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11/10/2006 04:28:06 AM · #1
It appears to me that a lot of people with a decent camera and seemingly average photographic skills is offering photography services. I think it is brave and ambitious for people to do that, but I have a question. What if you can't deliver good results to your clients? Have there been cases where the client sues for damages? I mean, there are things like weddings and other occasions where it is only a one time thingy?
11/10/2006 04:47:12 AM · #2
you are not expecting answers from those "average skilled", do you?

I'm only shooting for stock and for the company I work for as a designer, 'cause i think I'm not good enough yet to offer my services to clients with a professional approach. On the other hand, if it wouldn't bore me to death, I might also offer wedding photography, i truly believe the average wedding-shoot-client has no clue of good photography ;-) and if he/she has is blinded by emotion
11/10/2006 04:54:38 AM · #3
I'm average, and i offer a service.... To low income families and non profits. I don't make money at it, but you know even average skills can make a new mom with no $$ happy. Really happy when she has pictures of her baby in a birds nest, reading a book, wearing sunglasses etc. Maybe what average lacks in skill they make up for in creativity? We all have to learn, I guess I start by being honest, not offering the moon then delivering dirt. I do my best, deliver my best, and havent had an unhappy person yet... my 2 cents....

PS. I don't charge to learn, maybe you were lookign for some who charge?

Edit to add, I wasn't being crappy, re read that and it looks like I am. Just tired, taking a break from working and wanting bed :)

Message edited by author 2006-11-10 04:57:00.
11/10/2006 04:59:56 AM · #4
I'd like to hear from anyone who has does it, or have stories to share. I'm asking this also because I borrowed a camera just recently to help shoot a friend's wedding (it stemmed lots of questions on external flash if anyone noticed). I dared accept the request because they already have an earlier studio session for their wedding photos; and I only need to cover the wedding dinner and guest photos. I had lots of fun and I really liked doing it (I felt like a REAL photographer, yay!). Well to cut the story short, the results were decent (in my opinion) but when I handed them to my friend, I did, for a little, felt worried if he may find them poor (it's just me). Anyway, since it's for a buddy, it's free.

So, if I'm ever going to charge someone for these kind of coverage again, I was wondering, what if I cant produce good shots? what will happen (worse?). Please share some experience or stories. Thanks

EDIT (had to share this): some of the bride's friends asked if I do portraits and birthdays (maybe they actually thought I was a real professional photographer) I tell ya, it made me felt so happy :p ok most of you are probably so used to it, but it's new to me :$

Message edited by author 2006-11-10 05:09:40.
11/10/2006 05:06:16 AM · #5
Well, my brothers photographer took really bad pictures, he paid, swore he would never use her again (wonders when he plans on getting married again to worry about this). I think if your not positive you can produce good shots, you shouldn't do it. Weddings are one of those things that the pictures just have to be Good. It wouldn't be a matter of taking their money for average pictures, but a matter of taking their memories. You know...

Oh yeah if you want to work on PS skills for wedding photos, let me know I have a few hundred in need of HELP lol. J/K But I am learning alot about wedding pics gone bad and how to fix them :P
11/10/2006 05:11:44 AM · #6
Originally posted by liltritter:

Well, my brothers photographer took really bad pictures, he paid, swore he would never use her again (wonders when he plans on getting married again to worry about this). I think if your not positive you can produce good shots, you shouldn't do it. Weddings are one of those things that the pictures just have to be Good. It wouldn't be a matter of taking their money for average pictures, but a matter of taking their memories. You know...

Oh yeah if you want to work on PS skills for wedding photos, let me know I have a few hundred in need of HELP lol. J/K But I am learning alot about wedding pics gone bad and how to fix them :P


Thanks for sharing. Yes, that's what I was worried about. I mean, imagine swrewing up someone's "memory". It's really bad. And no, I dont do weddings - my friend's case was different, as I mentioned :)
11/10/2006 05:47:28 AM · #7
A friend asked me to take some photos at her wedding , I was happy and my only goal was to take one good photo to frame it and give to her .
The day she and her brand new husband came at home and saw the photos ( two cds , some prints and my prefered one in a nice frame ) , I was able to see their faces and suddenly I forgot the many hours I spent editing , they were really happy !

I think that as you pointed it's a delicate job and the idea of being a wedding photog has never crossed my mind.

11/10/2006 08:01:24 AM · #8
Personal Umbrella -Liability Insurance
small business coverage Amateur Photographers Insurance

https://www.towergate.co.uk/Camap/Default.htm
http://www.bridalassociationofamerica.com/photographerInsurance/
http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/businesslegal/index.jsp
11/10/2006 08:41:05 AM · #9
Well, here's what I do... Since I am all new to this, I start with family or friends weddings and I go with my cousin who took photography in school. I know what you mean by 'screwing up someone's memories'. It scares the crap out of me. So with the 2 of us we usually get some pretty decent shots. Looking at my photos I realize that I could do it alone, but I like the extra insurance of having another photographer by my side. Just make sure that you take a lot of frames of the different scenes. It is not always your fault if you get bad pictures either. Sometime people just don't look their best on the fly. I also find that people 'request' traditional pictures, but in the end they always like my candid shots the best (especially B&W). I hope this helps...

P.S. Believe it or not, but I had a cheap Canon A75 before and I shot a wedding for fun... The people liked MY pictures with the tiny camera better than their photographer's with his few thousand-dollar camera. A lot of it is about being at the right place at the right time to catch 'the moment' and to be creative!

11/10/2006 08:46:20 AM · #10
For weddings were the photographers really charge, if they screw it up they sometimes end up having to foot the bill to recreate the whole event. Clothes hire, location rental. The lot.

People get sued for a whole lot more than just what they were paid for missing once in a lifetime pictures like these.

Make sure you've got a rock solid contract would be my advice, even for seemingly small jobs.
11/10/2006 09:24:48 AM · #11
Originally posted by Gordon:

For weddings were the photographers really charge, if they screw it up they sometimes end up having to foot the bill to recreate the whole event. Clothes hire, location rental. The lot.

People get sued for a whole lot more than just what they were paid for missing once in a lifetime pictures like these.

Make sure you've got a rock solid contract would be my advice, even for seemingly small jobs.


I have never heard of a photographer having to recreate a wedding day because of bad images. At best, if they are sued they are forced to "pay damages" as seen by the judge (small claims, so max is $5k to my understanding) but never to recreate the wedding. But in fact, most people don't sue, they just complain a lot and kill your reputation.
11/10/2006 09:35:33 AM · #12
I am an amature photog that would not even think of taking on a paying job. I have just started taking more portraits, but all so far have been for friends, for free, for practice.

See this thread

Actually, I think it would be insulting to those of you who are good enough to make a profession out of this for an amature like me to pony up for a good camera and think that's all it takes to be a photog.
11/10/2006 10:02:18 AM · #13
Originally posted by idnic:


I have never heard of a photographer having to recreate a wedding day because of bad images. At best, if they are sued they are forced to "pay damages" as seen by the judge (small claims, so max is $5k to my understanding) but never to recreate the wedding. But in fact, most people don't sue, they just complain a lot and kill your reputation.


granted i've only heard rumors about it - possibly hearsay -
but if you read dpreview 'pro photographer' forum you get the sense it does happen
(great place to read horror stories but seem to be a bit full of themselves )
11/10/2006 10:08:41 AM · #14
Originally posted by idnic:

But in fact, most people don't sue, they just complain a lot and kill your reputation.


So how much is your reputation worth ?
Which is why people pay to recreate the photos when they screw up.

These people are charging >$10k per event. It is worth the cost to keep the clients happy.

You at least want something in your contract about not reshooting it if you screw up, or limiting the damages that you are liable for. But it is still your reputation and potential future business on the line.

e.g.

2. If Photographer cannot perform this Agreement in whole or in part due to a fire or other casualty, acts of God or nature or terror, or other cause beyond the control of the parties or due to Photographer's illness or injury, then Studio will return all fees to the Client(s) but shall have no further liability with respect to this Agreement. This limitation on liability shall also apply in the event that photographic materials are damaged in processing, lost through camera malfunction, lost in the mail, or otherwise lost or damaged without fault on the part of Photographer. Client(s) agree that an entire wedding cannot be replicated, reenacted or repeated for the purpose of a re shoot and limits Studio's liability to the amount paid under this contract.



Message edited by author 2006-11-10 10:12:33.
11/10/2006 10:22:45 AM · #15
Just a funny little story about suing wedding photographers and kind of relates to this thread. I was watching the Peoples Court the other day because, well I like to watch the Peoples Court. Anyways, there was a bride and groom on there suing their wedding photographer. The bride was caucasian and the groom was a dark-skinned african american and the photos came out exposed poorly. The bride was saying that basically that could be any guy because he was so dark you couldn't see any details. And I was thinking, yeah I guess that could be difficult at times to expose correctly, especially with the white dress and the white tux and all that. But as I listened further, it turns out that the photographer said all her equipment had been stolen a couple days before the wedding and she showed up and shot the wedding with, get this.... disposable cameras. Mind you they paid her thousands of dollars for these disposable camera photos that were really complete crap. My question was, how in the world did they get hooked up with this photographer in the first place!?! I could see if it was somebody wanting the job done on the cheap and not doing a lot of research on the photographer but to pay thousands of dollars, just seems a little crazy to me. Needless to say, the whole episode had me in stitches especially when the photographer said, "Hey, I could've just not shown up at all!" Mind you, she said her equipment was stolen before they paid their last deposit and she didn't mention a thing to them about it. With which that money could've been used to rent decent equipment if she had been a professional, which clearly she wasn't and most likely didn't have any real equipment to begin with.
11/10/2006 10:29:23 AM · #16
You have to start sometime.
11/10/2006 10:59:29 AM · #17
The first wedding I did, the bride (my husband's cousin) called me a few days before the wedding, (other photog couldn't do it, or something) begging me to do it.

I was shooting with a sony dsc707 at the time, and told her I would have shots for her to remember the day with, but that I wouldn't promise anything spectacular.

It was in a barn, in December, at night. :/ Some of the shots turned out really well, actually.

Another one I did was for a friend of a friend. Same deal offered. I told her she would have shots to commerate the day, but that this was NOT my "calling." She loved the shots. Ordered a bunch, and placed another order at their one year anniversary.

I don't advertise weddings. If asked, yes, I can do it. but, in no way do i consider myself a "wedding photographer." the stress is just too great :)
11/10/2006 11:08:33 AM · #18
I would say that if you are going to shoot a wedding as an amature you still must have the right equipment to produce good photos. You can't expect that you can walk in there with 1 point and shoot and think you can get the job done. Also it is good to make them well aware that the onsite location of the wedding is not a studio and the photos will reflect that as the majority of the time you are working with limited light and much more time crunch during the actual wedding. Although I do recommend that if the client does want a "perfect" shot of a particuar part of the wedding (like the kiss) that you let them know not to rush through it and peck and run but make it a kiss of a life time :P

216346.jpg

This was just a candid shot that I just happened to catch ...
11/10/2006 11:10:17 AM · #19
Believe me ... many "pro" wedding photogs have no business doing it. I can't count the number of times I've ran into (I only wish) pro's shooting bridals at various popular places. They have no clue. Sun in the face and then still using a refector to shine more instead of using it as a shade. Portraits with on-camera flash or even great flashes such as the 580 mounted on the camera instead of an extension mount. (Yes, if you are doing portraits against a background and don't have a way to hide the shadow behind their body you need an extension bracket to do so.)

Many want to look like pro's by taking step ladders, multiple reflectors, etc etc etc. Great lighting is so important and the most over-looked part.

Remember on a wedding;
1. NEVER do it with only one camera body. If it breaks or you drop it it's over and you deserve to be ran over by a big truck for messing up their special day!!!

2. Practice with you settings and flash. If you don't have a GREAT flash don't do it.

3. Have someone from the wedding party be your assistant to ensure you can get people together when needed. I'm all for "candids" but that is a cop-out if it is all you do. Aunt Martha can do candids with her 6 mp point and shot really good. Now lots of the traditional poses and group shots that are standard. Know when to do them without interupting the party.

4. Personally thank the bride and groom and their parents for allowing you the opportunity to share in their special day.

5. Have a very strong contract written and signed with a deposit. Do this way ahead of the wedding so if there is any questions they can be ansered early.

6. ALWAYS have a back-up photog ready to go do it in case of an emergency. You having a car accident or a relative die is NOT an excuse in any situation.

7. Get the proofs to them very very fast. Have your contract so they are required to select and you furnish the final prints or DVD within 30 days. Never give them a CD or DVD that you wrote on with a marker. If you are professional go get an ink jet printer that prints on CD/DVD. Be professional.

Yes there are many more things that are important. If you are doing it for a friend in a "casual" way and have only one camera ok, but be prepared to loose that friend if your camera breaks. There is no such thing as a casual wedding as far as a photog goes.

As a side line, a few years ago my son got married in the oldest Cathedral in the United States. A very formal affair. The photo had two cameras, a digital 20D and a film SLR. He was not familiar with flash and BIG inside of buildings. He also did not know how to use filler flash. This was one of those $2,000 photogs. I used an old Nikon Coolpix 5Mp camera as the father of the groom just to snap a few pics. At the end, the pro photog did not supply a single photo worth keeping. Every photo of their wedding was from the pics I took with the point & shoot.

Even the best fail. Don't let your pride get in the way. Yup great money but the flowers die, the cake is eaten, the dress is put in the closet, the friends all go home, the food is swallowed and the only thing left is their love and your photos.
11/10/2006 11:28:12 AM · #20
Originally posted by eyewave:

On the other hand, if it wouldn't bore me to death, I might also offer wedding photography,


Trust me, you will not be bored shooting a wedding! The thought of it might sound boring, as compared to more creative photography. The execution of shooting a wedding is anything but boring, due to the fast pace and the pressure to get the shot, and get it right. The subject matter/location, etc are not always inspiring, but the fast paced action is! It's not for everybody...

JD
11/10/2006 11:28:17 AM · #21
No offense intended to anyone, I just want to offer that the correct spelling of the word is "amateur".
11/10/2006 11:35:06 AM · #22
Originally posted by crayon:

It appears to me that a lot of people with a decent camera and seemingly average photographic skills is offering photography services. I think it is brave and ambitious for people to do that, but I have a question. What if you can't deliver good results to your clients? Have there been cases where the client sues for damages? I mean, there are things like weddings and other occasions where it is only a one time thingy?


You shouldn't take on jobs you can't do or don't understand.

Clients can and do sue. That's why you need to have a good contract AND professional liability insurance. You can get such insurance through an organization like WPPI or ASMP. Hill Usher also has an insurance package designed specifically for photographers.
11/10/2006 11:35:56 AM · #23
Originally posted by nards656:

No offense intended to anyone, I just want to offer that the correct spelling of the word is "amateur".


humm just in fun, the correct spelling is "Nerds"

JUST Kidding, great discussion here, hopefully will scare a few folks away from weddings until they do a bunch of smaller events first to learn how to move people and get them to do what you want them to do. Weddings sound fun and you can make a lot of money.

Another suggestion:

Go work for a well established wedding studio as a second shooter for several weddings. What you learn will be worth every minute.
11/10/2006 11:38:34 AM · #24
This could sound crazy to some of you, but if you can, go shoot a wedding in Canada. People here don't sue.
11/10/2006 12:59:36 PM · #25
don's got a lot of good advice... go read it again if you're considering this...

me? i've done three weddings now, and learn something new every time. i'm certainly not a pro, and i make sure they know this up front, but i know, w/ a little patience, i can get most of the required shots to capture the day. confidence is key. if you appear nervous, they'll get nervous and that will steal their joy on their big day. if you're really nervous, fake it.

i also charge very little for the work they get out of me... weddings are really fast and you have to keep moving.

here's a link to a few of the shots from my third attempt, if anyone is interested :

http://picasaweb.google.com/shaneblake/wedding20061103

i'd love some pointers and comments to make me better in case i do this again...
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