I am in many photography groups, and there are a lot of things that they have in common. Many times there are some frustrating circumstances which photographers seek answers too. I am going to address my opinion on some of the most common problems.
Clients Misusing Photos
While my thought is unpopular this is my blog and my opinion so here it is. It doesn't really matter. They paid you to take a photo you took them, and they have them. Clients may through a filter on them thinking they are making them better when they are not. If they tag me after doing it, I will remove the tag. But over the 8 years that I have been doing this, no one has said; “I saw your photo on Carrie’s Insta and just had to have you.” It tends to be more along the lines of “You shot so and so’s wedding and I loved how you worked.” Or “Carrie said you were amazing, so I looked at your photos and I love them.”
So you can make a big fit about it and leave a sour taste in a previous client mouth who then will only mention their negative interaction to people, or you can let it go and be creative in ways to keep clients from filtering your work.
For me, I stress how much I craft each session to be unique and fit the mood for the day. I mention this at nearly every touchpoint that I have with clients. It doesn’t always work, but it has helped. But even if they do, I have bigger fish to fry.
Using photos in ways, they didn’t pay for
There are many posts about clients who booked a session for family photos and then use a photo for their profile or “headshot” on their website, or some sort of publicity. Again While it would be nice for them to book a new session, or pay for proper usage, I can guarantee that 99% of the clients that do this have no idea about commercial usage vs. personal. So instead of getting all worked up over the fact that they misused a photo, spin it a different way. Mention to them that you love that they enjoy their photos so much but that from a brand standpoint doing a professional session that fits their brand would be far better in the long run. Offer a return discount or something else. Look for ways that you can turn this into a repeat business rather than leaving a sour taste in a client's mouth. If people don’t understand usage, they will not understand why you are making a big deal about it.
Giving photos to vendors
In the wedding industry there are many times where vendors do not want to pay for images, so they will approach the couple to get the photos. Often the couples don’t think twice about giving them to the other vendors, especially if they enjoyed their services. So again, the clients probably do not understand the big deal about this. So you have several options here.
You can let it slide - If it was a vendor that I don’t care to work with again. I usually do this. If they post it on Socials, I may comment on it. But there have been times where I just don’t want to work with that vendor, so I am not going to try to network.
Touch base with the couple. Talk about how you do special packages for vendors and how you would love to touch base with the vendors about the photos. Then proceed from there.
Reach out to the vendors and talk to them. But look for ways that you can get repeat business. I ask for backlinks. I will give them non-watermarked photos in exchange for backlinks on their site.
This is my preferred option; when the couple books and you talk about delivery, mention that you will share certain photos with vendors so if any of them contact the couple they can send them to you. If you don’t want to give photos to vendors, that is up to you. But for me, the photos are already there, I have already been paid for them, by being pleasant to vendors and giving them a great service as well you have a better chance of being referred or even booking business off of them. For example, I gave a salon photos, they loved them so much they booked me for their rebranding photos and then several continued shoots after. By giving them photos, I booked several thousand dollars of shoots over the next year.
So there is a lot of info about Copyright out there but here are the basics of it.
Whoever presses the button own the photo. If you are at a wedding and you have a guest take a photo of you and the couple...that guest owns the photo.
There is no need to register your photos for a Copyright to take effect. Once you publish online, they are copywritten. Although no registering decreases the number of damages that you can collect if there is a violation.
There are work for hire instances where you do not maintain the copyright, but this is signed away in the contract for said job.
So when clients want copyright, that can be negotiated. It is a lot more common in commercial work than in other types of photography. But there are times where individuals want copyright when what they want is printing rights. This is something that can be touched upon in many ways, on your site, in your contract, or during a consult.
Read more here
Clients with “Big” asks
Uploading old Galleries
I have seen posts about old clients coming back and needing photos from years prior. I have had this happen. You know how long it took me? Under 10 min. I located the HD, plugged it in, made a new gallery and uploaded.
I do say in my contract that there is an archiving fee. That if I need to upload a gallery after X amount of time I charge X amount.
It gives people incentive to back up their gallery and wedding photos.
It gives me the opportunity to make them happy again if they need to have their gallery re-uploaded. I can mention “Hey normally there is a $100 unarchiving fee, but ill waive this and if you want to order any prints Here is a 20% off code.” Boom, smile on their face.
Wanting Photos Faster
I find this one the simplest. Communicate in the booking process, the contract, and after the shoot when the photos will be done. If you have someone that is asking for photos faster, then tell them you have X number of sessions before theirs, but if they would like them faster, there is a $1000 rush fee. Or whatever $ amount you feel is appropriate. Hold your ground and be firm.
Working for free for brands
Occasionally there are times where brands ask you to work for free or exposure. In your head, you are thinking “ They sell jackets for $500 a pop they can afford to pay me.” Well, here is the plain and simple truth. They should, but they may not have a budget for it. Some brands just do not put value on the visuals, so they do not have a budget set aside for photos. Instead of worrying about it. Move on. Brands that can’t pay will suffer in the long run. But you can also respond with “Thank you for your interest when you receive a budget for elevating your brand shoot me a message and I would love to chat with you about what we can do!”
Just don’t work for free.