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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Charity with increasing wants....advice
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08/19/2010 03:20:40 PM · #1
By the time I got around to starting to type this, I sort of came up with my decision, but would like to still solicit some advice.

I decided to shoot a calendar for a charity (I know you shouldn't do free work, but it's a charity). When I signed up the idea was 12 shots of 12 themes. I expected this to take about 6 weekends or less. And 12 shots can be edited in detailed without taking up ALL of my time.

Well the first few shoots were a clusterF**k. Nothing was organized and instead of 1 model per shoot, there were 2 models per shoot. And I ended up shooting hte models individually and together. While I gathered control of the shoots and its not longer a clusterf**k, the client came back midway through and decides they want a 16 month calendar. I said we could try for it, but we would run out of time (we were in the beginning of August when this idea came up and we had yet to finish the first 12 shoots).

Then the client decided that instead of 1 shot per month, they wanted 6 shots per month....I quickly put an end to that...that would mean going from 12 photos to 96 and it wasn't happening. I also helped bring the idea quickly back to 12 months.

Now the client has decided that they want 4 photos per month in a 12 month Calendar and have asked if they can use the photos for mugs, posters, and whole bunch of other merchandise...i said I'd think about it but would want some profit from those sales. I also told them to rank the top 4 photos for each month and after I finish 2 each month we can determine if I have time to finish the rest.

This is the sticking point. The client has asked if they can sell outtakes that didn't make the calendar while giving me only a small portion of the profits and the majority going to the charity (non profit organization). That of course would require me to edit more photos and give away more work. I have spent nearly every weekend since June shooting and countless nights doing the minor edits just so they can pick the versions they want edited. I'm falling behind and turning down other projects because I'm working on this project (for free keep in mind) and now they are asking me to give away more of my work.

While they have been having models sign the charity's release, I've also had all the models sign my model release. I also had agreed with the charity from the beginning that I have full rights to do as i please with all the photos taken.

So i'm looking for advice on what to do with letting them sell outtakes of the photos and having use of the photos on other merchandise so they can sell?
08/19/2010 03:41:02 PM · #2
no.
08/19/2010 03:41:02 PM · #3
Sounds like "No" is an extremely reasonable thing for you to say.

If you want to be really nice, you can let them sell outtakes, but tell them it's up to them to find someone else for PP (and make sure they know their right to sell or distribute is strictly limited).
08/19/2010 03:42:51 PM · #4
Anthony,

It might help your decision if you think about this project as donating as certain amount of cash to the charity, but given as so many hours at your normal rate. Set the amount at something you are comfortable with. If you present it to the client this way then it will focus them on what they really want, what they can achieve and getting organized about it. If you don't set any limits to the client on your time, then mission creep is inevitable because you are at the mercy of every "it would be nice if..." thought that occurs to them because the cost to them is (apparently) zero. That's not them deliberately taking the mickey - it's just human nature.

If they know your help is not limitless then they will value it more, and stop messing you around. If they waste all the time you have allocated to them, then you can walk away from the project with a clear conscience - or they can start to pay you.

Just my 2c.

Hope this all works out for you.
08/19/2010 04:01:32 PM · #5
"Talk to the hand."
08/19/2010 04:06:11 PM · #6
Be sure to get a receipt for tax deduction... That's gonna be huge!
08/19/2010 04:39:43 PM · #7
Give an inch they take a mile...

You have every right to state what you agreed to and stick to that....


08/19/2010 04:58:26 PM · #8
Originally posted by albc28:

When I signed up the idea was 12 shots of 12 themes. I expected this to take about 6 weekends or less. And 12 shots can be edited in detailed without taking up ALL of my time.


In other photo blogs, I have seen repeated examples like yours followed by posted advice from established professionals that it is a very good idea to put into writing a work agreement (contract) signed by both parties, even (or especially) when the work is not for money. Then both sides are clear from the start about what they expect. Just as with work for pay, specify the expected number of finished shots, the format for delivery, license for use of images (media, duration, geography, secondary uses, permitted alterations, attribution, retention of copyright, etc.), and what happens if either side does not live up to the agreement. Insisting on a written agreement reminds both sides to think things through up front. It provides a reference point to deal with changes later. Then you have a new negotiation, perhaps an opportunity to convert to a paid job, or an easy way to hold to them to the original agreement. Easiest to do when presented right from the start as a routine business practice that is protection for both sides against faulty memory and that assures all the necessary topics area addressed.

Of course, that is easy advice to give, but not so easy to implement every single time. You have my sympathy. Now go set reasonable, clear, and firm expectations. And consider getting documentation and signatures for anything you might agree to now, in particular if anything is different from the original agreement.
08/19/2010 05:06:38 PM · #9
Originally posted by MilesW:

Anthony,

It might help your decision if you think about this project as donating as certain amount of cash to the charity, but given as so many hours at your normal rate. Set the amount at something you are comfortable with. If you present it to the client this way then it will focus them on what they really want, what they can achieve and getting organized about it. If you don't set any limits to the client on your time, then mission creep is inevitable because you are at the mercy of every "it would be nice if..." thought that occurs to them because the cost to them is (apparently) zero. That's not them deliberately taking the mickey - it's just human nature.

If they know your help is not limitless then they will value it more, and stop messing you around. If they waste all the time you have allocated to them, then you can walk away from the project with a clear conscience - or they can start to pay you.


This is golden advice. I was going to say about the same thing (been in that position a lot in the past) but got distracted by a tournament and Miles took the ball and ran with it.

I'd add that legitimate charities have photography/design/promotion budgets and pay professionals for their work, though of course this gets more and more true the larger and more solvent the charity is. So there's nothing WRONG with approaching these add-ons as profit generators for the charity and asking to be compensated for your contribution to generating that profit. You don't need to feel greedy for suggesting that, but in my experience a lot of people DO.

There's nothing magic about a charity or a non-profit organization that makes it exempt from the need to be self-supporting in the real world. But it's human (or charitable) nature to try to get whatever one can on the cuff, just as common sense and your own sense of self-worth makes it entirely sensible to place limits on what you're willing, or able, to give.

R.

Message edited by author 2010-08-19 17:07:20.
08/19/2010 05:13:04 PM · #10
Just politely say No....to all of it.
08/19/2010 06:16:34 PM · #11
One question.

Who initiated the project? Was it your idea and you approached the charity, or did they hire you to do this?
08/19/2010 06:53:51 PM · #12
practice this phrase:

"I think we should stick to the original agreement"

Charities need to try to get all they can get. And it's extremely kind of you to do this. However, if you give in to too much, you will not be happy about it later, and will be very hesitant to volunteer for anything again. Do what you're comfortable with, and don't do any more. You want to leave this feeling happy and proud of yourself, not feeling used. Charities are used to hearing the word "no". You're not going to damage them by sticking to your guns.
08/19/2010 09:02:03 PM · #13
All of you kind of echoed exactly how i felt.

It is a new start up charity looking to get into the non-profitable bracket. Now II obviously have been pretty cautious in their intentions from the get-go and obviously should have signed an agreement from the beginning, but didn't have one ready and decided to include all the necessary info on the invoice....which they are aware of what it will say so far.

What I've been doing so far is collecting information from alamy on how much it would cost for them to buy a stock photo for these purposes (calendar and merchandise) and totaling up the cost, including my time and editing time...and then show them how much it would have cost to do this project that they are getting for free. And then they can completely understand why I'm saying no.

If I have the right to sell all of the outtakes, why would I give them a majority of the cost of the photo rather than just sell them myself and keep all or majority of the money? It doesn't make business sense.

I'm glad someone mentioned a receipt and I will make sure I ask for that.

And I dont want anyone else editing my photos. My photos are my body of work, I don't want someone else editing my body of work.
08/19/2010 09:03:11 PM · #14
Originally posted by alohadave:

One question.

Who initiated the project? Was it your idea and you approached the charity, or did they hire you to do this?


Mixture of both. I saw on craigslist the idea, and sent them an email...they chose me and we discussed the terms. Agreed upon terms but mostly over email.

Why do you ask?
08/19/2010 09:42:15 PM · #15
Originally posted by albc28:

If I have the right to sell all of the outtakes, why would I give them a majority of the cost of the photo rather than just sell them myself and keep all or majority of the money? It doesn't make business sense.

Only because the right to sell them isn't worth anything if there are no buyers. Without seeing them I can't say if they're marketable outside of this particular project, but anyway, I agree that you shouldn't let others edit your work if attributed to you ...

If you've essentially completed the job as originally specified, or according to the latest thing you agreed to, just inform them that any further work will be billed-for at your usual rates, since you are having to forego paying jobs. Even a start-up non-profit has some budget, and maybe it would be worth it to do a little more for a few hundred bucks ...
08/19/2010 09:48:45 PM · #16
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by albc28:

If I have the right to sell all of the outtakes, why would I give them a majority of the cost of the photo rather than just sell them myself and keep all or majority of the money? It doesn't make business sense.

Only because the right to sell them isn't worth anything if there are no buyers. Without seeing them I can't say if they're marketable outside of this particular project, but anyway, I agree that you shouldn't let others edit your work if attributed to you ...

If you've essentially completed the job as originally specified, or according to the latest thing you agreed to, just inform them that any further work will be billed-for at your usual rates, since you are having to forego paying jobs. Even a start-up non-profit has some budget, and maybe it would be worth it to do a little more for a few hundred bucks ...


ooh! Good one, Paul!
08/21/2010 12:57:11 PM · #17
Originally posted by albc28:

Originally posted by alohadave:

One question.

Who initiated the project? Was it your idea and you approached the charity, or did they hire you to do this?


Mixture of both. I saw on craigslist the idea, and sent them an email...they chose me and we discussed the terms. Agreed upon terms but mostly over email.

Why do you ask?


Because it's a difference in doing a project on your terms, or being hired by them to work on a project that they initiated.

They hired you to do the work. That you have creative input is a bonus, but you are working for them. Did they mention work-for-hire? Are you in Canada? Do you clearly know that you do have the rights to all pictures that you take?

Just some things to think about before trying to charge them for extras (especially without a contract). Do you want to work with this charity again, and do they have any pull in the community if they decide that you are acting in poor faith.
08/21/2010 04:13:27 PM · #18
Originally posted by coryboehne:

Be sure to get a receipt for tax deduction... That's gonna be huge!

Might want to check with an accountant or read the rules carefully cause that is not the case in the US (or a couple of other countries I have lived in)..... Probably not worth the cost of tracking it actually.

Just out of interest... these people working for the charity.... do they get paid? Do they get free electricity? Ya know where I am going :-) but with changing goals I would put a stop to it all.....
08/21/2010 05:47:11 PM · #19
I don't think there is anything wrong with tactfully informing them that your business is only so large, and there is only so much you can afford to do for free. We all like to help others, but there is only so much time each of us can spend away from our work that brings in our livelihood.
08/22/2010 09:30:45 AM · #20
Originally posted by alohadave:

Originally posted by albc28:

Originally posted by alohadave:

One question.

Who initiated the project? Was it your idea and you approached the charity, or did they hire you to do this?


Mixture of both. I saw on craigslist the idea, and sent them an email...they chose me and we discussed the terms. Agreed upon terms but mostly over email.

Why do you ask?


Because it's a difference in doing a project on your terms, or being hired by them to work on a project that they initiated.

They hired you to do the work. That you have creative input is a bonus, but you are working for them. Did they mention work-for-hire? Are you in Canada? Do you clearly know that you do have the rights to all pictures that you take?

Just some things to think about before trying to charge them for extras (especially without a contract). Do you want to work with this charity again, and do they have any pull in the community if they decide that you are acting in poor faith.


Hire means pay. there is no pay involved. They just came to me and asked for extra usage of the photos and extra photos.

08/22/2010 09:35:10 AM · #21
The conclusion I came up with was that I will allow up to 2-3 photos per month for calendar and website use. Any addtional use will have a cost associated with it. Any additional photos will have a cost associated with it as well. I gave up too much time and effort to give aditional work away for free.
08/22/2010 10:11:30 AM · #22
Originally posted by albc28:

Originally posted by alohadave:

Originally posted by albc28:

Originally posted by alohadave:

One question.

Who initiated the project? Was it your idea and you approached the charity, or did they hire you to do this?


Mixture of both. I saw on craigslist the idea, and sent them an email...they chose me and we discussed the terms. Agreed upon terms but mostly over email.

Why do you ask?


Because it's a difference in doing a project on your terms, or being hired by them to work on a project that they initiated.

They hired you to do the work. That you have creative input is a bonus, but you are working for them. Did they mention work-for-hire? Are you in Canada? Do you clearly know that you do have the rights to all pictures that you take?

Just some things to think about before trying to charge them for extras (especially without a contract). Do you want to work with this charity again, and do they have any pull in the community if they decide that you are acting in poor faith.


Hire means pay. there is no pay involved. They just came to me and asked for extra usage of the photos and extra photos.


Typically, yes, hiring means payment. However, you accepted a job for no pay (there is nothing wrong with that, if the circumstances are right for you).

The questions I asked above are important because if you are in a work-for-hire situation, or are in Canada, the client owns the pictures and can do what they wish with them. The fact that you don't have a clearly defined contract or terms means that you may be setting yourself up for trouble. Most likely you do still own the copyrights, but wouldn't you prefer to know for sure?
08/22/2010 08:16:46 PM · #23
Originally posted by alohadave:


The questions I asked above are important because if you are in a work-for-hire situation, or are in Canada, the client owns the pictures and can do what they wish with them. The fact that you don't have a clearly defined contract or terms means that you may be setting yourself up for trouble. Most likely you do still own the copyrights, but wouldn't you prefer to know for sure?


I am not a lawyer but do have a background in law, and have serious doubts about this. I would agree that if I was an employee of a firm that whatever I produced as a result of my labour would indeed belong to the establishment.

The scenario you refer to in this instance does not meet those parameters and as such I seriously doubt that the photographer has lost ownership of his product.

Best bet, consult a lawyer.

Ray

Message edited by author 2010-08-22 20:19:45.
08/22/2010 08:55:41 PM · #24
Forget the lawyer crap and invoke the bodily harm rule if they mess with you.
08/23/2010 12:13:10 AM · #25
The US Copyright Office has the specifics on works-for-hire -- you do not need to be either an employee or paid for the works to be considered as such. Circular 9 (available as a PDF from a link at the end of this entry will have all the details. You may or may not need a lawyer, but you should read and understand the actual law.
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