When and how do you say “Enough. Please”?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by hjd, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. hjd

    hjd

    I had a post on here a while ago with some of the situation I am about to describe posted but had it closed down as it was running off point and I had made some judgment errors in my initial post. Some of you may recall it. Anyway, I am still dealing with this same Bride and I do need advice. I will try to leave emotional aspects out of it all but after months of emails, I cannot guarantee that I won’t express my frustration.

    A bride booked with me a large package at a discounted price. Throughout the year, my costs change and in effect, gave her a larger package and a better deal. Never was she asked to pay any increase in fee as the contract will be held up even though my albums are costing more and so is the new second shooter. Wedding came and went, bride received image gallery in a timely fashion; stated she was happy BUT….

    To make many, many, many emails as short as I can, she has either insisted or demanded a) that I make changes to my packages to accommodate her wants b) reduce or waive my fees for extra’s (albums, prints, disc, my time) for each of her requests due to B&G having financial difficulties c) extend any deadlines I have given her by constantly emailing me up and until the deadline expires with questions and concerns and d) that I have agreed on something or should agree to something by making attempts to somehow decode my carefully worded emails to suit what she thinks is possible. Everything from wanting more images to retouching to amount of images in her albums to swapping out product for product. No stone was left unturned.

    From what I can gather, she is ideally after, in her own words, “the most bang for [my] buck”. She wants all the big stuff and cannot afford it. Instead, she’ll email me ‘options’ and ‘trade this for that’ scenarios. I finally put one final offer on the table as I have had enough dealings with her, know I need to finalize her product delivery, and want to officially go on my Mat Leave (due in very few weeks/days).

    The offer was in lieu of her albums (main & two parent), she could have the High-Res disk at her budgeted cost (vs the full amount), and the prints included in her package in turn fulfilling the contract. The disc was truly a main goal of hers as was her albums but she couldn’t settle on album image selections, upgrades, downgrades, etc, etc. This way she could have all images, at her cost. I was very willing at this point to take the loss I have incurred and will further incur to end all of the debate between her and I, reduce the cost of the disc and wish her a Merry Christmas.

    The latest debacle is she now thinks she is getting Copyright because I told her a Print Release form would accompany the disc. (just to note, Canadian Copyright Law is different than the US but there are similarities). After I emailed explaining what her limited license will grant her, what she can and cannot do, I discovered that she had posted on her FB an image from her wedding, by my second shooter, taken from her blog, with the watermark cropped off. This is the second time she has cropped off a watermark even though she has been given Web-sized images to be used and all the reasons why in the copyright that accompanies the Web-sized image disc. The first time was in her Wedding Slideshow. She used an image I took during their e-session. I overlooked it the first time (as I never predicted the outcome I am in now) but now I am just ticked. My thin piece of thread broke.

    Here’s my frustration. I feel completely disrespected as her photographer as she hasn’t shown an ounce of appreciation for the time I have given her, the courtesy I have shown her, or the work I have done over and above for her(constantly in my mind thinking “Okay, now she should be happy”). With her last email she worded and emphasized many things in CAPS lock in an attempt to paraphrase this new deal and her newly acquired ‘Copyright’ rights in what I felt was almost an attempt to make sure ‘I’ understood what I was agreeing too. Then I discovered the photo with a cropped watermark.

    She is a woman who is use to getting what she wants. And here I am, offering a High-Res disc at a discount she asked for when I really want to say, “No. You violated the rules. No more deal.” "If I give you a disc, I’m almost guaranteed you’ll break them again." But then I’m stuck with dealing with her album design again, and the problems I initially had with all of that and dealing with her again next year when I come off of Mat Leave.

    I just want to say “Enough.” Can I ideally remove the offer on the table as she has violated Copyright already, stick to the original albums, design them without her input, send them to her and say, WYSIWYG? Or keep the deal, mention the watermark issue, hand her the disc and be done with it? ~sigh~ Honestly, my primary goal right now is to end this the best & most professional way and go and have my baby and Christmas with my kids.

    Sorry. I knew this would get long. But when can you tell a Bride, 'Enough!"?
     
  2. "...She is a woman who is use to getting what she wants..." I'm not a wedding photographer, but I have dealt with these types, men and women, all my life. Try negotiating with Captains of Naval Vessels and their counter parts. You don't know "getting what they want" until you've dealt with them.....and there have been contracts lawyered to death, that they want to break.
    And from that, I've learned many things. They love this c@#p! They will wheel and deal, stall, drag things out, until they get what they want. They don't care how long it takes. They expect you to give up. The only way to break even with them is to do same.
    But, to your question. When can you tell a Bride, Enough! I would have done it the very first time she "demanded" I do something. The original contract would have been brought out of my briefcase like a sledgehammer and I would have said. This is what you get.....
     
  3. I think you should put your personal needs first in this situation, and find the quickest and easiest "exit strategy" (I hate that phrase...). You really do not need the stress at this point given your impending Mat Leave.
    If you're giving her a CD of high-res images it is of little consequence whether she has cropped of a watermark or not. I wouldn't worry about this. One important question is whether you have fulfilled your contractual obligations completely....? If so, I feel you are quite rightly entitled to make a final, and fair, offer and leave it at that. I would put together an email to her summarising, in a paragraph, the to'ing and fro'ing over the past however long and how you have tried to accommodate her needs within your product offerings, then put a final offer on the table, in line with the options available to her when she booked or over and beyond that - i.e. a CD of high-res images. Make it very clear that this is final and you will not entertain any further negotiation. There are people out there wiling to milk you like a cow, and you need to stand up for yourself! I do hope you have a signed contract. I really don't see why you should subsidise her requirements because of her financial difficulties. She could always place an order in 6 months or a year when she has more money.
    These things are best dealt with by nipping it in the bud at the first hint of things getting out of hand, i.e. beyond a reasonable latitude one is willing to negotiate within.
     
  4. Honestly, my primary goal right now is to end this the best & most professional way and go and have my baby and Christmas with my kids.
    If that were truly the case you would have wrapped up the deal by now and gone on with your life rather than posting another thread with more complaints about this problem bride. You're going to get exactly the same kind of advice this time as you did the first time around.
    It seems pretty clear that this is now a personal issue between you and the bride. If you want to resolve things and move on, you have to get past the personal issue and finish the deal.
     
  5. When dealing with people like that, just do your part asap and ignore them afterward. Now the problem is, through your exchange of emails, you agreed on something more. You might need to contact a solicitor and see if you must fullfill those terms. This might cost you extra, but should get you off the hook nice and clean once and for all. The truth is, people like that can never be satisfied. The more you give in, the more she will squeeze you. You did your best to please her, now is the time to stand your ground even if she might badmouth you (I got the feeling she badmouthed most people in her life anyway).
     
  6. "Here’s my frustration. I feel completely disrespected as her photographer as she Hans’t shown an ounce of appreciation for the time I have given her, the courtesy I have shown her, or the work I have done over and above for her(constantly in my mind thinking “Okay, now she should be happy”). With her last email she worded and emphasized many things in CAPS lock in an attempt to paraphrase this new deal and her newly acquired ‘Copyright’ rights in what I felt was almost an attempt to make sure ‘I’ understood what I was agreeing too. Then I discovered the photo with a cropped watermark." -Heather

    Looks like you have identified the problem and the good news is that it's really more emotional than anything else. Suggest that you not quibble about the "copyright" issue, it really all boils down to printing and her use of the images....if you simply give her the disk and indicate that this is the final delivery and completes the contract (actually receive this in writing from her prior to giving her the images) then you can put her and this situation behind you. You'll also need to put aside your "people-pleasing needs for this situation. Don't set yourself-up wanting or needing her appreciation or approval.....in the end it doesn't matter. "Don't worry, be happy"......good luck.
     
  7. As an aside I would suggest that ANYONE who wants to be a paid photographer read this thread and the recent thread by MissyKay expounding on the inherent problems dealing with the business side of things.
    I want to be paid well for my work in the future when I feel I have the appropriate skillset and plan. These threads show that even when you have it all together, things that you have little if any control over find a way of just making you crazy.
    I certainly will approach the business side of things with very concrete terms for each client so they and I know EXACTLY what will and will not occur. Perhaps there are those out there who have developed a good way of identifying the troublemakers during the intial interview and have figured out how NOT to work with those folks?
     
  8. Robert W, I am with you. I would certainly contact a lawyer for a contract if I were to start a photography business. I doubt I could be a wedding photographer, however, as I do not care for spending time modifying features of people. .oO( Oh, that would be in contract. Of course! )
     
  9. The issue is the disc. Put your "feelings" in check and cut your losses. Negotiate a final price and be done with it. The people I shoot for will inflate their packages so the disc is always included. Print sales are pretty light but that seems to be the trend these days.
    And I'd hardly call a FaceBook image with your watermark cropped off a copyright infringement. Who cares? It's a wedding photo. Besides, do you really want this bride's circle of friends coming to you anyway? With this bride serving as advisory counsel? (I would think not).
     
  10. Trying to take back anything at this point would just make things worse. Stick to your final offer and get it done. I would also not want to work on any albums with a person who will wheel and deal at every turn.
     
  11. hjd

    hjd

    I do have a signed contract and in it states the package contents of the albums and not the disk. It all started with one request that turned into one more, which became one more and so forth. Everytime she sent an email and I sent one back explaining what I could do for her, out would come another email picking at mine. She does have a way of dragging things out, even when I've been pretty firm with her.

    My last few emails gave her a final offer (the disc vs the albums), stated that if she accepts, the contract will be considered fulfilled and an amendment would be drawn up, a deadline was given for her to accept and she was given the offer to purchase the albums at a later date as she can afford. If she chooses not to take the disc at it's discounted price, the package will remain as it and she'll get her albums next year when I'm more available. I would much rather her take the deal as I just know that the album design will be more, “change this, substitute that, etc. etc.” as it was a painful task just trying to get some album image selections from her; hence the reason of discounting the disc so heavily to increase the appeal.

    The watermark issue is not the biggest deal, however, it’s just one of those ‘things’ that continues to show what type of person she is and makes me think the deal I offered is doing exactly what Thomas said “They will wheel and deal, stall, drag things out, until they get what they want. They don't care how long it takes. They expect you to give up”

    Quite honestly, I was very firm in my email to her and was very careful not to put in emotion and was point blank in the offer. It was the returned email that almost had this ‘snarky’ type attitude with the CAPS lock emphasizing certain words and phrases almost making it feel like she was owed this deal in the first place, and the discovered FB photo that made me want to say “I’ve had it.”

    As far as it being a personal issue between you and the bride ; it never was. In all my emails to her I have been very professional and courteous explaining what I was and was not willing to do. Yes, I compromised on a few things but because I had initially wanted to have a happy client but when I have tried to be very “point blank” with her, she still found a way to quibble.

    My concern is that I want to deliver her products and be done with her and not have her come back in some way, shape, or form stating that I either took too long on the albums and hence wants a refund, or that I didn’t deliver the package fully, or heck knows what else she can come up with. I want to make sure my butt is covered and be able to walk away knowing that she can’t come back at me. But I don't think I can do that, if she doesn't agree to the deal and won't sign the amendment.

    So I want to know when and how to say “Enough”, this is what you get, take it or leave it without being in jeopardy of not fulfilling my contracted obligations. Is there some sort of clause I should have or should put in in the future so that this ‘wheeling and dealing’ won’t occur and if it does, can I ever put my foot down and be able to walk away cleanly?
    And on another note, if she doesn't take the offer and wants the albums, can I just do them up without her input so I don't have to deal with more of this next year?
     
  12. So I want to know when and how to say “Enough”, this is what you get, take it or leave it without being in jeopardy of not fulfilling my contracted obligations.
    I quit counting the number of times you've used the word, "email". Why haven't you <gasp> picked up the phone and talked to her? :)
    Honestly, I never will understand these email marathons some of you people post about.
     
  13. Heather, in the big scope of things you already lined up your priorities, and I certainly think they are the right ones. You, baby, kids, Christmas. This is just "another wedding" that in 20 years you will just remember better than some of the others. Thank heavens I kept this to two. Don't think for a minute that she doesn't already sense that you're under pressure with the baby coming and will probably "crack" and give in to her self-serving ways. I say, send her on her way as fast as you can, don't read her facebook and try to limit the damage. Best wishes to you and your new baby, keep a list of your priorities on the fridge and post some shots of your new baby for us!
     
  14. hjd

    hjd

    Sorry, I should add 'phone conversations' as I have had countless ones of those too. The last call was almost an hour long as she tried very heavily to get me to commit to price quotes on albums with XX number of pages, or albums with XX upgrade/downgrade or a disc with XX number or images vs XX number. It was a ton of back and forth.
    Yes, it's dragged out. She didn't actually send me any of her image selections for her album until the actual deadline I gave her as to when I would be on Mat leave. That's when I called her (again) and told her this wasn't going to work now and we'd have to come up with something else so she'd be happy. Next came the "I'll see what option I can give you" and then I put that one on the table.
    Honestly, I did the best I could in dealing with her, always thinking that "this time, she'll be content" but she never was. Some people just know how to manipulate conversations and emails and she's good at it. I'll give her that. Believe me, where I'm sitting right now is not where I had intended to be. So that's why I'm now asking for some advice on how to bring down the axe without chopping off my own head.
     
  15. It's clear to me (and others) that you need to cut and run on this one, as it will only worsen. It seems you have done your work and diving into album design with her would be akin to diving into the shallow end, more pain! I'd say enough is enough happened weeks or month's ago.
     
  16. hjd

    hjd

    So I stick with the offer and say 'it's final' but still if she says no then I am still obligated to the album design. Or is there any way for me to say, "No. That's the deal and the end of it."?
    What's my prevention of dealing with this in the future? Is there something I should instill in my contract or emphasize? and as an added people skill, how do you know when a Bride honestly only wants just one or two requests vs the Bride that has one and then one more plus the extra's?
     
  17. So I want to know when and how to say “Enough”, this is what you get, take it or leave it without being in jeopardy of not fulfilling my contracted obligations.​
    You say that right at the start.
    Every client wants to negotiate the price and the deliverable - that's only natural. But that doesn't mean you have to agree. A negotiation is based on understanding the needs of the client and then putting together the package to ensure it covers what has been asked. If the price is unaffordable to the client then your package contains too much, and you change what you're offering to ensure you can hit a price point that makes sense to them. But you don't offer the same package for less - that makes absolutely no sense. If the price remains unaffordable to the client after you've restructured your package then you've got the wrong client, and you should refer them to a supplier more suited to their budget.
    If you do offer the same package for less then it means you don't understand how to price your work; your pricing will always be arbitrary and negotiable; you're no longer in control of your costs; and you've lost sight of the inherent value in your work. The moment these things happen you've stopped running a business.
    That said, there could be other good reasons why you might want to offer the same package for less - for instance, if the opportunity value is significant in other ways, such as opening a new market to you, or connecting you with premier venues or vendors. If that's the case then you make a judgment call, and off-set the commercial value of the opportunity against any discount you offer. But it has to be an effective trade.
    how do you know when a Bride honestly only wants just one or two requests vs the Bride that has one and then one more plus the extras?​
    By applying a cost to the change. Usually something along the lines of "album design includes revisions of X sides within the price; additional revisions will be priced at $YY per side".
     
  18. Howdy!
    Prepare an addendum that gives the bride full rights to the images, get the bride to sign it, and send her the images.
    Any loss of whatever "copyright" benefits you may have had from the images will be more than compensated by peace of mind.
    Later,
    Paulsky
     
  19. Heather, Honestly, your initial post is nine paragraphs long and your next response is eight. You're over-complicating this whole process, it's just not that complicated, set your boundaries and stick to them. Stop "fussing" over the small stuff, suggest that you give her the images on disk after she has signed off of the contract and be done with it.
     
  20. Everyone is suggesting that you end this ASAP because its a no brainer. I'll disagree only with RT about talking on the phone or negotiating a final price. No more negotiations. That will just make all this go on longer. Tell here she either accepts your last offer, as is and in writing, to modify the package by a stated deadline or it will lapse. If she accepts in writing (incl e-mail) that's what she gets. If the deadline lapses without an acceptance of the exact terms you set forth, she gets the original contract package.
    End of story. No deviations. No extensions of time. No more discussions. As David said... Be done with it.
    Don't engage in this kind stuff in the future either. Leave the personal feelings out of it and stick to your contract.
     
  21. After reading your posts, I get the feeling that you want retain control of your pictures. If you want to end this, I think it might work better if you resist the urge to press the copyright issue. I'm in Canada as well, and don't see how you'll ever enforce it. If I were you, I would give her the disc, realize that the bride will do what she wants with it, and move on.
    My 2cents
     
  22. I wonder if it wouldn't help to have someone other than the photographer manage the business end of things, kinda like a Mr. Kruger (Norm's alter ego from Cheers) who doesn't put up with all of the b.s. that customers try to use to get more from the original deal for nothing.
     
  23. hjd

    hjd

    My apologies for being long-winded. I'm a habitual writer but I digress. Therefore:
    • I wanted to know if I was on the right path with my final offer and it appears that I am.
    • I wanted to know how to say "Enough" even after giving a FINAL OFFER.
    • I wanted to ensure I was still fulfilling my OWN side of the contract by changing it now.
    • I wanted to know how to prevent this kind of post-wedding drama.
    This may be a no brainer for most but I've only done a handful of weddings and dealt with a handful of Brides. In the future, I doubt I can inflate my wedding prices based on my own experience and skill, however, I'll figure something out to put in my contract and keep trying to figure things out as I meet up with new challenges.
    Thanks for your time. Enjoy your holidays!
     
  24. Sounds like you guys are having a tough one out there.
     
  25. Heather, I'm with you on being concerned about the haggling and wanting to make certain the contact is fullfilled.
    So, if Canadian law and your previous contract allow an addendum:
    Rewrite thus "pursuant to conversations and emails dated >>...<<" This amendment to the previous contract between CLIENT and HEATHER JD PHOTOGRAPHY, shall name all deliverables as of 12/7/2009.
    This AGREEMENT to AMEND Contract shall be, upon signature, the final agreement to all deliverables between CLIENT and HEATHER JD PHOTOGRAPHY, no further modification or amendment will be permitted in any way regarding any and all images of the CLIENT's date/date/2009 wedding.
    signed...........HEATHER
    signed.............CLIENT
    Witness............
    date
    End of Final offers!
    Minus this, I have in my contracts a stipulation that states if deliverables are not decided upon within 12 months (or by agreed extension) I will submit deliverables on my own and the CLIENT has to be okay with that.
    I'm not trying to get over on anyone, take anyone's money for work not done, but I put a limit to clients being tardy on their responsibilities to their contract. Though I do allow extensions in some situations, I have a few international clients and it makes things difficult to order from abroad.
    Just do this in your off season.
    Game out every horrible challenge you can think of and how you will deal with it. If you have an idea of how to deal with a situation you will always have a plan A, plan B that's the challenge, though this is part of a successful business plan. All contingencies must be considered. and I mean ALL contingencies...
     
  26. hjd

    hjd

    Thank you Daniel. I really like such a concret answer and I will do just that. This Mat leave will be spent not only bringing a baby into my family but I will be concentrating hard on making adjustments to my packages, pricing, business structure and most importantly, my contract. Thank you for your time in answering me.
     
  27. What's my prevention of dealing with this in the future?​
    First say I am not a wedding photographer. But I have been managing large projects for more than 25 years. Usually in a professional setting.
    You are obviously dealing with someone whose basic negotiating tactic is to push as long as there is give. You need to recognize this early on. As soon as the person starts to use a counter offer as the basis of their argument and not their own need you have a person playing games. Also another indicator is irrelevant arguments (we are having financial troubles is not a reason for you to discount. It a reason to offer a smaller package) Waiting to the last minutes to respond...etc. From that point on then you need to state Simply and politely you cannot budge. (I am sorry but that is not possible) After a few rebuttles they should get the message that they have reached the limit and must conclude. If they continue your ultimate fall back position is "I am very sorry but since we cannot come to an agreement on a modified package then we will execute the contract as stated". They may get upset (it's a tactic natural or learned) but just give them the time to work out their emotion (and yours) and come back to the facts.
    Do not take this experience as an indicator of how to negotiate with most people. Most people negotiate in good faith. Just listen to the signs of a game player and then become ruthless (Use simple direct polite language).
    For this case give her the disk (after she sign off on the addendum and you have payment) then never do business with her again. If she calls, politely and simply inform her she has a high res disk and that anyone can make albums for her. You do not have time available.
    Good Luck
    Edmond
     
    • I wanted to ensure I was still fulfilling my OWN side of the contract by changing it now.
    Nope. The contract is quite clear what should be delivered and that does not change until both parties agree. Strictly you do not need to agree in writing but that is the only way to prove what was said.
    In cases like this (as I thnk you have found out), the less you say the better. It is tempting to justify yourself and in so doing you are only giving them moer opportunity to pick holes in your side of the story (especially if lawyers get involved!). To paraphrase Bill Clinton "It's the album, Stupid".
    Be careful with what you say and how you say it. You now have 2 'offers' on the table: first, the contract that includes album; and second the offer that includes disc instead of album. When she realises you have had enough and won't budge, my guess is that she will then demand the albumn (as contracted) and the disc becaouse you have offered it to her and, as far as she is concerned, that is a unilateral offer and therefore binding.
    I think the the comments by Daniel and Edmond are excellent advice. Occasions like this are lessons that can very quickly show you the warning signs.
    The best way to prevent it in future is make sure your contract is comprehensive and secondly deliver nothing until it is mentioned in writing. As long as you are highly professional and objective in the way you approach this then no-one will have any problems with it.
     
  28. Howdy!
    Mike, let's not confuse the poor girl. ;^<)>
    Heather, regardless of what the bride demands, tell her she gets one of two things: An album, or a disk.
    If the bride says "Both", say "No."
    If the bride says "Album", say "Yes", bite the bullet, and deliver an album according to the original contract.
    If the bride says "Disk", modify the contract to exclude all prior terms and deliver just a disk with full distribution and printing rights. Don't let her talk you into anything else. No albums, no wall prints, no t-shirts, no baby outfits, no coffee cups. Just a disk. Make her sign the addendum first and return it to you, then you sign it and send her a copy. Then you send her a disk, and say goodbye forever .
    I don't think it can get much simpler than that.
    Later,
    Paulsky
     
  29. I am a lawyer in the US. Canadian contract law was probably derived from English common law, just like American law, so I suspect it is very similar to US contract law.
    John Henneberger and Paul Thomas have both given excellent advice in this thread from my lawyerly perspective.
    Be prepared to honor the contract fully, but if you are willing to offer a modification to it, put it in writing to her (email is ok) and put a deadline on it for her to accept the modification in writing. Your offer expires if she does not accept in writing by the deadline. If she has already missed the deadline, then don't offer any more modifications.
    Once the deadline passes without her accepting, forget it and move forward with fulfilling the contract you have. If you need her input to do that, give her one reasonable opportunity to give it, by sending her an email asking her to set an appointment that is convenient to both of you to come in and give her input. Tell her you will fulfill the contract (albums) using your best judgment if she does not make or keep the appointment. Give her a deadline for making the appointment. Be reasonable. And stop talking to her about any other terms. The more oral communications you have with her at this point the more likely you are to get yourself into a bigger and more expensive mess. All discussions should be written so you can protect yourself. This kind of person is likely to sue you so you have to protect yourself with written communications. Good luck.
     
  30. Once you give her the high-rez, she will go off and print her own photos, put together her own albums (or pay someone to do it - with your photos!) and completely ignore all of your copyrights. I would at this point go back to the original contract (or as far back as you can go) and hold firm. Good luck. (At least you didn't marry her! Can you imagine the life her husband is in for!!!)
     
  31. "Hell is other people." --Jean-Paul Sartre
     
  32. Allow me to back up what Bob B has said, regarding John H and Paul T. But as someone accustomed to dealing with international lawyers and financiers, allow me to suggest you simplify things even further: You already have a contract. It's been discussed and redefined.
    So simply deliver what is in the contract.
    Forget about the disc, don't worry about the trademark infringements, just be shut of her as quickly as you can at this point. You don't want her as a repeat customer. Most cases where photographers complain on Photo.net, the easy and correct answer usually is "the customer is king". This woman appears to be beyond reasonable customer service. Heck, she seems beyond EXTRAORDINARY customer service.
    This is about abuse and no one should ever take it. She is a bully, nothing more.
    You only need worry about meeting the stipulations of the signed contract. Any referral customers you may have lost - well, you likely do not want those sorts of customers anyway. Again, usually this is not the case but as someone said, most people negotiate in good faith. Those that don't are not worth the price of tea in China.
    And here's a secret I've learned from dealing with people like her: you do NOT have to respond to every email or phone call she makes. It's not rude or avoidance, you are (innocently) simply working on the terms stipulated by the contract.
    So forget about another contract revision. Forget about amending the product. Forget about the disc. Ship whatever was in the last signed contract you have. She can certainly complain but will not have a leg to stand on. Live up to your end of the contract, and be able to prove it, and there is nowt more she can do. And while most of us are loathe to turn to legal action, remember that the law works for you as well.
    Good luck!
     
  33. I would go back to her and say that you intend to fullfil the orginal contract. Tell her that she can have the additonal work but that I view of the additional time and effort you have put in she will have to pay for it, including the additonal time you have spent responding to her emails.
     
  34. I can't recommend a course of action to prevent this from happening again,but I will tell you what I do when someone comes to me to book a wedding. Before I actually agree to shoot the wedding I explain to the bride what she will get from me. I read her the contract paragraph by paragraph and when necessary, explain things so that she clearly understand what I said and meant. I explain what her payment will buy and that once she agrees and signs the contract there are no changes. I also explain that all payments must be made prior to the day of the wedding. Yes, I have had brides turned off and refuse to hire me. I also have had some brides try to negotiate other packages that they claim they must have. In some cases, if it doesn't cost me more money, or I felt it would not be a problem, I would modify my package. But there were some brides and bride's advisors who made just ridiculous or utterly incredulous requests or demands. In these cases, I would recommend they contact another photographer. There are somethings you should not do and some clients you should not take.
     
  35. Prepare an addendum that gives the bride full rights to the images, get the bride to sign it, and send her the images.
    Any loss of whatever "copyright" benefits you may have had from the images will be more than compensated by peace of mind.​
    That would be my advice too. I doubt that she would be coming back to you for prints anyway and you have no use for the images yourself.
     
  36. I checked out today's "What the Duck" cartoon online (Dec 7) and it reminds me of this situation. Two humans are talking to the duck photographer, ask him to sit down. The duck asks why, the humans reply "So we can walk all over you". This is what has happened here!
     
  37. Tell her she has a week to abide by the signed contract, or all full resolution, no-watermark images will be destroyed. Then destroy them.
    You will feel much better.
     
  38. I sincerely hope that the advice about giving the bride an ultimatium and then destroying the images was in jest.
    If the images are destroyed, Heather may find herself in a whole lot sticker mess than she already is.
    Heather - you've gotten some really good advice here. Time to cut bait, get a signed addendum to the contract, give the Bride the images and the "copyright" and let her produce what she wants.
    Remember folks - what's put in e-mail / writing can and will come back to haunt you...
    Dave
     
  39. Although this won't be much help here, I'm posting it to help in similar situations in the future. One "technique" that I've used is to not respond immediately to emails. I'm not talking about pushing their emails off for a week, just a day or two. Take your time to reply, be very careful, and talk it over with other people if you can. If you respond immediately it makes them think you are at their beck and call. It can also make you seem too anxious, eager to please, etc. Now for some clients, being prompt is proper, but when things start to go down this sort of path, a bit of delay helps you to see things more clearly, takes a bit of the emotion out of it, and sends a message that your time is valuable and that you have other things to do beside be the client's personal servant.
    Again, some clients show respect and promptness, give them the same in return.
     
  40. Yes, what Wolfeye said is absolutely correct. Often it doesn't need to be a whole day or two; simply waiting a few hours takes all the urgency out of the other party. It's something that skilled negotiators use all the time. If ever challenged, they will say "I am working on an appropriate response."
    This is not something you should use all the time but keep it in your arsenal for dealing with difficult clients. Keep in mind that that real aim is not to avoid them or to make some power play. Rather it is to give yours some room to maneuver. As they say, trade space for time.
     
  41. Howdy!
    Many people have suggested abiding by the original contract and delivering an album. The trouble is, if Heather retains the images, she will never be rid of this person.
    I stand by my last post. It's time to cut the cord.
    Later,
    Paulsky
     
  42. Paul -
    I agree with you wholeheartedly - get a signed agreement from the bride saying the contract is complete and whole.
    Just don't "Delete the images" .... because we all know that in 5 years the bride is going to be calling asking for them again... and unless you can prove that your "normal" business practice is to delete images after so many months, years, etc... you're the one in trouble.
    Dave
     
  43. This lady may be "demanding", but that just means that her friends probably follow her like sheep! You make her happy, and she will tell 1 or 2 friends how good your were. You make her mad and she'll tell 500 people how terrible you were. Just because she is difficult, doesn't mean that her referrals will be! Good luck.
     
  44. hjd

    hjd

    A ton of great advice! Thank you very much. I’ve read all of your responses and think most of them are right on the mark. She has a deadline as of the end of this week to respond to the offer that is on the table, otherwise it’s back to the original contract and I’ll do up her album with her choices she did send the day of my Leave and send her on her merry way.

    As far as her owning the copyright, getting referrals from her, or trying to get prints purchased by her, none of those are important to me anymore. She’ll never purchase enough prints to make up for the extra $$ that went into her wedding or for my time spent on her, and I’m not thinking that I would really cherish her referrals either. I can imagine what she’d say. “Go to this photographer. You can get everything for $cheap$!” No. Thank. You.

    I really like the idea of withholding on responding to emails/phone calls, especially in situations like this. I always wanted to be prompt but I can see how holding off in some cases would have helped. Just for ‘fun’, I counted no less than 26 emails and 6 phone calls from my Bride in the last 3 ½ weeks. I didn’t reply to each & every one as I would combine them after waking and finding another 3 more. Walking all over? Yeah, I’ve been a doormat.

    All the legal advice has been fantastic as well as what to do with client consultations in the future. I need to be clearer about what the B&G will be getting BEFORE they sign and figure out then if they are the right client for me. Not post-wedding. I like the idea of a prepared addendum to the contract because I don’t doubt that she’d be the kind of Bride to come back and try to find a reason to sue. I want this closed, but I need to do it right.

    I’ll keep reviewing all of your responses so I don’t miss anything but I want to thank each of you for your time. It’s been a learning curve and will continue to be but it’s nice to know there’s support when you need it. Thanks again.

    Now to go and enjoy this crazy -33C (-27.4F) Canadian weather. Brrr.
     
  45. Let her buy one pic at a time for after she pays a fee for storage of the original media.
     
  46. I think the thing you need to remember is that your offers are in fact invitations to treat which have not been agreed. Absent the completed agreement, your original contract stands, even if you have made proposals, when the other party makes counter proposals, those proposals have been rejected.
    Given the stress this bride is giving you, I urge you to enforce the contract that exists, and if you need to go on leave, subcontract fulfilment on those terms, even if it costs. Don't let her mess you about, just take such return as you can and walk with positive cashflow.
     
  47. Seems like everyone here covered all the bases, but I wanted to add this small bit.
    To avoid the OP's specific problem with "copyright/logo/watermark cut off" I always use a watermark that is large and overlays the actual middle of the image at about 20% transparency. It's light enough to see the image, but big enough no one would chop it to keep a piece of the picture alone.
     
  48. "And I'd hardly call a FaceBook image with your watermark cropped off a copyright infringement. Who cares? "
    I would and it is. Of course. People who post other people's work on FB deserve to be bashed... esp. when they crop out the © watermark.
    Despite what you "think", photographers DO CARE. What a weird statement. Anyone who does good work and has WORKED to get there CARES.
     
  49. so what happened in the end? did Heather get the mollah?
     
  50. You should tell her "enough".
    In my experience, some people will take agreeability, "niceness", cooperativeness, etc., as a form of weakness, and don't respect boundaries until you set them and hold them. It's sort of "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" taken to selfish extreme. I don't see her stopping until she's squeezed you for everything she wants.
    I have had to learn the hard way after having been played like a fiddle myself more than once. Most folks are reasonable, but there's always those who aren't. Appeasing them or figuring that "now they'll be happy" doesn't work.
     
  51. Wash your hands of the problem. Put an offer on the table to sell her the images, copyright and all for three times the amount your seeking, and fulfilling the contract, and be done with it. If she truly wants the images, she'll pay and you can forget the whole experience and find a better client. You're spending too much time beating this horse, instead of finding a better client.
     
  52. hjd

    hjd

    Well, I just got off the phone with her and she is going to take the offer of the High-Res disk, with a Print Release (not a Copyright) at the quoted cost in lieu of her albums. She also removed the FB image and put in it’s place the Watermarked version. If she wants to purchase the albums at a later date, she is welcome to do so. I will be drawing up an addendum to the contract as well.

    I actually do consider a cropped watermark to be an infringement and so does Canadian Law. Under the Canadian Copyright Law you are given what is considered ‘Moral Rights”.
    • 14.1 (1) The author of a work has, subject to section 28.2, the right to the integrity of the work and, in connection with an act mentioned in section 3, the right, where reasonable in the circumstances, to be associated with the work as its author by name or under a pseudonym and the right to remain anonymous.

    It is my right to be associated with the work and it is considered an infringement if I am not. I can choose to not have my name associated with it (remain anonymous) or waive these rights altogether, but for the most part, just as Ken mentioned, I do care about having my name on my work. Also as far as Facebook goes, I think it is one of the worse places to have images posted without an associated mark. Not only by Facebook’s own Terms and Conditions that they can use images however they would like, but images get stolen from there everyday. I have had colleagues wind up in court because their image got used for an Ad that they don’t endorse.

    As far as having larger WM’s, mine actually has gotten larger, but it was an image from my second shooter and her WM is placed off to the side.

    But this thread isn’t about Copyright or watermarks, so I digress.

    The point is that my Bride has agreed to the offer. In my phone conversation with her it was quite apparent that she didn’t like my ‘Cut-n-dry’ attitude in my last few emails, felt she was owed all the images, and was annoyed that she had actually paid me before the wedding. I had to keep reiterating that what she was ‘owed ’ was in the contract and that was her albums & prints. Nothing more. She could still have those if she so choose but where she wanted all images, she could take the deal and we’ll make an addendum to the contract giving her the images but taking away the albums.

    I think had I not gotten the advice I was given here in the past while, I wouldn’t have known how to deal with it all but because of all the great advice, once she signs the addendum, I have the $$ in hand for the disc… case closed!

    Thank you!!!
     
  53. bms

    bms

    Heather, thanks for sharing your experience. I think many can learn from this...
    The point is that my Bride has agreed to the offer. In my phone conversation with her...​
    Get it in writing, get the $ if any owed, relax (as much as you can with a delivery in the near future - you deserve it), screen your calls for 6 months and bounce her emails..... ;}
    Best of luck
     
  54. hjd

    hjd

    lol. Thanks Ben. ;0)
     
  55. That's great. You needed to be rid of this Bridezilla.
    BTW, good luck and best wishes with the delivery!
     
  56. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "If she wants to purchase the albums at a later date, she is welcome to do so. I will be drawing up an addendum to the contract as well."

    A bluntly put question Heather JD, you state passionately that you have read all the wonderful advice and have thanked many people for it. . .

    I scanned the answers (and I recall the previous post and the many answers there too) . . . the thrust of most capsules of advice can be summarized in these three quotes from this thread:
    > "finish the deal"
    > "[ensure that] this is final and you will not entertain any further negotiation"
    > "get a signed agreement from the bride saying the contract is complete and whole."

    Why then would one even consider adding an annexure to the contract and thus inviting more dealings down the track?

    IMO, when people take time to offer advice, there is a point where the novice's RE-actions are judged and as such, future advice or comment might be constrained accordingly.

    You see, in business, we down here are simple folk who generally call a spade a spade . . . we would take this action as a slap in the face: If mentoring a Novitiate a gift (of advice) is given freely and willingly, but then the Novitiate is judged, usually closely and critically, by how that advice is treated.

    Just another element of the picture to think about, IMO.

    WW
     
  57. hjd

    hjd

    Hi William
    To answer as bluntly as I can:

    “finish the deal” – I did just this by giving her a final deadline to either accept my offer I had initially on the table prior to posting here, giving no further opportunities to discuss changes to the deal.
    "[ensure that] this is final and you will not entertain any further negotiation" - this has been stressed in both email and phone conversations with her since posting in this thread as well as it is included in the Addendum.
    "get a signed agreement from the bride saying the contract is complete and whole." – this is in the Addendum I drew up stating she agrees to the offer of the disk, the albums are out, there will be no further negotiations and the contract is fulfilled. Done.

    “Why then would one even consider adding an annexure to the contract and thus inviting more dealings down the track?”

    1) In the Addendum, there is nothing ‘inviting’ her to come back to me. It states quite bluntly that the albums are removed, and they cannot be requested under the original contract. The Addendum sticks very firmly to what I will be providing (the disc) and that the contract will be closed, all deliverables are accepted, I am released from any and all dealings with her and no further amendments or modifications will be permitted.
    2) In an email to her, it is mentioned that my company and my second shooter will maintain archival of her images as we see fit and will only grant prints/albums in the future if we have the time, resources, and still have her images.
    3) I won’t have the time, resources or her images.

    “Why?” - because before ever posting this thread, I had already offered it. I couldn’t flip it because I would have felt foolish telling her, no wait, now I can’t offer it to you because I was advised against dealing with you. I had to figure out what to do after the fact and drew up the addendum as suggested here and became very cut and dry in my phone conversations and my email correspondence refusing to budge any further.

    To answer anyone else as to why I didn’t just give her the albums and shut the door, because a) Album design takes time and further correspondence. Neither do I have the time for. b) Outsource it? I’ve already spent enough on her. c) Do it in the future? Because I wanted to be done with her NOW.

    I think the advice in this thread came in very handy for me despite that you might think my actions “as a slap in the face” to any or all of you that had advise to give. I DID follow much of what was said, took each piece of advice, figured out how it applied to me, what I could do to make it work and put it into practice.

    I think the pure fact that I AM done with her, she’s agreed to the deal and the Addendum, is evidence in itself that I did something right.

    “IMO, when people take time to offer advice, there is a point where the novice's RE-actions are judged and as such, future advice or comment might be constrained accordingly.”

    IMO, when people take time to offer advice, it is up to the novice to either decide whether that advice is suitable, whether it will work, and whether or not they are confident in following that particular advice. If future advice is constrained simply because a novice asked, followed the best they could and was judged “closely and critically” then the novice might soon learn where to turn for advice and where to avoid. Advice is just that. Advice. Not the letter of the law. IMO, I also feel it’s a bit sad that a novice can be judged so harshly, so quickly. Everyone has to learn and if anything education and knowledge comes a lot from failure. If I can’t fail, get up and dust myself off without someone rolling his or her eyes at me, they just show narcissism, something that I don’t hold much value for and the advice they give, even though it may be spot on, probably won’t hold value either.

    I stand by the fact that I am indeed grateful of the people that took the time to post in the thread. Many held the same opinion and because many posted this same opinion within such a short timeframe it certainly does not mean I wasn’t taking heed, ignoring it, or not being open minded. They all “call a spade a spade” but when it all comes within a few hours or minutes of each other, I think it only fair that I be given the opportunity to put in the work. And once again, if the contract is done, I am done dealing with her, I am HAPPY with the outcome, and I gave my thanks…

    What are you actually judging??
     
  58. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Heather.
    Thank you for your detailed answer.
    Firstly I am not judging anything.
    I was inviting you to consider another part of the equation – i.e. your relationship with those whom have given advice.
    I was also warning you to a potential for the recurrence of this same scenario, later.
    In this regard to these two points, let’s look at precisely the words you used and which prompted my response:
    “Well, I just got off the phone with her and she is going to take the offer of the High-Res disk, with a Print Release (not a Copyright) at the quoted cost in lieu of her albums. She also removed the FB image and put in it’s place the Watermarked version. If she wants to purchase the albums at a later date, she is welcome to do so. I will be drawing up an addendum to the contract as well.”
    >The first sentence means she has accepted the deal; she will take the disc, print release and no album.
    >The second sentence refers to the Watermark image.
    >The third sentence indicates that your will (continue to) offer the purchase of an album to her – and that she is invited “welcome to” take up that offer at a latter date.
    >The fourth sentence refers to an addendum to the contract – which I interpreted to be an addendum to the contract which is being drawn up (now) to void and supersede the original contract. To this new contract being darn up now you will have an addendum regarding the purchase of an album later, if the client wants.
    ***
    Now, whether or not I interpreted the last sentence correctly or incorrectly, the third sentence most definitely is an invitation by you, for the client to continue a business relationship with you in regard to this Wedding.
    The point I am making is, therefore, this is not cut and dried ending it is not put to bed and it is not terminated.
    I acknowledge your arguments (in your last reply) that if the client, in six months time asks you to pull out the archival files and make an album for her – you might respond that you are too busy and have no time – then the Client might pester you – and then you might say OK, but I am too busy – and then she might pester you more and threaten legal action - and then you might post another thread asking “What should do?” and perhaps many folk who had previously said “Put it to Bed – for good” might write back saying “Told you so”
    ***
    I repeat: I am not judging anything.
    I appreciate that you appreciate the advice.
    I recall my post on your first thread – my main thoughts were to get you back to your family and rid of this turmoil which is obvious an upset to you.
    Again I state that my reason for posting on this thread was twofold.
    Firstly to get you attention in blunt terminology such that you are aware that the matter is not being put to bed for good.
    And secondly to make you aware that each of us has a “switch off point” and it is my guess that if you do return with a thread about the same client pestering you for an album you might get a variety of responses.
    As to the “slap in the face” comment – that was a metaphor used just to get your attention.
    ***
    You have clearly indicated that you intend to (or have already offered) that the client may request an album to be made and purchased at a later date. That is a fact as stated, and as I quoted.
    IMO that is a poor business decision. Considering the history of the TWO threads on this matter: it is my opinion that this is a very poor Business decision.
    As noted: a novice has the option to take advice and use only that which she feels appropriate to her situation.
    What can I say? It's not a points scoring contest here - but another metaphor to grab your attention I think your score is six . . . I count over 1500 . . . and mine is just another viewpoint for you to consider.
    ***

    The bottom line is:
    Whatever justification or reasons you proffer – “If she wants to purchase the albums at a later date, she is welcome to do so”
    Does NOT mean that the matter is closed for good – it means that the matter is still, open. It means the Client has been invited to have more dealings with you in regard to these files.
    You should be aware of these facts.
    You should be aware of the potential consequences of these facts.
    All my comments here go address to your question about how to avoid these types of issues in the future.
    Merry Christmas,
    WW
     
  59. Howdy!
    I have to agree with Double-W. It is EXTREMELY unethical and unwise to put something on the table with the intention of never delivering it.
    Your argument about making the album dependant on whether or not you have the images is completely invalid. She can simply give them back and demand the album. As for time, she can sue you for the time.
    It is ironic that of the two clear paths we all suggested, delivery on the original contract, or delivering a disk based on a new contract, you chose a third option that encumbers you with this person forever, whether you realize it now or not. I don't believe that ANYBODY in this forum recommended the route you took, and for good reason.
    In short, you blew it. But I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume you are an incurable people pleaser who just cannot say no.
    Learn to put your own interests first. Don't suffer on account of your clients.
    Good luck. You are certainly going to need it if you keep doing business this way.
    Later,
    Paulsky
     
  60. While I understand your frustration, you're walking a fine line (legally) by saying "In an email to her, it is mentioned that my company and my second shooter will maintain archival of her images as we see fit and will only grant prints/albums in the future if we have the time, resources, and still have her images.
    3) I won’t have the time, resources or her images."

    This paragraph indicates that you're not entering into the agreement in good faith. Yes, you have the loophole "if we have the time ..." but at the very best, it's unethical to add this bit if you never plan on having the time, resources or the images. Just be honest and be done. Do you really want to open up this can of worms by having her come back in a couple of years/months/whenever and having to explain why you don't have the time, why you don't have the resources and what your policies are with regards to image storage in case you plan on destroying them.
     
  61. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "It is ironic that of the two clear paths we all suggested, delivery on the original contract, or delivering a disk based on a new contract, you chose a third option that encumbers you with this person forever, whether you realize it now or not. I don't believe that ANYBODY in this forum recommended the route you took, and for good reason."

    One paragraph which summarizes about 23,000 words and over 90 opinions and comments, from the two threads.

    Well stated, Paul.
    Later,
    Double W
     
  62. It's funny that you mention narcissism.
    1) In the Addendum, there is nothing ‘inviting’ her to come back to me. It states quite bluntly that the albums are removed, and they cannot be requested under the original contract. The Addendum sticks very firmly to what I will be providing (the disc) and that the contract will be closed, all deliverables are accepted, I am released from any and all dealings with her and no further amendments or modifications will be permitted.
    2) In an email to her, it is mentioned that my company and my second shooter will maintain archival of her images as we see fit and will only grant prints/albums in the future if we have the time, resources, and still have her images.
    3) I won’t have the time, resources or her images.
    Is narcissistic behavior.
     
  63. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    ". . . is narcissistic behavior."

    True, I agree. And it is a flaw apropos solid Business Thinking.
    But I let that personally directed comment slide - for me to respond to it would have inflamed the thread, I think.
    I assumed that Heather's passionate comment about Narcissistic Behaviour came from anger, rather than any constructive and level headed business thinking and analysis directed to address the twice posted issues.
    My intent was to get the OP passionate enough to do it right and or fix it right – and to fix it for ever.
    I am not, and never was interested in getting her angry at me.
    WW
     
  64. Based on Heather's description of the situation, I believed that the client was being difficult.
    My first post:
    I would give her the disc, realize that the bride will do what she wants with it, and move on.
    This is (IMO) the best way to deal with someone who absolutely cannot see how their behavior affects other people (a narcissist).
    Heather, winning a confrontation (by promising something, without intention of honnoring it), is what a narcissist would do.
    WW, thinking that this was about you (you guessed it).
    This is not a personal attack. Everyone (including me) exhibit these traits. Business dealings require an appreciation of another perspective. Sometime you have to cut and run.
     
  65. hjd

    hjd

    you blew it.
    incurable people pleaser
    Good luck. You are certainly going to need it
    very poor Business decision
    unethical
    unwise
    my main thoughts were to get you back to your family and rid of this turmoil…

    So that’s what I’m going to do. I am not going to keep this thread going trying to prove and defend myself, no matter how much you pick my words apart. I have better things to do with my time than to keep this up.
    Ciao!
     
  66. Howdy!
    Too late! It has a life of it's own.
    Nobody misquoted you, or picked your words apart. You simply said some things that you shouldn't have.
    Maybe you were just trying to impress us. If so, it was pretty lame.
    Later,
    Paulsky
     
  67. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Unfortunate ending.
    WW
     
  68. Perhaps, William. But I, for one, found it to be an interesting and educational read - if nothing else than for its "cautionary tale" (valuable for one starting out like me). It's a chapter in "Difficult Client 101." Not a warm, fuzzy ending by any means but there are pearls of wisdom in this thread so thanks to you and everyone else for that. And good luck Heather - just move forward. Forget about this and enjoy the holidays.
     
  69. Mitch, I think (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that WW as referring to the "picking up my ball and going home" attitude, not the learning experience for anybody reading this. But I might be mistaken.
     
  70. Hi Katrin, I agree with your assessment. Was just reminding everyone that these threads are valuable regardless of the OP's ability to digest and implement the advice given. Thanks.
     
  71. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Katrin, Yes I was. Thank you.
    Also your "ball" metaphor was the exact phrase said to me in a conversation last night with a friend who is not a member of Photo.net, nor really a Photographer beyond a P&S happy snapper, but who has followed this thread and reads many others.

    Photo.net gets wide readership. It has a greater non contributory audience than many might take the time or effort to recognize.

    ***

    Mitch, I agree.

    And I add that, I found your first comment, ("Perhaps, William. But I, for one, found it to be an interesting and educational read . . . etc), both personally rewarding and positive note on which to end.

    Thank you for that.

    Merry Christmas to you both.

    WW
     

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