Some contract revision requests by the client ... not too bad?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by robgomez, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I have a potential client that just looked at my contract, and emailed me politely with some concerns.
    She was wondering if I could put these points into contract.
    Am I being taken advantage of? Or are theses pretty reasonable additions?
    - Photos will not be exclusively, but will be at least 40% bride based.
    - Photos are subject to rejection if under lit or underexposed as client and photographers have agreed on the clients' desire and photographers' ability to deliver a majority of brightly lit photos. Obtaining this through proper lighting and/or editing are both acceptable.
    - Photos are subject to rejection if they are blurry, out of focus, or not sharp. This is due to a prior verbal agreement between the client and photographers.
    My feeling is, I can change the words from subject to "rejection" ... to "revision".
    Change the 40%?
    Thanks everyone!
  2. Who wrote your contract? I had mine done by an attorney that is a CONTRACT attorney. It didn't cost very
    much. $400 maybe.

    If you had an attorney write your contract I'd ask the attorney.

    I don't think any of us are lawyers. Some of the members may have had an attorney write up their
    contracts. This can be good and bad, because of the state you live in as well as the national laws. So in my
    case I live in California and the contract is based on California law.

    Be very careful. If your client wants to change just a few words this may cause your contract to be useless
    in your state. I wouldn't change a thing without talking to your attorney. After all he/she wrote the contract
    so he/she should be available to help you.

    In my case I would say no and tell the couple that a law firm represents your well-being as a business. I wouldn't allow any changes.
  3. Rob,
    I wouldn't make any of these revisions to the contract. I don't see the point of them. This is the sort of thing I'd handle with the client.
    If the client doesn't feel confident that you can do the job, she shouldn't hire you. Every now and then it's good to let the client know this.
    I don't understand the concept of photos being "subject to rejection". I take the photos. I make a selection (eliminating a large number of photos), and the bride gets the rest, whether she likes every one of them or not. What exactly does "subject to rejection" mean?
    40% of the photos should be "bride based"? I would never agree to a percentage; I'd be afraid I had a bride with an engineering degree who would actually COUNT the friggin' photos. Now it's pretty easy for me to say that, at a typical wedding, I mainly follow the bride around. She after all is the client, she's usually the most interesting photographic subject, and, well, I hate taking table shots. But there could be a fair number of formal photos in the final selection. Since my contract has a clause saying NO GUARANTEE that any specific shot will be taken, even if requested, I'm hardly likely to agree to a percentage. Bride has to trust me.
    Photos that are blurry, out of focus, are never shown to the bride. That's pretty simple and shouldn't be in the contract. If you are taken enough blurry and out of focus photos for this to be something worth mentioning in the contract, well, perhaps you should reconsider the line of work you're in. And again if the bride isn't confident that you can take properly focused photos, jeez, she needs to hire somebody else.
    Some brides are very nervous about their weddings. It's our job to try to make them feel confident, then do the job well. One way to build that confidence is through an engagement session or a pre-wedding bridal portrait. Just between you and me, of course, an engagement or bridal portrait session is really nothing like shooting a wedding and somebody could be really good at the portraits and terrible at the wedding; but let's not say that. If the bride likes the photos you take before the wedding, she should be confident you can do well at the wedding.
    The clauses you've been asked to add boil down to "N percentage of the photos need to be decent," which is an absurd clause to add to a photography contract. ALL the photos ought to meet the standard of basic decency — that is, they should all, at a minimum, be good snapshots.
    I'd have a talk with the bride, try to reassure her.
    Be interested to see what others say.
  4. "blurry, out of focus, or not sharp" are all subjective conditions. Expressing them as empirical conditions that indicate sub-standard photography is absurd. Excellent photos with those characteristics are the icing on the cake of good wedding photography. Some photos have all of those characteristics, simultaneously.

    Of course not all photographs should be so constructed. But motion blur is not uncommon in wedding photography, nor is selective focus, both of which, by definition contain significant areas that are either blurred or out of focus, deliberately.

    You seem to have client who may be either paranoid or a control freak (otherwise known as a fairly standard wedding client), or just nervous from hearing bad wedding photography stories on "60 Minutes".

    Addressing these concerns is part of being a wedding photographer. They are usually discussed at initial meetings, where photographic style is typically a priority topic. Time for a chat... before the contract is signed.
  5. Dang, I would not agree to any of that! Completely with William here. It really sounds like you havent built up enough trust with her. And 40% bridal? Nearly half of the images need to involve the bride? And how much of the bride? Is the back of her head okay, or does she have to be the center of attention in the photo? Will you be taking no dancing photos at the reception that do not include her so that you dont go over your "limit"??!

    My contract includes a part about revisions. It spells out the basic edits that I do on any photo, and then adds a fee of $X/hr for any revisions that involve more work than the basics. You should have this in your contract too, it's just another (better) way of wording what she wrote here.

    You should also have a part in your contract that states that you have the final say in what is and is not delivered. You walk a slippery slope otherwise if she demands a certain photo that may be impossible to accomplish due to unforseen circumstances (rain, missing wedding party member, uncooperative groom, etc). Not giving blurry and out of focus images is sort of an "of course" statement--but can also be left to interpretation--how sharp, how blurry, does noise/grain count as "not sharp"?

    I think this all comes down to building trust. Of course you want to deliver nice, non-blurry photos that are nicely lit. But it's really subjective and she needs to book someone else if she doesnt think you can do that vs messing with your contract.
  6. Sounds like another bride who read one to many blog about how to get the best wedding photos or ride herd on your photographer on your wedding day.
    Run (don't walk) - Run Away.
    This isn't about her being unsure of your ability or skill - or not trusting you. It's about a bridezilla in the making - and you don't want to be around that.
    If she's like this on the contract what's she going to be like on the wedding day or on the day you show her the images?
  7. "lurry, out of focus, or not sharp" are all subjective conditions.
    Ding ding ding ding ding--we have a winner. That is also the big problem I see. Who decides whether the photos are blurry or dark? The bride? You? The bride's mother? The bride's Facebook "friends"? And if, say, 5% of the photos are deemed blurry, just what is subject to rejection, the whole package? Can the bride reject all of them, on the basis that 5% or 10% don't meet her subjective standards, and refuse to pay the rest of the contract price, or get a full refund?
    I think you maybe (or maybe not) explain this problem, and then say, 'I pride myself on getting properly-exposed, reasonably well-lit, and sufficiently sharp pictures. Sure, some will come out better than others, and sometimes I miss one. But my reputation depends on my doing a good job. You've seen my portfolio. I've given you references you can check. If you still don't feel comfortable that I can do a good job, then you ought to find a different photographer. On the other hand, if you trust my skills and the value I place on my reputation, please accept my standard deal.'
  8. Some of my favorite pictures are soft/blurry/underexposed/overexposed. Sadily, I have great difficulty re-creating them! And does the 40% mean that the bride has to appear in 40% of the pictures?
    I think this is a client I would rather not work with.
  9. Bad idea to change anything. Move on to another couple who will sign your regular agreement.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    She might be able to be talked with to address these SUBJECTIVE matters but on the whole from what you have written I agree with David Haas.

    Red Flags, Flashing Lights and Warning Sirens - I can see and hear them down here: I would gracefully withdraw whilst she is a "Potential Client".mark
    BTW: my initial spin on the phrase "subject to rejection" is that it is the precursor to later "I want a refund because": just my interpretation and I could be way off the mark, but if I were you, I wouldn't hang around to find out of I were correct or not.
    I think that some relevant points to consider are:
    Did you already have a face to face meeting with her?
    How skilled / experienced are you at reading personalities and non-verbal communications?
    If you did meet her face to face, replay that meeting over in your mind.
  11. There is an increasingly prevalent view from both the client and photographer's side that the other is to be wary of, and this client-couple might just be trying to guard against a potential disaster after reading all the horror stories online.
    It might be fruitful to have an open and candid discussion with them to go over their concerns; it can go a long way toward putting their mind at ease so the opportunity can move forward to the benefit of both parties.
  12. THIS IS A JOKE - Tell the bride this. "You shoot every image at 8000th of a second at F22." Set your
    cameras to an ISO at 12800. Every photo will be in focus, movement will be stopped dead, nothing will
    be blurred. Take about 8000 images so the bride won't remember the bad ones, however there won't be
    any bad ones! Hey, what a concept! Tell the bride that every photo will be perfect, so there is no need to
    change the contract! Heck, they have no idea what an F Stop is! Man I'm good at solving problens!

    Now there is a fun ending to this. The bride will need to look at 8000 images. She can count them! She
    will be very unhappy looking through 8000 of these perfect shots. A 10 year ordeal. After she looks at all
    of them it's a 66 percent chance that they will be divorced. Thats the national average!

    Your situation is solved.

    Feel free in emailing me. I can solve anything and everything. I can't believe I wrote this!
  13. LOL, IMO this is likely the result of a friend, family, or acquaintances bad experience with a photog.
    I'm not sure I would agree to any of the terms as written. The bottom line is that they all significantly infringe upon my photographic skills, knowledge, and abilities. However, while, as others have suggested, I think I'd refuse this contract, if you want to retain this client, I think you'll need to sit down with them to have a chat about this.
    In this chat, I'd detail exactly why each of her criteria diminishes from your overall capability, and how doing what she is asking has the potential to destroy the ambiance of her wedding. (For example, a brightly lit photo in a dim church - assuming flash is allowed - is going to distract everyone (and blame you) during every exposure. )
    (For example, a portrait, with everything in perfect focus, is not much of a portrait.)
    (For example, a 40% rate of anything means you'll have to spend time tabulating, instead of taking pictures)
    In this conversation, I'd be prepared with examples. You might start the dialogue with a simple... "I don't want to pry, but why do you think these modifications are necessary?"
    Regardless of the outcome, I do feel you should educate her of the impact such restrictions will have both on her photography, and your ability to do your job.
  14. I've run into exactly one bride this bad. My first clue should have been the first of two bad checks. She got quite demanding as the wedding got closer. The bride was in well over 80% of the photos and along with everyone involved, never once smiled. It was a nightmare. She then had the audacity to demand a full refund along with all negatives and proof prints. I'm unsure what I was supposed to refund. As someone has already said, don't walk, run from this wedding.
    Rick H.
  15. If a bride asked me to agree to terms that insulted me as a professional like this, I would charge a "discouragement" fee of triple my rate, because this is someone who is going to nit pick you and make you spend three times as much on her wedding as you normally would. I wonder if the groom will have to sign a contract saying he will spend at least 40% of his time with her.
  16. If you are going to continue in business you have to learn how to fire certain clients. This has all the earmarks of a client who resides in "Cloud Coo-Coo-Land." I'll bet she had a friend or a relative advising her who is an Ambulance Chaser or a Bean Counter. She needs to talk to you and see your work and make a judgment if you're the right photographer for her and not base her selection on a few words on paper and somebody else's fantasies about contracts. I'd tell her "no deal." And if she did go ahead anyway, get a stiff pot of money in advance.
  17. I don't understand the concept of photos being "subject to rejection".​

    All photographs are subject to rejection if they are not fit for purpose, regardless of any contract terms.
  18. I'm with those suggesting you should run not walk. Mostly it's the 40% rule that does it for me - anyone who sees photography as purely a numbers game is going to cause you problems I think.

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