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Old 08-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Are you billing out on levels that are comparable to other professionals in your area? Are you representing yourself as on par with those professionals?

If I am paying you as a professional and you are representing yourself as a professional I expect professional turn around times (and two months is ridiculous). If I paid you for something I also expect it (IE the originals) unless we explicitly agreed otherwise.

The lesson here is more about managing expecations. This should not be an issue after the fact. You and your customers should all know exactly what you doing the job entails and the costs associated with it including what they get and what you get. For instance who owns the rights to the photographs you took while they were paying you?

We discussed that the photos I give them are still able to be used by myself for promotions and advertisements/portfolio and they have a release form that I made enabling them the rights to have the photos printed and displayed. The rate I charged is significantly less than that of another photographer. I don't consider myself a professional though.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:30 AM   #12 (permalink)
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We discussed that the photos I give them are still able to be used by myself for promotions and advertisements/portfolio and they have a release form that I made enabling them the rights to have the photos printed and displayed. The rate I charged is significantly less than that of another photographer. I don't consider myself a professional though.
If you specified retaining certain rights (and limited ones) you gave them the impression that they owned the photos you took. If you owned them you would not have needed to specify that. I would give them the photos and make sure it is well known those are not retouched.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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My rules for photo shoots, due to problems I've had in the past:

1. Don't tell them how many raw photos you took, total. Then when you weed through them to kill all the duplicates and occasional blurry ones you'll get a question like "Well, there's 120 here but after the shoot you said you took 400. Where are the others?" or even "Can we have the other ones you got rid of too?"

2. Give them a turn around time that is just a bit longer than what you need. That way if there's a problem you have a little bit of flexibility, and if you get them done before your "deadline" they'll be impressed that you're early.

3. Don't ask them something like "When do you need these done by?" They don't have a clue about how long you need to edit, and you'll just end up roped into a super short deadline.

4. Never, EVER let them have the raw photos, which goes along with rule #1. You don't want them to show the raws to people, even if they think there's nothing wrong with them. You also don't want them "editing" them in Windows Photo Gallery and then telling people it was your work. The last thing you want is some horrible under-exposed, weirdly cropped, sepia nightmare with your name attached to it. It's your name on the line, especially if another professional sees them.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Here's how I deal with clients:

I don't shoot weddings often because I loathe them, but they can be a source of really good money.

I NEVER give away RAW images
If the client wants ALL of the images, they need to let me know up front. This will vary depending on the client and the work being done. In a wedding, it's not normally a big deal. For Some clients, I take a lot of very similar shots, changing focal points or depth of field. Something they won't really care about and I'm sure they don't want 30 pictures of the same thing. Those are more for me.

For turn around time, I usually quote a month or more depending on amount of pictures and work load involved. And what I'm getting paid. You pay more, I work faster. It's the way it is.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:42 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Our photographer took a while. I wanted them asap obviously but they were well worth the wait, and I knew how busy they were so why call and piss them off when they have your photos in their hands? :/

Seems like you are dealing with it in the best way you can and now you know for next time...People who dont "do" photography have no clue how long PP work can take.

Goes back to this -
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And what I'm getting paid. You pay more, I work faster. It's the way it is.
I recently shot a bike ride for a good cause, but it was unpaid and I drove 3hrs to do it. So when I told them its going to take me a bit to send you the disc, that is what i meant. Non-paid means I will get to it when I can.
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:34 AM   #16 (permalink)
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My rules from when I did this professionally:

Contracts, no exceptions. Set a reasonable time to return pictures and in what form they will be returned in. 2 weeks is typical, a month is unacceptable. You'll never get hired by anyone since your customers will always talk bad about you when their friends ask if they got the pictures back yet. Every wedding we've ever shot has been a referral from another wedding we've shot. Everybody does wedding photography these days, most people only do it once.

I like giving a CD of JPG's in the resolution of an average desktop computer, fine for posting on Facebook or setting as backgrounds but if they want prints its an additional service I offer.

Retouching should never ever be done unless you or the photog your post processing for really screwed something up. If a client ever sees a before picture you messed up it's too late. Hence why you should never give raw unedits. No matter how good you are at photoshop if they see a before and an after they will know what you screwed up and call you out for a shoddy fix.

Someones arm looks fat, too bad, strategic posing and lens distance only does so much. A blemish is showing? Shoulda hired a better makeup artist. If they want to pay to be retouched then i'd outline a price afterwords depending on how much work they wanted done to that picture and outline the limitations of Photoshop. One time I had a "professional" I was post processing for ask me if I could fix the focus on an out of focus shot, lol.

You should never tell a customer how many photos you took and you should never show them the pictures you took in camera the day of.

A trick I use if someone's persistent and wants to see a picture i'll show it to them but I won't take it off the 3 color histogram I always chimp with. Then i'll say something about how amazing the shot is like I have some super sharp photographers vision and can make out every detail in this little picture. Either Nikon or Canon, the photo will show up to be the size of a postage stamp so they'll never remember it or know if you kept it or deleted it.

Last edited by boo; 08-14-2013 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I don't shoot weddings often, I do however do quite a bit of other event photography. That being said, make sure to iron out the expectations of the client with the reality of the job before taking the job. Always make sure to make out your contract, print releases, etc.

When providing images to a client, I give them a disc or flash drive depending on the client and the event. On that media will be two versions of each photo, one exactly as I've processed it with any touch-ups (I include minor touch ups, such as hiding that blemish on the brides arm). These are labeled and intended for prints only. I also include a downsized version of the same image that is perfect for Facebook or other sharing sites.

If a client ever asks to see an image the day of I politely tell them no. I usually explain it away as it being unfinished work, and I won't even review it until a later time. The example I usually use for weddings is that you didn't watch the cake get made, again phrased politely.

As for the question of how many shots I've taken, I tell them I don't know, a lot, because that is a very subjective answer with no real definable amount. A lot could be 50 photos or 5000 depending on the person. If I'm feeling cocky, useful with the slightly inebriated guest, enough is a great answer.

As for turn around time, I usually expect to have teasers for the client within 3 days, and full images in 2-3 weeks depending upon what was paid, expectations, workload, etc. If any major PP work needs to be done or any special requests are made by the client I usually stipulate a month time table to allow for complications.

The one little thing I'll add is that you should iron out everything ahead of time, day of a wedding you should be a ghost all day, with the exception of posed and staged shots. You should be getting your images and doing it relatively unnoticed. If you can pull that off and deliver your work in a reasonable, and agreed upon, time frame, the couple will be astounded by your professionalism.
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Last edited by esseprometheus; 08-14-2013 at 08:26 PM. Reason: Added a bit.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:45 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Im going to disagree and say unrequested touchups can be dangerous, especially when your including before and after shots. Anything more then a flattering crop or some softening, blending, or a single healing tool spot and you can really offend someone. What if what you thought was a big zit was actually a beauty mark? Was there a scar on someones face that is so noticeable it requires removal in post production? Well they're definitely going to think it's noticeable now. Same goes for a birth mark. If someone notices they lost 50 lbs in a picture they're going to hate themselves and hate the fact that real life is not photoshop. People look at their imperfections every day in the mirror and hope the outside world doesn't notice them. By photoshopping it out your quite literally rubbing it in their face that they're a deformed mutant only worthy of being in your pictures after you fixed them.

Kermit, here is the secret to making money

Fat people need proper composition and greasy bad skin needs proper exposure and lighting. With experience anyone can get this right, even in action shots without having to do much in post production.

I cant emphasize enough the importance of properly shooting ugly people because it will be your biggest money maker. When I post prints on a website for all the wedding guests the model portfolio quality shots of the beautiful young people never sell. Its 100% of the time that unassuming 50 years and older couples. Even better those people have lots of money and are in professional careers that sometimes require corporate photography. Or that fat lady you took a flattering picture of using angles and lens distance might of just had a baby, chaching $$$!

Those young hot bridesmaids? They may call you to ask for some free headshots to add to your portfilio, but they'll never spend a dime. Attractive people have lots of attractive photos of them, they probably aren't going to think yours are any better.

Ugly people may have avoided photos of themselves all their lives since nobody took the time to take a good picture of them. Since you took the best photo of them ever they're going to buy it and maybe even hire you for more.

Last edited by boo; 08-14-2013 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I somehow got involved in this thread. Let me tell you a little secret about photography and me: I know absolutely nothing about it. Dude those cell phone camera shots that you all can go into detail about how bad they are - I don't see the problem.

When I hire a professional I expect to know what it is going to cost me, when it is going to be done, and what I have say in

Your contract, IMO, should have options on it. IE under touch up (and you are going to have to use your knowledge to figure this out) I should have the option of deciding if I want it touched up for just lighting, for beauty marks / blemishes, weight, etc. Don't for instance give my wife some lie about what I looked like on our wedding day so I can forever try in vain to get back to it. Ditto that on turn-around. Express turn-around should be an option - for more $$.

You all know what industry standards are. The rest of us do not. Hearing "this is industry standard" after the fact normally does not make anyone feel good.
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"Do not overcome by the evil, but overcome, in the good, the evil" - Romans 12:21 - Young's Literal Translation

"Use peaceful means where they are appropriate; but where they are not appropriate, do not hesitate to resort to more forceful - Thupten Gyatso (the Dalai Lama, 1932)

"It is not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters" Coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant.

"The ink of scholars is more precious than the blood of martyrs" - Muhammed
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