November 21, 2014, 11:44:56 AM

Author Topic: The Bride chose my images instead of the photographer, how much should I charge?  (Read 18316 times)

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Fighting about ethics, ownership and money and there is even a (wana-be) lawyer showing up in this thread…
It’s a shame there isn’t a market for professional divorce photography ;-)

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Twostones

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What comes to my mind first is what the contract says between the wedding party and the contracted photographer.  It could be the bride is in violation of that contract herself by asking the second photographer for a price on his photos.  Secondly i would guess the bride wants to do the go around to save money and this could be a violation of the original contract herself.  There are many ethical and legal questions that must be addressed here in this situation.  The obviously right thing to do is to abide by the contract between the wedding party and the contracted photographer. I would give the contracted photographer everything. It is the original photographer who has the contract with the bride.

chriswolf

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That said, I question how the OP was contacted by the bride. This question was brought up earlier in the thread, but never answered by the OP. Unless the pro photographer himself gave her the contact info, then it would seem the OP promoted himself at the wedding, at least to the extent that he provided the bride or someone close to her with information as to who he is and how to contact him. This is way beyond the bounds of what is ethical in such a situation, whether hired by the photographer, or in this case allowed to 'tag along' at his client's event.

Sorry I thought I did. The bride asked my number to the cameraman (who I met the same day) and the cameraman called the photographer to have my number telling him that he needed me for a job. I didn't give any detail to anyone at the wedding because I thought it wasn't professional neither ethical to promote myself while another photographer was hired to photograph the event.
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tron

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That said, I question how the OP was contacted by the bride. This question was brought up earlier in the thread, but never answered by the OP. Unless the pro photographer himself gave her the contact info, then it would seem the OP promoted himself at the wedding, at least to the extent that he provided the bride or someone close to her with information as to who he is and how to contact him. This is way beyond the bounds of what is ethical in such a situation, whether hired by the photographer, or in this case allowed to 'tag along' at his client's event.

Sorry I thought I did. The bride asked my number to the cameraman (who I met the same day) and the cameraman called the photographer to have my number telling him that he needed me for a job. I didn't give any detail to anyone at the wedding because I thought it wasn't professional neither ethical to promote myself while another photographer was hired to photograph the event.
So he told him that he needed you for a job and not that the bride asked for you?

chriswolf

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Ok gentlemen, the pro just called me, thanked me for informing him about what happened and telling me that he understand the situation but I can't sell my images to the bride. No drama, he was very nice and polite.
He also assumes that the bride is playing a weird game as you said in other posts.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 08:00:49 PM by chriswolf »
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neuroanatomist

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Wrong. Why would I post on a photography forum to show off?

"The Bride chose my images instead of the photographer, how much should I charge?"

Not, "What should I charge a bride for pics I shot at a wedding?"  No...you wanted everyone to know the bride preferred your images to the person paid to shoot the wedding. 

I have no idea why you'd come here to show off, but it seems clear that you did. 

I didn't give any detail to anyone at the wedding because I thought it wasn't professional neither ethical to promote myself while another photographer was hired to photograph the event.

But it was ethical and professional to set up an online gallery and attempt to sell your pictures directly to the bride, even though you were there only as a guest of that other photographer who was hired to photograph the event?   ::)
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chriswolf

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Not, "What should I charge a bride for pics I shot at a wedding?"  No...you wanted everyone to know the bride preferred your images to the person paid to shoot the wedding. 

I have no idea why you'd come here to show off, but it seems clear that you did. 

If you don't know why you are agreeing with my statement, in fact there is no reason to show off on a photography forum since we are all photographers.
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Orangutan

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I have no idea why you'd come here to show off, but it seems clear that you did. 

I would offer a variant of Hanlon's Razor:  Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by human imperfection.  OP's somewhat haphazard post is fully explained to my satisfaction by human imperfection.  I don't see the need to poke him.  If it was intentional then it didn't work, and I bet he's got the clue by now.

Neuro, you are quite the contradiction.

Northstar

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Ok gentlemen, the pro just called me, thanked me for informing him about what happened and telling me that he understand the situation but I can't sell my images to the bride. No drama, he was very nice and polite.
He also assumes that the bride is playing a weird game as you said in other posts.

As far as the "game" the bride might be playing....yes, it's a real possibility.   She might just be trying to save some money.  (Especially considering that she was so eager to skip past the pro and buy your photos instead at a probable discount) 

Remember one thing from your experience with this post....ALWAYS take the most ethical route and you will be rewarded in the long term.    Integrity and trustworthiness might be two of the most important personality traits.

It sounds like you decided to take the good advice you've been given....very good to hear.  Now, you've shown the "pro" that you are a trustworthy person with integrity....build on that.

Good luck to you.   :)
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neuroanatomist

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Neuro, you are quite the contradiction.

I'll take that as a compliment...so, thank you!
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Orangutan

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Neuro, you are quite the contradiction.

I'll take that as a compliment...so, thank you!

In part it certainly is.

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That said, I question how the OP was contacted by the bride. This question was brought up earlier in the thread, but never answered by the OP. Unless the pro photographer himself gave her the contact info, then it would seem the OP promoted himself at the wedding, at least to the extent that he provided the bride or someone close to her with information as to who he is and how to contact him. This is way beyond the bounds of what is ethical in such a situation, whether hired by the photographer, or in this case allowed to 'tag along' at his client's event.

Sorry I thought I did. The bride asked my number to the cameraman (who I met the same day) and the cameraman called the photographer to have my number telling him that he needed me for a job. I didn't give any detail to anyone at the wedding because I thought it wasn't professional neither ethical to promote myself while another photographer was hired to photograph the event.

so there was deliberate deceitful behaviour and you knew it.
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That said, I question how the OP was contacted by the bride. This question was brought up earlier in the thread, but never answered by the OP. Unless the pro photographer himself gave her the contact info, then it would seem the OP promoted himself at the wedding, at least to the extent that he provided the bride or someone close to her with information as to who he is and how to contact him. This is way beyond the bounds of what is ethical in such a situation, whether hired by the photographer, or in this case allowed to 'tag along' at his client's event.

Sorry I thought I did. The bride asked my number to the cameraman (who I met the same day) and the cameraman called the photographer to have my number telling him that he needed me for a job. I didn't give any detail to anyone at the wedding because I thought it wasn't professional neither ethical to promote myself while another photographer was hired to photograph the event.

By cameraman, I assume you mean a videographer? Sounds very strange that the bride would inquire about you in this way, and not go directly to the photographer (assuming she knew you were there with him). Anyway, sounds like you have handled this in the best way in the end.

If you do ever go into wedding photography professionally, you will have learned a good lesson in all this, at least in regards to having other photographers working with you, as well as the manipulations than can occur. It's important to have a good contract with the client, and if you do have assistants, have clear contracts with them. There is much more to the business of wedding photography than just taking pretty photos. Seems you got a good taste of some of the variables and potential pitfalls here.

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Hillsilly

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Am a bit late to this thread but having had a skim through the comments most of them are laughably misguided in terms of the legal rights of the professional photographer over the OP.

Under Australian copyright law, the OP gained sole copyright over the photos that he took as soon as he pressed the shutter. That gives him unfettered rights to commercially exploit his photos.

The only way that the professional could restrict those rights is by virtue of a contract containing explicit terms prohibiting him from using/selling the photos. There is no way that the a court would read in such an onerous term into the very loose arrangement described here. I very much doubt that there is any contract between the OP and the pro photographer governing the shadowing arrangement, but there clearly is no term covering assignment of copyright or prohibition on exploitation of photos.

The one legal claim to the photos of the OP would be from the part of the bride. If we changed the facts a bit here and the OP wanted to sell his photos to a bridal magazine, the bride may be able to restrain this by bringing an action for breach of confidence. However, even this would be a pretty weak action given the reluctance of Australian courts to recognise any tort of privacy. Her only strong action would be against the professional (who she has a contract with) for his negligence in allowing the OP to tag along without requiring him to enter into a contract to restrain his use of the photos. But I digress.

The only issue at stake here is the OP's ethics. And personally I think the professional is the one who should be grateful that the bride isn't tempted to take him to VCAT for stuffing up the coverage: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/13/wedding-photographer-sued-for-missing-the-kiss/

Think a lot of the comments here are fuelled by "professionals" feeling a bit insecure about second shooters :P

[FWIW I'm in my final year of a law degree]

Once you've got a few years' IP law under your belt, you might see things differently.  I'd argue that the OP took the images as an agent of the pro photographer (as he would have been under the supervision and guidance of the pro and his attendance at the event would have been under the pro's direction), and consequently the pro owns the copyright (subject to the contract with the bride and groom....as they are the client, depending on the wording of the contract, you might find that they already own the copyright - take a look at s35(5) of the Copyright Act.)

Given the circumstances, I have a hard time seeing how the OP could own the copyright.  I suspect he'd argue that as the person pressing the shutter button, he was the creator and therefore the owner.  But given that this would have been a private event, with the OP attending under the direction of the pro photographer, if this ever became a serious issue, I'd suggest the pro (or the bride and groom) would have the winning argument. (Law degree and 20+ years experience.)

Back to the OP, I'm happy that you discussed it with the pro (even if it wasn't 100% your desired outcome).  We'd have 2 or 3 people come and do work experience with us from high schools and universities each year.  And while we're not in a photography related industry, everyone that works with us always acts on their best behaviour and we're delighted to have them, even though a certain percentage will ultimately become direct competitors.  But we like doing it.  Not only do we identify potential employees, but it is always useful having contacts in other firms or different specialities.  Hopefully, you've kept the relationship with the pro on a good footing as you never know when your paths might cross again.
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Am a bit late to this thread but having had a skim through the comments most of them are laughably misguided in terms of the legal rights of the professional photographer over the OP.

Under Australian copyright law, the OP gained sole copyright over the photos that he took as soon as he pressed the shutter. That gives him unfettered rights to commercially exploit his photos.

The only way that the professional could restrict those rights is by virtue of a contract containing explicit terms prohibiting him from using/selling the photos. There is no way that the a court would read in such an onerous term into the very loose arrangement described here. I very much doubt that there is any contract between the OP and the pro photographer governing the shadowing arrangement, but there clearly is no term covering assignment of copyright or prohibition on exploitation of photos.

The one legal claim to the photos of the OP would be from the part of the bride. If we changed the facts a bit here and the OP wanted to sell his photos to a bridal magazine, the bride may be able to restrain this by bringing an action for breach of confidence. However, even this would be a pretty weak action given the reluctance of Australian courts to recognise any tort of privacy. Her only strong action would be against the professional (who she has a contract with) for his negligence in allowing the OP to tag along without requiring him to enter into a contract to restrain his use of the photos. But I digress.

The only issue at stake here is the OP's ethics. And personally I think the professional is the one who should be grateful that the bride isn't tempted to take him to VCAT for stuffing up the coverage: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/13/wedding-photographer-sued-for-missing-the-kiss/

Think a lot of the comments here are fuelled by "professionals" feeling a bit insecure about second shooters :P

[FWIW I'm in my final year of a law degree]

Once you've got a few years' IP law under your belt, you might see things differently.  I'd argue that the OP took the images as an agent of the pro photographer (as he would have been under the supervision and guidance of the pro and his attendance at the event would have been under the pro's direction), and consequently the pro owns the copyright (subject to the contract with the bride and groom....as they are the client, depending on the wording of the contract, you might find that they already own the copyright - take a look at s35(5) of the Copyright Act.)

Given the circumstances, I have a hard time seeing how the OP could own the copyright.  I suspect he'd argue that as the person pressing the shutter button, he was the creator and therefore the owner.  But given that this would have been a private event, with the OP attending under the direction of the pro photographer, if this ever became a serious issue, I'd suggest the pro (or the bride and groom) would have the winning argument. (Law degree and 20+ years experience.)

Back to the OP, I'm happy that you discussed it with the pro (even if it wasn't 100% your desired outcome).  We'd have 2 or 3 people come and do work experience with us from high schools and universities each year.  And while we're not in a photography related industry, everyone that works with us always acts on their best behaviour and we're delighted to have them, even though a certain percentage will ultimately become direct competitors.  But we like doing it.  Not only do we identify potential employees, but it is always useful having contacts in other firms or different specialities.  Hopefully, you've kept the relationship with the pro on a good footing as you never know when your paths might cross again.

Just to summarize what he said... "Don't burn bridges."  :)  Just charge it to experience and move on.  If you feel cheated then just move on and don't work for/with him anymore in the future.  There are times that nature has a way of giving back whatever you lost.  Karma, as we always say will always get you.  I don't know if you believe but I've always believe in this.  It just made my life better and with less worries.   8)

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