exposure or an unflattering facial expression, blinking, etc, unless its to funny, then I keep it in there to keep the mood easy going during the picture viewing. :)


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jblaschke
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Aug 23, 2011 15:06 |  #10

Numenorean wrote in post #12985702 (external link)
Any time money changes hands = contract.

Also, I never give RAW files to anyone.

+1

You think you're being nice. Nice is weakness. People sniff that out and take advantage every time. The Wife and I have learned this the hard way. Always, always have a contract and/or model release. Always. Did I mention always?


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GerryDavid
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Aug 23, 2011 15:29 |  #11

Numenorean wrote in post #12985702 (external link)
Any time money changes hands = contract.

Also, I never give RAW files to anyone.

So you have a contract when you go to buy a soft drink? :D


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snyderman
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Aug 23, 2011 15:32 |  #12

What GerryDavid said. If she would have chosen the 'finalists' your situation wouldn't have 'slid downhill' as you stated. Cull the bad ones and then allow the customer the opportunity to choose how the money is spent.

Lesson learned, I'm sure.

dave


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JE824016
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Aug 23, 2011 15:39 |  #13

GerryDavid wrote in post #12986326 (external link)
So you have a contract when you go to buy a soft drink? :D

A receipt is a contract in this situation.




  
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Frugal
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Aug 23, 2011 15:54 as a reply to  @ JE824016's post |  #14

Of the 470 raw images I took during what turned into a 3.5-hr. shoot,

That's 2 per minute - a huge number of images and 3.5 hours is a long shoot unless you were setting up something elaborate. You can either shoot like a machine gun and hope that a few are good or take more time setting up and composing far fewer images. That will be less work in the future.

Plus have a contract, Don't show people raw images etc etc


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GerryDavid
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Aug 23, 2011 17:30 |  #15

when I think of a contract, I picture a huge piece of paper with small print in confusing language with words that are never used in common usage with 50 initials and a few signatures. :D My reprsentative contract isnt quite that bad, but it is a full page with 5 initials and a signature from all parties involved. :)

470 does seem like a lot, and 3.5 hours seems like a long time to shoot.

My sessions tend to be between an hour and 2 hours on location, where half of that seems to be spent walking or traveling, and I end up with between 100 and 200 pictures. I normally do 3 pictures per pose at least since some people are picky and may prefer a slightly different facial expression and once in a while get past the blinks. then perhaps do a few more from a different perspective. :)


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Where did I go wrong with this shoot?
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