September 01, 2014, 03:49:27 PM

Author Topic: The Bride chose my images instead of the photographer, how much should I charge?  (Read 16822 times)

Northstar

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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
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Northstar

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Would the pro have let you come if he or she knew you were going to be selling your photos to the bride?

Answer....of course not. 

You're only in this situation because the pro was being nice to you and trying to help you with your career/interest in wedding photography.   The pro did you a favor by letting you come and shoot the wedding to learn.

This was a "handshake deal", honor your end of it by giving the photos to the pro and expect nothing in return other than the experience and learning you asked for.

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neuroanatomist

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...I don't even want to undermine him.

Really?  Then why was your original question not, "How should I handle this?," but instead, "How much should I charge for images someone else was hired to take?"

At the end of this I just would like to be rewarded for this little success

Apparently the understanding of how a wedding shoot goes, the satisfaction of the bride preferring your images, and the knowledge that you might have the potential to shoot weddings professionally (at least from a technical standpoint) aren't reward enough.  So, what you really mean is you want to be financially compensated for your little success, despite that never being part of the arrangement.

You'd better hope the pro who agreed to 'show you the ropes' doesn't have your ethics...if he does, he'll do his best to ensure you never get a learning opportunity from a local wedding pro again, much less a paid wedding shoot.
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Orangutan

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These are the questions:

First, in your jurisdiction, do you have any legal obligations to the pro you followed?  You should not take answers to this question from anyone on this forum: ask a lawyer.  Even without a written contract, there may be an obligation.

Second, was there any non-binding understanding, written or otherwise?  Did the pro talk to you about getting your pictures?

Third, what is your development path as a photographer?  One good wedding shoot doesn't make you a pro, and I'm speaking from experience as an occasional second-shooter.  Even if you have no legal obligation to the pro, you may still want his help, or the help of other pros to develop.  You've probably got a ways to go, and you don't want to have to climb that mountain solo.

As an addendum, this is also a test of your pro's ethics: if you approach him neutrally and say "the client contacted me and wants my photos" (without disparaging his), you'll find out what kind of person he is.  If he says "all your pictures are mine even though we never discussed it" then you've learned a relatively cheap lesson about where not to go for your continued development: this guy is not interested in your development at all.  If he says "hey, we had no agreement, they're your photos," then you've just established a trust relationship with a good guy, and it might lead to future collaboration and development.


jdramirez

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I haven't made a living by photography in a very long time (I find more joy in being a hobby shooter) but it seems to me that you were present at the wedding as a guest of the contracted photographer for a learning experience.  I sense an ethical dilemma in "poaching" sales even though the bride preferred your shots.  In fact, I would have turned down her request to view them.  If you had been a guest of the bride or groom at the wedding then I wouldn't see the same problem.

I'd say that arrangements should have been made in advance and that is the fault of the paid photographer.  I think what he should have done was say your images can be kept in your portfolio, but the sale of the same will be split.  Having said that, he probably got a package rate, so he didn't sell individual images.

I suppose the issue is do you want to keep him as a resource? If not... don't worry about how he feels.  If yes... I'd tell him the bride was unsatisfied and maybe that bit of criticism will help him figure out whether he needs to change his technique.  Then ask if he would wanta portion of the sale.  I would probably say no... but if he says yes, then ask him what a fair price should be.

Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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jdramirez

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I'm going to use short-hand here . . .

In Toronto, Canada, a second-shooter's images 'belong' to the hired photog.  Even if a guest has persuaded the bride and groom to let them 'shoot' the wedding (not my favourite, but it is their day, not mine), the photos of the 'guest second-shooter' 'belong' to the photog as well.

In this case, the images should be turned over to the primary photog for sale and you get to use the photos in you portfolio.

Usually in this case the second photog is paid a set amount.  Also the parameters are set in advance and it was an oversight of the professional that this information want conveyed in either a gentlemen's agreement or in writing.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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neuroanatomist

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Usually in this case the second photog is paid a set amount.

Is that the norm for a photographer who's never shot a wedding?
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Sporgon

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Another point about being 'shown the ropes' at a highly dynamic photographic event like a wedding; I wouldn't expect the person coming to learn to even bring a camera. You're not going to learn much about the sequences and nuances of the event if you're busy snapping away with your own camera.

I would say that wedding photography is more about organisation and relationships towards the subjects than pressing the shutter, especially so with digital and TTL flash.

Orangutan

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I would say that wedding photography is more about organisation and relationships towards the subjects than pressing the shutter, especially so with digital and TTL flash.

I learned this lesson while pressing the shutter, and also while reviewing my photos later.  What did I miss that I could have gotten?  What views/angles worked?  How could I have positioned myself better?  Which guests should I have made a point to photograph better?  (the primary photog typically followed the bride, it was my job to make sure all the guests were in the final set of images, and to fill in the scenery he couldn't get)


Orangutan

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Even if a guest has persuaded the bride and groom to let them 'shoot' the wedding (not my favourite, but it is their day, not mine), the photos of the 'guest second-shooter' 'belong' to the photog as well.

What's the definition of "guest second-shooter?"  Does this mean every guest with a smartphone is a second-shooter who must turn over the photos to the pro?

Northstar

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This will rile a lot of people up, but you should sell them at the prices you are looking for, you sent him images and he liked them ao you know the shots are good.  I would ignore all the protectionist bull that has been spouted in this thread, the bride likes your stuff so sell it to them and move on.

Fats

Fats...I'm not impressed with your views on professionalism and integrity.

There is no way that the "oral agreement" between the OP and wedding pro included having the OP sell his photos to the bride, thereby undermining the wedding pro, and probably adding insult to the injury.

So taking the course of action that you suggest would be lacking in professionalism and integrity.  IMO



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Sporgon

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I would say that wedding photography is more about organisation and relationships towards the subjects than pressing the shutter, especially so with digital and TTL flash.

I learned this lesson while pressing the shutter, and also while reviewing my photos later.  What did I miss that I could have gotten?  What views/angles worked?  How could I have positioned myself better?  Which guests should I have made a point to photograph better?  (the primary photog typically followed the bride, it was my job to make sure all the guests were in the final set of images, and to fill in the scenery he couldn't get)

That is undoubtably true; you're looking to improve your photography. Beingrequired to produce the professional results as the photographer and it's your sole responsibility to make it happen is a different thing altogether.

From your post I guess you have never been soley responsible for the successful photographic production of the 'big day'.

Northstar

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These are the questions:

Third, what is your development path as a photographer?  One good wedding shoot doesn't make you a pro, and I'm speaking from experience as an occasional second-shooter.  Even if you have no legal obligation to the pro, you may still want his help, or the help of other pros to develop.  You've probably got a ways to go, and you don't want to have to climb that mountain solo.

As an addendum, this is also a test of your pro's ethics: if you approach him neutrally and say "the client contacted me and wants my photos" (without disparaging his), you'll find out what kind of person he is.  If he says "all your pictures are mine even though we never discussed it" then you've learned a relatively cheap lesson about where not to go for your continued development: this guy is not interested in your development at all.  If he says "hey, we had no agreement, they're your photos," then you've just established a trust relationship with a good guy, and it might lead to future collaboration and development.


Orangutan....your third point and addendum are both very good pieces of advice.

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Orangutan

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I would say that wedding photography is more about organisation and relationships towards the subjects than pressing the shutter, especially so with digital and TTL flash.

I learned this lesson while pressing the shutter, and also while reviewing my photos later.  What did I miss that I could have gotten?  What views/angles worked?  How could I have positioned myself better?  Which guests should I have made a point to photograph better?  (the primary photog typically followed the bride, it was my job to make sure all the guests were in the final set of images, and to fill in the scenery he couldn't get)

That is undoubtably true; you're looking to improve your photography. Beingrequired to produce the professional results as the photographer and it's your sole responsibility to make it happen is a different thing altogether.

From your post I guess you have never been soley responsible for the successful photographic production of the 'big day'.

No, working as second only.  My response was to your suggestion that a new photographer be an assistant only at first, and not take any photos.  I felt I was able to get a sense of the organization and relationships while clicking the shutter as second-shooter.  I would not want to be the primary person responsible while going through that learning process, that's one reason I think the OP needs to keep on good terms with his local pro community: he still has some learning ahead.

Skulker

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My first thought was that the bride wanted cheap images.

I may be too cynical but without any justification other than experience I would assume the following:

1) The original Photographer (the official one that is) was to be paid for prints or digital files.
2) The bride has seen a way to reduce the price by cutting out the original professional.


Maybe the original photographer was rubbish - But if he's that bad why was the OP going to him asking for "experience"?

Maybe the OP is a "natural" wedding photographer - If he is he will be able to make money in the future.


Either way I would recommend the OP goes to the original photographer and tries to work something out. If he can't come to an agreement then chalk it up to experience. I would NOT recommend going behind the back of the professional who was kind enough to help you out, it won't be worth it in the end.
If you debate with a fool onlookers can find it VERY difficult to tell the difference.

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