A lady wants to steal my photos and make her own album!!

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by jeff_bogle, May 5, 2009.

  1. This past weekend I shot a 90th birthday party with over 100 people and worked straight for about 2 hours getting some really good candid and group photos. Anyway, I'm trying to get my business started up and running, and a lady at the party came to me with her camera in hand and she said "after the party, give me your pictures and I'll put them on my mac to make a "mac photo album" for the hosts." I'm not familiar with this, or what I should be entitled to. What do I do? SHould I tell her no, should I ask for something in return? I am honestly clueless. Needless to say, this is one of the main aspects that I need to focus on everyday. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks. jeff
  2. Why did you shoot the event in the first place? Where you doing it for free or for money? Assuming this woman never asked for the photos what were you planning to do with the pictures?
    If I do something for free then I give away all the images. If I do something for money then I spell everything out in a contract before the event so that both parties understand what they will get, for how much, and when.
  3. People stealing don't often seek permission.
    She might in fact wind up making use of the pictures that deprives you of income, so you might tell her that you'll be glad to sell her a disque from the party so she can make all the albums and prints she wants.
    Regardless of the profit you might lose, I wouldn't give her my card simply for fear of it becoming corrupted or lost.
    But, you might want to approach the hosts and tell them having an album from the party might be a good idea, and make it yourself. In that case, you could send the other person an 8 x 10 for the idea.
  4. it


    That's just ignorance, not theft.
  5. Jeff, this is something that you should have figured out prior to the event. What were the terms of the agreement? Even if there was an agreement to hand over the rights and all files, I would only do so with the person who hired you. Just say politely, that you need to go through all of the pictures first and that you'll let the host know when they're ready.
    If the rights weren't part of the agreement then just say that you can’t hand over the pictures yet and they should get in touch with the host.
    If it’s going to be a surprise, use your best judgments, say that picture rights weren’t agreed upon and work out a deal with them for either prints or the digitals. Just make sure in the future you know what the agreement is.
  6. I wouldn't provide the woman with the images. Here are some of the reasons why:
    1. She is not my client.
    2. If my contract includes giving the client a CD of images along with an unlimited and unrestricted usage license, the woman can get the CD from the client. It is the client's choice to provide it, not mine. My agreement is with the client.
    3. If my contract provides for just shooting services and albums, books, prints, etc. are extra, then I am facing a loss of income.
    4. I am based in the US, which means unless I transfer the copyright to a third party in writing or I am shooting under a Work for Hire agreement, I hold the copyright to the photos. For the woman to make an album out of the images without a license from me is an infringement of the copyright.
    Actually, now that I've written all that, I think the first point is the most important and the only truly relevant one for me. The woman who wants the images is not my client and, in this type of a situation, I will not release images to a third party without the client's written consent.
  7. You might just as well hand her a blank check because it's going to come right out of your checkbook anyway. Your best customers will come from referrals and people talk to each other. We're all proud when we get a good deal and are eager to brag to our friends. NEVER make a deal with someone with the condition that they agree keep quiet about it. It's against human nature.
    Before you know it, you'll be getting all kinds of requests to photograph events and hand over the images and you'll be backed into a corner because "you did it last time"....-Aimee
  8. 1) It isn't stealing if this woman thought you were shooting for friends for free and would probably be glad to contribute images to what is probably to be a gift. You haven't said what the circumstances were.
    2) If you were shooting for money, then obviously you decline, but nicely. I would not make any peripheral deals if the people (the birthday person and his or her family) hired you for pay. I would stick with the deal that you make with them. I would tell the lady that asked exactly that--you were hired to produce a set of images for the client and she should talk to whomever in the family arranged for the photos.
    3) In any case, no need to assume the lady wants to steal, or to get nasty.
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If she's in the same age range as the birthday person, I'd just give them the pictures and thank yourself for not getting in a fight with an octogenarian.
  10. I am going to respectfully disagree with Nadine about paid/free. Too often I come across this idea that there is a difference depending on whether or not you are being paid. The pay (or lack of) is irrelevant.
    A family member hired you to shoot this event. I don't know what, if anything, you were paid nor do I care. The woman who approached you has no right to the images. It's just (probably) a matter of her not realizing this. How you explain this to her, on the other hand, is important.
    I do, however, agree wholeheartedly that there is no need to assume that the woman wants to steal (a pretty strong word).
  11. If she's in the same age range as the birthday person, I'd just give them the pictures and thank yourself for not getting in a fight with an octogenarian.
    Of course, if this is the case, approach Apple's marketing division! For the price of an album they could advertise how easy it is to use the Mac, even if you're 90. :)
  12. Yes, it was a paying job, but unfortunately, under a very broad range of an agreement. Like I said, I'm new at this. There were no contracts written or signed, just verbal. I know the family quite well, so I was going under the assumption that there would be no hassle...and there hasn't been from the actual clients. In fact they've already paid in full.
  13. Well, for next time, here's an adage that works well for me: contracts are how friends stay friends. :)
    Also, for next time, here are three things I review in each contract to ensure they are covered:
    • What am I expected to do?
    • What am I getting to do it?
    • What does the client expect to get from it?
    There's more to it, obviously, but it's agood starting point. Additionally, if you want to make money from this, you will have to spend some, too. Particularly, hire an IP/entertainment attorney to review your generic contract.
    I wrote my own contract then hired an attorney to review it. Cost a lot less than having the attorney write it for me.
    Anyway, back to this scene. If you know the family quite well, you have another decision to make - how hard-nosed do you want to be? Personally, I would chalk it up to a learning experience and maintain the relationship with the family. There are time when being generous will be more beneficial than being right. If they tell others about the rate you gave them, you're under no obligation to provide it to others.
    I would still not give the woman the images, but I would tell her to talk to the family and, this time only, let family do with them what they will. If they choose to give the images to her, so be it.
  14. In light of your answer, my answer to the lady would be (well, it would be this no matter what)...
    "Thank you, but I have an agreement to shoot this for the family, the images are theirs, and you will have to ask them for the pictures."
  15. If you are doing this as a business then you may not really have any reason to give the lady the images.
    If you were doing it for free as a family member and if the hosts don't mind then why not let her have them. I don't know about others but if I photograph a family event for free then it is free. I usually transfer the pictures to their PC if I can before I leave. They can then do what they want with pictures I don't mind if they share them with friends and relatives, get prints made or post them on a blog if I was bothered I would not take pictures at family gatherings.
  16. a lady at the party came to me with her camera in hand and she said "after the party, give me your pictures and I'll put them on my mac to make a "mac photo album" for the hosts."
    How did you respond to this request?
  17. My response would likely be to explain that you shoot for a living and sell your images.
    This just sounds like ignorance about images due to the proliferation of digital images.
  18. I don't think she's "stealing" anything. I take care of this issue by including reprint and use rights in my packages to the person who hires me. After I give them the pictures they can do whatever they want with them. People like this, and it allows them to build albums, share their pictures, etc.
  19. Deal only with the person that hired and payed you.
  20. I'd agree with Russ ^^^^^.
    I have occasionally been asked to take pics of a family event, and have happily done this for nothing, (or the cost of materials if film was used or prints provided), or sometimes handed over the negs or digital disc, etc., where it's immediate family or close friend....but definitely only to the person who asked me in the first place.
    I'd guess in this case the lady probably didn't ask with any malicious intent, perhaps thought that you were just taking the photos casually as a guest, but you should explain that you had been asked to take the pics "officially" and professionally, so that you can only give them to the person who paid for them.
  21. it is very possible the lady that said this to you did not realize you were hired to do a job and not a guest at the party
  22. You were hired to photograph this event ? In that case, you've got an easy and obvious answer: "Sorry. I was hired by Mr./Mrs. X to photograph the party, so I have to give my photos to him (or her)."
    Terms of your contract should control sales of your photos.
    By the way, if you think of the lady's request as "stealing" you've led a sheltered existence. :)
    Jeff wrote:
    << ... I'd just give them the pictures and thank yourself for not getting in a fight with an octogenarian. ... >>
    Well, on the subject of fighting with an octogenarian, that doesn't always produce the outcome one might expect:
  23. Yeah, I agree with the others. If you were paid and this person isn't directly involved in that payment, I would just politely say that you were taking the pictures in a professional capacity and thus your policy is to only share the pictures with the client.
    I'm not saying that's fun to do, but you are completely within reason to do so. I suspect she'll be more embarassed than anything because she didn't realize.
  24. A few posters missed the fact that the lady asking for the images came out of nowhere, so to speak.. I agree with those who say, I shot this for someone else, I am a professional photographer and I make these images in order to pay the rent. Its not stealing, its begging.
  25. First off, thanks for everyone's reply's. I appreciate the info. Second off, everyone shouldn't look into the word "stealing" that I used in my headline so literally. It was merely a phrase to get you alls attention. Maybe she was being sneaky, or maybe she honestly didn't know I was hired to do the job...who knows. And lastly, to Michael S. please don't throw remarks at me saying I've led a sheltered existance because of using the term "stealing". I've in fact lived in three poverished countries, doing intense work and seeing and aiding things that people have never even thought of...all on my own...and by the way, I also didn't post that quote that you rethreaded. Sorry for the negativity folks, but I have no room for people who jump to conclusions about who I am or how I've lived. Thanks again. All your input will come in handy down the road.
  26. Sorry for the negativity folks, but I have no room for people who jump to conclusions about who I am or how I've lived.​
    Defensive much?
    A lady wants to steal my photos and make her own album!​
    Is that not you jumping to a conclusion about this woman's intentions?
  27. jeff b --
    1. I included the smiley symbol after my crack about your having led a sheltered existence, as I was just razzin' you. Perhaps you missed that ? Of course I know nothing about your background or world experience.
    2. For future reference, though, I'd suggest that using the word "stealing" as "merely a phrase to get you alls attention" when "stealing" is not what you truly meant might not be the best approach. Evidently a number of us -- and here I'd have to include you -- tend to take things literally. See my paragraph 1 above. :)
    3. The phrase I quoted about octogenarians was indeed a direct quote, but from a post on this thread by another person named Jeff. Evidently you missed that, too. My link will take you to the news story explaining my comment.
  28. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    It is silly not to default to interpreting the written word literally, in circumstances, when the written word is the only means of communication.
    Some nuances or intentions are detected with symbols, like smiley faces, and others are noticed after consistently reading a particular person's writing style and understanding their phraseology or deviations from it.
    When first reading this thread, I held off my response until there was a reply to John Henneberger's question – which in my mind was a most sensible question to reap the best honed and targeted answers / suggestions to further adress this issue, for one who was clueless.

  29. I think the lady was just keen to get on the post-party 'social' side of the event and help everyone. You could keep all people happy by telling the lady that it was paid work so you are obliged to give the photographs directly to the person who hired you but when you hand over the pictures you will mentino her offer of posting on mac album (remember to ask the lady for her name so they know who to contact!).
  30. No worries Michael S. We all know sometimes it's hard to "read" sarcasm/humor in writing.
    1. To John's question - I simply just told her we'll see, in a polite way. I didn't want to get on her bad side. A lot of these people are the "who's who" of the town, and I guess I couldn't rule out the situation.
    2. I guess why I'm questioning the whole situation is that (A) - She didn't seem to be your typical "point-and-shoot" casual photographer who was just taking a couple shots. She had a Canon 40D strapped around her neck with a nice piece of glass attached to it. (I was so busy though, I honestly maybe saw her use it once or twice. So I know she wasn't an additional photographer that was hired.) and (B) how do I convince my client not to do that idea (because I'm 99% positive the woman gave my client the same 5 minute speel about the mac photo album as she gave me) considering my client and I already discussed making an album, if they choose, from my prints.
  31. I do very little event photography, and all of it gratis, so I can't give a business perspective on your situation, but the bare bones of the conversation with this woman seems to indicate a rather pushy and insensitive personality. She semed to have a proprietorial attitude to the event, in that she expected to ask for, and get, a perfect stranger's photos, although she wasn't that well informed because she was unaware that you had been commissioned to take shots of the event.
    You did right to brush her off as politely and noncommittally as possible.
  32. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Given that information, the “other lady” seems to me to be either: an innocent and attempting to make something nice; or a busy-body / controlling type and attempting to make something nice. I think the fact she had a 40D is of no consequence - she could just be enthusiastic about her photography. I think noticing her camera and nice lens is likely your newbie nerves rather than any business threat to really worry about.
    Either way you deflected the matter politely at the scene. And that was a good first step, IMO.
    "a very broad range of an agreement, no contracts written or signed, just [spoken]"
    As you have been paid in full; I suggest you supply whatever it is you agreed to supply to the Client - be that Files or Prints, or both. Continue the selling process. You should act and assume you are creating the album which you spoke about.
    If the subject of the "other lady" making an album is brought up by your client, I would offer to do the album, but I would not argue about it. If the client is insistent for the “other lady” to make an album, just supply what you agreed to supply to your Client and leave it there.
    If you are supplying prints I think you could make your work identifiable, if feasible, - for example if you agreed to supply (20)10x8 prints for an album I suggest you sign each of them in the bottom right corner. But, on the other hand I would not make a big fuss about "the use of my files" - if it comes to that.
    The point is, the beginning arrangements bit were a bit relaxed and it is counterproductive to attempt tighten these aspects now, IMO.
    In the (unlikely?) event that the "Other Lady" contacts you directly, before you meet with your Client, just explain you have to supply the goods to you client, as you promised - the conversation need not be any more complex than that.
    Obviously, you lessen the chances of that happening, the quicker you get the goods to your client. It is Wednesday now, four days after the event . . . I suggest you get to it.
    For example, we turn a Saturday Wedding for viewing by the following Tuesday evening, and can do so by Monday 1500hrs if the Bride and Groom are leaving and want the viewing before. A Birthday Party is much easier. I think that particular protocol needs to have some thinking about and perhaps some refining, as you modify your business plan.
    But that particular matter is not as important as taking this experience and applying it as an inexpensive learning experience to realize how important it is to have: a concise offer of sale with pricing schedules and a standard engagement contract.
  33. Thank you William W. You are very kind in sharing your extensive knowledge of photography to me so that I can better my preparations for the future. If I ever post another question for help, I hope you respond! Thanks - Jeff
  34. work you do is WORK FOR HIRE, the work belongs to the person you sign a contract to do the work for.... I refer the lady to the clients, who pay for a delivery of media.
  35. Al,
    That is terribly misleading information. Work for Hire has very specific requirements including, among other requirements, that a written agreement that the work is being performed under a work for hire arrangement.
    The mere fact that someone has paid you does not mean a WFH agreement has been made.
    Here is a pretty decent primer: http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/wfh.html
    And here is the link to the circular from the US Copyright office: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf
  36. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    No problem. Adrenaline is good - it just needs to be kept in check, especially when dealing with customers. I really do not think you have all that much to worry about, frankly.
    In the "worst case" you just supply the Prints/Files and you have an happy customer.
    You could think about how you spin off that - you might already have met the 90 year olds’ Grandchildren (guess they are all 40ish) - you could offer them all a deal on a Family Portrait session . . . etc . . .
    OK some might be too far away from you, but think laterally about it. If you have an happy 90 year old that's good, 90 year olds usually command some clout within their family.
  37. Offer albums to the clients yourself as you should be and apologize to the woman that you cannot simply because they hired you as the professional. Do your job and don't apologize for doing so.

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