July 31, 2014, 06:25:13 AM

Author Topic: The Bride chose my images instead of the photographer, how much should I charge?  (Read 16259 times)

fatmanmedi

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Interesting, Bruce, I have never shot a wedding where the balance has not been cleared funds on the day. Weddings are way too expensive to expect newly weds to have money after the event!
+1 on that!
+1 on that as well

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distant.star

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There seems a bit of the tall tale in the background of this thing.

Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

Don Haines

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I don't like myself when I'm cynical but something else could be going on.  In one case I remember someone like yourself shot the event without me knowing that there would be another shooter.  I thought I was the only shooter because that is what my contact told me.  Then the other shooter's pictures were chosen not so much that they were better but they were free because they were friends and the group was able to save a bunch of money.  Now I require a high enough shoot fee before I will schedule the shoot so at least I get paid for my time.  People will do a bunch of things just to save a buck.  Even brides or grooms.

Sounds familiar....

I was asked by the groom "as a friend" to shoot a wedding.... A couple of days before the wedding I found out there was going to be an official photographer (also a friend of mine but the bride and groom did not know we were friends). I gave my memory cards to the official photographer at the end of the day with the understanding that she never tell the bride who took what pictures and that she could do whatever she wanted with them.

I did not like being placed "in competition" with a real professional who does weddings for a living, where for me it is a hobby.
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sdrose

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I'm not a professional photographer.  I'll start there.

Your question was about charging for pictures.  You said 30-40 pictures, but that is irrelevant, I would think.  If you had that absolutely killer, amazing image, the image itself demands a price.  (Imagine a technically-perfect image of a shark jumping out of the water, and catching mid-air another shark that had fish in its mouth -- that you captured an image that will probably be caught again -- that is what I'm saying, where neither previous photographic education or experience would set you up for that -- it was just 'luck' &
'timing' you got it.)

If you had professional equipment, and training, and experience behind you, you could charge 'X'.  Your previous experience + your investment into equipment you bring with you (think a bride's lease on your equipment for her venue) has a value.  If you used a Rebel camera with kit lens, or an iPhone, or a 110 film camera, with no previous experience or education behind you, you would charge less than 'X'. 

Beyond your question. 
You stated you asked a professional photographer who makes his/her living from wedding photography if you could join them with your camera, trying to be a '+1' into their business and location.  And they said 'Yes'.  What was your agreement with them relative to joining them in their livelihood?  Were they just altruistic to help populate their field of business?

Why were you there?  To learn to compose photos?  To learn the business of photography?  Were you there to help the event photographer in any manner?  Did he or you agree to anything else other than your presence at his job?  Does the photographer have any expectations to your presence at the event?

LOLID

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First of all, let's not use big words as "suing". Nobody is gonna sue someone for a few pics and a couple hundreds dollars. Just the cost of hiring a good lawyer ($300/h) or a even a bad lawyer ($100/h) is not worth it. Let alone the hassle of going through a trial.
Best of the worst, a mediator would be hired to solve this issue.

Second, I believe this whole experience is perfect learning for you and for the "Pro" as well. Terms should have been agreed when you asked to join him(her) on the job.

If the bride is willing to pay for your pics, you should be compensated. Now, compensation does not mean money.

In my opinion, hurting the Pro's ego will hurt your career in the industry at least as much as getting money on his(her) back. You might get a sense of that out of the tough responses of some forum members, who I assume must be wedding photographers. Be careful with this.
 
If I were you I would contact the Pro and tell him(her) that you have been contacted by the Bride and that she really likes your pictures (do not mention that she "prefers" your picture). Let the Pro tell you want he(she) sees the situation and the proper manner to deal with it. If he(she) has no idea, the best is for you to propose to give the Pro your photographs and let him decide if he wants to give you a few hundred bucks. 40 pics is quite a fair amount, and if it is true that you are bound by ethics, so is he(she).

If you don't get any money from the Pro, you already got experience and, most importantly, you can be sure this Pro will not "burn" you in the profession. You also should inform the Bride that you gave your photographs to the Pro for free "because it was the right things to do." She might feel bad and give you a few hundred bucks. She might not. But in any case feel free to promote yourself and let her know that she can talk about you in her entourage in order for you to get a paid job in the near future (assuming you register yourself as a wedding photographer, insurance and all good stuff).

In the end, you have nothing to lose. You went for experience, you got it. In addition, you've got good exposure with the pro photographer and you showed your talent to a Bride who may recommend you to friends/family as future customers.
Do the right thing.

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OP needs to understand that the fees charged by the booked photographer may have been reliant on a print order, and if the bride doesn't order prints due to the ability to print the OP's shots there will be issues.  I understand the 'I want feedback' mentality that the OP shared the photos with the bride, but that was the first misstep.  The OP and the booked photog need to have an open honest discussion about what has happened.  The OP might get paid a little by the booked photog if the bride orders his photos as prints, but other than that, don't expect money.

Having shot a few weddings for portfolio material, I gave all my shots to the booked photographer.  An honest photographer will not use someone else's shots in their portfolio, but will answer who captured a specific shot if asked by the bride.
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dhachey77

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Sounds familiar....

I did not like being placed "in competition" with a real professional who does weddings for a living, where for me it is a hobby.
[/quote]

+1

I'm often asked to shoot family events, including weddings, but in most cases I decline to do so and gently tell the bride/groom they need a pro to handle the PP and produce a final product.  I don't want to take bread off the table from wedding photographers who struggle to make a living at it.  In a couple of recent cases, the "Pro" did such a poor job I was asked to step in.  I hated doing so, but it was family.   I'm perfectly happy to give my images to the official photographer, but they always decline (and I suspect are also insulted), so I now give them to the bride & groom.

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Besisika

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Interesting topic,
I am not a lawyer so I have always interpreted the law on the safe side from my standpoint. I can be wrong and lose some of my advantages but I feel more safe that way.
My interpretation of the copyright is that it belongs entirely to the photographer if he is hired, as a self-employed for example, to do the job.
However it belongs to your employer if you work for someone else.
The term of your "employment" is not clear in your question, but if you really worked for him, the copyright to the photos doesn't belong to you. That is my interpretation of it. As such I wouldn't dare selling it without the pros's consent.
Similarly, I wouldn't post these photos on my own website without his consent either. My understanding is that he better has a clause on his contract authorizing him to use the photos on his website (again, from the safe side of the law).
But, that's me, better safe than sorry.

By the way, congratulations on your success. You shoot wedding for the "first time" and you are better than the pro. I would seriously consider stepping into the business, which is one more reason for you to be more carefull about your reputation and ethics as many already stated.
I have had better shot than the main photographer in the past, while assisting, but whether these were simple "luck" or because he was busy doing the "mandatory" shot and I had the luxury (and less stress) to chose and notice interesting pose. That vanished as soon as I became the main photog.

Lurker

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IMO you were hired by the pro.  Their payment to you, exactly what you asked for, experience.
You owe it to the pro to present your photos and the brides request and let them close the deal.  Then ask if you can do it again and negotiate your compensation for the next time.

Ask yourself how easy it will be for you to get a paying gig on your own.  How easy was it to get work through this pro?  I've known Wedding photogs that worked for others (with high end reputation) and themselves.  If you contacted them and asked them to do the work you got them at their price.  If you asked them about the much well known company you got the same photog but paid the much higher price.  Sometimes the high end company would call them and ask them to assist on or take over a shoot.  It's a way to get started but you have to play nice.

Quote
Just the cost of hiring a good lawyer ($300/h) or a even a bad lawyer ($100/h) is not worth it.
Not sure if they have small claims court down under but they do here and there are no lawyers.  The limit is like $10,000 and I think that would be a really good day for most wedding photogs.

brett b

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Surely the contract is with the original pro photographer, his price would have included the shoot as well as providing a specific number of images with any additional photographs charged for separately. I would find it hard to believe there are no images that the bride would not find acceptable.
The bride should pay the original photographer for the contracted work, providing of course they are not sub standard.  There would be no obligation for the bride to buy any additional images from the pro photographer leaving the guest photographer to supply photos to the bride at whatever cost is agreed.
Remember you asked for a favour and got invited to assist the pro at the wedding, he thought he was helping you. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

I mostly agree. However, if the guest photographer's images had been presented along with the main shooting pro's images, the bride might have chosen some of each shooters images and been satisfied with the amount of images included in the package (in the scenario described above). In that case, perhaps she wouldn't need to spend more money.

I'm not a wedding photographer. I shoot live theater and headshots. When I shoot a show for a theater, occasionally someone from the production's creative team will be shooting behind me...usually the set designer. Would it hurt me if the theater chose some of the set designer's images? Not particularly, because he's part of the team. He just needs to stay out of my way. I'm hired to make sure they get the specific images they need that are then published in the newspapers and websites that review these shows. These images are given to the press when the shows are reviewed. However, I can't imagine a scenario when I would invite someone that I don't really know to shoot along side without having some advanced agreement regarding the other shooters images.

I've been asked a few times by friends and family to shoot their weddings. They've seen my work and think I'm a great photographer. But I've never accepted. I wouldn't want to let them down. Wedding photography, to me, requires specific experience and anticipation for the event that I don't have. I couldn't expect to do a great job without getting experience first. Similarly, it wouldn't be easy shooting live theater for the first time. Shooting a musical is like shooting basketball but with constantly changing lighting.

I guess I'm saying that the OP should be grateful for the experience that the pro allowed him to receive. I don't know what was communicated between them before the wedding, but you'd think they would've had to discuss a plan just to stay out each other's way.

Another thought that came to mind...according to the OP the bride liked his images better. Does a wedding photographer show the bride all of the images prior to post processing then only process the images chosen? If so, could this be a reason the bride likes the 2nd shooter's images better? Maybe his were already processed. I can shoot 2000 images during a musical. Most theaters get jpegs right out of my camera that night. They'll make their choices for press the next morning and I'll PP the images they choose, but I'm not going to process 2000 images knowing that they will only choose 30.

If the OP is as good as he indicates, then he should be able to book some paid gigs in the not too distant future. He now has images for a portfolio that will enable him to market his work. The revenue for one job will far surpass the couple hundred bucks he might get for the 30 images this bride likes. If he takes the money and snubs the photographer that gave him the opportunity to learn, his reputation might prevent him from getting that job. Will it have been worth it?


chriswolf

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First of all I'm a portrait photographer and I've got experience, I know what's composition and all the sweet things that we care about. Second I didn't sign any contract with him and he told me that I could post the photos on my website. I went there to understand how weddings work and I wasn't hired as an assistant (but he told me you are coming as an assistant).
During the wedding the bride was a bit annoyed about the posing shots that he was trying to create and she was asking for more candid shots. I'm not saying I'm better than the pro and I will never say that, I don't even want to undermine him. I sent him about 40 photos the day after the wedding and he called me up telling me that he was impressed for my first wedding experience. At the end of this I just would like to be rewarded for this little success because I'm not making a living out of it.
By the way I don't like the way the pros use their assistants, people who make a living out of it should pay for their help. It is just fair. Sometimes when I have to do paid jobs I ask a friend to come along and I give him/her some money even if it's a $200 job.

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TeenTog

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Quote
First of all, let's not use big words as "suing". Nobody is gonna sue someone for a few pics and a couple hundreds dollars. Just the cost of hiring a good lawyer ($300/h) or a even a bad lawyer ($100/h) is not worth it. Let alone the hassle of going through a trial.
Best of the worst, a mediator would be hired to solve this issue.

Second, I believe this whole experience is perfect learning for you and for the "Pro" as well. Terms should have been agreed when you asked to join him(her) on the job.

If the bride is willing to pay for your pics, you should be compensated. Now, compensation does not mean money.

In my opinion, hurting the Pro's ego will hurt your career in the industry at least as much as getting money on his(her) back. You might get a sense of that out of the tough responses of some forum members, who I assume must be wedding photographers. Be careful with this.
 
If I were you I would contact the Pro and tell him(her) that you have been contacted by the Bride and that she really likes your pictures (do not mention that she "prefers" your picture). Let the Pro tell you want he(she) sees the situation and the proper manner to deal with it. If he(she) has no idea, the best is for you to propose to give the Pro your photographs and let him decide if he wants to give you a few hundred bucks. 40 pics is quite a fair amount, and if it is true that you are bound by ethics, so is he(she).

If you don't get any money from the Pro, you already got experience and, most importantly, you can be sure this Pro will not "burn" you in the profession. You also should inform the Bride that you gave your photographs to the Pro for free "because it was the right things to do." She might feel bad and give you a few hundred bucks. She might not. But in any case feel free to promote yourself and let her know that she can talk about you in her entourage in order for you to get a paid job in the near future (assuming you register yourself as a wedding photographer, insurance and all good stuff).

In the end, you have nothing to lose. You went for experience, you got it. In addition, you've got good exposure with the pro photographer and you showed your talent to a Bride who may recommend you to friends/family as future customers.
Do the right thing.

+1 this is the perfect way to handle this
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Jglaser757

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The question that has not been asked is,, Did the bride pay in full for the work? or is she trying to save a buck!

Second, if she did pay, why is she willing to pay more?

Ethics aside, the smart thing would be to discuss it with the photographer, split it 50/50. You dont want to create an issue where the photographer feels like you are cheating him.

Unless, you dont care about your reputation.. I would charge her at least the amount the original photographer did and see how she reacts.

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PaulTopol

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First of all I'm a portrait photographer and I've got experience, I know what's composition and all the sweet things that we care about. Second I didn't sign any contract with him and he told me that I could post the photos on my website. I went there to understand how weddings work and I wasn't hired as an assistant (but he told me you are coming as an assistant).
During the wedding the bride was a bit annoyed about the posing shots that he was trying to create and she was asking for more candid shots. I'm not saying I'm better than the pro and I will never say that, I don't even want to undermine him. I sent him about 40 photos the day after the wedding and he called me up telling me that he was impressed for my first wedding experience. At the end of this I just would like to be rewarded for this little success because I'm not making a living out of it.
By the way I don't like the way the pros use their assistants, people who make a living out of it should pay for their help. It is just fair. Sometimes when I have to do paid jobs I ask a friend to come along and I give him/her some money even if it's a $200 job.

You wanted to learn and he allowed you to be his assistant so you could get experience. Your ego has colored your view of what is the right thing to do.

Your comments/description show that you feel he did things that you would never do. We are all different and we can all learn from each other. You would have handled that situation differently? But he got the job and you didn't. Must say something about his ability. If you can do it better then start your own business.
Meantime thank him for allowing you to go to the wedding to practice (because that is what you were doing).
Give him the pics you took, free, and let him get the congratulations on a job well done.
Your ego has been massaged by the bride which should be sufficient to inspire and motivate you to do better and go into the wedding business.

Paul
Better to be friends with all the people you meet on the way up because you might meet them again on the way down.
I have shot as a second shooter. My pics belong to the pro who allowed me to shoot.
If the bride was to call me I would refer her to the pro.

Mr Bean

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First of all I'm a portrait photographer and I've got experience, I know what's composition and all the sweet things that we care about. Second I didn't sign any contract with him and he told me that I could post the photos on my website. I went there to understand how weddings work and I wasn't hired as an assistant (but he told me you are coming as an assistant).
During the wedding the bride was a bit annoyed about the posing shots that he was trying to create and she was asking for more candid shots. I'm not saying I'm better than the pro and I will never say that, I don't even want to undermine him. I sent him about 40 photos the day after the wedding and he called me up telling me that he was impressed for my first wedding experience. At the end of this I just would like to be rewarded for this little success because I'm not making a living out of it.
By the way I don't like the way the pros use their assistants, people who make a living out of it should pay for their help. It is just fair. Sometimes when I have to do paid jobs I ask a friend to come along and I give him/her some money even if it's a $200 job.

You wanted to learn and he allowed you to be his assistant so you could get experience. Your ego has colored your view of what is the right thing to do.

Your comments/description show that you feel he did things that you would never do. We are all different and we can all learn from each other. You would have handled that situation differently? But he got the job and you didn't. Must say something about his ability. If you can do it better then start your own business.
Meantime thank him for allowing you to go to the wedding to practice (because that is what you were doing).
Give him the pics you took, free, and let him get the congratulations on a job well done.
Your ego has been massaged by the bride which should be sufficient to inspire and motivate you to do better and go into the wedding business.

Paul
Better to be friends with all the people you meet on the way up because you might meet them again on the way down.
I have shot as a second shooter. My pics belong to the pro who allowed me to shoot.
If the bride was to call me I would refer her to the pro.
+1.

To the OP, the cost has been your time. The payback has been the experience.
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