My first wedding story. How much do you think I lost?

Joined
Feb 6, 2005
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South SF Bay Area, CA.
You've only lost $200 (if you still haven't been paid for that), not $5000. You may think that the work product you did is worth $5000, but if it isn't to the client, they won't pay for it. Sure, it's nice to get something for free (what isn't?), and so they are happy to have it at that price... However, you can only gauge real interest when real money has to change hands. In your case, you could have never sold $5000 worth of prints. They could barely, if at all, put anything in the budget for photography, as the party paying for it backed out!

This same flawed reasoning causes organizations to over-inflate their losses due to piracy (music, software, etc...) when in fact they could have never sold the goods in question to the ultimate recipients of the pirated goods, as they would not have the means to pay for them and/or the same "need" to have those goods, were it for money. Yes, people may "buy" something for $10 that normally costs $1000, but would they pay $1000 for it when they are only marginally interested? No.

Chalk this up to a learning experience, both photographically and from a business standpoint, and move on. No need to lose friends over this.
 
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Joined
Jan 29, 2005
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St. George, Utah
I went over to a friends house the other day and there were 4 of my pictures hanging in their house. When I commented on them they said that these were the best pictures anyone had ever taken of them. I did not give these folks any images nor did I give them a CD. They had copied them from a wedding reception that I had shot and displayed on my website for the wedding party to select the images that they wanted me to print. I call this chutzpa. Makes me want to put watermarks on my images.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
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Texas!
Make sure you don't lose your friends - they're more valuable than a few bucks.


IMHO - I don't know if I agree with this...if these were REAL friends, this whole situation would've turned out different. Someone years ago told me..."you can't pick your family, but you can pick your friends" -would a real friend take advantage? Again, this is just my humble opinion.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
10,266
Location
Texas!
I went over to a friends house the other day and there were 4 of my pictures hanging in their house. When I commented on them they said that these were the best pictures anyone had ever taken of them. I did not give these folks any images nor did I give them a CD. They had copied them from a wedding reception that I had shot and displayed on my website for the wedding party to select the images that they wanted me to print. I call this chutzpa. Makes me want to put watermarks on my images.


All my images on my website are not only low res, but have watermarks on them.
 
Joined
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IMHO - I don't know if I agree with this...if these were REAL friends, this whole situation would've turned out different. Someone years ago told me..."you can't pick your family, but you can pick your friends" -would a real friend take advantage? Again, this is just my humble opinion.

It's true that you can pick your friends, but sometimes a frank explanation is better than a major fall out. It sounds like the B&G do not understand the business/rights aspects of photography, and that they copied the images just because they could as opposed to wanting to hurt you. I know that ignorance is not a legal defense and all that... but give them the benefit of the doubt, explain things as they are, perhaps flip over the situation (eg, what if you were a good cook, and I asked you to supply the whole meal to my party?) to make it more clear... and move on. They key is to talk about it, which does sound like it has happened, on either side!
 
Joined
May 27, 2006
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Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
All my images on my website are not only low res, but have watermarks on them.

People will even print out low-res stuff with prominent watermarks that are clearly visible; I use mediapro catalogs for sending submissions to clients and Flash for web galleries. There is no bottom to the absolute depths that people will stoop to in order to avoid paying $.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
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SoCal
Today, I received another offline IM from her, which spurred this posting.

In short, she was looking through the DVD I 'made for' her and discovered a slew of photos she did not notice before. These would be the RAW files.
She was looking to convert these files into jpegs so she could copy(grr!) them for her photo albums and scrapbooks and whatnot, and felt that she could ask me how.


sorry to hear about ur ordeal...just look at it as a positive note.

Well, ask her that it will be easy to convert the files, you have an automatic conversion program. Just have her send over the DVD so u know which ones to convert... Then when she wants it back, tell her ur still caught up with some other job and will let her know when ur done. At least if u get the DVD back, it might make u feel better :smile:
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
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Tripping the light fantastic
Ouch...

I fell your pain but without a signed contract all is open to ... Your word against theirs, you lost $200, you can`t go back and say - I need to charge you extra after setting your price.

I took a photo shoot job before Christmas and I ended up investing more than $7,500 to assure myself I had all I needed to get the job done - I saw this as an investment - I never got more than $7,500 for the jobs (Yup I ended up getting a second contract with the client...) But I saw it as increasing my ability to tackle big projects.

Convert the files but get your $200 in advance before doing so and... consider it an investment - now when they show the pictures to friends and family word will get out and next time someone asks you to cover a wedding, get a decent quote out.

We have to pay to learn and we learn best from our mistakes.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
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On the Redwood Coast
I think this is called "tuition" in the school of self-employment. Don't ask me how much I've paid in tuition....:biggrin:

I think venting is great. Otherwise that 'stuff' stays in my head and I get into what I call 'racetrack' thinking. The same grievance goes 'round and 'round and the hurt becomes more and more magnified and inflated ($200 > $5,000) until there's no way out except nuclear war on the friendship. Venting helps me hear a different perspective.

With the internet all images are considered free by most people. It isn't malicious, it's ignorance and a sense of entitlement. So we have to take care of our boundaries. I wouldn't charge friends. I probably wouldn't shoot their wedding, either.

If that's the most expensive tuition you ever have to pay, you're one of the luckiest people alive!

Keep on keepin' on!
 
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I think this is called "tuition" in the school of self-employment. Don't ask me how much I've paid in tuition....:biggrin:

...If that's the most expensive tuition you ever have to pay, you're one of the luckiest people alive!

Keep on keepin' on!


Good analogy.
 
Joined
May 12, 2006
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Edmonton, Alberta
I don't quite agree with you. For me (if I was in your shoes and I have been) if they are what I would concider good friends I would have done it for free especially concidering my (your) lack of experience. I would do the best I could and gladly give them the digital files to do with as they wish and concider it my wedding present (or part of) to them. I was gratefull that they're willing to take a risk on me shooting their wedding knowing that there was a risk of a less then good job. Knowing that many a B&G have paid dearly for a small collection of wedding pictures anything more that I can do that turns out good is all the better. I do not concider myself a pro but I concider myself now to have reasonable knowledge and experience for someone who doesnt make a living at this craft. Technically I would not be out any money and I would gain more experience what could be better it is a win win situation for both sides. To me it looks like you were a little trying to take advantage of them and they took a little advantage of you. Call it a good lesson in business and friendship. The two usually do not mix too well unless there are CLEAR and understood expectations on both sides.
 
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Joined
Jun 8, 2006
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IN
I don't quite agree with you. For me (if I was in your shoes and I have been) if they are what I would concider good friends I would have done it for free especially concidering my (your) lack of experience. I would do the best I could and gladly give them the digital files to do with as they wish and concider it my wedding present (or part of) to them. Iwas gratefull that ther were willing to take a risk on me shooting their wedding knowing that there was a risk of a less then good job. Knowing that many a B&G have paid dearly for a small collection of wedding pictures anything more that I can do that turns out good is all the better. I do not concider myself a pro but I concider myself now to have reasonable knowledge and experience for someone who doesnt make a living at this craft. Technically I would not be out any money and I would gain more experience what could be better it is a win win situation for both sides. To me it looks like you were a little trying to take advantage of them and they took a little advantage of you. Call it a good lesson in business and friendship. The two usually do not mix too well unless there are CLEAR and understood expectations on both sides.

I couldn't have said it better. :wink:

Mend your friendship before it's too late.
 
Joined
May 1, 2006
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107
Location
Streetsboro, OH
Most definitely not $5,000 in prints. From the sounds of your B&G and their parents financial situation, you are looking at maybe $100 in lost print sales.

They would have most likely ordered a lot of 4x6's from you and found a way to scan them and print them on their own.

I think it is ok for you to vent, and you have a right to be upset both with them and yourself. But considering your experience level, most people in that situation are doing weddings for free to build portfolios and considering the lost revenue very cheap tuition.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
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513
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California
I dont' know you or your friends, not sure how you value money or friendships so it's really hard to be objective and give you an opion of the situation, rather, I can give my opinion on my values. first, you don't charge friends especially good ones, but with that said, you don't stiff them either (even bad ones).

I think it was wrong for you to charge them but since they agreed to it, they are also wrong for not having paid you. not sure what's worse. I'd say let this go, in fact, approach them and let them know that they don't owe you a thing, make them greatful. Then re-evaluate the friendship to determine if they were good friends in the first place. But also re-evalutate yourself to see if you were a good friend to them.

with all that said, the next time a friend approaches you about a shoot, do it for free or don't do it at all. but i guarantee that if you do it for free, you'll feel much better about yourself. There are plenty of non friends and aquantances out there willing to write you a check if your work is good.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
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Pittsburgh, Pa.
How much do you think I lost?

A good friend in his eighties told me "If you have five good friends when you die, you've lead a great life. Most people don't have five truly good friends."

Keep yours, don't loose them.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2005
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Location
Macon, Ga.
I retired, or stopped shooting weddings, close to the birth of digital photography. Maybe I should say when really good digital slrs became afforable. All the years before that I shot with medium format cameras such as Hassleblad and Mamiya. It was easy to control things because I, of course, kept the negatives.
I've often wondered how photographers in this digital age handled things, but I suppose the most important thing they do is never, ever let the digital files out of their physical possession. Prints, yes... files no.
As far as this episode is concerned, chalk it up to a learning experience and let it go. I know that you're going to be much, much wiser the next time around.
Jarrell
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
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1,133
Location
North Carolina, USA
What have you lost? Some time. A bit of pride perhaps. But not $5,000. Others have already explained (quite well) why that is the case. Try not to let it get to you.

Usually I refuse to do weddings, but I have actually done a couple for specific reasons related to the friends involved. In neither case did I charge, because I didn't feel it was appropriate to mix a business relationship with these friends, and they were both too close for me to feel comfortable charging them.

In my estimation, most of my non-photographer friends feel that photography is nothing more than pointing a camera at something and pressing a button. The proliferation of digicams (and cameras in phones) in our society has made photo acquisition an afterthought for many people, and there's very little regard for the added value that comes from careful consideration of lighting, composition, and post-processing.

At some level, people recognize that there are those with enough talent to warrant charging "high" fees for their work, but most people seem inclined to think that they don't really need that level of expertise (whatever it is). It's interesting to me that every person that has ever approached me about shooting a wedding says the same thing: "I don't need fancy photography, just some shots to remember the event". Their perception of what they need is that they aren't asking for something fancy, why should I charge as if it was?

There's no recognition of the time required before, during, and after the event to pull it off, because it's simply a matter of aiming a camera in a general direction and pushing a button as far as they are concerned. Who wouldn't do that for a friend? And "you have a nice camera, so it's even easier for you than for someone else." That's the logic that most non-photgraphers seem to use. It's a difficult perception to overcome, and I usually choose to avoid doing photographic work for friends unless there's non-monetary value to be gained from it (experience, contacts, etc.).
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
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347
Location
Austria
I think this is called "tuition" in the school of self-employment. Don't ask me how much I've paid in tuition....:biggrin:
.....
If that's the most expensive tuition you ever have to pay, you're one of the luckiest people alive!

How true....
(same experience here)
 
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