How to best decline a job?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by sauerwine, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. I've been asked to do a group portrait of, perhaps, one hundred
    employees. (It happens to be at the place of my primary employment.)

    Admittedly, I overpriced myself a bit. I wanted to be certain that
    the inherent hassles would be worth my time. (The stress of a
    successful shot, the criticism by my non-photographic peers, etc.
    Some of your least constructive critics can be found where you work)
    I also planned on using 645 format rather than 6meg digital; as I
    could easily imagine the client coming to me later and asking for a 16
    x 20 or similar size- and I was concerned that 6meg would be
    borderline at best for such a size. So, the use of the equipment was
    also somewhat built into the price.

    As it turns out, the facility's representative wants to go the
    "retail, forty-nine-cents-per-copy" route. If my take is nothing on
    the job, I really don?t want to do it. In fact, if my take is $1.00
    per image, for one hundred people, I don?t want it either. Call me a
    fool for refusing such an ?easy? shot, but I would do it if it had not
    been ?for? my employer.

    So I come to the point of refusing the job. (No contract, no verbal
    agreement.) I would just like the opinion of all of you, with respect
    to the response I?m PLANNING on giving. Please be honest, including
    any comments on the preceding ?notes.?

    Basically, I?ll be responding via email; as this is how most of the
    communications have been done.

    ?[I understand that you have a budget in mind, and the prices I gave
    you exceed that. I?ve planned the shot, researched lab sources and
    decided on the equipment I?d use in order to give you the best quality
    possible. If all you?re looking for is a 4x6 photograph from this
    shot, then anyone with a camera will easily suffice, and you really
    need not hire me. I was under the impression that the company may
    have wanted a larger image.]?

    Any comments are appreciated.

  2. I don't understand. If you overpriced the job for their budget, how are you in a position to decline it?
  3. Why don't you politely explain that acting as "photographer" may create conflicts for you and you don't want this shoot to interfere with your job. Suggest they hire someone from outside the company.
  4. Sounds like you have a sticky situation here. If I were you I would give your employer a contract stating that you not only get your sitting fee but you retain all rights to the photos. That said they have to buy the photos from you at your price not the quick lab price. If they are quality people they will understand that this is a business deal and will go with it. If they are just trying to take advantage of an employee with a hobby then they will balk at it and you can easily decline the job.
  5. Well...I would not say "anyone with a camera" it sounds rude. How about" a mainstream photographer" also I would say a "high resolution larger image" in the last sentence. Then give him some photographers to try and call.

    Just my 2 cents.
  6. With all these situations, the less said the better. Just tell them that you're not interested in being the photographer on this occasion, and leave it at that. If they press you, just site "conflict of interest", since you're already employed by them; if something goes wrong, you don't want to damage your existing relationship with the company. But I wouldn't word the email the way you have - it sounds like you're miffed with them, and that may not be appropriate in your situation as an employee. Just my 2c; impossible to give good advice without knowing the circumstances a lot better.
  7. How about this:

    "I understand that you have a budget in mind, and the prices I gave you exceed that. I've planned the shot, researched lab sources and decided on the equipment I'd use in order to give you the best quality possible. There are technical considerations with a group of 100 people in one picture that have to be overcome; even lighting on each face, size of negative to show enough detail in each face, and final print size so that all people are recognizable...(blah, blah, blah........add your own list of stuff they won't understand anyhow ;o). The final product is not only a picture of the firm's employees, but also a reflection of the kind of work I do. I cannot in good conscience produce an inferior product for either the company or myself. Thank you for the offer, but I find in necessary to decline it due to your budget requirements".
  8. A simple "No Thank You" has worked fine for me.
  9. If this is in anyway outside your normal type of photography, the easy respose is to claim that you are not qualified to produce an image of acceptable quality, and that the attempt to do so could harm your existing business/reputation. You can also claim to not have the required tools (insufficient camera, lighting etc.)

    But I would also suggest that you look at your employment contract. Is there language to the effect that you can't moonlight, or that moonlighting requires the express consent of the employer? It cold be a slippery slope to refuse tehn have your employer crack down on your other activities.

    As well, is your employment photography related, in which case the employer may be within their rights to insist that it is part of your employment agreement? Of course, then the photo would belong to them and they could do with it what they want. As well, unless specified in the employment contract, they would be obligated to provide you with the means to comply with this condition of employment (lend you the camera and give you film etc.).
  10. This may not be the answer you are looking for.
    I would do it and shoot it with both your 6MP digital and with the 645 format camera in order to do it right (and offer further explanation to the company). With the digital you can at least shoot off 20 or 30 shots and do some easy head replacements on a few that don't look good in your "most perfect" shot. I'd think somewhere around $750 would cover this?
    But they want you to do this for free? You are not clear. You might be getting other jobs out of this is the photo turns out even slightly decent. However, if you are overworked I understand your decision to decline whatever offer they came back to you with.
  11. Just cheerfully do the shot with your 6 meg digital. Bring it into PS and make any necessary
    corrections and hand them a CD-ROM with it cropped to 4X6, 5X7 and 8X10 ... and I'd
    make the boss a 8X10 "gift" for his office while I was at it.

    It'll do more for your standing with the company than you can imagine. Heck, I did a full
    walk around, architectural study of our Chairman's home to help him sell it through a
    broker... free.

    But to each his or her own.
  12. Ken- (and others) to clarify- Yes; they apparently want to take advantage of someone who has a 'hobby.' And no- ANY answer is a good one. I respect ALL of the opinions here, as this is the only way to fully understand any issue!

    I originally quoted 5x7's from a Pro lab with a 30% markup. That was the extent of any profit I would have gained, and with the previewing prior to order, shipping photos twice, the time involved... I would really be doing it for free.

    I especially liked the edited version of the response I posted first, as it gently gives the client an easy 'out,' I can educate and sell the higher quality at the same time.

    Keep 'em coming if you'd like to add!

    Thanks so far for the advice!
  13. I agree with keeping the reason short and non-specific. "I have a prior commitment", or whatever. You have no obligation to do it, and you don't want to do it, pure and simple. You shouldn't have to write a book explaining why.
  14. It sounds like they want you to change your price and have you do it at their budget, and you want a way to get out of it.
    For what it's worth, I did some photography for my day-job company. I was just starting out, and I gave them an estimate (that on retrospect was way too low). They accepted. They were very happy, and guess what? They asked me to do it again shortly thereafter. I did it, but of course I can't raise the price, so I did it again for the same price. Well, luckily they haven't asked again, because if they did, I'd have to probably double my price.
    To make a long story short, they'll expect the same deal forever if you do it. Just say you cannot do it at that budget due to technical considerations.
    Also, make sure you have a contract, and state that it is NOT work for hire. I have an LLC, so I made it clear they were hiring my company, not me.
  15. Simply ask "how can I be in the photo" if I am taking the group image?

    That will get you off the hook and into the group photo, if the company can manage to scrounge up a cheap-enough photographer....
  16. Cheap ass company that's not doing anything for you. If the company cannot at least pay for processing and printing costs of a professional lab, they do not deserve much forethought as to how you're going to blow them off.
  17. It's easy to shake people, screen phone calls, use the back door.
  18. I agree that less is more.
  19. How about:

    "I don't have the proper equipment..."

    " dog ate my camera..."

    "Maybe if there were better looking people in the office..."

    "I only shoot nudes."

    I must be the stupid one here...I do stuff for work for free. Seriously, I do it for the practice. I enjoy it if it gets me away from my desk during work hours!
  20. My apologies...I can't read all the good suggestions right now.

    However, if you don't want to do any photo job, there is one very simple reply: "No."

    What's the problem?

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