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What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!
  
 
bherman
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


All;

I recently encountered an 'odd' situation. I did photography professionally in the 80s and 90s. I booked a small wedding package for a client which consisted of the bride's album and the parent's album. I don't remember the actual amount that the customer paid. Let's say is was $1000.00.

I didn't charge for my time, it was just for the two albums and I had provided them with the proofs. The B+G paid me in full, I provided them with the proofs and instructed them to select the photos to be included in their albums.

They never got back to me in over ten years and I moved out of state for my real job. Now, 22 years later, she reached out to me on Facebook, asking if it was 'me' who photographed her wedding 22 years ago. She stated that her father passed away ten days after her wedding, and wanted to get her albums. She said that she wasn't sure if I even had the negatives anymore. Well, I do still have them!

Now, here's the issue. Print and album prices have increased exponentially. There are very few labs that will even print directly off of negatives, which means that everything world have to be scanned and printed at today's prices.

What is my obligation? What should I do? I haven't done professional photography for almost 20 years. Should I simply offer her the negatives and call it a day?

-Brad



Sep 01, 2017 at 11:48 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


I'd just explain to her that you do still have the negs, but since you've been out of the business for quite a while, you'll have to find them and get her current prices on prints and/or albums. She's probably more than thrilled to find you AND the negs and she probably has more money than she had two decades ago too. Just be straightforward and honest. She'll pay and you'll have made someone's whole year - or even decade.


Sep 02, 2017 at 05:17 AM
Mikehit
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


They paid you in full, and you are no longer a pro so the romantic in me would say offer to send the negatives or you will do an album at cost plus some for your time.
But as Peter says, she can probably afford more than that.



Sep 03, 2017 at 07:33 PM
Oscarsmadness
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


I had a similar situation, except the gap was nowhere close to 22 years.

I said okay the market has changed, and it is going to cost much more than it did in the past. I quoted and billed him for cost rounded up and called it a day. He was quite happy.



Sep 04, 2017 at 03:07 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


I would give her the negatives and let her figure out the rest.


Sep 05, 2017 at 12:54 PM
glort
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!



First off there is no obligation to anything from the original agreement contract nor to supply anything at the prices of the time. To think there is would be rather naive in my book. She had an obligation to get back to you with her selections dying father or not.
Life didn't stop because she lost her father and she could have come back to you 6 or even 12 months later as I'm sure she had resumed her normal life activities by then.

The way I see it you have 3 options.

1. Just give her the negs and let her make up her own albums etc

2. Sell her the negs. Myself, I'd probably ask a token fee, Maybe $250 which would be a bargain at a tad over $10 a year for safe keeping. You may want to add or include secure postage.

3. Do the albums at CURRENT level pricing. Going to be a BIG pain in the arse now so I would be charging well and truly for my time and mucking around and make it worth my while.

If you ask me, she's damned lucky you still have the negs at all. I moved a few weeks ago and finally got rid of the last of all my old wedding negs. I haven't shot film since about 2001 so if they haven't got around to finding me in the same place I was by now, damned if I am going to cart the things with me and have them taking up more space somewhere else.

Before I logged on here, I was just looking for a film scanner to digitize all the family pics I have. Plenty of garbage out there, very little decent quality. Even $2500 doesn't seem to get much. Maybe I should have kept that old Flextight I had but that was worth a large fortune when I had it which was the reason I sold the thing.
Maybe one day another will come up at an affordable price.



Sep 06, 2017 at 08:39 AM
 

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tuantran
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


This is a tricky situation that can be time consuming.

Scenario 1: Give away free/charge a flat fee for the negatives. She might come back asking for advices on how to print and such. You might go back and forth and can be time consuming depending on how many negatives she want printed. If she decides to scan, the quality of scan is pretty wide. Dust? Scratches? Color balance? etc. If she's not happy, she can pester you for advise to fix them.

Scenario 2: Print yourself. You can maintain quality but you'll find that the quality is not up to par with how you perceive them at that time. Your perfectionist mind end up causing more headaches. Then when you show her, she wants some more changes. She thinks in digital but you have film.

You can also give them away free telling her that the reason for the price (free) is that you have retired ages ago and have no idea how to print them anymore. Accept the negatives at your own risk. I think this would be the least amount of headache.




Sep 06, 2017 at 05:18 PM
tcphoto
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


Whether you're still running a Photo Business or not, I would act professionally. I would offer the negatives at a competitive fee and call it a day. I understand the karma factor but you are the vendor and she is the customer.


Sep 06, 2017 at 06:24 PM
JBPhotog
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


FWIW, I'd say there is no obligation at this point and if it got pushed, the courts would essentially agree, too much time has passed and the client essentially abandoned the contract.

However, I would "do the right thing" for those of us who still work in the industry and not just give her the negs. There is also a professional standards argument to be made, even though you aren't in the industry any longer, her choice of printer may not reflect well on you and other wedding photog's.

Offer to make up the prints/albums, charge for your time as if you were still shooting and make her happy. Down the road if you want to offer the negs, then sell them to her, at least she'd have a great print as an example of your work as a starting point.



Sep 15, 2017 at 07:25 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


I would expect that she is interested primarily in those pictures that have her father in them and this may be only a few images. I would send her the negatives and suggest that she find someone to scan them and then she can easily make prints at Costco or wherever. She is probably going to scan a dozen negatives and actually depending on the quality needed a flat bed scanner may be all that is needed.


Oct 09, 2017 at 10:15 PM
mikeinctown
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · What to do? A wedding client resurfaced from 22 years ago!


How about this. ASK THE LADY!!!

Hello inquisitive person, I am the photographer and as luck would have it, I still do have the negatives from your wedding. I am no longer in the photography business however, so my options and current experience is more limited than it was in the past. Let me know what you need from me and I'll see if I can help you with the request.

Your answer will depend on the circumstance.

Also, people react differently with death. My girlfriends dad died 2 years back and the estate finally got settled like 2 months back. Every time she would need to do any paperwork or meet with the lawyer she would get sick to her stomach and immediately need to run to the restroom and so she avoided anything having to do with her father's estate. In this instance, if she asked for them I'd probably give her the negatives as you are no longer in business and let her do as she pleases. (hopefully she isn't famous now, in which case I'd not give them up. lol)

Since it has been a few months though I am wondering what eventually happened.



Oct 20, 2017 at 02:59 PM







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