Engagement Shoot Crisis. Help & Advice Needed!


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#1
Hello there fellow CSers! Well recently I assisted my cousin in shooting an Engagement. We are both amateurs and freelancing at this. I was called upon the last minute to assist him in the shoot. So this was what happen. I will tell you, this is one hell of a story you will find ridiculous. I will put in point form in accordance to the sequence of events. Your help and advices are much appreciated.

- Communication was not directly to the client but thru a 3rd party who is so called the coordinator.
- Mutual agreement was $XXX inclusive of 100 Edited Photos & One Album.
- This is only coverage for the Girl's Side.
- On the day of the shoot, we were told at the last minute that we were required to go over to the Guy's Side to shoot also.
- At at the same point of time, we were told to pull some strings and produce 200 Edited Photos instead since we are covering for both sides.
- At that point we decided to sound off and suggested the idea of a Thumb drive instead of an album because we want them to have the freedom of playing with their photos.
- We started at 3pm and ended at 9pm. 6 HOURS ENGAGEMENT (More like a wedding)
- Both me and my cousin are totally worn out.
- I suggested to my cousin that I would like to edit all the photos from his camera and mine so as to speed up the process since im on leave for a few days.
- After the shoot, the coordinator came to us to re discuss the mutual agreement and about the price.
- Since we had to cover for the Guy's side too and after knowing that the requirement has been jacked up plus the number of hours we were there to do the job, we too decided to jack up the price abit to $XXX. WE WERE PAID THE FULL AMOUNT ON THE SPOT (BECAUSE THEY TRUST US).
- Coordinator agreed and we told them since we covered for both sides, it will take us roughly 1 week to finish Editing the photos since I was going to edit everything
- However during the conversation, my cousin sounded off and told me he did not want to trouble me so he decided to edit the photos himself.
- We informed the coordinator again about the changes and told them we need 2 weeks.
- 3 days after the shoot, the coordinator called us up and told us AGAIN to pull some strings and produced 2 ALBUMS on top of the thumb drive.
- We decided to be lenient and agreed to the request since I could get a very cheap deal for albums.
- 1.5 Weeks has passed and we were 3/4 way through. We received a phone call from the coordinator asking its been more than 1 week, where are the photos.
- We were shocked and told them it was 2 weeks not 1 week. They forgot we mentioned to them about this matter.
- They told me my cousin is hard to contact. But I told them, he's a paramedic and apparently he's very busy everyday. He does not have his phone 24/7.
- They told me that the replies my cousin gave is half hearted and he did not take the initiative to contact them and update the progress. (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WE HAVE FULL TIME JOBS.)
- They told me they have lost trust in my cousin because his behaviour.
- Since they were the 3rd party, they were pressured by the clients. And this is what led to them making false promises.
- To cover their butt, they told the client we had shot roughly 400 odd photos in total (which is true), and 300 PICS ARE OF GOOD QUALITY AND SHALL BE GIVEN AS THE FINAL PRODUCT (totally not true and not in the agreement)
- So what happened next is, they turn the gun to us saying "YOU PROMISED 300 PHOTOS IN ONE WEEK."
- Obviously I told them since when? But they were in denial so. I didn't wanna butt heads so I just shut up and try to complete the task.
- Phone rang again and this time, "CAN YOU GIVE US ALL THE PHOTOS? EDITED AND NON EDITED ONES"
- Since I wanna end this hectic piece of job, I said no problem we can give to you.

After the end of this job, I plan to stamp something on their head, telling them that all these was a total BS. I need help in telling them that in a "nicer" and indirect way. Your help and advice will be of such great assistance.

I SEEK YOU GUYS TO NOT SCREENSHOT THIS AND POST TO ANY SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES OR PAGES. THIS POST IS TOTALLY SAFE HERE IN CLUBSNAP BECAUSE THE PEOPLE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THIS PAGE.

P.S: Mutual Agreement $XXX was $200 and the jacked up price $XXX was $350. You guys decide.
 

Zeisser

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Jul 12, 2008
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#2
To be honest I 'salute' you and your cousin for being brave in accepting this assignment from
an event co-ordinator since both of you are just amateurs as you have admitted.

Advice is better learn the ropes before accepting assignments and must be able to handle such scenarios.
Covering paid events are crictical especially engagements or weddings it's a once in a lifetime thingy
and the expectation from clients are top notch quality. The prices you charged are pittance and the time and
effort spent is not worth the while and to come here seeking advice to tell off the client will only back fire.

Do ponder.
 

#3
To be honest I 'salute' you and your cousin for being brave in accepting this assignment from
an event co-ordinator since both of you are just amateurs as you have admitted.

Advice is better learn the ropes before accepting assignments and must be able to handle such scenarios.
Covering paid events are crictical especially engagements or weddings it's a once in a lifetime thingy
and the expectation from clients are top notch quality. The prices you charged are pittance and the time and
effort spent is not worth the while and to come here seeking advice to tell off the client will only back fire.

Do ponder.
Hey there, thanks for taking your time to share your opinion. I understand where you are coming from and I couldnt agree more. I have told my cousin to take this as a learning curve and be more knowledgable when we handle any future clients. 

Actually both of us have shot few events before. So we thought this would go smooth as planned too. Usually we do not have this kind of problem. The problem I meant is the constant changing and demand of items the client wants.

The previous clients we handled were not like this from my experience.
 

Nov 26, 2013
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#4
6 hours shoot for $350? And still need to spend money on printing/getting albums? Honestly, they are low balling you. With that price, I have no idea why you guys are editing for them. It's not even $60 an hour and if shared between 2 parties = $30 an hour.

My suggestion is pass them all the photos and ask them to edit themselves. For the price, they shouldn't be expecting the photos to be edited.

And food for thought, next time please draft out a contract to state the requirements. Once contract is signed and if terms are changed last minute, it's chargeable. It's always better to have a black and white so that you guys can cover your ass.
 

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undergrd

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Jun 16, 2007
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#5
Im just a hobbist so not sure if my suggestion is valid or value-add.

What i normally practice to safe guard myself at my full time job is whatever was discussed, i will try to drop the other party a sms/whatsapp on what had been discussed and the outcome.

Thou this may not be 100% effective but at least there will be some sort of concrete written agreement rather than nothing to fall back on.
 

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ellery

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#7
So what advice you needed again ? Between you and your cousin and the co ordinator it is been one big education trip for you guys. Never heard of an engagement shoot being called an event - never heard of an engagement shoot where you shoot only one party, never heard of one that starts from the home on one party of a couple. I suspect there is nothing much any one can offer by way of advice, that you guys may come up in the days following after delivery. I tar-pet the 2 of you, never have a heard of such decisive leadership and operational abilities: 1 team, 2 leaders, that can not say no.
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#8
Zeisser and Ellery are the old and wise working photographers that you shouldn't take their advices lightly.

and Ellery has nail the main cause of all this,
1 team, 2 leaders, that can not say no.

both you are like hopping into an ambulance and start driving, without checking where are the handbrake and brake pedal, and are they working fine.
you are not helping people your ambulance but also causing all the hazard to yourself, so what are you going to do when the ambulance out of control?
jumping of the ambulance or going down with it? in both cases you will kill yourself and your partner, if not also injure badly.

stop putting the blames on the client or the wedding coordinator, there are tones of people like this out there, you need to know where is your bottom line first before taking in any clients.
 

sjackal

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Jul 9, 2008
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#9
So what advice you needed again ? Between you and your cousin and the co ordinator it is been one big education trip for you guys. Never heard of an engagement shoot being called an event - never heard of an engagement shoot where you shoot only one party, never heard of one that starts from the home on one party of a couple. I suspect there is nothing much any one can offer by way of advice, that you guys may come up in the days following after delivery. I tar-pet the 2 of you, never have a heard of such decisive leadership and operational abilities: 1 team, 2 leaders, that can not say no.
Sir, if I am not wrong, it is normal for Malay weddings to have both sides hiring their own photographers because the celebrations are held at two locations, one at groom side and the other at bride's side. Malay friends please kindly correct me if I am wrong.

If I remember correctly, (Indian friends please clarify if I am wrong), some Indian weddings also have practice of groom side and bride side hiring their own photographers.
 

sjackal

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Jul 9, 2008
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#10
After the end of this job, I plan to stamp something on their head, telling them that all these was a total BS. I need help in telling them that in a "nicer" and indirect way. Your help and advice will be of such great assistance.
If I understand correctly, the episode already over, just let it go. Learn an experience and move on. No need to tear faces. I know you are angry, but there is no easy way to nicely convey the message that they suck.
 

shierwin

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2008
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#11
人生烦恼就12个字:
放不下、想不开、
看不透、忘不了...
 

Sep 23, 2005
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#12
This is indeed ridiculous – You and your cousin, taking up the job with so many requirements (plus last min added ones) yet there's no written agreement? Anyway, no one cares if you have FULL TIME job or not, you take up the job, you deliver, simple as that.
 

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#13
This is indeed ridiculous – You and your cousin, taking up the job with so many requirements (plus last min added ones) yet there's no written agreement? Anyway, no one cares if you have FULL TIME job or not, you take up the job, you deliver, simple as that.
+1 for a written agreement or contract.
 

Kermitfm

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Mar 10, 2007
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#14
+1 for a written agreement or contract.
+2 for written contract

The main problem here is communication. The co-ordinator is working for the couple and his aim is to get the best deal for them. He negotiates with all the vendors to get the most out of them. Unfortunately, you think you are working for the vendor. Your boss is actually yourself. Unless you want to make a loss to preserve future relationship and business, you should not be agreeing to those changes at last minute where there is a possibility that you may not have sufficient resources or incentives to provide. Another misstep was that you did not seal the new agreement in any form - written, sms or whatever so when problem arrives, it became a 'he said' vs 'I said' situation. I am trying to analyse the situation objectively and not pinning the blame on any party.

An amateur photographer is a photographer who fully depend on 100% on his photography knowledge and skill. A 'pro' ((definition: a photographer who takes photos for monetary reward) relies on business skills - communication, negotiation, planning, pricing, etc as much as his photography skills. The lesson here is to work on your business knowledge if you want to pursue this line of work (free-lance , part-time, or fulltime) because at the end of the day this will be the kind of issues you face when doing paid events.

My advice is to just close the issue since the coordinator has agreed to the 'compromise'. I don't think you are wrong in how you feel right now, but I certainly don't advice acting out on your emotions.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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#15
This is a good read for folks wanting to shoot for money. When you factor in all the work and the costs, is it worth it? for $350?

Lessons learnt:

1. always have a written contract. (you need to register a business to do this)
2. always have the client define all the scope prior to quote. and have the scope clearly written into the contract
3. Price your services properly, so it is actually worth your time.
4. always give a provision for more money if the scope expands. (more time, more locations etc).
5. always underpromise. Never tell people it will be ready in X amount of time if you really need X amount of time to do it. You need to buffer for unforeseen problems.
6. Post processing should always been done by one person no matter how many people are shooting.
7. Never change your deliverable by yourself (thumbdrive better than album, you said). Just stick to what is promised.
8. When the coordinator overpromised the client, and ask you for more, then it has nothing to do with you. But it is an opportunity for you to upsell.
9. Giving out all photos shot is one of the most wrong and ridiculous thing you can ever do.
 

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Agetan

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Dec 31, 2004
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#16
If you agree to something... Deliver it.

If you can't deliver it, then don't agree to it.

Who's fault? You and your cousin for accepting it. Contract or not, it is always your choice to accept of decline the additional.

Professional photographers own up to their words... So if you get paid, you are the pro at the time, when things screw up, it's your fault. Simple as that.

If you can start a business without a rule, then you expect people to set the rules for you.

Why so surprise?

What you need to do is to get things done and deliver what you have promised to do.

You are not entitled to be angry... Unfortunately.

Now go and get your stuff sorted.

Regards,

Hart
 

#18
Sometimes it doesn't pay to be nice. The big mistake to begin with is you and your cousin did not follow the agreement.

I suggest you quickly get this case done and tell off the coordinator. Explain that everything done is already beyond what was agreed.
 

Prismatic

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#20
Not meaning to be a language Nazi but from the way you are writing, your communication skills may have contributed to your problems. There was no clear agreement between your side and the coordinator, and your cousin too. What the coordinator told the client don't really apply to you, what was important was your agreement with the coordinator Even if you have been pay in full, you should have stuck to what you have promised to do, because you don't have a contract with the client. I believe you have given ground for concern of future work or reputation, but this opens up to exploitation by the same coordinator in future. I would suggest to take this as a lesson: formalize all agreement in future as disputes can easily escalate these days. You probably would want to ditch the coordinator too, either he/she's got no clue what he/she is doing, or too good at pushing the envelope.

And please, cut back on the 'pulling strings' and 'sounding off'. You sound off some more, people will think you are an alarm clock.
 

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