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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Some more business type questions...Two things that are bugging me at the mo. One client would like a copy of all the images I ...
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:13   #1 (permalink)
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Some more business type questions

Two things that are bugging me at the mo. One client would like a copy of all the images I took on a shoot. Now I took about 600 and most of them are seconds apart to correct for people blinking. There's no real reason to give him 3gb worth of images, hell it would take my PC a rather long time to convert all 600 to jpg anyway. I've processed about 25 for them and I plan to give them those ones on CD with a gallery of the others for future reference. That sounds reasonable yer?

Secondly, asking for payment up front. I have one client who's moaning that its simply not the way things work in the business world. I keep telling him that it does happen but he's not buying it. It took me 3 weeks to get my last payment out of him. I sure as hell didn't believe the "it got lost in the mail" routine. I doubt I'll be able to get this guy around to my way of thinking, but for future clients its not too much of an issue is it? It is a normal way of doing business I'm sure.
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:38   #2 (permalink)
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Mate, it's your business so if you want payment up front then that's what you get.

If he doesn't want to pay you up front then he can find someone else. Keep it simple, be firm but polite. If he really wants you then he'll pay.
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:50   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemc
Two things that are bugging me at the mo. One client would like a copy of all the images I took on a shoot. Now I took about 600 and most of them are seconds apart to correct for people blinking. There's no real reason to give him 3gb worth of images, hell it would take my PC a rather long time to convert all 600 to jpg anyway. I've processed about 25 for them and I plan to give them those ones on CD with a gallery of the others for future reference. That sounds reasonable yer?
Why does he want them? I don't see an issue in providing them (apart from procesing time) as long as you know what he wants them for, and he pays the going rate for them.

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Originally Posted by petemc
Secondly, asking for payment up front. I have one client who's moaning that its simply not the way things work in the business world. I keep telling him that it does happen but he's not buying it. It took me 3 weeks to get my last payment out of him. I sure as hell didn't believe the "it got lost in the mail" routine. I doubt I'll be able to get this guy around to my way of thinking, but for future clients its not too much of an issue is it? It is a normal way of doing business I'm sure.
It's your business, you decide how you get paid.

However, payment up front can be an issue for businesses as until such time as they receive the goods or service they have no way of knowing they are going to be satisfied. Particularly in a subjective area such as photography. If they're not happy with the results, and have already paid, they have no way of making sure you DO come up with the goods. We don't pay in advance but we will pay on completion, depending on the service.

Perhaps it would be worth saying that when you first start taking work from a client the first 2 or 3 orders are on a cash on delivery/up front basis. After that you'll consider putting them onto some type of credit arrangement.

Three weeks for payment in general terms is pretty good. We've got clients where we're still waiting for the cash six months after doing the work, despite stating 28 days and threatening legal action, some Companies are just like that. It really depends what your T&C's state, or what you agreed up front.

Bear in mind I don't have a photography business, I'm more used to traditional stuff. I think there are at least a couple of guys on here do so I could easily be speaking crap
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Old 05-12-2005, 12:09   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dod
It's your business, you decide how you get paid.

However, payment up front can be an issue for businesses as until such time as they receive the goods or service they have no way of knowing they are going to be satisfied.
The guy knows I'm good, but then he plays the "just starting a business" card. As true as that maybe I've heard its hard to get payment from him from others.
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Old 05-12-2005, 12:14   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemc
The guy knows I'm good, but then he plays the "just starting a business" card. As true as that maybe I've heard its hard to get payment from him from others.
Throw it right back at him then, you're in a similar position
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Old 05-12-2005, 13:21   #6 (permalink)
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Pete, do him a proforma invoice, he pays, you play, simple as that. Its an extreme example, but a company that we dealt with went tits up owing us over 10k, it could have been far far worse, but we made them pay for the vast majority of the order before they had any of it, it could have cost us £$$$$$$ if we didnt do it.

As for the copies, only give him the good stuff, dont give him all the tat, copies of what he pays for!
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Old 05-12-2005, 13:24   #7 (permalink)
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One client would like a copy of all the images I took on a shoot
I would certainly want to keep that down to the best of each shot that you took. Sure you took 600 odd images but if that boils down to about 150 different shots then perhaps that would be a better selection to hand over. Keeping a tight hold on the quality on any images of yours that make it out to the public domain is the only way you can ensure that people only ever see pictures you are happy to put your name to.

You can always explain that it takes 600 shots to make sure he gets all the images he requires at 100% quality, the rest do make it passed the processing stage.

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Secondly, asking for payment up front
As everyone has said, that is completely your right to run your business that way if you see fit. I know I would lose many of my clients if I went down that route, as much as I'd love too because you do lose alot of time to chasing up the money.

It is very sad that we are now in a world where very few companies will pay before being chased.
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Old 05-12-2005, 13:38   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazzajl
I would certainly want to keep that down to the best of each shot that you took. Sure you took 600 odd images but if that boils down to about 150 different shots then perhaps that would be a better selection to hand over. Keeping a tight hold on the quality on any images of yours that make it out to the public domain is the only way you can ensure that people only ever see pictures you are happy to put your name to.

You can always explain that it takes 600 shots to make sure he gets all the images he requires at 100% quality, the rest do make it passed the processing stage.
I totally agree Theres no point in him having 25 great shots and 575 ok ones.

Quote:
As everyone has said, that is completely your right to run your business that way if you see fit. I know I would lose many of my clients if I went down that route, as much as I'd love too because you do lose alot of time to chasing up the money.

It is very sad that we are now in a world where very few companies will pay before being chased.
Yer i totally appreciate that. I'm trying to gauge whether I should be asking for money up front or not. Whether its an acceptable way of doing business. The last company I worked for as a full time web developer did. Under £500 and its upfront, over £500 and its half upfront. So far everything has been under £500 and some of my clients do pay upfront.

Oh well, I'll deal with this guy that way then. Typically he said Monday for the payment, he's gone missing. I'm not at all suprised
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Old 05-12-2005, 13:49   #9 (permalink)
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Oh well, I'll deal with this guy that way then
I don't want to feel at all like I'm even slightly party to pushing you down the road of letting people have credit if you want to run your business as no cash, no images.

Perhaps you could set the trend and get clients to go baack to the CoD culture.....

.. and if you do, I'll be first in line for any course you run in how to do it.
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Old 05-12-2005, 13:51   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with the others. Don't go handing 600 shots over.
Whether he pays for them or not, just think of the dogs in there. What's to stop him saying to someone "Look at this! I paid him and these are just some of the shots he took". If you're not there, you can't defend yourself, and as a photographer, a reputation can be everything....
(This is all IMO btw, I've bugger all experience in this field )

As for the payment up front I think I'm divided.
Business isn't 'always done like this' (on credit terms).
You try it with WarehouseExpress, you're just starting a photography business and need some lighting equipment, any chance you could have it upfront? Thought not

If you are happy to work like that, as I'm sure you are with most other clients, that's fine, and maybe that might be a common thing to do in the photography business.
However, you're a bit apprehensive about this guy. The doubts are there for a reason, he fannied you around last time with your payment. The 'The cheque in the post' is the oldest lie in the book (along with something about mouths and 'I love you').

If he was dealing with a large business and he took ages to pay them, they would put restrictions on his account, meaning payment would be up front. If you feel you are justified to do the same, then that is your choice. Admittedly it may have an adverse effect on the business he gives you, so it's gonna be a choice you have to think about.

It all depends on the amount and timeframe really that he messed you around for last time. If it was a cheque for £5 and was 2 days late, then it's a no brainer, but if it was for £5,000 and was 6 months late, it's a different issue of course. (Two extremes there but you get the idea).

When I worked at BT, the amount of companies that had a policy of not paying until the final reminder was astonishing.

Edit : Just noticed your latest post....hmmm he's gone missing? Sounds like a double omen to me
 
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Old 05-12-2005, 13:55   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel
As for the payment up front I think I'm divided.
Business isn't 'always done like this' (on credit terms).
You try it with WarehouseExpress, you're just starting a photography business and need some lighting equipment, any chance you could have it upfront? Thought not
I tried that example on him and he just said "wtf mate?" Some people
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Old 05-12-2005, 14:02   #12 (permalink)
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Just out of curiosity, what does he do?
 
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Old 05-12-2005, 14:11   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel
Just out of curiosity, what does he do?
He does web design, marketing, events n stuff. He's the same guy who wanted 3 images for £60. £20 per 4ft x 4ft shot.
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Old 05-12-2005, 14:14   #14 (permalink)
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Would he do all this work on credit? (Which was the point of my question)...
If not, then maybe you could point that out to him?
 
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Old 05-12-2005, 14:15   #15 (permalink)
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As said, if you specify money up front, then that's up to you. It is totally wrong for small businesses to be made to wait, but in general that is the way it is.

A compromise could be payment on delivery. Produce an invoice with the images, and explain that this methos helps you keep licensing costs down.

There are so many legal issues connected with the photography business involving copyright and licensing that T&Cs are a must. You should include your payment preferences in this, and state that employing you implies acceptance of your terms.
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Old 05-12-2005, 14:26   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel
Would he do all this work on credit? (Which was the point of my question)...
If not, then maybe you could point that out to him?
He's already played the £1000's of print work he did for this bar launch that he hasn't been paid for yet line with me. Whether thats true or not I just don't know.
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Old 05-12-2005, 14:39   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by petemc
He's already played the £1000's of print work he did for this bar launch that he hasn't been paid for yet line with me. Whether thats true or not I just don't know.
That’s his problem tbh, your problem is one of payments for your services and goods. We all have our individual issues that we deal with in manners that we see to be acceptable. The outcome of which you need to be able to justify to yourself. Its down to you but I would plainly tell him the terms and not vary from them. Business either gets done or it doesn't that way and you don't end up chasing him or spending all this time and effort on the problem.
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Old 05-12-2005, 17:08   #18 (permalink)
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Before our recent change of direction we would come across this problem. We dealt with it by using a credit reference. It cost us £20 a go to get an online report from Dunn and Bradstreet. (not dealt with by me personally so don't know if that was a special rate)

The report gives no guarantees but it does tell you the credit rating of the client i.e. how much it is considered safe to advance them in credit. Poor rating - no credit. medium - half up front half on delivery. Perfect rating - nett monthly account.

You know who you are dealing with and if any offence is taken at not giving credit.... not my fault mate - bad credit report.
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Old 07-12-2005, 01:55   #19 (permalink)
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Update. Client payed, images handed over. That went ok. Now back to the first issue. The guy paying £50 for a band shoot wanting copies of all the images. Now yes I did agree at the shoot to provide him with a copy of them. Now I never agreed to provide hi-res copies. That is just a technicality though. He's already played the "we agreed to it" card on me. I really have to force myself to get a contract signed before these things. He said he wants them for record keeping, and while he's happy with the 25 I've processed he thinks some of the others would be good for the site. 25 shots isn't enough for their website? I really don't feel happy with letting sub-par images be displayed on their site. Aside from that he said record keeping, so whats the issue with low-res copies? There shouldn't be. This really seems odd.

This is mainly my fault for being crap at dealing with people and I always say yes I'm going to have to work on stating terms up front and getting a contract signed.
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Old 07-12-2005, 07:10   #20 (permalink)
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I hate to say it but you have answered your own question in your post. Yes it really is unreasonable, and yes he should not have any more hi res images and especially ones that are below parr but you did not get anything signed and agreed previously so you must take some of the blame.

First he says he wants them for “record keeping” and then he is saying “good for the website”, that is different use and one which you should have agreed in your contract previously. Also point out that you are good at record keeping and if he wishes to purchase any more of your images, then subject to you believing they are good enough he can buy them on a per image basis at X cost.

I would never let anyone have hi res images unless he had paid per image or we had agreed a price for the whole shoot, £50 does not cover over 25 hi res images, come on £2 per image for a special subject shoot? You only get pictures for those prices from image banks and not of specialist subjects like his bar, or band!!! You are both being very naive and silly.
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Old 07-12-2005, 10:41   #21 (permalink)
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It used to be common practice for clients to view all images taken on a shoot. Often an Art Director would be on hand to prod the photographer towards exactly the image they have visualised for the job.
Please bear in mind that on many types of shoot, unless you're a 'big name' phot who's employed to bring a particular style that is already well-known, you are just a trigger-man for the images that have been previously visualised.
As to billing up-front, forget it. No-one in thier right mind will pay for images that are not yet taken. Be realistic guys - would you pay a builder before he does your extension and risk a bodge-job?
It's one of the great pit-falls of being a pro.
I once worked for Future Publishing in Bath, doing mountain bike imagery for a well-known 'Pro-ATB' rag. It once took six months to get paid for a job I'd done in Arizona - including all the expenses. They only paid once the job was published, and that could mean you were shooting in the Summer for Winter travel features. Waiting six months for £5k isn't a laugh if you're self-employed and there are bills to pay.

Always cover all the angles when agreeing a contract for a job. Lawyers are often on-hand for big accounts and some agencies have thier own legal departments for this precise reason. Get a big legal book out of the library and make up a generic contract that covers every single eventuality you and anyone else can think of.

We have a saying: Cover your Arse. It applies to everything you do - if you leave an opening, someone will exploit it, just because they can.
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Old 07-12-2005, 10:48   #22 (permalink)
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So maybe Pete should be looking at doing the shoot but not releasing the photos until he's paid?
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:21   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
I would never let anyone have hi res images unless he had paid per image or we had agreed a price for the whole shoot, £50 does not cover over 25 hi res images, come on £2 per image for a special subject shoot? You only get pictures for those prices from image banks and not of specialist subjects like his bar, or band!!! You are both being very naive and silly.
They're an unsigned band and I'm cutting them a break for the shoot as they're in talks with some big names who will get to see my shots. I realise thats probably a line though. I really feel like a boat being tossed about in a stormy sea. I have you guys telling me I'm charging silly prices, and on another forum populated by music photographers I'm being told to charge reasonable prices to unsigned bands. I'm trying to take everyones advice on board but it really is making my head spin
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:23   #24 (permalink)
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Pete, you need to set out your stall.

Before you enter into any negotiations, you should know what you want out of it.
Be firm but fair.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:20   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemc
They're an unsigned band and I'm cutting them a break for the shoot as they're in talks with some big names who will get to see my shots.
If you give us ALL the information at the start we can advice suitably, you never said that on this gig there would be other potential business and personal benefits. Exposure is another way of offsetting your costs and charges, it becomes a exchange of services and only you can judge how much benefit each will have. You can conduct a deal with that in mind and alter your pricing to suit your benift/exposure. It now looks as though the mentioned £50 is only part of your payment with the rest being in exposure?


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I really feel like a boat being tossed about in a stormy sea. I have you guys telling me I'm charging silly prices, and on another forum populated by music photographers I'm being told to charge reasonable prices to unsigned bands.
That depends on you not the band, I doubt Warehouse Express will cut an unemployed person some slack and sell stuff to them at trade just because they don’t have a large disposable income. If you feel you are worth your money then charge accordingly, it doesn’t matter if your client is unknown or Robbie Williams, their circumstances have no bearing on your ability to do the job and charge a FAIR price. If you don't feel established or able to do a professional job then you charge accordingly, remember that you will get a reputation based on that also and increasing your prices in the future will have to be done carefully.

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Originally Posted by petemc
I'm trying to take everyones advice on board but it really is making my head spin
Again not trying to be funny but seeking this advice after the shoot and the deal is a little late. You must have spent a good few hours by now chasing around trying to find answers to this problem, that’s all time that you could be promoting yourself, your business, improving your knowledge and skill base or indeed getting together a set of suitable contracts to prevent this happening in the future. If you work out all that time spent at your hourly rate, then at some point this job must have started costing you money rather than making you a profit, there has to be a time to draw the line. It may sound harsh but what you are doing makes bad business sense.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:31   #26 (permalink)
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Yup I should have got this all sorted at the start of the shoot. I know for next time to make it clear to the client what they get. I'm not a business minded person but I know I need to be in order to succeed at this. I should have stated that I will be hopefully getting decent exposure for this work too. I really suck at all of this stuff

Edit: Ok I've emailed him back and said well this;

Quote:
I realise that we did agree to a copy of the images, but you are stating 2 different things there. One is for record keeping, which would mean that you don't need hi-res copies and the other is for use on the website. The reason you hired me was to create some great images to make your band look good. In my professional opinion, releasing all 600 images for potential use on your website doesn't make your band look as good as releasing 25 processed shots. This is the way that any photographer will work. You pay for the shoot and you get a selection of the best images. 25 is more than enough for a website and a portfolio. I can let you have a copy of lowres shots like on the website for record keeping and the 25 processed images for public use. I do not normally agree to give out these images but since we do have an agreement I will honour that, but only the low-res shots. If its only for record keeping then you don't need hires copies.

You're getting a hell of a deal for your money and I've already agreed to do these extra shots in colour. I really can't let you have the hires of the others.

Last edited by petemc; 07-12-2005 at 12:39.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:48   #27 (permalink)
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Fair play.

Unfortunately, a lot of the music business relies on the 'you-sctratch-my-back' philosophy, and there is a lot of bartering for services. Unfortunately, this goes right up until you get 'the break' - up until then, you are just an impoverished musician. And because of the nature of the photos, they are trying to make you adopt a similar attitude - cut them a deal and they'll recommend you to the record company that obviously wants to sign them...

Unfortunately, the music biz is also a very incestuous and closed one. If the company they are seeing/talking to is that big, they will already have a roster of photographers that they will regularly use, courtesy of a rather slick and well-oiled marketing machine. Sounds like the band just wants to score some cheap photos to me...

But for £50, to expect 600 photos? Are they for real? The gallery idea seems good to me, so that they can see what is available should they need more... Would they release all of their crap recording takes, complete with all the mistakes? Or the rough mixes of their demo tracks? It's exactly the same for you. One other thing, and I think I'm correct here - I believe a precedent has been set in the courts that says that if you were an employee, your employer retains the copyright to all your work. However, as this is a commissioned piece of work, the copyright remains with you. Therefore, you retain the right to refuse them the use of the work in question...
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:52   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catdaddy
One other thing, and I think I'm correct here - I believe a precedent has been set in the courts that says that if you were an employee, your employer retains the copyright to all your work. However, as this is a commissioned piece of work, the copyright remains with you. Therefore, you retain the right to refuse them the use of the work in question...
I think so yer. Thats why a low-res copy of the shots with my name across them is all I can give them. That way I can make sure they can't use them for anything other than record keeping.
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Old 07-12-2005, 13:16   #29 (permalink)
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hi res copies with Pete was Ere or whatever you want to call it over the front so it spoils the picture, if he wants better copies, he can pay up again!

(can you tell ive had a hard morning negotiating stuff?)
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Old 07-12-2005, 14:26   #30 (permalink)
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He's now playing the "going back on my word" card and the "giving clients what they want" card. Clients certainly have a lot of cards, probably cos I give them them Anyway here's my reply. I'm playing it so it seems like he's the one with the issue in that he's not accepting the images. I don't recall saying "hires shots for public use" only a copy of them on cd.

Quote:
In photography there is a licensing issue. Now I did agree to give you a copy of the images and I will. I did not agree to give you hi-res copies of the images for public use, not for £50. I'm sure as a band you wouldn't give copies of all your work to someone allowing them to publish them as they see fit. Its the same thing here. You're saying you want all 600 odd images so you can use them online. 600 images for £50 is like 12p an image. Thats stupidly cheap As you said, record keeping. You can easily browse through images at say 700x700.

As for giving the client what they want, sure yer but if its within reason. Dixons won't give you a 42'' TV for £50 because you're a client and its what you want.
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