Am I getting ripped off?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by elizabeth_morrissey, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. I am a professional photographer and have owned my own business for 4 years. Recently another photographer came to me and wanted to know if I would be interested in being a second shooter for a group she is forming. The group would have about 5-6 photographers and then there are 2 assinged to each wedding.
    She is a pro herself but looking to move away from the photography part and focus more on the business part. So she asked me how much I charged hourly. For my own business (which includes photo books as part of the hourly rate) I charge around $350- so I told her $200/hour. She was almost outraged at the amount of money I was asking for, claiming thats the most anyone has quoted her so far. I've never been a second shooter but I figured for my experience $200 an hour was about right.
    Anyway she continued to tell me that she has lots of people interested in this opportunity to join her group and that she starts people off between $500-$800 to be a second shooter. She even implied "more qualified people" were being considered, or something along those lines. She called me last night to ask me to do a wedding this Saturday and she would offer me $500. The hours are 12-9. To get $500 for 9 hours of shooting seems so crazy to me and I'm wondering if this is the usual for a second shooter or am I getting ripped off. My gut tells me I'm making as little money as possible for that day. Thoughts?
     
  2. You'll make less because you didn't do anything outside of shooting. (meet with client, pay for advertising, workflow, etc.) It seems very high to me to 2nd shoot, but if you back down and take that price, you're kinda putting your services on sale, and it doesn't sound like your style.
     
  3. Hi Elizabeth, I have been a similar situation myself a few times, being approached by a 'middle-man-photographer'. However one thing i asked myself is, 'do i really need the assignments or am i doing fine by myself thank you very much?'
    Personally, if you are doing ok by yourself, and you've been established for 4 years, then why do you need to be a second shooter. Plus she sounds a bit pushy!
     
  4. Four years of experience is a secondary consideration. How good you are and how busy you are - thus, the value of shooting on a day you might not have an assignment - might be more important factors.
    But, more importantly is what your obligations are for that $500. Are you required to edit anything, or do you turn over a disque with all the images? Does the lead photographer choreograph everything, or do you have to do that? And, of course, who owns the images? You might get a few pictures you'd like to post on your web site: that has a certain value because it might draw clients.
    You also have to consider how much the lead photographer is charging and what their profit winds up being. If it's a $2,000 package, which is far less than a $2,000 profit, $500 is pretty good.
    If your Saturday is free, your responsibilities on the day of the wedding are minimized, and you don't do any computer editing - and you get to at least share ownership of the images - $500 seems okay to me.
    Curt (photocurt.com)
    (765) 437-8048
     
  5. If she has more-qualified people who will work for less, why's she calling you?
     
  6. Thanks for all the response. Here is some more insight. I'm at the point right now where I'm hoping to be completley full time with my own business in the next few months- but I'm still looking to make money outside of my own business so thats why this was appealing to me. I am busy but happened to have this Saturday open. For $500 I need to take and edit the pictures, most of the direction will be done by the primary shooter and I will be more of her "backup." I'm going to ask her about the rights to the photos- probably something I should have done before I said yes!
     
  7. Good Question Mike- that's another thing that triggered the ill response I'm having to the whole situation.
     
  8. I shoot as a 2nd for about 6 other photographers.
    The most I've ever been paid was a bit over $300 for an 8 hour day. I won't be buying a condo in the Brahmas anytime soon but there's is nothing like turning over your cards at the end of the day, saying goodbye, and washing your hands clean of the entire affair.
    Time-wise and considering the pre/post work, I've actually made less doing some solo weddings I think.
    Edit: For $500 I need to take and edit the pictures
    Sounds strange as I'm assuming you mean only the photos you shot. PP will vary depending on who does it and yours mixed in with the main shooters style will be different.
     
  9. If I was going to be turning my card over- I really wouldn't have a problem- but the 9 hours I'll be shooting doesn't include the hours I'll spend editing the 1,000+ pictures I'll take that day.
     
  10. but I figured for my experience $200 an hour was about right.​
    Would you pay that much to an experienced plumber or electrician? All that is being offered here is an hourly rate for a competant craftsperson.
     
  11. Hmm-can't really compare a photographer's work to a plumber's work since they come in, do the job and they are done. The $200/hour would incorporate my time there and the additional hours spent editing the photos. It may be $200/hour that day but if you spread that across the amount of hours spent on that particular wedding it is far more than 9. Also a plumber's work is far more objective than a photographers which is very subjective.
    That also implies that all photographers- after a certain point, should make the same amount of money. I'm sure in your experience you've seen people you'd pay far more than $200 an hour for their photography work. There might be a cap at which experience tops off their cost but I'd be willing to pay for that versus someone with little to no experience.
    Another point is I wasn't sure if it was too high or too low but it was close to half of what I usually charge and since I was doing about half the work (no marketing, no interviews, etc.) that seemed right.
     
  12. in all honesty $500 for second shooting is a good rate, but I am surprised that they expect you to edit them too, if that is the case, I am assuming they like your processing. most important thing, make sure you have a contract between you and them that covers details like you mentioned, use of images, etc.
     
  13. can't really compare a photographer's work to a plumber's work since they come in, do the job and they are done

    But not really, of course. They also have to do marketing, carry expensive insurance and licensing fees, drive around in expensive vehicles carrying tons of tools and supplies, and somehow cover the time between bookings. They also have to fuss over contracts, and they also have after-the-gig work to do (replacing shop materials, doing and replacing inventory, vehicle and tool maintenance, etc.). People don't think about what they're really paying a plumber to do (be available, with the know-how, equipped for everything, and bonded, and ready to go to work in who-knows-what circumstances) ... just like they don't think about what they're really paying a wedding photographer to do. Which is to say, "just fixing the faucet" is a lot like "just shooting some pictures."
     
  14. And wouldn't you want that plumber who had the insurance, the right tools etc. versus someone who claimed to be a plumber? Wouldn't you pay them more than someone with less experience?
    I think the $500 is ok if I didn't have to edit the photos, thats the thing that doesn't sit right with me.
     
  15. You might consider separating out the editing as a separate fee. It sounds like she is comparing your $200/hour (which also includes editing at no additional cost) with other photographers who charge less but only shoot (no editing). If you give her the hourly price for shooting and the hourly price for editing, the hourly rate will come down, and will make you a lot more attractive.
     
  16. That makes sense Barry except she already expects that the $500 DOES include editing :(
     
  17. Right, so your counter offer can be $500 for the photos, turned over at the end of the day. One reason this makes sense is your job as a 2nd is to provide images of certain key events from a different perspective than the primary and to cover elements the primary can't cover (because he or she is covering a different, probably more important element). So you're done with that service at the end of the day, and what you captured, you captured.
    Post processing is an entirely different endeavor. (That's "endeavour" for those of you who need a translation from American.) What expectations are enumerated in the agreement regarding post processing? Is it just culling? Does your primary have some artistic expectations from you? If the primary wants you to refine or re-edit, what are your obligations? If your editing style means your shots differ markedly from the shots of the primary photographer, do they all just get dumped onto a disc, or do you have more work to do?
    It seems quite reasonable to balk at the notion of $500 for shooting and editing, unless the editing is strictly and explicitly limited in the (written!) agreement. If it's just culling, fine. If it's applying a few actions to certain types of photos and synch-adjusting contrast and sharpening, maybe that's okay. If it's hours and hours of editing with undefined or open-ended expectations, you've got a recipe for regret.
     
  18. My simple opinion. $500 for 9 hours is OK if I just shoot with no editing, given I don't have any of my own jobs that day. It is not OK if I have to edit. I'd either offer to do the job for that price, no editing, or quote what the editing would be, on a take it or leave it basis. Or shoot jpegs.
    Obviously she wants you, not some other photographer, which is why she asked you after telling you she has access to others that *might* be *better*. So you have that bit of leverage. You just need to decide if you want this job/this kind of arrangement badly enough to negotiate. The latter decision involves how you expect your business/reputation to unfold in the short term.
     
  19. I'll ask this now, even though it sounds like you've already agreed.
    Do you have a contract?
    If you don't, you have nothing except your word to bind you to this deal...and it sounds like you aren't happy with it.
    If/when you sign the contract, make sure it spells out the following:
    ~what is expected of you
    ~what you will be paid for said expectations
    ~image usage and rights for you and "the company"
    If anything in the contract doesn't sit well with you, I'd walk away. It sounds like you're doing fine on your own. What I would warn you about is burning bridges. If you ever expect that this person's company will encroach on your business, it's worthwhile to maintain a good working relationship with them.
    RS
     
  20. You also mentioned turning over "1,000+ pictures" you'll take that day. As a 2nd, you might seriously consider using this as an opportunity to practice getting shots right the first time, and not taking a high number of shots, especially where they depict redundant subject matter. I brought a 2nd to my last wedding, and told him I really didn't expect more than 500 shots (and frankly, because I am editing them, I didn't want more than that). What I really wanted from him was different-angle coverage of key elements and some creative shots of things I can't get to. I don't want hundreds of photos in groups of 20-near-identical shots, especially if I already have a shot or two of the same thing.
    For you, especially if you have to cull and edit your own photos, consider limiting yourself to 500 for the day, and see what that does to your mindset. Or 400 if you're feeling crazy! If your shots are good (especially if they're on average better than the primary's), the number won't matter much even if they expected a higher number.
     
  21. For me, $500 is a lot to 2nd shoot a wedding. I know in my market a primary shooter gets between $400 - $700 with an average of around $500 - $550. And this is for a decent shooter: back up equipment and lenses covering 24-200 @ f/2.8 (on FX) and at least one fast prime. We supply the memory cards. A 2nd shooter gets far less, in the range of $150 - $200. For a 10 hour day that is $15 to $20 an hour. Plus the experience. In terms of editing, I would define what needs done. If you are just checking for exposure and white-balance, I wouldn't imagine that to be a problem (provided you shoot well). Run the images through your program of choice in a couple of hours. If editing is to be something more, well that needs defined. It does bother me a bit that management wants pp done. But then again, perhaps they just want to ensure decent exposure, white-balance and delete the stuff that needs deleted.
    Bottom line though, if you don't fell comfortable doing it, don't.
     
  22. Sorry to keep posting, but man, the hair on the back of my neck is just standing up for some reason, based on the way you've described your negotiations with this individual so far. Take the advice of Richard, Nadine and others, and get all expectations set clearly in writing, including that you are the 2nd shooter, that there will be a primary, and that your role is the traditional role of a 2nd, i.e., to fill gaps and take complimentary shots.
    It would not surprise me at all if you returned to this thread the evening after that wedding, and wrote a post telling us how you found yourself in the role of sole photographer when the person who hired you called you at the last minute and said the primary was "sick" and couldn't make it. Or was in a car crash. Or a building collapse, trapped in rubble in the parking garage. Or had to wash her cat.
     
  23. Well I can tell you all that I've already learned alot just by my own actions in the last 24 hours. #1. Don't commit to something before thinking it thouroughly through. I heard $500 and said yes- before asking some really important questions.
    #2. Find out what the money I am getting paid for entails- editing or not, and if I do need to edit, how much and what type of editing
    #3. Get this all in writing!!!!
    Ian I think taking the day to work on my own stuff and getting it right the first time is a good way to look at it. John for me- my prices are based on my own company so on a usual 9 hour wedding shoot, I'm making anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars so when you get smacked with $500 for the same number of hours (but possibly a lot less photos- thanks Ian) it was a lot to swallow. She has already changed the situation a bit, at first she said I needed to be at the wedding at 1pm in a town about 20 minutes from here, now I got an email this am saying I need to be in another state (about an hour from here) at 12 noon. I already said I would need coverage for travel, other wise I can just meet them at the church. I very much believe in not burning bridges and don't want to get a bad name for my own company. It's a tough balance between getting what I need and what she is willing to offer.
     
  24. I'm making anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars​
    If that is what you are pocketing shooting for 9-hours, I don't see what the issue is, don't do it. There are very few shooters pocketing that kind of money. I think it is very clear that you don't work well with this person, I why give yourself the headache?
     
  25. You wrote:
    at first she said I needed to be at the wedding at 1pm in a town about 20 minutes from here, now I got an email this am saying I need to be in another state (about an hour from here) at 12 noon.​
    Bless your heart. The last hair on my neck just sprang up. (ta-wiiiinnnnnnggg!) You may have said you'd do it, but I think it's safe to say you do not yet have a meeting of the minds. I would bluntly put the brakes on and insist on a comprehensive, written agreement before anything else happens.
    EDIT: By "bluntly," I mean say, in writing, something like "To be clear, you do not have a commitment from me for this or any event until we have executed a written agreement, and you should not act in any way in reliance on me until that time."
     
  26. $500 for 10-12 hours work as a sub-contractor is a more than a decent day's pay. You're just handing over the images after the shoot correct? Then again if you don't need the money and find the offer insulting just say no.
     
  27. ok so I spoke with her on the phone and told her my concerns. We came to the conclusion that I can shoot the photos all day but instead of editing them, I can hand over my card at the end of the night. I already feel alot better. This sounds much more appealing than the original agreement.
     
  28. "She has already changed the situation a bit, at first she said I needed to be at the wedding at 1pm in a town about 20 minutes from here, now I got an email this am saying I need to be in another state (about an hour from here) at 12 noon."​
    Is this even the same wedding? If it is a different wedding, when did she book the out of state wedding for this Saturday? Is she conducting a a Craig's List brokage?
     
  29. It is the same wedding and where the ceremony is - is close to the state line, and the brides house is just over the stateline. She says it's only 10 miles from the ceremony.
     
  30. She was almost outraged at the amount of money I was asking for, claiming thats the most anyone has quoted her so far.​
    Negotiating technique. She was more than likely BS'ing you.
    Anyway she continued to tell me that she has lots of people interested in this opportunity to join her group and that she starts people off between $500-$800 to be a second shooter.​
    So? Who cares what she says she starts people off. You have you're cost and profit structure.
    She even implied "more qualified people" were being considered, or something along those lines.​
    Pffft. Whatever. She's just trying to knock you down - both monetarily and confidence in your own marketability.
    She called me last night to ask me to do a wedding this Saturday and she would offer me $500.​
    Gee! Where are all the others she was considering? Hmmmmm? Aren't there folks jumping at the "opportunity"? I would have countered at $2000 because it was such short notice.
    My gut tells me I'm making as little money as possible for that day.​
    You have 4 years of experience in the business. You're guts are probably telling you the truth. I say put some distance between you and this .... person.
     
  31. Dave your thoughts are mine exactly. I do feel better that the day no longer includes me going home to edit these photos. I've commited to the job and I'll do it Saturday and see how it goes. As of now I am working 10:30 am to 9 pm. Lord Help me! ha. All I can say is that this has been a big learning experience and if nothing else, I'll be $500 richer that day- which will probably pay for the headache I'll have at the end. Did I mention I'm shooting a wedding for my own company Friday night!?!
     
  32. Elizabeth --
    Here's a few more thoughts since you have posted more information and have had another phone conversation with "the company" At this point, the money is a moot point... $500 is good pay for a day's work as a second.
    Point 1: It still appears that you don't have a written in stone agreement with "the company" GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING !!!
    Point 2: When I second, I like to know who I'm working with. At a minimum, I speak with the primary over the phone a few days before the wedding just to coordinate arrival times, who is shooting what, (i.e., bride getting ready and groom getting ready), and what my role will be in their eyes.
    See if you can get the contact info for the primary to coordinate with each other. If "the company" can't give you the primary's contact info, I'd plan on shooting the wedding solo.
    Point 3: "She is a pro herself but looking to move away from the photography part and focus more on the business part." Are you sure? Have you seen anything she has shot before? I'm not talking about a portfolio... I'm talking about seeing entire wedding shoots.
    Point 4: Now that you're handing over your cards, do you have any rights to the photos or will "the company" claim them as their own... Or "her" own?
    Point 5: Where is "the company" getting their clients? Craig's List? Fleabay? Weddings.com? Is she really trying to start a photography house like Bella? Does "the company" have a website? Is that where the clients come from?
    I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just trying to figure out what "the company" is trying to accomplish. It really sounds like "the company" is not very good at doing business yet. I understand that starting up is tough, but "the company" should have a business plan, lawyers, contracts, and contracted photographers before getting clients. "The company" seems to be doing things half-@$$ed and I'm just not sure I would want my name, let alone my work, associated with such a company.
    Keep in mind, I'm not saying to burn bridges. I'm just telling you to cover your @$$.
    RS
     
  33. Richard- great points, here is what I can tell you:
    1. She is sending me a second shooter contract that she got from PPA (that I asked for)
    2. I spoke with the primary and the owner on the phone today and we set up details for Saturday including what time and where to meet (although if I was the owner, I'd want my two shooters to know more about each other than that!)
    3. She actually has been in the business for a while and changed names about 2 years ago to make this more of a "bella" company but specific to only one geographical area. Another photographer friend who has been in the business about 30 years more than me was familar with her and her work and her studio.
    4. I do have rights to the photos but I need to have some sort of watermark that says my name and something like "in association with " and then her company name.
    5. I am not sure where she is getting her clients at this point. I think a lot of it is people who already know her, so past people and referrals. But I couldn't tell you 100%
    I agree that for the starting up of a company there are some big red flags. Like I said, I've commited to it, so I'm going to go forth but I'm sure I'll have lots to say after.
     
  34. All I can say is "Good Luck" I hope everything turns out well. Please post when it's all over an let us know how everything turned out.
    RS
     
  35. Since you have decided to do this.... I would NEVER hand over my own cards. Ever. If cards aren't being supplied and I am using my own, I will turn over a disc of images. Don't turn over cards or disc until you have payment in hand (at least until you have worked out a good working relationship with a studio). As to how management is running things: who cares (provided I get paid). Show up, do your job well, collect a check, sleep well. That is part of the beauty of not having to run the show. I have shot for some studios in the past that certainly don't do things the way I would do them but the Bride & Groom I am working with appreciated me and I got paid. As to the rights to the images, I am not sure that is that big of an issue (to each their own). Again, $500 is a premium- what most first shooters get paid. And if I am normally shooting $5000+ events (to pocket $2000-$3000), then I don't know where I would want to even take the time to sort through an event where as was a 2nd shooter, let alone use any of the images for marketing.
     
  36. I thought I read you already said yes you will do it, kinda late to be worrying about something that you have already obligated yourself to do. Enjoy it and learn from it.
     
  37. Wow, you people love to make moutains out of molehills; create problems instead of solutions, your clients must really love your style.
     
  38. Since you have decided to do this.... I would NEVER hand over my own cards. Ever. If cards aren't being supplied and I am using my own, I will turn over a disc of images.
    I echo this sentiment. I turned over disks to some of my main shooters for 5 months before they finally wised up and bought my own. I guess they got tired of waiting a month for me to send them. :)
    And good luck Elizabeth. Don't burn any bridges and I hope this pans out for you. Good to hear you don't have to do any PP.
     
  39. Man..I'll take $500 for 9 hours of shooting! I'll do 10 for that! But than again I work full time out of photography and would love to make any amount of money on it!
     
  40. US&A is big country, but in my own country i would not do it. why? for example your are charging in your own bizz 2-3 $k. But when you are working in other company you are charging 6 times less. Clients might ask why there is that huge difference ?
    1 or 2 years ago i was working for another company just like you. Now I don't cooperate with them because sometimes my "boss" agreement with clients was not the same as mine with him . My concclusion that it is better to work on my own in photo bussines.
    But in 3D i like to work in team. Maybe that is because of the people which i am meeting everyday. Anyway good luck!
     
  41. Bill Dewberry - it's about covering bases, anticipating problems, and NOT HAVING LEGAL HASSLES after the fact. That's why there are contracts & lawyers in the world.
     
  42. Cash?
     
  43. Elizabeth,
    I am not an experienced wedding photographer. I an not even a professional photographer.
    I once practiced law.
    Often when I had cases, something about them I couldn't define told me that there was some reason I didn't want to proceed with them. Sometimes when courts then did not insist we push them forward I would sit on them for weeks, months, and in certain times, years.
    Almost always time bore me out. At the time of discovering a 'bad element' I often could 'fix' it, then proceed to victory or a successful resolution, often a favorable settlement when before I would have lost at trial or not been able to settle at all.
    I inevitably discovered some hidden element that would have stood my hair on end had I been able to analyze it, but sometimes things are presently incapable of being analyzed.
    It is the sum total of experience in our 'GUT' that tells us the answer and often it is in conflict with what our 'rational' experience or reasoning tells us is right and proper.
    You want to make more money, but something in your GUT is offended by the offer; you have even thrown it open as a forum question (under your name where it may be searched for generations even by the party who is proposing to hire you).
    There may be something wrong, your GUT is telling you -- perhaps the person has a manner that doesn't sit well with you or your GUT is telling you that other potential problems exist in the future that you should not only be wary of, but you will be ill prepared to deal with - perhaps a challenge to the quality of your work and a proposal to pay you even less at the end when you deliver.
    There have been recent studies about people with great experience who cannot rationally and completely analyze their decision-making process, but invariably they come to the right choice if they consider ALL things their mind and body tell them.
    There is much to be said for GUT instinct.
    I'd listen to my GUT and ask why your GUT is telling you certain things, then see if you either can silence those objections, or pass on the whole thing, since your next meal doesn't hinge on the outcome.
    I'd make appropriate excuses, even try to make friends and be a a friendly colleague, even lush fine compliments over the person's work and work setup, in an attempt to make and preserve good relationships.
    There is in the world of negotiations a style of negotiating called Soviet style negotiating. If someone says 'meet me half way', and then cuts the difference between the bid and asked by 50%, the Soviet-style negotiator may cut 1 to 3 per cent, or in a fit of seeming generosity cut 5 or 6 per cent (a fictional example, but you get the picture), instead of actgually meeting half-way. That's hard-nosed, give me all sort of negoating. You may be up against a negotiaing style that offends you, or a personality type associated with such a negotiating style.
    You have seen this person's negotiating style.
    That photographer's negotiating style instead of seeming to 'attack' your fees might have been instead to say, 'well, darn it anyway, you are really good, but the economics of my situation just do not permit me to pay you that kind of money . . . but I'd sure like to have you come on board for this weekend . . . . and it's cash money . . . .I need you to edit by deleting out-of-focus and similar shots, and use a simple program for white balance after the shooting, but other than that all post processing is mine. Got any questions? I'm really easy to deal with, and I'd love to work with you. Can you please find the time to work with me for $500. I know it's a long day's work but it's $500 you would not have in your pocket if you didn't work that day . . . . .
    See the difference?
    You were approached one way, and you have 'reacted' and now you have to analyze your reaction to see (1) if you have presented the approach completely and honestly to us (not deleted any sugar coating and diplomatic talk that photographer might have used that would have invited discussion) and (2) why you have the GUT reaction that you have.
    If in doubt after that analysis, trust your GUT, unless you are insatiably hungry for business.
    Or are heedless of consequences.
    You may write me directly; address on my bio page.
    (I practiced law very successfully for about two decades always negotiating, but ending over 20 years ago, and am not licensed now, do not intend to practice again, and am NOT your lawyer, nor will I become your lawyer, only give general, non-legal advice as a colleague -- pardon the required disclaimer.)
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  44. You make $500 after a full day work. You turn over images and you are done. You didn't have to advertise, plan, make the phone calls, deal with the bride/mother-in-law/groom/planner/etc. You show up and you make, effectively, $100k/yr if you could should at that rate daily. And you only had to show up, shoot competently and burn a disk. Tell me where that's bad.
    Fine, you have no right to the images as you did work for hire, but you have your own business where you are the primary artist, so you build your portfolio there. Unless you some how make stunning art as a second, does it really matter to have a few spare images? You have your contract to shoot and turn over images. Sounds like any job most of us do every day.
     
  45. Elizabeth, an afterthought.
    Just the wording of your post indicates substantial negative GUT reaction.
    'Am I getting ripped out?' is your language rather than the more neutral 'Is this a fair price' suggests that instead of wanting to know the fairness of the proposal, you have reached a preliminary GUT conclusion and are looking for backing.
    You probably should look to why you worded it that way -- is this your common way of speaking, and a general personality trait of yours, or specific to this particular circumstance. It suggest a most unflattering personal assessment by you of the proposal and the party making it.
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  46. I love it when people ask a question ("how much do you want?") and you answer it, and they proceed to tell you you shouldn't be getting that much.
    I'd avoid her like the plague.
     
  47. Most everything has been covered. I would make sure the contract has a clause that hold you harmless for liability. You don't need the bride's family after you because the primary or this intermediary has kludged up the editing.
    I don't think $500.00 is so bad as long as it doesn't affect your personal branding. You don't want this lady telling others that she can "buy" you for $500.00.
    If I were offered $500 to second someone, with no post required, and on a day where I could spare the time I would probably do it. But I would have a good contract.
    I wonder.....If you are getting $2-3K for weddings what does this primary shooter normally earn? I wonder is you are second shooting because the contractor hired a bargain basement primary then got scared.
     
  48. Elizabeth: a note about 'hold harmless' clauses. They sound good, and in the world of big business they are great; for small transactions among individuals and small business matters they are not very satisfactory.
    They essentially mean that if the hiring person/photographer screws he job up or it otherwise gets screwed up and the bride/groom sue, that if there are damages awarded, and they are awarded against all parties, you can seek indemnity (payment) against the hiring party, IF you can find the hiring party, if you can prove it wasn't your fault (perhaps), if that person has any money, and moreover, you might be able to intervene and participate in the original lawsuit, defending yourself, saying you don't have liability, perhaps after you or your insurance carrier has hired an attorney for $10,000 to $15,000 retainer or whatever other minimum retainer they will accept, to claim you don't have liability at all.
    Such a clause does not protect you (1) against being sued and (2) against being collected against, but gives you the right under certain circumstances to get your money back from the hiring party (the photographer/labor contractor who proposes the job) if is taken, or even in certain circumstances (depending on how the clause is written) for your attorney fees, time, expenses, etc. - there may be public policy or state limitations to those reimbursements which I will not address.
    Beware of hold harmless clauses.
    ALWAYS BUY PROFESSIONAL ERRORS AND OMISSIONS (MALPRACTICE) INSURANCE THAT COVERS SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, AND IF YOU HAVE SUCH INSURANCE DO NOT ASSUME IT COVERS THIS CIRCUMSTANCE, ESPECIALLY IF THE HIRING PARTY HAS HER OWN INSURANCE.
    ASK TO SEE HER POLICY, PROOF THAT IS IS PAID UP, AND THAT IT COVERS YOU (ATTORNEYS OFTEN GIVE NO OR LOW-COST 15 TO 30 MINUTE LAST MINUTE CONSULTATIONS THROUGH BAR ASSOCIATION LAWYER REFERRAL PANELS IN THE HOPE OF GETTING MAJOR CASES AND THE MINIMAL FEE THEY COLLECT GOES USUALLY TO COSTS OF ADMINISTERING THE LAWYER REFERRAL PANEL. THEY REALLY EARN NO FEE JUST FOR A LOOK-SEE AT YOUR CASE AND THE HOPE OF ESTABLISHING A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP.
    In such circumstances, a 'hold harmless clause' or agreement has substantial defects in protecting you from major harm; insurance that covers you is of far greater importance, but you must make sure you are covered and it is 'paid up' and 'in force'.
    This should be on every 'second shooter's' checklist I think, anyway, even if you no longer have time to carry this one out yourself for this weekend.
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  49. $500 is a very fantastic price in most parts of the country. We pay that to the main shooter and we don't use 2nd shooters anymore.
     
  50. Thanks for all the responses. I have decided to go ahead with it since I made the commitment and I'll be getting a contract as well. I completley understand John what you are saying and that statement about how I titled this forum came from my gut- not my personality or how I speak. But I do feel better now that I don't have to edit them. I probably woudn't have even posted this if she had said to begin with- $500 for the day, no editing.
     
  51. Also- this isn't my real name, I learned that quickly on here years ago.
     
  52. And John there is no sugar coating on my end, unfortunatley I probably left out more red flags in this conversatoin than anything!
     
  53. I love it when people ask a question ("how much do you want?") and you answer it, and they proceed to tell you you shouldn't be getting that much.

    I'd avoid her like the plague.​
    Well, the only way to negotiate a fee is start high and try not to have it reduced too much. You can't do it the other way round by agreeing a low price and then trying to increase it.
     
  54. Ok-new wrench thrown in. She told me she doesn't have time to come up with a contract before tomorrow and that I should put one in writing. Uggg, I don't know what to put in one and I have to work till 5pm tonight and be at another wedding for my own company at 5:45 right after work. Any suggestions?
     
  55. Just found one on ppa and now that I'm a member I can get it. So I'm going to work with that.
     
  56. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I don't know what to put in one and I have to work till 5pm tonight and be at another wedding for my own company at 5:45 right after work. Any suggestions?"

    1. If she has no legal hold on you: . . . WALK.

    ***

    2. Get a good handle on how to do business, background and negotiate, with other business people.

    To be blunt it seems that these skills are lacking in your education and experience thus far.

    I have not read all the fine detail of this long thread, BUT it appears this Wedding is imminent and is the day after a Wedding which is already contracted for your own business and you have a full time job as well as your Wedding sideline business . . . and you are still discussing terms, details and conditions of this second shooter wedding? ? ?

    If I have it correct in a nutshell:

    On 9th June you are still bashing out terms and do not know full details and information about a gig you will be shooting 12th June . . . employed by someone WHO APPROACHED YOU . . .

    Have you done a full credit and detailed and full business reference analysis of her set up ? ? ?

    Have you spoken to – interrogated - others whom she has previously employed and / or approached to work for her ? ? ?

    IMO, you have seen what appears to be an “easy” $500 and you appear to be compromising you own business and your clients, because you have succumb to that temptation.

    Selling can easily be just offering to someone a temptation unto which they will certainly succumb.

    I do not assume that I am correct in my interpretation of this situation, but it does appear to me that you: have bought on impulse a product which tempted you greatly, because it seemed an easy method of providing you with something you believed you required.

    Have a think about that – you being the customer and buying something – you are buying $500 for your time ? ? ? was that was what was SOLD to you? ? ?

    IMO, You need to get your own house in order and learn how to correctly deal with other business people and understand what business is and the elements of business which might thus far be unfamiliar to you.

    WW
     
  57. Elizabeth,
    Ok-new wrench thrown in. She told me she doesn't have time to come up with a contract before tomorrow and that I should put one in writing. Uggg, I don't know what to put in one and I have to work till 5pm tonight and be at another wedding for my own company at 5:45 right after work. Any suggestions?
    At this point I would advise RUN and don't look back! If they can't get this right, then the money you may or may not get paid is a moot point. Can you afford to do this for nothing? If not RUN
    That is all I have to say, if it walks like a Duck................
    Best of luck.
    Jim
     
  58. Any suggestions?​
    Get the money first!
     
  59. Don't turn anything over until you have the cash money in hand and preferably before you do even one shutter click. Steve is right on.
     
  60. William,
    I certaintly don't agree with your post, in fact for someone who has been in the business for 4 years versus this lady who has been in this business 20+ years, I seem to have a much better understanding of how a business needs to be run. Yes this was the very first time I was a second shooter, ever, so I had many questions and learned alot but in no way dose that represent my inability to run a business efficiently. I've built my own business from the ground up and am doing great with it (boosted business by 50% in the last year).
    For everyone else- the wedding was not a disaster. The first shooter (not the business owner) was a breeze to work with and we meshed very well together. Plus it was a great experience to see how someone else approaches wedding photography. I am meeting her tomorrow to give her the images and get my money. Thanks for all your help and I'm so glad it turned out 100 times better than what I imagined it would be like! She has a lot to take care of as far as how she runs her own business but for me- to be there for 9 hours, and then walk out with no further obligations and make $500 was a great deal after all!
     
  61. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    " . . . I [certainly] don't agree with your post, in fact for someone who has been in the business for 4 years versus this lady who has been in this business 20+ years, I seem to have a much better understanding of how a business needs to be run. Yes this was the very first time I was a second shooter, ever, so I had many questions and learned alot but in no way dose that represent my inability to run a business efficiently."

    Thank you for responding and in so doing, reporting the outcome of the situation and making more description to it.

    The fact that you disagree with my interpretation of the situation - as it was described to me here and a few days ago PRIOR to the event and the now known outcomes – goes indeed to validate your view that my understanding of the situation was wrong; and your appreciation of the situation was flawed and my commentary that your business skills might not have been adequate, was also less than accurate.
    It is always easier to undersatnd the situation when it is documented as history - also understand that your title "am I being ripped off" indicated (to me) that you had both resevations, hesitation, and some sense of red flags.

    Also understand and be clear in the fact that that the number of questions you were asking, did NOT make me assume you had any inability to run your business – what made me signal red flags to you in strong terms, was your description of the actions of the third party.

    You might have taken my commentary as judgemental or unfeeling toward you – it was not. It was plainly and simply warnings to you as I anticipated you were succumbing to some of the more artful manoeuvrers in business.
    But it appears that I was wrong. It seems from your description, that the third party is just disorganized, not scheming.

    I am glad that it worked out well for you. . . so in this sense I too indeed am part of the paragraph adressed to "for everyone else"
    :)


    WW
     
  62. Elizabeth,
    I hope you look back on this forum post more fondly than you might, when you take a breather. Though you may now associate it with a lot of 'Sky is Falling' advice, in truth for most of the posters here, the sky has fallen, at least once, and often it was presaged by 'bad vibes and unsettled affairs' shortly before weddings.
    I'm not a wedding photographer and participated solely because of my very long past but still relevant legal experience; those such as myself who have seen things go 'sour' often can fill in the blanks when a client walks in and starts to tell a story (and often do). A client would walk in, start a story, and an experienced attorney would say, 'wait, don't tell me the end, let me fill it in . . . . ' and of course, did so invariably right.
    But not everyone ends up in an attorney's office and 99+ % of all transactions get worked out without substantial disputes let alone in attorneys' offices or in litigation.
    People have a way of resolving difficulties if they're reasonable; it was your tone and general presentation of disorganization so soon prior to the wedding that set so many members off, I think and caused so many cautions - points well taken I think given the monumental importance of weddings in people's lives.
    You have received literally a lifetime of advice here, and it has been well taken, for the most part, I think. I know if I ever became a wedding photographer, I have had a good course in what to do and not to do.
    If you were to have paid for such advice, you couldn't have afforded it; one of the great benefits of PN membership. (and I am not known as a booster, particularly, but credit where credit is due.)
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  63. John and William- thank you both for your responses and you both are on point. I think this situation was either going to be me ending up in hot water with a scheming stranger offering a quick $500 or me working with a disorganzied vendor who legitimately needed me for a day of shooting at the rate of $500. Luckily for me it was the later. I agree that the advice on here is one of a kind and it's helped me greatly in the past 4 years. I started this business alone, never had a mentor of any kind or even "photographer friends," but this place has given me that in a certain way! Thank you for taking the time to care about a fellow photographer who could have been part of a bad situation. Believe me, I think I've learned more about the "biz," in the past week than I have in a long time! Thank you to everyone who submittie a post- negative or postitive, you all gave me something to think about!
     
  64. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Two points I have learned during my few years doing this Photography stuff, particularly Wedding Photography: (both are linked in regard to this thread).

    1) I refer to this first point as my favourite oxym0ron of Wedding Photography: Wedding Photography is the Business of Capturing Emotion – the trick whilst putting My Emotion into my work, I cannot get emotionally involved when making Business Decisions.

    Also I cannot afford to “be emotional” (in an emotional state of disarray) when I am on the job. My head must be clear; my mind sharp; and my thoughts focussed. Although most do not think of it, my Clients pay me their money for this skill I have - to clear my mind of issues and focus on the task, single-mindedly. In this regard, I still prep my mind before a gig, ridding it of personal issues and turmoil and to not allowing my mind to become embroiled in any turmoil unleashed at the gig, or prior to it. (I assume a cracker lawyer has the same clarity of thought when addressing the Court on behalf of their Client).
    2) In business (actually in life) - all advice received is positive advice, because it simply describes how another person sees the situation.
    Often advice is taken personally (as a personal attack): and in some cases it might be so. But that doesn’t matter either.
    In business, if one gets emotionally involved in decisions (or advice), one usually makes bad choices, because one looses the clarity of thought and the focussed view of the situation or the essence of the advice – be it meant personally, or not.
    ***
    The greatest pleasure a Coach gets is when the Swimmer does a PB (personal best). Doing a PB is more reward than any thanks the swimmer can give a Coach.
    It appears a PB was just done here - Brava.
    WW
     
  65. Lots to think about in that last post, thanks William! Glad you saw it as a PB!
     
  66. my favourite oxym0ron of Wedding Photography: Wedding Photography is the Business of Capturing Emotion – the trick whilst putting My Emotion into my work, I cannot get emotionally involved when making Business Decisions.​
    Great wisdom, William.
    Thank you, Elizabeth for sharing your experiences for the benefit of others.
     
  67. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

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