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12/05/2009 10:39:56 AM · #1
Long story short: A friend of a friend told a yoga instructor "I know someone who is good at photography and won't charge an arm and a leg for photos for the new studio you are opening. Let me put you in touch." I sat down with her. I told her "If you want straight out of the camera ready to go PERFECT then I'll have to rent a studio which will cost X amount." She was hoping to get a whole bunch for very little.

So, I said "I will do a session with you and you can pick from the best 20, 5 to use on your website and for fliers." The total cost would pay for some new camera gear (Lights and backdrop stands (A kit offered by on online seller for roughly 500USD). When she showed up, I took the pictures but was fighting to get her outside in natural light with a much easier backdrop to use. The way I had things setup at home in the apartment made it hard to control the light.

She wants 5 pictures in different positions with a gradient white backdrop. I said "The way things are, I can't guarantee what you're looking for." She had some studio shots from another yoga instructors website. She wanted something similar.

I finally go her outside and it was SOOOO much easier. HOWEVER, after the session and later that night I took a look at the pictures and realized that it would take some serious time (And a lot of masking) to get that 'studio' feel to it. I tried Topazmask but it didn't quite work like I wanted it (Wished it) to. I told her I would need time. The next day I called and said "I'm not happy with what we have here and would much rather do a new session under the following circumstances: Bring someone that can check your form because I know nothing about yoga. Make a list of the poses you want in order of necessity (This wasted a lot of time the first time around). Allow me to control the artist flow of the images. You can take 20 images instead of 5. I won't charge anything extra (I figured I would use the day as a way to add to my slowly growing portfolio.)

Today she called and asked "So where are the photos." I had uploaded the pre-background edited photos. She wondered when the white background that she so desperately wants will be added to her pictures. I said I needed more time but I could give her downsized images that would be OK for web use since that's mainly what she's going to use the images for. Every day I do a little at a time (It's not my main money maker).

Here's an example of a photo: Let me know if this is not something worth masking. Whether downsized images with a white background plus full sized new images would be enough.
' . substr('//www.studiof7.com/Street-Scenes/Japan/3/700827905_fXwfJ-S-1.jpg', strrpos('//www.studiof7.com/Street-Scenes/Japan/3/700827905_fXwfJ-S-1.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
' . substr('//www.studiof7.com/Street-Scenes/Japan/1/700827295_oS6Ui-S-1.jpg', strrpos('//www.studiof7.com/Street-Scenes/Japan/1/700827295_oS6Ui-S-1.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

ETA: On the day of the shoot, after all was said and done, I asked for the 500USD. She acted as though she had negotiated everything for 300USD. I was quick to say no. However, in order to avoid a confrontation (I had more work that day) I asked her to put down 250USD for the shots taken and the next 250USD after. I've since asked friends to not introduce people this way. I've had some happy happy couples/friends pay full price for family photos etc. Why I took this I'm not sure but I did so I'm living with it. I'm hoping someone at DPC can help a bit...


12/05/2009 11:02:31 AM · #2
Call me blonde or something, but if she wanted a white background from the start of the job, why didn't you have a white background? You could have hung a white sheet up, that would have helped to start off with. And 500 USD is a fairly high price for posing outside in a walkway.
12/05/2009 01:48:09 PM · #3
+1 on that

If she said she wanted them in a studio with a white gradient background, then why the hell did you not rent a studio with a white background? And you charged her $500 for this? Maybe I've read your post wrong, but it sounds like she was going to have someone else do the pics, you said 'no i'll do them for $500' she agreed, you did the shoot, it wasn't as good as you hoped and now you're offering a reshoot to get better results?

Is that right?
12/06/2009 08:21:58 AM · #4
Originally posted by Tez:

+1 on that

If she said she wanted them in a studio with a white gradient background, then why the hell did you not rent a studio with a white background? And you charged her $500 for this? Maybe I've read your post wrong, but it sounds like she was going to have someone else do the pics, you said 'no i'll do them for $500' she agreed, you did the shoot, it wasn't as good as you hoped and now you're offering a reshoot to get better results?

Is that right?


Renting a studio would cost 700USD for the day. I asked her if that was OK with her budget wise. She said no and that she had hoped for shots at a lower price. The shots would be taken, edited and delivered to her in time to promote her new studio by 1 person. She had seen previous photos I had and made the decision to go with what me. She had expressed interest in certain photos and the editing applied to them. I explained the difficulties and differences in between a 'in studio' shoot and a 'out of studio shoot'. She didn't want the pay any extra. She was hoping for the same look you would get with a studio and I explained there was only so much that could be done in photoshop. What was talked about in person as far as how the session would go (Work flow) is not how it went when she arrived. Sample images she had sent from other sites were close up shots of the face of the instructor. When she started doing full body yoga positions I said "This isn't going to work inside (My apartment just isn't that big. I live in Japan)." I tried to get her outside where if she had stretched, she would have had plenty of space. She was not keen on going outside even though that was part of the plan.

In short: I took a job that was budget limited (No studio allowed). I explained that this would hinder the speed at which I could have the shots ready. The day of the shoot there was a lack of preparation on her part to get poses ready (We had to go online and look up different poses...not a big deal, but it was time consuming.). There was a constant need to review the photos during the shoot because her posture was not 'right' and I didn't know what was 'right' when it came to different poses (Again, time consuming and not something I had counted on).

After an entire shoot was done and later reviewed, I decided to offer her more pictures at a new shoot under the above conditions.

The white backdrop was, at first, an 'example' of the style she was looking at. She had sent several images of what she liked. I did explain the cost of a day at the studio. She didn't want to spend the money. Getting her outside to shoot the few shots that we did was hard to do (She wanted to do everything inside even though part of our previous discussion was for her to go outside and do shots). Once outside it was hard enough to keep her there.

She came to me in order to get cheaper shots than she would get at a studio. She would be looking into the 1000's of USD for a single session. She didn't want to pay that kind of money. I had pointed out the advantages of going with a studio package (Stylist, make-up etc included) but the price was more important. I'm not sure what everyone else charges but for family photos of students/friends I usually charge 500USD plus album/print costs. Again, not my main job but something to keep the hobby going.
12/06/2009 08:48:15 AM · #5
Originally posted by heavyj:

Originally posted by Tez:

+1 on that

If she said she wanted them in a studio with a white gradient background, then why the hell did you not rent a studio with a white background? And you charged her $500 for this? Maybe I've read your post wrong, but it sounds like she was going to have someone else do the pics, you said 'no i'll do them for $500' she agreed, you did the shoot, it wasn't as good as you hoped and now you're offering a reshoot to get better results?

Is that right?


Renting a studio would cost 700USD for the day. I asked her if that was OK with her budget wise. She said no and that she had hoped for shots at a lower price. The shots would be taken, edited and delivered to her in time to promote her new studio by 1 person. She had seen previous photos I had and made the decision to go with what me. She had expressed interest in certain photos and the editing applied to them. I explained the difficulties and differences in between a 'in studio' shoot and a 'out of studio shoot'. She didn't want the pay any extra. She was hoping for the same look you would get with a studio and I explained there was only so much that could be done in photoshop. What was talked about in person as far as how the session would go (Work flow) is not how it went when she arrived. Sample images she had sent from other sites were close up shots of the face of the instructor. When she started doing full body yoga positions I said "This isn't going to work inside (My apartment just isn't that big. I live in Japan)." I tried to get her outside where if she had stretched, she would have had plenty of space. She was not keen on going outside even though that was part of the plan.

In short: I took a job that was budget limited (No studio allowed). I explained that this would hinder the speed at which I could have the shots ready. The day of the shoot there was a lack of preparation on her part to get poses ready (We had to go online and look up different poses...not a big deal, but it was time consuming.). There was a constant need to review the photos during the shoot because her posture was not 'right' and I didn't know what was 'right' when it came to different poses (Again, time consuming and not something I had counted on).

After an entire shoot was done and later reviewed, I decided to offer her more pictures at a new shoot under the above conditions.

The white backdrop was, at first, an 'example' of the style she was looking at. She had sent several images of what she liked. I did explain the cost of a day at the studio. She didn't want to spend the money. Getting her outside to shoot the few shots that we did was hard to do (She wanted to do everything inside even though part of our previous discussion was for her to go outside and do shots). Once outside it was hard enough to keep her there.

She came to me in order to get cheaper shots than she would get at a studio. She would be looking into the 1000's of USD for a single session. She didn't want to pay that kind of money. I had pointed out the advantages of going with a studio package (Stylist, make-up etc included) but the price was more important. I'm not sure what everyone else charges but for family photos of students/friends I usually charge 500USD plus album/print costs. Again, not my main job but something to keep the hobby going.


Studio rental can be found for ALOT cheaper than $700
12/06/2009 08:55:58 AM · #6
ultimately, success is a matter of managing expectations, and that is a matter of communication. when you get to a point in any process where you and your client are at odds, you simply have to stop the process and get on the same page, or you have to pull the plug on the project. you can't keep forcing the square peg in the round hole.

it's up to you, the vendor, to manage the process, from beginning to end. even though you have made quite an effort, and invested considerable time, with this client, you basically committed to something that you weren't really equipped to complete, at least in terms of what the client was expecting. if you told her, "i can do this," and she said, "but i want that," and you said, "i can do that but it will cost you," and she said, "but i want what i want but i don't want to pay that much," you should have not taken the job. simple as that.

but you tried, and she's not happy and you're not happy. at this point, you only have a few options. you could give her two options: take her money back and try someone else, or let you do it your way, the best you can, and use these as a starter so that when she has more money, she can do it the right way. or you could sit down and have a conversation along the lines of where the two of you are, where you would like to be, and what reasonable accommodations you both can make to get there.

good luck, better luck next time...
12/06/2009 09:21:39 AM · #7
Background Support

Background Paper Roll

Cheap and easy. I wonder if she has a studio that she teaches in? Perhaps you could pop by, do a fast set-up and since you're already familiar with the job, bang out 5 poses quickly.
12/06/2009 11:26:02 AM · #8
Originally posted by JayA:



Studio rental can be found for ALOT cheaper than $700


In your part of the world maybe. Not here. I work in different chapels as a minister. Talking with photographers who work exclusively with different chapels I asked "Where do you do studio work? How much is it?" They either rent a studio for the average price of 700USD for the day or the company they work for owns a studio.

Originally posted by pawdrix:

Background Support

Background Paper Roll

Cheap and easy. I wonder if she has a studio that she teaches in? Perhaps you could pop by, do a fast set-up and since you're already familiar with the job, bang out 5 poses quickly.


You would think that finding photography equipment like that in this part of the world would be easy. Unfortunately it's not. People don't have garages or spare rooms to keep their stuff in. The only reason I have a room to use as a semi-studio is because my mother-in-law moved out and we decided to stay in our current apartment, which is not that big to begin with.

As for taking on a job and not putting my foot down when necessary, I admit that I should've been more professional about it. I've done work with families before without a problem. This is my first real issue and I suppose I will learn from it. She has her own studio but it's too far away. Getting her to this prefecture took several months of trying to line up our schedules for when she would be in Osaka. I would be happy to go out to her studio on a day-off, but she isn't settled into her new studio and is often in Tokyo.
12/06/2009 12:11:30 PM · #9
//en.item.rakuten.com/sd/bd135/

I found this on Google in approximately 45 seconds. It looks as if the pricing is very close to the pricing for paper here in the states. It is a company in Japan that could get it to you quick. If you take on a job like this you need the equipment to deliver. Is it a pain for me to store and then load up a 10 ft. wide roll of white paper? Yes. But clients I have want the studio look. This allows me to make a studio anywhere. And for a hell of a lot less than $700 a day. Additionally, I have never heard of a studio requiring a full day of rental. Half day and even hourly rates are the norm for every studio I know of. For $500 dollars you can easily buy a background system twice over. Not to be overly harsh, but if I were paying $500 for a photographic service for my business I would damn well want what I want how I want it. I am almost always on the side of a photographer when expectations seem to be unreasonable. I guess in this case I see her request as reasonable. You knew her desires upfront. Additionally photo shoots take time. In a shoot where poses HAVE to be perfect and she is paying you, the shoot takes as long as it takes.

Your results are very serviceable. They look good, but they will not be acceptable to a client who clearly outlined she wants studio look. To be surprised that she is upset seems odd to me since you knew what she was expecting.
12/06/2009 12:17:31 PM · #10
I should say I do have white cloth background (As well as a variety of other colors).

As for studio rentals, that's the price I know. There are plenty of differences between how things work here (As far as payment.rentals and other services) than back home. This is just 1 more to add to a large list.

As for the studio look, I will make sure next time clients know that I'm limited to what I have as far as a studio (Or lack there of).
12/06/2009 12:33:24 PM · #11
You also could go the route of ps'ing it in. I did a 5 minute job on one of the photos. It was a thumbnail so the results could be much better with a full size, but it is possible to go full white in PS. It is rough in a couple of areas where more detailed work would be needed in a much higher res version, but you can get a serviceable result with the proper time and effort.

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12/06/2009 02:25:54 PM · #12
Originally posted by heavyj:

........ promote her new studio by 1 person......


So she has her own yoga studio? It might've been a good place to shoot.

12/07/2009 01:14:18 AM · #13
Originally posted by faidoi:

Originally posted by heavyj:

........ promote her new studio by 1 person......


So she has her own yoga studio? It might've been a good place to shoot.


One studio is in Tokyo, the other in Northern Hyogo (3 to 4 hours by subway, train and bus). Too far from where I am. The idea was to get it done Osaka.
12/07/2009 01:16:04 AM · #14
Originally posted by Mike_Adams:

You also could go the route of ps'ing it in. I did a 5 minute job on one of the photos. It was a thumbnail so the results could be much better with a full size, but it is possible to go full white in PS. It is rough in a couple of areas where more detailed work would be needed in a much higher res version, but you can get a serviceable result with the proper time and effort.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/80000-84999/84907/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_837814.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/80000-84999/84907/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_837814.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


Yes, that's the route I'm taking. I was hoping that TopazMask would do a good job of making life easier. I tried out the trial version but it didn't work as I had expected. Perhaps more time and experience with it will end in better results. In the end, that's how I will be going.
12/07/2009 03:13:56 AM · #15
Originally posted by heavyj:

Originally posted by Mike_Adams:

You also could go the route of ps'ing it in. I did a 5 minute job on one of the photos. It was a thumbnail so the results could be much better with a full size, but it is possible to go full white in PS. It is rough in a couple of areas where more detailed work would be needed in a much higher res version, but you can get a serviceable result with the proper time and effort.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/80000-84999/84907/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_837814.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/80000-84999/84907/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_837814.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


Yes, that's the route I'm taking. I was hoping that TopazMask would do a good job of making life easier. I tried out the trial version but it didn't work as I had expected. Perhaps more time and experience with it will end in better results. In the end, that's how I will be going.


my only advise is first increase the size of original to much bigger propertion, replace backgroud and blur edges a bit with background and resize back to original. This way it would not look plastic.

12/08/2009 07:22:25 AM · #16
Ok I had to have a go...

After 5 mins I conclude that your best option is to reshoot with a backdrop of any colour that does not appear in the girl.
Your main problem here is that the background is very similar to her skin tones.

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12/08/2009 08:59:11 AM · #17
What I don't understand is why you didn't tell her that you wouldn't be able to give her the shots she wanted when she told you what she wanted?

I don't know if I missed something.

But if someone was asking me to do a shoot and I wasn't able to provide those images, I would let them know in advance, instead of doing them and hoping they come out.
12/08/2009 09:21:45 AM · #18
Originally posted by AJSullivan:

What I don't understand is why you didn't tell her that you wouldn't be able to give her the shots she wanted when she told you what she wanted?

I don't know if I missed something.

But if someone was asking me to do a shoot and I wasn't able to provide those images, I would let them know in advance, instead of doing them and hoping they come out.


+1.

12/08/2009 11:56:05 AM · #19
Originally posted by zxaar:

Originally posted by AJSullivan:

What I don't understand is why you didn't tell her that you wouldn't be able to give her the shots she wanted when she told you what she wanted?

I don't know if I missed something.

But if someone was asking me to do a shoot and I wasn't able to provide those images, I would let them know in advance, instead of doing them and hoping they come out.


+1.


I've bit my tongue on this post for quite some time. There are lessons to be learned as we go through our lives about everything. IMHO you need to either re-shoot these for her with the cost of setting up a proper studio to give her the shots she requested or refund her money and apologize. The hardest thing to do is realize when we are stepping into an area we shouldn't be, before we do it. You have to know your limits, you have to be able to swallow your pride and admit you can't provide what the customer is wanting.

Be up front and honest with her that you cannot provide her with what she requested and refund her money.

Matt
12/08/2009 11:15:33 PM · #20
Originally posted by MattO:

Originally posted by zxaar:

Originally posted by AJSullivan:

What I don't understand is why you didn't tell her that you wouldn't be able to give her the shots she wanted when she told you what she wanted?

I don't know if I missed something.

But if someone was asking me to do a shoot and I wasn't able to provide those images, I would let them know in advance, instead of doing them and hoping they come out.


+1.


I've bit my tongue on this post for quite some time. There are lessons to be learned as we go through our lives about everything. IMHO you need to either re-shoot these for her with the cost of setting up a proper studio to give her the shots she requested or refund her money and apologize. The hardest thing to do is realize when we are stepping into an area we shouldn't be, before we do it. You have to know your limits, you have to be able to swallow your pride and admit you can't provide what the customer is wanting.

Be up front and honest with her that you cannot provide her with what she requested and refund her money.

Matt


On dpr, few days ago someone ask - what is the definition of pro.
One of the reply that was spot on. I am quoting it here.

Originally posted by Alex Karasev:


In my book neither equipment nor compensation make one a pro. Amateurs sometimes get paid and pros sometimes give their work for free. If everyone shooting pro equipment were a pro, we would not have the Internet chock-full of pointless pix. And on that note there are amateurs that are more talented and competent than many working pros.

So what makes one a pro? In my mind it is one thing only:

ACCOUNTABILITY

... Accountability to the client to dependably deliver (sometimes in spite of reasonable adversities and contingencies that may arise) an agreed-on quantity of work, of quality consistent with the client expectations you've set earlier and the capabilities you've advertised.

-- Alex Karasev
12/10/2009 11:08:07 PM · #21
I will be doing a re-shoot.

I should mention that I have a white background as well as proper stands to keep it all in place.
What I wasn't expecting was for her to stretch out beyond the bounds of that frame. The sample photography she gave me "Can you duplicate this" I said yes. These were all head shots and a few tightly cropped shots (As I've shown in the pictures above). Unfortunately, all the colored/black/white clothe I have is 90cm in width.

From the samples, I thought I would be able to do it. From the time she stood up and stretched beyond the borders (Literally wall to wall in my small room) I was should've stopped it there, but went on. I will be prepare next time around.
12/11/2009 08:49:19 AM · #22
If you properly light your backdrop, it shouldn't matter if she goes beyond the borders of it, especially if its just solid white.
12/11/2009 12:49:05 PM · #23
Originally posted by Skip:

ultimately, success is a matter of managing expectations, and that is a matter of communication. when you get to a point in any process where you and your client are at odds, you simply have to stop the process and get on the same page, or you have to pull the plug on the project. you can't keep forcing the square peg in the round hole.

it's up to you, the vendor, to manage the process, from beginning to end. even though you have made quite an effort, and invested considerable time, with this client, you basically committed to something that you weren't really equipped to complete, at least in terms of what the client was expecting. if you told her, "i can do this," and she said, "but i want that," and you said, "i can do that but it will cost you," and she said, "but i want what i want but i don't want to pay that much," you should have not taken the job. simple as that.

but you tried, and she's not happy and you're not happy. at this point, you only have a few options. you could give her two options: take her money back and try someone else, or let you do it your way, the best you can, and use these as a starter so that when she has more money, she can do it the right way. or you could sit down and have a conversation along the lines of where the two of you are, where you would like to be, and what reasonable accommodations you both can make to get there.

good luck, better luck next time...


I couldn't agree more. Skip has many great words to live by. Helped me out w/ a lot of similar questions. It's all about planning ahead and making sure all possible angles / problems are covered before the shoot starts, and then dealing with them in a way to always keep the customer happy.

Good luck w/ this
12/11/2009 12:54:13 PM · #24
Yoga Positions

Tell her to take a look on the web and find a few (3) positions that will look good and link you to them. Make sure they are perfect form, so if they don't look correct you may be able to see imperfections. Also let her know straight away any size limitations you have based on the backdrop and also say immediately what won't work and tell her if she varies...she's gonna be unhappy.

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On this shoot that I did a few weeks back, I realized that I missed a few moves/positions at their peak. I asked them to do a few before I lifted the camera to make sure I understood when they were at full extension and tuned in pretty quickly.
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