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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 12 May 2015 (Tuesday) 01:50
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Feedback on misrepresentation wanted

 
Alveric
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Post edited over 4 years ago by Alveric. (2 edits in all)
     
May 12, 2015 15:09 |  #16
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CAPhotog wrote in post #17553712 (external link)
All good comments and appreciated. Part of my goal is to see how photographers interpret the narrative in my own words at face value. I know language is key whether written or oral. Nearly everyone has focused on a written contract, some even implying oral contracts aren't equally binding instead of just harder to prove. I see I need to clarify the following already if I take any action:

1. Most of the discussion above was written, although I incorrectly use the term "said". There were eight exchanges by email and one phone conversation, nothing face to face. I have used a lengthy written contract myself 99% of the time, including 5 years prior as an art director when I was hiring photographers before shooting professionally on my own. Ironically, I have advised this woman to start using written contracts with clients, but nearsighted in regard to myself. In each of the three cases I helped her, I did put basic wedding/event terms in writing by email, excepting copyright which is retained by the creator if no assignment is given. Keep in mind I'm mostly watching out for her vs. the client at that point (some ego invested).

2. Terms and time of payment were specified. I was to be paid the week prior at latest, but she used the "got lost in the mail + client's fault + I'm out of town" excuse after the fact. Certainly on me for watching it unfold and not bailing per terms. But there was the Catch-22 of the client already told I'm going to take care of them and looking so forward to meet me. The client did pay and admittedly she was smart to use the leverage of introduction, knowing I won't bail on them and risk my name.

3. In all cases like this, even a written contract does not stop intentional deception or playing parties off each other. For those who say no excuses for moving forward, maybe so, but 400 guests told you were a no-show is not good either. No one knows you are contractually in your right. The client only knows they paid.

4. I'm surprised no one has suggested I use the invoice and non-payment this long as proof of deception by the photographer. Or to act legally so that her client at least knows she is blaming them. In fact her phone message from Hawaii which I saved, says she didn't tell me when I'd be paid, but in fact is written. Two weeks have also gone by since her return. The client paid in full over a month ago. She just doesn't know I know that.

If you think you've a case and your attorney agrees, you're free to go to court. When I advised you to move forward my intention was to spare you a number of things:

1) Scandal. Don't know her and don't want to judge her; that being said, however, from her actions it's pretty obvious that someone who's been dealing as she has is quite shrewd and efficient at deception. She could manouevre you into a situation you won't be able to extricate yourself out of without surrendering a certain amount of uprightness. She could also slander you all across the social-media sphere and damage your business. If you've been caving in to her poor, overwhelmed, at-a-loss photographer pleas, wouldn't you think others would too? In the end you'll be the ogre and she the damsel in distress.

2) Vindictiveness. Whilst I certainly believe that she should be taught a lesson and stopped in her unwholesome practices, you, by virtue of being the offended party, could easily cross the boundary of rightful indignation and get lost in the land of self-avenging. This is never good, and deleterious to your physical and spiritual health.

3) Further headache. She's practically enslaved you into working for her through an underlying fear of a tarnished reputation and taking advantage of your caring about the needs of the clients. This has to stop. Besides, when it comes to clients, they really don't care about their purveyors' troubles, nor do they want to be dragged into a situation where they have to take sides or be called in to testify, whether in court or in informal quarters. I've clients tell me, in a clear tone of vexation, 'you guys figure it out!' All they want is their photos.

Again, if you think there's something actionable here feel free to proceed. Regardless of that, I still am very much of the opinion that you should sever all ties with her immediately.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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Dan ­ Marchant
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May 13, 2015 00:15 |  #17

CAPhotog wrote in post #17553712 (external link)
4. I'm surprised no one has suggested I use the invoice and non-payment this long as proof of deception by the photographer. Or to act legally so that her client at least knows she is blaming them. In fact her phone message from Hawaii which I saved, says she didn't tell me when I'd be paid, but in fact was written. Two weeks have also gone by since her return. The client paid in full over a month ago. She just doesn't know I know that.

One man's deception is another man's business negotiation. She told her client one thing and she told you something else. That goes on all the time in business. The only thing she has done that is illegal/actionable is not pay the invoice.

While you aren't responsible for her failure to pay you are responsible for your own failure to make her pay.
1. You required payment in advance. When it didn't arrive you should have made it clear that you wouldn't be doing the work unless she got you the payment. It doesn't make any difference if her client paid or not. You don't have a contract with the client, you have a contract with her and she has to pay regardless.
2. She has been back two weeks. Have you sent her a "letter before action" demanding payment and making clear that you will take recovery action if she doesn't pay? If not why not?

Honestly not trying to be rude here. It just seems you are taking this personally, instead of handling it professionally. You are focusing on the fact that she misled you and took advantage of you (which are personally hurtful) when you should be focusing on the professional process of debt recovery.


Dan Marchant
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CAPhotog
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Post edited over 4 years ago by CAPhotog.
     
May 22, 2015 09:04 as a reply to  @ Dan Marchant's post |  #18

Most readers picked up by the title and content that my concern was not about collection. In simple terms it was about lying among colleagues and to clients. To narrow the focus, I did not even discuss billing. Still, it was important to know how others perceive the ethics.




  
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Trvlr323
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Post edited over 4 years ago by Trvlr323.
     
May 22, 2015 10:35 |  #19

CAPhotog wrote in post #17566663 (external link)
Most readers picked up by the title and content that my concern was not about collection. In simple terms it was about lying among colleagues and to clients. I did not even discuss billing to narrow the focus. Still, it was important to know how others perceive the ethics.

Your original post opens with a statement about a legal matter and closes with talk of monetary amounts, attorneys and fraud. I fail to see how this was an attempt to 'narrow focus', particularly toward the ethical end of the scenario. If you want an opinion on the ethics I'll say that you had the opportunity to protect your own interests in an ethical manner and you failed to do so. Why seek opinions about ethics from the masses in the business section of a photography forum? You know the facts, you know right from wrong and you are capable of determining the best course of action for you. I'm sure you know by now that no option will be ideal and hopefully you're better equipped to protect yourself in the future.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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May 22, 2015 21:40 |  #20

CAPhotog wrote in post #17566663 (external link)
Most readers picked up by the title and content that my concern was not about collection. In simple terms it was about lying among colleagues and to clients. To narrow the focus, I did not even discuss billing. Still, it was important to know how others perceive the ethics.

I completely understood what your concern was and was pointing out that it is a waste of time worrying about it and you should focus on your own business, instead of hers. Nothing she did was fraud and nothing was actionable. Talk of lawyers is just silly.

She tricked you into working for cheap, while getting paid more by her client.... that is standard business practice is a capitalist system. When she told them your work was representative of the work her company supplied she was right because you did the work didn't you.

The reality is that you feel stupid for being taken in and you are annoyed; that is completely understandable. However your reaction is all wrong. You are focusing on how she does business when you should be focusing on your business. The one and only important thing for you to do is ensure you get paid. Beyond that, if you don't like the way she does business don't do business with her.


Dan Marchant
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited over 4 years ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
May 25, 2015 06:47 |  #21

Alveric wrote in post #17553794 (external link)
If you think you've a case and your attorney agrees, you're free to go to court. When I advised you to move forward my intention was to spare you a number of things:

1) Scandal. Don't know her and don't want to judge her; that being said, however, from her actions it's pretty obvious that someone who's been dealing as she has is quite shrewd and efficient at deception. She could manouevre you into a situation you won't be able to extricate yourself out of without surrendering a certain amount of uprightness. She could also slander you all across the social-media sphere and damage your business. If you've been caving in to her poor, overwhelmed, at-a-loss photographer pleas, wouldn't you think others would too? In the end you'll be the ogre and she the damsel in distress.

2) Vindictiveness. Whilst I certainly believe that she should be taught a lesson and stopped in her unwholesome practices, you, by virtue of being the offended party, could easily cross the boundary of rightful indignation and get lost in the land of self-avenging. This is never good, and deleterious to your physical and spiritual health.

3) Further headache. She's practically enslaved you into working for her through an underlying fear of a tarnished reputation and taking advantage of your caring about the needs of the clients. This has to stop. Besides, when it comes to clients, they really don't care about their purveyors' troubles, nor do they want to be dragged into a situation where they have to take sides or be called in to testify, whether in court or in informal quarters. I've clients tell me, in a clear tone of vexation, 'you guys figure it out!' All they want is their photos.

Again, if you think there's something actionable here feel free to proceed. Regardless of that, I still am very much of the opinion that you should sever all ties with her immediately.

Well said. I agree completely. Time to move on. I do understand your frustration and desire to right this wrong, but doing so likely won't change her or help you and could hurt your business with bad publicity.

Dan's last post is good advice as well. I have a judgement against an individual for almost ten grand. Pursuing it was probably the right thing to do. We had great documentation and the case was a slam dunk for us but we still invested even more time and never got paid.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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STIC
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Jun 09, 2015 22:28 |  #22
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CAPhotog wrote in post #17552989 (external link)
1) She has contacted me many times for advice ever since, often last minute when poorly prepared for a job and no idea how to execute it.

2) Twice she called me in desperation to fill in for a second wedding shooter she claimed had flaked.

3) She knew she won't lose the client with me and at least "we'll both make a little money". We agreed on a few hundred after she wanted "to keep a little bit for herself." I told her she knows I normally charge more, so this was only so she keeps her client.

4) When I asked for set up details she said there weren't any and sent basic event samples instead, telling me just to have fun.

5) I was already frustrated with her battiness, but upon finding out the client expected architectural shots right before the event became very annoyed.

6) I found out midway the young photographer went to Hawaii for vacation during this shoot.

7) She left a message saying her client's check got lost in the mail so didn't send me the fee before she left.

8) Now I was more than suspicious and two weeks later her check still hasn't arrived. I looked back through our email exchanges to review. I see she once forwarded her client's confirmation, but mistakenly included her entire exchange with the client. Expanding and scrolling to the bottom, I see a message that I and another guy are "representative of the photographers with her company."

9) Even worse, I click a link and see an invoice for $1100 and statement from her client that the check was sent out a couple weeks prior to the event paid in full.

While kicking myself that I did not see it sooner, I am considering my next steps.


Yep, I'd be kicking myself for not seeing it sooner too...

I feel you may have to own some of the blame here for allowing things to get so out of hand.


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