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Archive 2012 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers
  
 
derekrock
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


A problem has arising from an event I recently covered and need your inputs as to how to go about it since it is my first time. I belong to a group that had a dinner recently and was asked at the last minute to photograph.

1. I was not given a free entrance ticket to the dinner: I bought my own ticket to support my group and also photograph the event.

2. I rented a back-up lens at my own cost for the event (car rental, gas, etc total event cost to me $220.95, excluding time spent editing 1000 pictures)

3. The organizers did not pay me anything to cover the event because I was not the original photographer they contracted. The original photographer cancelled it at the last minute. The only agreement I had with them was through text messages from my own group president asking me to cover the event and sell prints

4. At the event venue, I realized the dinner (about 500 attendants) was a joint program between two organisations. My organisation and the sister group. I never knew that before the event day.

5. The sister group's president daughter is a photographer and unknown to the two groups, when the original photographer quit on them a day before the event, my group asked me to cover the event and sell prints to recover my cost while the sister group president also told her daughter to cover the event.

6. I happily worked with the other photographer and we actually decided to team up in the future and do some sessions together. She is nice to work with.

7. Unfortunately for her, she came with one camera, one lens, one SB 600 and nothing to back-up anything while I had 2 cameras, multiple lens and 5 nikon flashes (loaned her one) and backup equipment. And unknown to me her mum, the president accidentally formatted her card when she was going through her pictures, leaving me as the only photographer.

8. I edited about 1000 pictures, posted high res JPEGS on my website, and low resolution pictures with my watermark on MY GROUP Facebook page. I realized that people were posting some of my pictures screen printed from my website for use on their facebook page instead of tagging themselves in the ones I posted there.

9. Today, my group President told me they had a lengthy meeting and the other association president told my group to inform me that since I was not a sponsor for the event, I should make post high rez pictures on Facebook without my watermark, make prints and frames for the Mayor, the MPS, and about 5 corporate sponsors since it was the agreement with the sponsors that they would provide them with such package. And that I can only sell my pictures after. I SAID NO right away because they did not pay me to cover the event and if they want the packages they are requesting, they need to PAY for them but I will provide a discount of 15%. They said NO to my offer and want everything free.

What do I do now, I want to keep the clients (not the official group but members of the group) but the only way I can do that is to message them through FB and now they have removed me from the group (unless I provide what is in 9). They also threatened me with legal issues that I am selling pictures for an event I was not an organizer or sponsor. I was thinking of removing all the pictures from the group page and post on my own page but have now being blocked from the group

What do you advice?



Feb 14, 2012 at 06:10 PM
arthurb
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


You have no contract with the organisers. You paid for your own dinner. If I were you I would take the pictures off of your website. If they want copies they pay.


Feb 14, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Thanks for moving the post. It is more appropriate here.

My 2 cents:

- This is a good lesson for you that if you expect to do photography as a business, you need to treat it as such and that means having a written contract.

- From a practical standpoint, your group president was your client. Does he agree with your interpretation of what was agreed to? If so, he should have the guts to stand up for you with the other group. I would pressure him as much as I could to try to get to an amiable arrangement.

- It is hard for me to imagine how they would successfully pursue any legal action against you if you try to sell the images because:
* There is apparently no contract.
* You paid for entry and they allowed you to photograph the event.
That said, I am not a lawyer and I am not familiar with Canadian laws and how a civil or small claims case might be pursued there. Your safest course would probably be to not make the photos available but not try to sell them either. Give them some time to see if they make you a more attractive offer for the images.



Feb 14, 2012 at 06:27 PM
cineski
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Take the pictures down pronto (everywhere), register them with the copyright office. Tell them they have to pay for the pictures, do not let them bully you. Stand up for yourself. Do you really want to work with companies like this? No. So don't be afraid to piss them off. PM me if you want more specific advice.


Feb 14, 2012 at 06:37 PM
derekrock
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Thanks for your responses. I appreciate your support. @ Eyeball: My president agrees with me and he just left my office some some few minutes ago. Unfortunately, he lacks the guts to tell the group president about what he told me. Simply because the other group has all the big guns (MPS, mayor, bank executive) as members. He is allowing me 5 hours to delete the pictures from their group facebook page (after which I would be blocked again, I can't believe it though).

I do not want to deal with the sister organisation because I never had any contract with them. I told my president to tell them, to come and negotiate with me because without me, they have no pictures and without the pictures, the banks that sponsored the program cannot be convinced the event took place.

My take is simple: You paid someone to cover the event. The person failed to show up. He was to receive $2000. Pay me the $2000 or part of it and receive the package you want or I sell the pictures to you like to any other person but with a discount of 15%. I feel they want to bully me to get the pictures but once I know they cannot get any pictures without me, I have a big bargaining chip in my hand

I have learnt a big lesson from this and I believe would help me to grow. I do only portrait photography (have business license and pay taxes, issue model release forms even to my wife). I have never covered any event other than citizenship ceremonies (no release form is required as each person receiving the Citizenship must sign complete media release in advance of the ceremony).
Now that is a big lesson after 5 days of "abandoning" my wife to edit photos-Get contract for everything.



Feb 14, 2012 at 07:00 PM
nolaguy
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


This isn't intended to be life's wisdom, just a few off the cuff thoughts.

Position 1: Tell them to go F themselves. Appropriate and satisfying. And probably the “right” thing to do (assuming you spell out the full word).

Position 2: The work is already done. Consider the goodwill to be gained by cooperating and perhaps more importantly, the ill-will you may endure by not cooperating. You have sunk costs in the endeavor and after prudent evaluation (albeit unpleasant), you may find that you’ll experience further “costs” from any bad-mouthing that occurs if you don’t cooperate. The reality certainly isn’t fair or right, but it may simply be what it is.

Position 3: Propose a fair solution but don’t insist upon it. You went in without a contract and trusted in fair play. A real shame you’re dealing with a**holes but it happens. Hopefully, what goes around, comes around.

In the future, no doubt you’ll dot “i’s” and cross “t’s”… for now, perhaps not much to be gained by not donating your services?

It’s a sad thing when people are jerks. But anytime I consider doing something “on the principle of the thing”, I try to catch my breath and think twice. In my experience it’s only worth it about 10% of the time.

Best of luck.



Feb 14, 2012 at 09:03 PM
cineski
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Nolaguy gives some great advice. However, it's often that jerks hang out with other jerks.


Feb 14, 2012 at 11:24 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


The problem is the 'real' photographer had a value. You don't. That is the bottom line. You are looked at as a free service. If your contact will not make a stand for you then I would say you have some problems. First I would remove all the images. NO one should have access to them and be posting for free even with your watermark on them. Simply tell them the price for prints and walk away. Next time you won't be spending your money on equipment and time on labor without cash in hand. Hard lesson to learn but will save you in the future.


Feb 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
cineski
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


I disagree , jefferies1, the OP has photographs that the company wants but doesn't want to pay for. The OP has the upper hand.


Feb 15, 2012 at 12:33 AM
RobertLynn
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


I upset a lot of people, because I photograph events, and I have people saying that they should get photos for free.

My situation is different, but similar. I photograph MMA. I'll photograph an event for a news agency, but I retain copyright to my work (my release only permits them reproduction license for a period of time that is relavent to the show). I'll get a promoter that wants me to send them all of the photos, high res, on my dime...not even pay shipping!

Nope, doesn't work that way. They say "my event, and you took pictures"...Nope, not how it works.

It works like this, I have a product, you pay for that product. Simple.

Stick to your guns, I'd tell them to pay like everyone else. Lastly, if I were you, I'd delete all of them from the pages.



Feb 15, 2012 at 03:07 AM
 

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GeorgeM
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Remove all the online images. You got suckered into paying to work for nothing. Don't give them the images, watermarked or not, for free online.

Keep those text messages where your president asked you to shoot and sell the images.

Let the sister organization have all the images their shooter, the daughter, shot for free. ie: NONE. Yours are for sale should they want them.

The people who want your pictures for free are making money and deals while hobnobbing with the mayor, mps and other bigwigs. They'll pay either with cash or with egg on their faces for not being able to follow through on their promises.

Be patient and firm. The cash will come.

George



Feb 15, 2012 at 03:39 AM
swoop
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


There's so much wrong here.

1. You should never have even taken it up when they asked. That's always an invitation for trouble. I'm guessing you're a hobbyist and someone tried to take advantage of that. "He has a good camera, he can do it and he's one of us and not a pro so he'll be happy to do it for free" was likely someones thinking.

2. Don't give them a thing. If they think they can always get someone to do it for free you create the problem. Let them realize that even a hobbyist charges money for a service.

3. They have no basis to demand anything from you. There's no contract. No money was exchanged upfront. You paid for your seat as a guest so you had every right to be there. And there was nothing stating you were prohibited from taking photographs. In fact you were encouraged. What did they think you were going to do with the images.

4. Don't ever rent backup equipment unless you are absolutely sure you can financially justify it, as in if your equipment fails during an assignment your career is over or you can expense it to the client as a kind of insurance policy. I've heard stories of photographers who don't even own cameras and just bill the client for renting equipment whenever they work. I've heard of a guy who makes money "renting" his own equipment to clients when he works so he's not only paid his fee but a fee just for bringing his camera.

5. Remove the images online. Yeah, it means to you worked for nothing and no one will ever see your images. But if anyone wants to see them they will have to pay. Your photos are exclusive.



Feb 15, 2012 at 06:52 PM
derekrock
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Thanks for all your comments and advice. I am learning a lot from this. @SWOOP, your points are well taken especially the #4. Its very useful (guess my wife would thank you for that and tell me "I told you so".
The sister organisation today (Feb 15th) sent me an email (though my website) asking me to put up the pictures on my site because they want to send letters to all the donors and others to make direct purchase from me and in return, I provide 10-15% or profits to them. I have not replied them yet as I need time to think.

I now have a different feeling about all this: I think someone in my association (possibly the president) is not telling me the truth. The original photographer was paid but cancelled it at the last minute because he lost his dad (understandable) and refunded the money to the organizers. The other photographer tells me her mum (president of the sister association) paid her $1000 to cover the event and assumes my group's president also paid me $1000 to cover it with her. It appears my group president misused that money and since I had nothing to discuss with the other group, there was no way I could find out about the budget.
So here is my thinking:
- $2000 refunded by the original photographer was supposed to be shared between the other photographer and myself to cover the event.

-The other photographer got paid but did not deliver the photos because of her mum's error.

-I did not get paid but the executives of the sister group think I was paid the remaining $1000, hence their demand for the pictures. Apart from the message I received from the sister group president, I have not communicated with them because I have no contract with them and my president tells me not to communicate with them directly. Now that they have sent me the first mail, I need to speak with them.

- I think (not proven) that my own president is the cause of the problem and he pocketed the $1000. If that is the case, then I am happy because somebody will lose his job for being corrupt and I will push for that (see what photographer can reveal )

I will update you



Feb 15, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Jayem1
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Now, this is getting more interesting. Please keep us posted.


Feb 15, 2012 at 08:18 PM
BenV
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Wow, really good read through, I wish stories like this were stickied so others can learn from others mistakes.


Feb 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM
glort
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers



I suppose it goes without saying you should have got the details of the engagement more organized and on paper. You should have also stated your terms in writing ( email) before doing the work and certainly before spending money on rental gear.
Regardless of anything else, your failure to do these things manifested the other problems.

I don't get contracts before doing these jobs, I get direct deposits into my bank account. Much cheaper to get nothing for doing than spend money and put effort into working on something and get nothing for it.

If this pans out the way you are thinking with you and the other shooter supposedly being paid the grand each, I'd be asking for at least $1500 if not the full $2k.
The bottom line is the other shooter failed to deliver anything either.
Had she been on her own, she would have had to refund that money in it's entirety and could have also been due for damages for failing to deliver. Doesn't matter who stuffed up what, She delivered nil.

Now you are being asked to furnish all the prints and promotional items. Don't be naive twice and supply that out of your cut unless you get the full 2K.
And what is more, don't think you owe anyone anything at this stage.
Whatever the internal stuff up, again you have not been paid a cent so you are committed to supplying nothing.

Again, If all the images are yours, then you are entitled to the full fee. Do not be a pussy and settle for less or you are leaving yourself open to being abused again in the future and don't think you have to honor any loyalties to anyone either.

You can also bet your arse that these people will NOT have you back next year following this schomozzle which they will not want to be reminded of so forget about doing them any favors for that. get what you are due now for the work you have done.
If they get you back next year great, if they don't then you have not been played for a sucker and will not be regretting it later.

Business is business and there are no friends in it.




Feb 16, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


glort wrote:
Business is business and there are no friends in it.



Must suck for you to go to work....many of my clients are friends of mine. Like one of my long time clients says there are 4 or 5 photographers who can do the job and stay on budget, but only 1-2 that he'd like to spend the day with on location.



Feb 16, 2012 at 09:05 AM
iamcdn
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


wow sucks to be the organization. if I read all this correctly they paid $2,000 and got nothing to show for it, now they want you to give them what you have for free.

Hmmmm, ummmmm, NO.

I understand you are not wanting to lose a client, but yikes, it is not your fault - it is theirs. Yes you should have had a contract but you don't so what you have is yours and if they really need it - because they promised photos to participants then they need to pony up and pay you for them.

I would not be agreeing to giving 10-15% of sales to any group, nor giving any prints away for free.

If it were me, I would be telling them, I am sorry you are in the situation you are in, I worked in good faith, put in many hours of work on your word and unfortunately no one else held up their end. If you would like access to these photos, then we need to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement where I get paid, and you get photos.

No client will respect you if you give into them at this point, you are better to walk away and give them nothing than be bullied into anything. Be professional, but get paid.

good luck to you



Feb 16, 2012 at 06:53 PM
GeorgeM
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


+1


Feb 16, 2012 at 08:49 PM
plubbry
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Event Photography: Problems with Organizers


Derek, take this with a large grain of salt because I am not familiar with contract law in Canada.

From reading your posts it sounds like the only contract that existed was a 'verbal' contract that you had with your association's president. That contract consisted of you taking pictures of the event and your compensation was to be any profits from sales of said pictures and/or prints. What your association previously paid their first photographer has no bearing on what compensation you agreed to or will receive.

It doesn't matter if the other association payed their photographer $1000 to cover the event. Perhaps their contract was for a base pay in return for all full rez images and/or prints at cost.

Your associations president cannot make a contract between you and the other association. Therefore you have no contract with anyone except the 'verbal' contract with your associations president.

I would certainly remove all images for the time being until a suitable resolution can be found. Confirm with your association's president that your agreement was that your compensation for your work was to come from the sales of photos. Clearly relay this information to the other parties involved. Like you implied, they may be under the impression that you were payed $1000 to take the pictures and that they would be able to receive images for no additional expense.

In your position I would want all parties involved to clearly understand what the terms of your 'verbal' contract were so that they don't think you're trying to change the agreement on them.

Of course it is possible they don't care what you agreed to but just want something for free.

Good Luck.



Feb 16, 2012 at 09:33 PM
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