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Client was late! Missed golden hour.
  
 
PanS
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


I was scheduled to meet a client at a park for a shoot an hour before golden hour. I was called and texted saying she'd be there and she was only running a little late. The client ran 2 hours late and by the time they arrived at the park it was pitch black.My D750 camera couldn't focus in pitch black woods during a new moon and the flash didn't make things appealing.

We went to the city and tried to use some street lights for key lights and background lights as bokeh. It made due but a single flash in a rapid box was for a night time shoot wasn't what I was expecting. This definitely was one of my worst shoots.

I feel upset that the client was late... she said she overslept and then ran late because she was doing her make up.
The client was upset because the photos weren't amazing. Nor what we had in mind for a Golden Hour at the Park shoot. It's a lose/lose situation.

I usually photograph scheduled events but on occasion I've been picking up generic portraits. Just people with blurred out forests and city backgrounds for senior photos and the like. I've never had an issue with tardiness before now.

How should I write the section of my contract to address punctuality and timeliness of a shoot?



Dec 28, 2016 at 05:25 PM
Oscarsmadness
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


for something time sensitive, I have a line that says the shoot starts at such a time and ends at such a time. It's in the date/place section of the contract.

Then somewhere else, I think, it also says I get paid the entire contracted amount regardless of when the client chooses to show up/leave, and that it's not my fault if the portfolio suffers because the client did not follow the schedule in the contract. Most of my contracts don't have this much detail, but I keep the language available to copy & paste into the contract if it is necessary.

Writing a contract is mainly an exercise in indemnifying yourself to be honest (and making sure you get your money). Make sure you indemnify yourself against the consequences of a client's bad behaviour, then add whatever else you want.



Dec 28, 2016 at 05:53 PM
Michael White
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


What you have done if you had another client booked after this client, doesn't the client realize you went above you obligated tasks to try and get them something but you were not setup for that type of photography since the goal was natural light photography not artificial light photography you might not even had the correct lens for the later.


Dec 28, 2016 at 08:31 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


You don't need any additional language, you just needed to tell her to come back another day and when you talked to her about meeting for the shoot, you just need to remind gently that because golden hour doesn't last very long, she needs to be on time. When she shows up too late, it's up to you to say you're postponing due to darkness. Whether you want to try and charge for that is up to you, but I would just chock it up to experience and move on. If you put too many conditions in your contract, you'll just end up alienating your potential customers. Relax. Shit happens. People are late. There are more important things in the world to worry about.


Dec 30, 2016 at 12:18 AM
nolaguy
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


Peter Figen wrote:
You don't need any additional language, you just needed to tell her to come back another day and when you talked to her about meeting for the shoot, you just need to remind gently that because golden hour doesn't last very long, she needs to be on time. When she shows up too late, it's up to you to say you're postponing due to darkness. Whether you want to try and charge for that is up to you, but I would just chock it up to experience and move on. If you put too many conditions in your contract,
...Show more

Precisely this.

Probably the biggest thing is the gentle matter-of-fact cancelling the shoot when necessary. It should be standard operating procedure.

Or, if you think you may be able to pull it off, advise her the session probably isn't going to yield fruit but if she still wants to take a shot at it, do your best then if the results are disappointing, call it what it is and schedule another shoot.



Dec 30, 2016 at 12:42 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


Once, many years ago, a very famous drummer was scheduled to be at my studio. He showed up four hours late after missing the freeway exit for Venice and going almost to San Diego before turning back. When he finally got there (and this was before the cell phone era) I told him the makeup artist had long since left and he'd have to come back the next day. He did. She did and we made a successful magazine cover, but the magazine only got charged once.

As an aside, the final image was a composite done before Photoshop existed - by projecting in a Beseler enlarger two separate color transparencies onto a 4x5 film holder with Ektachrome duplicating film and dodging with my hand first one, then the other, all in complete darkness, to make the blurred transition between the two images. Something that with exposure testing and multiple tries took about a day and a half would now be done in seconds in Photoshop.



Dec 30, 2016 at 08:07 AM
glort
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.



NOBODY has ever been 2 hours late to one of my shoots EVER.

The shoot is cancelled and ceases to exist Long before 2 hours has past and I would be long gone. I have more self respect than to be told someone is running " A little late" and then insult and disrespect me by turning up 2 hours after the appointed time.
That's Just Fking rude!

She would have known real well how late she was going to be and to then lie about it to keep you hanging round is just taking the piss.

I get the wannabe model bimbos that run late and it's always that they will be there soon or are just a few minutes late. I don't fall for it any more.
I ask them what time SPECIFICALY they are going to be there because I will not be 5 minutes after the time they specify.
That forces them into an honest answer which I can then decide if I'll wait or go. There is no way I would wait more than 30 min even with notice. If they are going to be later than that, Especially in a time sensitive situation, then the shoot is rescheduled.

2 hours late I would consider a complete and utter insult. How the hell you sat round waiting for them for 2 damn boring hours I'll never know but I sure as heck would not have. I have more respect for myself than to be taken advantage of like that and I have never been so desperate for the money to compromise my self respect and professionalism to that degree.

If you were paid for the shoot then I wouldn't worry about it. She was late, lied to you and mucked you round. Stuff her. She got a lot more than what she deserved anyway.

If you sell on spec and she's not buying then I'd either charge her for the 2nd shoot if she wanted one, up front, or let her go muck someone else around and write it off as a lesson learned.

Myself, I don't think the addition of a start/ finish time and a disclaimer as Oscar points out is a bad thing at all. What decent client would have a problem with it? If someone does, you know they have it in the back of their minds that this is something that will affect them so not the people you want to work with anyway.
Worth putting it for that reason alone I'd think.

In any case, I'd sure not be giving this a moments concern. This client is not worth it in any way. You want to do the right thing by your clients but when they screw you over and have none of the concern or respect for you which you have for them, what the hell are you worrying for?

Business is a 2 way street.
Just because they are paying you ( did she give you money yet?) does not mean they get to disrespect you, ever.



Jan 02, 2017 at 01:17 AM
mitch91175
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


No way on God's green earth would I have waited for 2 HOURS for someone, period!!! People need to understand, yes photography is a customer service oriented business, but that doesn't mean that you can be taken advantage of. Somethings you can do to combat this issue are:

1. Charge a fee for scheduled appointments and state in your contract that it is non-refundable and that the session is to begin promptly at the scheduled time. If the client is late, the amount of time late will be deducted from the allotted time for the shoot.
2. Collect the fee in cash if possible and definitely do not use Paypal.
3. If client is late and still want to original amount of time and do not make plans ahead of time, it is not your fault. Charge them additional time for the session for you time lost, period.

I know as photographers that a bad review from someone like this can impact your business, but at the same time you have to be able to know how to politely tell someone that they are trying to screw you over and that will not be tolerated.

Also as others have mentioned, it would have been best to not even attempt to do the session and just told the client that you want to produce a certain level of work and with them being as late as they were, you cannot provide to them the service that you would like and politely rescheduled the meeting (with an additional booking fee )



Jan 02, 2017 at 02:25 AM
glort
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


mitch91175 wrote:
No way on God's green earth would I have waited for 2 HOURS for someone, period!!! People need to understand, yes photography is a customer service oriented business, but that doesn't mean that you can be taken advantage of.


Well said!
It surprise's me not that the primma donna in question wasn't happy with her pics. Chances are, she never would be no matter what. If she screws people around like that, she no doubt thinks shes better than everyone else and the world owes her a favour. You NEVER please those types no matter what you do.

I remember some years back organising a shoot with a model Bimbo at a beach about 45 min from me. Took my wife with me as she was happy to lay on the beach a bit while I was working.
We left early so she could catch some extra sun as I was wanting to shoot into and finish off with that golden hour lighting as well.

15 min after the bimbo is due to arrive she calls and same thing, shes running a little behind but will be there soon. OK, I'm chatting with the Mrs whom is quite comfortable, we grab some fish and chips at the takeaway across the road and have a late snack/ early dinner. No biggie this time.
45 min later, We have finished and still no bimbo, no sun for the mrs, I'm going. She wants to wait a bit longer and I say no, lost motivation, were off.

We are almost home and I get a call, I'm here, where are you?
I said I'm nearly home, got sick of waiting, thanks for wasting my time. She arcs up and goes on about how far she had to travel and the wasted fuel. I ask how long shes been there? Just arrived. I ask where did you come from and what time did you leave?
Clearly she was late when she left and obviously wasn't delayed in the time it took her to get there.

I point this out and tell her she outright bloody lied about " Being a little behind" which in anyones book is NOT 90 + min and she knew well how late she would be but didn't have the decency to tell me. She says I thought you'd wait. I said I'm not that desperate to shoot you and I thought you would be more honest and not try to play me for a sucker. I asked her what in the hell pictures did she think we could take on beach in the dark anyway?
She then complains she wasted all that time and petrol for Nothing. I said not only did you waste your time and fuel but you wasted MINE as well so thanks very much.

She asked if we could make another time.
I laughed and hung up.
Much to my surprise, she didn't try a charge back on her CC for the shoot fee.
Maybe she tried and they told her no way.


I know as photographers that a bad review from someone like this can impact your business, but at the same time you have to be able to know how to politely tell someone that they are trying to screw you over and that will not be tolerated.

I think a lot of decent photographers put way too much fear into this review business.
About twice a year I hear of storys of shonky shooters ripping people off. It's never one they get done for, It's inevitably DOZENS. If these reviews were so powerful, these guys would be finished after 5 con jobs not 50 over 2 years or more.

I don't know many people that do put much faith in these things or even look at them.
I have a bad review. It's from someone in another country I have never even heard of let alone had as a client. Contacted the review site and they told me I'd have to get the person that wrote it ( that hasn't been on the site for years) to remove it.
Yeah. real trustworthy those things are.

Personally if people are going to avoid me because of something like that. I'm glad. I don't want to deal with people who have no mind of their own and put stock in one persons complaint when there are 50 others that would be glowing.

Also as others have mentioned, it would have been best to not even attempt to do the session and just told the client that you want to produce a certain level of work and with them being as late as they were, you cannot provide to them the service that you would like and politely rescheduled the meeting (with an additional booking fee )

Yep!
99% of these problems I read about are directly caused by the shooter failing to take or be in control. You HAVE to be able to say No, you have to be able to control the client, not let them dictate to you or you end up being the looser in every situation that goes south because YOU let it.

I just can't imagine for the life of me sitting round and waiting THAT long for someone and then going ahead when they did turn up. I couldn't do it. I would have got the shits well and truly before that and written the exercise off as a mistake never to be repeated. What's more, I can't understand why the hell the client didn't just cancel and re schedule. To try and go ahead after that much time as I said is just plain rude and insulting. How long was the OP going to wait for her? 2.5 hours, 4?

I can't see ANYONE else waiting round for someone that long. Don't know why they would expect a shooter too but they would be given a wake up call if they tried it on me that's for sure!

Ah well, we all get caught and learn the hard way with these things. The idea is not to let it happen more than once. Even more importantly, don't be a slow learner like me and let it happen several times before you wise up.



Jan 02, 2017 at 01:13 PM
PanS
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


Peter Figen wrote:
You don't need any additional language, you just needed to tell her to come back another day and when you talked to her about meeting for the shoot, you just need to remind gently that because golden hour doesn't last very long, she needs to be on time. When she shows up too late, it's up to you to say you're postponing due to darkness. Whether you want to try and charge for that is up to you, but I would just chock it up to experience and move on. If you put too many conditions in your contract,
...Show more

I read all the posts, I think a combination of gentle and stern is what I need.
People have been 10 or 15 minutes late which happens, but this was just something else.

I could've avoided putting myself in a difficult spot by doing a raincheck on the shoot. We both would've been happier I believe. I'll practice using my backbone more.



Jan 02, 2017 at 05:15 PM
 

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Peter Figen
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


Of course, the obvious thing is that if you ever want to work with a specific client again, you probably don't want to piss them off or get too adversarial with them. That never works well when you're shooting people. Products maybe but never good for a long term relationship.

One time, a corporate communications director for a large company was being the biggest dick in the world and I finally had enough and told him to go eff himself. I got a call from the agency head a few minutes later telling my I should apologize. I did and continued working with him for years after that, and never had another issue with him. Even made him laugh out loud at stupid jokes. In that case I needed to shock him into knowing that I wasn't going to take any crap but somehow not totally screw the long term relationship. A fine line to thread. Even though he's no longer at that company, I continue to do work for them to this day. Well, at least until last month.



Jan 03, 2017 at 08:35 AM
nolaguy
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


Peter Figen wrote:
One time, a corporate communications director for a large company was being the biggest dick in the world and I finally had enough and told him to go eff himself. I got a call from the agency head a few minutes later telling my I should apologize. I did and continued working with him for years after that, and never had another issue with him.


Excellent example of bullies who f*ck with people simply because they can - until they can't - then they grow up and/or gain new respect for the person they were all to happy to harass.

And a great example of doing what needs to be done to shut a bad situation down, then what needs to be done to patch it up and move on.

Thanks for sharing, Peter.




Jan 03, 2017 at 08:45 AM
glort
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


Peter Figen wrote:
Of course, the obvious thing is that if you ever want to work with a specific client again, you probably don't want to piss them off or get too adversarial with them.


I have to wonder why anyone WOULD want to work again with a client that treated the OP like this?

I think the best thing I ever learned when I worked at Kodak was you DON'T want every customer that comes along, there are plenty you are far better off without!
I'm more than happy to piss off these people and I have never even come near regretting it.
Much better to let my competitors waste their time and effort on them making no money but getting a lot of frustration that takes them away from perusing more profitable and worthwhile clients.




Jan 04, 2017 at 06:22 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


glort - I fully agree with what you're saying for a single one off client, but for a larger repeat client who might throw enough work your way to pay your mortgage all year, then it might be a different answer.


Jan 04, 2017 at 06:29 AM
pr4photos
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


If a client is booked from lets say 2pm - 3pm, I will wait up to 3pm, after that I am gone, and they are charged for that hour


Jan 08, 2017 at 07:57 PM
vitalishe
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


There has been enough said about your main question. Here is a bit about something else that may be useful.

PanS wrote:
My D750 camera couldn't focus in pitch black woods during a new moon and the flash didn't make things appealing.


I am not sure if you were were using built-in or a dedicated flash. In case if it was a dedicated Nikon flash you could have used AF-assist that is in the flash. It has much more power compared to built in AF assist in D750. Keep in mind that it only works in Servo mode (and maybe central focus point only).

Of course this does not change anything regarding your main question, but I though it may be useful to know in the future.



Mar 21, 2017 at 09:24 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


glort wrote:
I think the best thing I ever learned when I worked at Kodak was you DON'T want every customer that comes along, there are plenty you are far better off without!


That worked out well for Kodak.



Mar 22, 2017 at 06:00 PM
glort
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


mdude85 wrote:
That worked out well for Kodak.


Well if you had any idea at all about why Kodak went down the tubes, you would realise the ignorance of that statement.



Mar 22, 2017 at 06:09 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


glort wrote:
Well if you had any idea at all about why Kodak went down the tubes, you would realise the ignorance of that statement.


I actually know quite well why Kodak went down the tubes.



Mar 22, 2017 at 06:34 PM
agrumpyoldsod
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Client was late! Missed golden hour.


I believe that you should mention your standards terms for timeliness, extensions or rescheduling and cancellation.
It is crazy not to do so.

The client has to be at the shoot and ready to be shot by the required time - not late; If they are late the end of the shoot is the scheduled time - not x-hours from when they arrive. Set the shoot length and pricing to give you some flexibility; but 1-2-3-4- hours late - is not acceptable.

If you are doing a special time dependent shoot - then this needs to be made doubly clear -- If you are ready and they don't show up they must pay come what may. A reschedule should cost them almost the same as the first shoot.

All of this goes in your terms -- then you are the one to decide if you apply the terms -- NOT the client.

If its a good client, then naturally you will be easier and more flexible with them than a new client. No matter who they are or who they think they are. If its a client you will make lots of money shooting -- ie more than just the shoot fee - then it would pay you to be flexible. Otherwise -- this is a business -- they pay your fee come what may.



May 08, 2017 at 12:41 PM
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