Much of the work of a pho­tog­ra­ph­er is based on trust. You and your client choose a stu­dio, make a reser­va­tion, and agree on a price. Every­thing is based on hon­esty, as a rule. In such con­di­tions, there are those who will take advan­tage of this: they will not pay, vio­late the agree­ments, or sim­ply will not come to the shoot­ing, because they sud­den­ly feel like it. We took 6 sit­u­a­tions when cus­tomers deceive begin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers and fig­ured out what can be done so that in the future not to lose time, nerves and mon­ey.

Pho­to: pixabay.com

Client asks to book a studio

Often the pho­tog­ra­ph­er is asked, with­out offer­ing an advance pay­ment, to reserve the hall on their own. It is dif­fi­cult for a begin­ner, who has these first “mon­e­tary” shoot­ings, to refuse. I want to please the cus­tomer, show the ser­vice. As a result, you come to the shoot­ing, and the client sud­den­ly dis­ap­pears, or refus­es to pay for the stu­dio, arbi­trar­i­ly includ­ing the cost of the hall in your fee.

I had two such sit­u­a­tions. The first time I was seduced, because it was just the first time: there is no expe­ri­ence, and the client bom­bard­ed me with promis­es and empha­sized that he would def­i­nite­ly come and not throw. As a result, in less than a day, he refused to shoot. Then every­thing end­ed well: I man­aged to pull out a friend who paid for the hall. Yes, the shoot­ing was free, but at least I didn’t go into the red because of some­one else’s option­al­i­ty

- Author

How not to be deceived:

  • Insist that the client book the stu­dio him­self or ask for an advance pay­ment in the full cost of the hall. Refer to the fact that the hall must be paid imme­di­ate­ly online.
  • Spec­i­fy and empha­size in advance that the stu­dio reser­va­tion is not includ­ed in your fee or, on the con­trary, include this ser­vice in your price list.
An hour of such a mis­take will cost about a thou­sand for rent­ing an aver­age hall in terms of con­tent and qual­i­ty. But the amount increas­es sig­nif­i­cant­ly if you booked a pre­mi­um seg­ment stu­dio or rent­ed a hall for a few hours. Pho­to: pixabay.com

It seems eas­i­er to refuse to pay for the hall, because you are not to blame. But often the stu­dios main­tain a list of unscrupu­lous ten­ants, and you will no longer be able to book a room on your behalf. In addi­tion, there are closed VKon­tak­te groups where city stu­dios share the accounts of such clients.

The sec­ond inci­dent hap­pened a few years lat­er. The client active­ly made con­tact, dis­cussed the idea, approved the halls. There­fore, when the ques­tion arose about the stu­dio, I some­how auto­mat­i­cal­ly agreed to book it myself. It’s one thing if a per­son is sus­pi­cious, you’ve nev­er met, and we, albeit briefly, but knew each oth­er live. On the day of shoot­ing, he did not appear on social net­works and, of course, did not respond to mes­sages there. This alarmed me, but not so much as not to come to the shoot­ing: there are clients who are rarely online, but this does not pre­vent them from com­ing where and when they need to. As a result, I nev­er got through to him, paid a thou­sand for the hall and went home under the sym­pa­thet­ic glances of the stu­dio staff

- Author

The client wants the source

The cus­tomer asks to select pic­tures, refus­es to pay, cit­ing poor qual­i­ty, but expos­es the pho­tos. A sim­i­lar option is when the price of a pho­tog­ra­ph­er con­sists of a cer­tain num­ber of processed images, but the client uses the source code of the above-men­tioned with­out pay­ing for them.

How not to be deceived:

  • Pro­tect your pho­tos with volu­mi­nous water­marks.
  • Do not send RAW files, only com­pressed JPEGs. Cam­eras allow you to take pic­tures in two for­mats at once — RAW and JPEG. More­over, you can imme­di­ate­ly select the min­i­mum res­o­lu­tion of the sec­ond one so that the files take up less space and you do not have to com­press them to send them to the cus­tomer through con­vert­ers.
  • Ask for full pay­ment for work imme­di­ate­ly after shoot­ing. Do not wait for the client to offer him­self: it is you who are inter­est­ed in receiv­ing mon­ey as soon as pos­si­ble.

The client didn’t show up

The cus­tomer dis­ap­pears, does not get in touch and does not appear at the agreed place, or can­cels the shoot­ing at the last moment. You spend mon­ey on the road, plans for the day are frus­trat­ed. And mon­ey is lost: the time that a per­son took from you could be tak­en by anoth­er client.

How not to be deceived:

  • Take an advance pay­ment. If you are embar­rassed to take the full amount, ask for half or a third.
  • Not only take the full pre­pay­ment, but also warn that in case of can­cel­la­tion of the reser­va­tion, it is not refund­able. This gives the cus­tomer an addi­tion­al incen­tive to com­ply with the agree­ment.

If a per­son has a force majeure and you do not want to lose a client, offer to resched­ule the shoot­ing for anoth­er time, for exam­ple, with­in a month. Pho­to: pixabay.com

The client refuses to pay

The shoot­ing took place, and the cus­tomer says that he will pay a lit­tle lat­er or when he receives the result. As a result, the client dis­ap­pears, and you are left with unnec­es­sary sources or, in the worst case, send ready-made pho­tos, and the mon­ey nev­er arrives.

How not to be deceived:

  • Take an advance pay­ment, and the rest — imme­di­ate­ly after the shoot­ing. Dis­cuss this point in advance so that it does not come as a sur­prise to the cus­tomer.
  • If you agreed to pay lat­er, do not start retouch­ing until the mon­ey arrives, and do not fall for the per­sua­sion that you will def­i­nite­ly not be aban­doned, “just can’t wait to see the result and quick­ly.”

The client prohibits the use of pictures in the portfolio

You shoot and warn that the pic­tures will be post­ed on the site or in social net­works, or you don’t dis­cuss this moment, and as a result, the client pro­hibits the use of all frames or part of the pic­tures of the series.

This hap­pened to me twice when I shot can­did pho­to­sets for girls. Nat­u­ral­ly, I was inter­est­ed in putting pho­tos in my port­fo­lio to show how I work in this genre. In both cas­es, after the fact, after the girls received the processed pic­tures, I heard the same thing: “Please don’t expose the frames, I have a jeal­ous young man.” The first girl allowed to pub­lish only pho­tos in clothes that did not reflect the genre in any way, and also to send pic­tures, if nec­es­sary, to com­pe­ti­tions. The sec­ond — only the frames “approved” by her boyfriend, and the rest asked to be cut off so that “noth­ing was vis­i­ble any­where.” Sounds like a com­pro­mise, but the fin­ished pho­to does­n’t just look that way, it has com­po­si­tion.

- Author

How not to be deceived:

1. Check in advance if the client needs a pri­vate shoot. Many pho­tog­ra­phers make pho­to shoots “on the table” at a price increased by 50%.
2. Sign an agree­ment where all the con­di­tions are spelled out. If the cus­tomer signs a doc­u­ment where he agrees to the dis­tri­b­u­tion of his images, then after that he is unlike­ly to have any claims.

Despite the fact that you will be right under the con­tract, this can­not pre­vent a per­son from den­i­grat­ing you on social net­works, nev­er again com­ing to you and ward­ing off their friends and acquain­tances. You can com­pro­mise your prin­ci­ples to keep a client and a good impres­sion of your­self. Ask for a good review as com­pen­sa­tion. Pho­to: pixabay.com

3. If you pay a mod­el to shoot, you have the right to exhib­it pho­tos, despite her reluc­tance (Arti­cle 152.1 of the Civ­il Code of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion “Pro­tec­tion of the image of a cit­i­zen”). But, if you plan to sell pho­tos on stocks, trans­fer the rights to a pic­ture under a license, use it in adver­tis­ing, you need an agree­ment where the mod­el gives you the right to use the pic­tures.
4. The fact that you were paid for the shoot­ing does not mean that the copy­right has passed to the cus­tomer. You own the image as the author (Arti­cle 1228 of the Civ­il Code of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion “Author of the result of intel­lec­tu­al activ­i­ty”). It turns out that you can also pro­hib­it the cus­tomer from using the pho­tos you take for com­mer­cial pur­pos­es.

The client used your pictures for advertising

You did a stan­dard shoot and then saw your pho­tos on mer­chan­dise, bill­boards or oth­er adver­tis­ing.

If you did not enter into an agree­ment where you tem­porar­i­ly or per­ma­nent­ly trans­ferred the right to use the pho­tographs, the pho­to belongs to you. Pay­ment by the cus­tomer for your work and even the pur­chase of RAWs does not mean the alien­ation of rights.

How not to be deceived:

  • You can sue, ask for com­pen­sa­tion for copy­right infringe­ment, and also force the cus­tomer to remove adver­tis­ing that uses your pic­tures.
  • In order not to bring the case to court, imme­di­ate­ly con­clude an agree­ment. Alien­ation of copy­right can be expen­sive, so if the cus­tomer has indi­cat­ed this item in the doc­u­ment, then you have the right to sig­nif­i­cant­ly raise the price.

PS It is believed that the client risks more than the per­former. But any photographer’s mis­take can be trum­pet­ed through social net­works to a huge audi­ence, set a low rat­ing on a free­lance site, com­plain about an account with friends to be banned for fraud.
It is impos­si­ble to imag­ine a sit­u­a­tion where the client is banned by all the pho­tog­ra­phers of the city and he nev­er gets a pho­to again. And his promis­es are unsub­stan­ti­at­ed words spo­ken on the Inter­net or over the phone. Only you can make your work com­fort­able and safe: nego­ti­ate every­thing in advance, con­firm it through cor­re­spon­dence on social net­works (you nev­er know if the case will go to court) and con­clude agree­ments where you write down all the con­di­tions you need.

Author: Lisa Chechevit­sa