40 pictures for the price of 10: Another photographer’s dilemma


So it happened again. Another scenario where a photographer excitedly forgot to have a written agreement. Each time I hear stories like these, I get increasingly angry at the way photographers engage in unprofessional conducts. In most cases, the client is not to be blamed: put the blame on the photographer that has not earned the title “professional”.

It all started with this particular client that wanted a photoshoot for her upcoming book. The photographer billed her $125 (N20k) for the session and agreed that 10 high resolution pictures of her choice will be edited and given on a dvd. The session lasted for about 4 hours after which the photographer gave the client 150 low resolution files on a dvd for her to choose 10 from. Apparently, the client was over-satisfied with the quality of the pictures that came out of the session: so satisfied that she decided to choose 40 pictures. She then called the photographer that her husband wants 40 pictures edited instead of the “verbally” agreed upon 10 pictures. The photographer explained that it will cost extra. The client laughed it off and insinuated that the photographer did not just take pictures for a living but apparently had added comedy as a multiple stream of income.

When the photographer told me this a few hours ago (& I hope both parties are reading this), I wasn’t upset with the client: I was upset with the photographer that did not put into writing an agreement that would have considered common scenarios like these. We seem to be quick at collecting “deposits” from clients but we forget that there ought to be a written agreement before any money changes hands.

Always put it in writing. Write down everything and anything that could prevent both parties from having unnecessary arguments. Even if it’s your uncle or sister that hired you, at least do yourself a favor by writing down the expectations of both parties and send a copy to the client’s (your uncle or sister ie) email for confirmation. If you don’t know what to put in an agreement, google “Legal forms & agreements for photographers” and you can start from there. Better yet, check out a copy of our sample agreement for wedding clients.

Stop blaming the client for “cheating” you or being unreasonable and start being more professional. Either that or some of us might as well start implementing plan B: an 8am – 5pm salary job in any organization that can offer to give us our daily bread .

It’s your call
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