Upload & Sell: On
I was hired to 2nd shoot a wedding a few weeks ago by this photographer here in my city. I responded to a "2nd needed" ad on Craigslist because although I do mostly newborn and family portraiture, I like the excitement of a wedding every now and then. I've never shot one by myself, and I have no intentions of doing that for a while; I don't mind gaining some experience by 2nd shooting though.
Anyway, he says he'll probably only need me for 4 hours, and says he'll be paying $40 per hour. Again, nothing crazy, but I was mostly doing this for the experience anyway, so it wasn't that big a deal, really. We meet up the weekend before at a Starbucks, talk for a bit, and he goes over the details of the day with me. Over the next week, he emails me more specifics (it was a miltary/navy wedding held on the naval base in Newport, but I was to start the day by meeting up the groom at the Mariott) about the day, and all that.
The day of the wedding comes, and it all goes well without a hitch. After my four hours are done, I bid him adieu, and he transfers the $80 right there on his phone in front of me via paypal, and he tells me he'll be sending he rest after he recieves the files. Although he had initially said he'd hand me a flash dive to fill and mail to him, he at the wedding, told me that he would prefer if we did a 'google online drive' transfer.
After culling the images, I had about 436 RAW files. I shoot with a 5D II, so there were pretty large. The Monday after the wedding, we started communicating per the file transfer; he sends me a link via google, with an invitation to view/edit a folder, and asks me to fill it.
We had so many problems with this transfer that ended up taking us about a week and a half of steady communication, deletes, start overs, and a bunch of other stuff to finally get them all to him. The Tuesday that I sent the final file, I send him an email asking for confirmation on his end that all was well... I never heard anything back. I mean, I know he got them, I just wanted to be sure.
Over the next 2 weeks, I reach out to this guy via phone, text, twitter, facebook, email, and God knows what else. To clarify, the first week or so, I only tried once or twice.. When I didn't hear back, I'd send a text here and there, or a quick one-liner, asking if all was well, and stating that I was just trying to touch base.
After about 10 days of so of nothing from him, I leave a message on his wall.. The same kind; "Hi ..., it's just me again. I hope all is well, I'm just trying to touch base and make sure you got everything I sent".. I actually didn't go into 'onslaught mode' till about the 12th day.. I called about 8 times a day, sent about 4 emails a day, texts, tweets.. etc.
I had established at this point that he definitely was gettting my communications.. he was updating daily on FB.. So I know he was getting them. I just didn't understand why he was ignoring them. Could it be the money? I mean, it was only $80, and I know he got paid a lot more than that! Doesn't make sense, right? Was he unhappy with the images? Why wouldn't he just say..?
Like I said to my husband; "I don't know for sure that he's trying to screw me over, but I do know for sure that he's ignoring my emails"..Finally, I sent him an angry email about two nights ago, and threatened legal action if he didn't pay the balance. Ten minutes later, I get an email from PayPal informing me of an $80 deposit into my account.
He also sent me an email telling me that I was ridiculous, and that the "standard practice" is for the primary to make payment within 30 days of which he had plenty of time. He told me that I was ruined in this business that relied so heavily on word of mouth, and he would never hire me again. He said he had been on vacation, and that it when he's on vacation his phone stays off.
.. I've thought about this a lot since it happened... I know he was getting my emails, he had an iphone..! And as a photographer with no studio, his phone is most definitly his best friend. I mean.. I don't get it. My husband is convinced he was going to sccrew me over.. I would like to believe he wouldn't, but why wouldn't he acknowledge anything I'd sent? Why did he not pick up? Or respond to anything? He ignored the texts, the phone calls, the emails..everything.
Most of the photographers here are very experienced, so would you mnd giving me your 2 cents here? Did I jump the gun? Do you think he would have eventually responded? Is this standard? How would you have handled this as either the primary or the 2nd?