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Equipment & Techniques => Pro Business Discussion => Topic started by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 11:06:56 am

Title: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 11:06:56 am
Hi All,

In a bit of a sticky situation with a photographer at the moment. To cut to the chase I have commissioned him from my employer and he has done a fairly extensive shoot abroad for us.  Some of the images are quite good, others are bordering on the edge of acceptability from a compositional standpoint and perhaps interpretation of the briefing documents issued. 

However the main point of concern is that technically they are not good.  The images in good light are OK with regard to noise / grain etc but the low light images are simply appalling and these are key shots. Huge amounts of noise / grain in flat tones and shadows. All shot on an Aptus 75. I have a few RAW files from the shoot of the key images (I wanted to process these myself and he surprisingly released them).  They are exposed so heavily to the left, presumably in an over cautious bid to protect highlights that they are impossible to get decent results from without massive image by image noise reduction techniques and even then it's not great and details and colours are obliterated by the noise in the original file. The overall look is also not good across the board, undoubtedly we will have re-process the images to make them look nice. 

We have been issued the low res proofs but not high res yet.  So the question is what to do next, do I pay him at all? Insist on a massive discount?  Simply put we will have to re-shoot at some stage and at best these images will be usable only in the interim. I don't want to shaft a fellow photographer but I am seriously unimpressed with the work I am receiving. Be good to have some of your views / opinions.

Ghibby
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: MattBurt on April 01, 2016, 11:19:19 am
So to re-shoot, you'd have to fly him somewhere? I usually offer a re-shoot if client isn't happy but in my case it's just been in the same town.

Have you voiced your concerns? I'd try that route first and see what he offers, if anything.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 11:36:46 am
My concerns have been voiced, no offer of a re-shoot and he seems to think RAW processing is post production work and is reluctant to even alter this, not snappy on contact either, he is in no rush to issue updates to an unhappy customer.  Undoubtedly I wont use him again. If I were to go to the expense another shoot I would simply go myself or use someone else.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Christopher Sanderson on April 01, 2016, 11:54:12 am
You would be doing the photographer, any future clients and yourself a favour by being direct and truthful. Unacceptable work is just that - unacceptable. The poor quality of the results should not be hidden.

Dependent on contractual obligation, if the photographer was to have been paid in halves or thirds, I would deny the final payment.

All that said, whoever hired the person bears half of the responsibility - in my opinion.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 12:09:38 pm
Hi Chris, in principal i agree, however to add to the saga we used him a few times in the past, he delivered far better images then which is why is was re-hired.  The latest shots were more challenging in terms of scale and location though.  The payment terms are not half / thirds but expenses prior to shoot - all paid up, with remaining to be paid on completion of final images. For him this this represents all of his profit. We do need the images fairly soon, no time for a re-shoot for the next few months so we are kind of stuck with what he has produced. 

The chap is deluded though, I have constructively pointed out the areas that needs to be improved, his response is to say his images are perfect, well considered compositionally and executed to technical perfection! Begrudgingly he re-processed most of the images but even these are not great.  From my perspective it has reached a point that it will be quicker and less stressful to re-process myself as opposed to huge number of nasty emails with no real progress being made. He also had a nasty rant about the quality of photography on the rest of our website which is a mixed bag but the more recent stuff is of good quality, a lot is better than his.  Very poor conduct.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 01, 2016, 12:42:47 pm
Hard to comment without seeing examples.

Some people's perfectionism (yours?) might be orders of magnitude different than most people's. Especially those flocking to web forums are known to be pixel-peeping Toms.

And what's up with that "compositionally" barely acceptable? On what grounds? Has the Congress passed a Rule of Thirds Law I am not aware of? Someone chose the photographer based on his previous work and, I presume, his sense of composition was a part of that validation.

Your proper course of action is to pay up and never hire him again.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 01:31:19 pm
Hi Slobodan,

By technical standards I don't expect complete perfection but clean and sharp files. The quality I have received is below what I have from other photographers or can get myself out of a old canon EOS 5D ii with TSE lenses. As far as I'm aware the Aptus 75 is based on a similar sensor to the phase 1 p45 so it should be a few notches up on a 2008 era DSLR!

By barely acceptable compositions I mean over corrected verticals and site lines where key features are obscured by parts not relevant and outside the scheme, a few steps to one side would have helped immensely. Quality of the work is markedly below previous assignments and his own website. I am seriously reluctant to say thanks and pay for work like this. I would be embarrassed to submit work of this quality to a client personally.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: pixjohn on April 01, 2016, 01:49:13 pm
As stated before you need to post a sample. As per paying, he delivered images and legally you are obligated to pay. If he files the © and you use them without paying, it could cost you big time. I have only been asked once in 20 years to reshoot 1 shot, and it was the clients mistake on the angle. I sucked it up and reshot the image at my cost. You can then turn around and sue him for the cost of the reshoot.

Hi Slobodan,

By technical standards I don't expect complete perfection but clean and sharp files. The quality I have received is below what I have from other photographers or can get myself out of a old canon EOS 5D ii with TSE lenses. As far as I'm aware the Aptus 75 is based on a similar sensor to the phase 1 p45 so it should be a few notches up on a 2008 era DSLR!

By barely acceptable compositions I mean over corrected verticals and site lines where key features are obscured by parts not relevant and outside the scheme, a few steps to one side would have helped immensely. Quality of the work is markedly below previous assignments and his own website. I am seriously reluctant to say thanks and pay for work like this. I would be embarrassed to submit work of this quality to a client personally.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: framah on April 01, 2016, 01:49:38 pm
My personal opinion is to refuse any more payments with an explanation as to why and let him decide what he wants to do about it.

You might want to take your equipment out and only take 1 or 2 shots to prove how bad his are.

It would help in any future arguments  if the courts get involved.

To accept his work and make a final payment is only encouraging him to continue to put out poor work. The more times he ends up not getting paid, possibly he might get the hint and work harder to produce a better product.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 01, 2016, 01:58:06 pm
You should do whatever is in the contract.

Without seeing that, and what exactly it is you have commissioned him to provide, its pointless offering suggestions.

Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 01, 2016, 02:11:25 pm
...encouraging him to continue to put out poor work...

That remains to be established.

The argument and (lack of) proof so far do not support it. What is a "clean" file is highly debatable. Whether it is supposed to be better than "2008" technology is equally highly debatable. There were phenomenally good photographs made with that and any other older technology. "Clean" file might be irrelevant for print quality as well.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 03:13:04 pm
Proof of quality is not required for my question. I am asking advice on how to react / respond to the photographer. As a photographer myself I am more than happy with my quality assessment of his work. I deal with photos every day, this is low quality work, my team at work who are not photographers have also commented the poor quality of these images. It's become something of a joke in the office.

While I do agree that great images can be produced on any camera, old or new. This is commercial work, it needs to look modern and vibrant and slick. It looks like crap.

I think I may well make a request for his RAW files and deduct a fee for my time in processing them from his payment.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 01, 2016, 03:15:39 pm
again, what is in your contract? - as this is what dictates what you can/should be able to do regarding payment/delivery

You cant arbitrarily withhold payment if he has met his contractual obligations.

If it isnt in the contract to supply you with the RAW files, he's not obligated to give you those either.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 01, 2016, 03:18:36 pm
Sounds more and more like a bridezilla client.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: MarkM on April 01, 2016, 03:20:29 pm
Simply put we will have to re-shoot at some stage and at best these images will be usable only in the interim.

I presume you are working for a large company with thousands of completed projects and offices around the world, right? Chalk this up to a learning experience, learn from it, pay the photographer, and move on. Unless you have an unusual contract, it's unlikely that you have any rights to use the images, even in the interim, if you don't pay for them. Your company's pockets are likely deep enough that it will be an attractive infringement case and you will have a very difficult time convincing someone that the photos are unusable after you have used them.

These kind of mistakes used to happen in the film days from time to time, but they can be avoided today. If you are going to fly photographers around the world, you can insist on doing approvals while they are still on the ground. As a photographer, I like this because it removes some stress ó you can make sure all parties are happy with the result while the photographer is still on location. Re-shoots will still be highly-inconvenient, but not nearly as expensive. 
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 04:18:37 pm
Large company, no, well established but quite small, some global offices. Sadly the company has not valued photography as well as it should have done for last 15 years or so. Things are slowly changing but each commission is disproportionately important as a result. This represents a fairly significant part of the photo budget for the year.

Contract, foolishly from the photographer there is no formal contract. Just acceptance of a job on agreed daily rate, no specifics detailed at all. No mention of file types etc. He has left himself totally unprotected, ultimately at the mercy of the morality of the company. Not really a clever move on his part. Usage rights are unlimited on payment.

We have not used the photos at all, if we decide not to pay we won't use them. As mentioned before I only have low res not suitable for use, just evaluation. I have a couple of full res images only. Again not used as yet, eval only.

Bridezilla, not really, just expect a good job, sure you would to in the situation.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Colorado David on April 01, 2016, 04:29:44 pm
 This is a sticky situation and I suspect you didn't get the types of responses you expected in this thread. Usually in a case like this there is blame enough to go around. I have experience with one client who is unable to describe exactly what he wants but will know it when he sees it.  Except that he has no opinion of his own and has to shop the results around his colleagues before he knows that he doesn't have what he wants. That may or may not be you and I don't expect that it is, but it's problematic.  The main thing here is that if you have a work for hire contract then the copyright does not transfer until you've made full payment. On the other hand if you have a license contract then the license does not become valid until you've made full payment.  In either case if you intend to use the images, even temporarily, you have to pay up.  I've had work run in publications before I had payment, but in that case we both knew a check was forthcoming. I have been on your of this situation before and when outsourced work is truly not up to standard, the best choice is to simply not use it at all. We've done that in the past. Although it hurts, it is better than shouldering the liability. I'm with Slobodon in that a forum conversation like this doesn't establish facts, only opinions.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: MattBurt on April 01, 2016, 05:44:47 pm
I'm pretty sure that if you had a verbal contract to pay his daily rate for him to shoot photos, that it should be binding. He delivered photos, you now owe him his rate unless you had a (verbal) clause stating otherwise. Something like "We will withhold payment until the photos pass review.".
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 01, 2016, 06:20:59 pm
Hi David,

Yes you are right, not the responses I expected, useful none the less. I think I'll push for the Raw's though. Still undecided what to do on payment though, ie full amt or a deduction.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: DrakeJ on April 01, 2016, 06:39:35 pm
Why not learn from this experience instead of putting all the blame on the photographer. Pay the photog and consider where you went wrong. Remember to give constructive feedback as to why you won't be hiring him/her again.

One of the excellent points made in this thread already is that in the age of internet, you as a client can review images pretty much instantly and tell the person you hired if his/her work is up to par or if you need any changes. Client happy, photographer happy.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: mitchino on April 02, 2016, 03:52:21 am
I'm sure I speak for many when I say - show us some of the shots!
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 02, 2016, 08:06:57 am
Still undecided what to do on payment though, ie full amt or a deduction.

Be prepared to be sued - because I would.

as previously said. If you didn't specify a review of images and you've hired him to take & deliver photographs he has fulfilled that obligation and you need to pay him.
you're talking of withholding payments because you dont like the images. Unless they are truly useless (heads chopped off, vastly underexposed, unprintable etc) you have no right to withhold any payments. If its a subjective dislike of the results then are not in a position to deny payment.

Getting the raw files from him should be a separate negotiation - not one suddenly added as a condition of you releasing his original payment

I'm sorry to say but it sounds like you are trying to get one over on the photographer here because you screwed up your contract.

Pay the photographer - learn & move on - get a contract in place next time.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Rob C on April 02, 2016, 10:41:49 am
The photographer you commissioned should be covered by his own insurance for some failures - even professional negligence; what are you covered by if you fail to pay up?

I have no idea if you are a professional shooter or not; if you are, why didn't you do the shoot if you are capable?

Rob C

P.S.

Hey, wait a minute; didn't we all notice the date of the post...?
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 02, 2016, 10:57:17 am


Hey, wait a minute; didn't we all notice the date of the post...?

I did, but :
a) money is never a joking matter ;)
b) I was always told to end your joke by noon, or you become the fool
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: BradSmith on April 02, 2016, 02:48:54 pm

Contract, foolishly from the photographer there is no formal contract. Just acceptance of a job on agreed daily rate, no specifics detailed at all. No mention of file types etc. He has left himself totally unprotected, ultimately at the mercy of the morality of the company. Not really a clever move on his part. Usage rights are unlimited on payment.


You say that the photographer was foolish for not having a formal contract.  Why doesn't the same logic apply to your firm?  Seems to me that your firm also foolishly did not execute a contract with the photographer.  Many of the comments here have referenced what might have been included (or not included) in your contract.  Seems it was only a verbal agreement to be reimbursed for travel expenses up front and a daily rate with unlimited usage rights on payment.  You don't even state if there is any definition of what the deliverables were to be.  In my opinion, both the photographer and your firm are at fault for the contractual non-contractual bind you are in.

I'd tell him that the firm is not happy with the result, and want the RAWS to further refine them, and then pay him.  Net result, you're both harmed.  He gets paid, but loses a client.  You get work that will probably be usable, but you must put additional unbudgeted effort into "saving" the images.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 02, 2016, 03:15:26 pm
In absence of examples under debate, I'll provide some of my own.

A client sent me to shoot a commercial property. Prior to that, they showed me photographs they commissioned (and paid) a local photographer to do previously. Upon arrival, I tried my best to mimic what I saw the other photographer did, just for the sake of it* (the first shot below). The next two are my efforts to shoot it in the best possible light, angle, etc. I think you can guess what the client liked the most and which ones ended up in their promotional materials.

But which one is better is not the point. The point is that what the other photographer did was (contractually) sufficient for what he was asked to do: go shoot a property. He was paid, I was paid, but I got to shoot all their other properties across the U.S., and he never got hired by them again.

EDIT: * And, of course, to demonstrate to the client the difference between a minimum effort and an appropriate one.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: MattBurt on April 03, 2016, 01:35:03 am
You had me worried with that first shot before I read the text! The other ones look great.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Chris D on April 03, 2016, 01:29:26 pm
I'd withhold payment, and negotiate a kill fee...  In spite of not having a contract, you are obligated to pay him, but he's obligated to produce work that looks and feels like the work in his portfolio.  Neither one of you want to go to court...

And next time insist on a contract to protect you both! 
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 03, 2016, 01:48:48 pm
About contracts... I had a chance to talk to one of the most renowned (and well-paid) architectural photographers currently, during his workshop. We asked him about contracts. His answer: "I never had a contract in my life. A client can only cross me once." And mind you, in his case, we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars. He simply relies on relationships.

Not that he didn't have trouble occasionally, but mostly with client's assistants who tried to prove their worth by being holier than the Pope and trying that stinky maneuver the OP (and some here) are contemplating or advising: "Your images are not that good, so we will not pay you unless..." That would be usually resolved by talking to the client directly. The assistant would then usually end up pursuing "other career choices."
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Jeremy Roussak on April 04, 2016, 03:30:03 am
About contracts... I had a chance to talk to one of the most renowned (and well-paid) architectural photographers currently, during his workshop. We asked him about contracts. His answer: "I never had a contract in my life. A client can only cross me once." And mind you, in his case, we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars. He simply relies on relationships.

In fact, he probably had a contract for every job he did. He was confusing having a contract with having a written contract, forgetting (or not knowing) that in most circumstances, the writing is mere evidence.

Jeremy
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: JoeKitchen on April 06, 2016, 10:18:36 am
About contracts... I had a chance to talk to one of the most renowned (and well-paid) architectural photographers currently, during his workshop. We asked him about contracts. His answer: "I never had a contract in my life. A client can only cross me once." And mind you, in his case, we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars. He simply relies on relationships.


In most cases, the courts would rule on the side of the client, not the vendor without a written contract.  Yes, verbal contracts are binding, but since there is no record of it, it would be difficult to argue the intent of it in court beyond a doubt.  Even written contracts can be hard to enforce, which is why contracts have such precise and exact language. 

I had a lawyer once tell to always get a contract.  If someone says, "we don't really need a contract," that is when you should be most worried.  If someone is truly intent on paying you and providing their side of the bargain, why would they be troubled about signing a contract? 

Now with architectural shoots, yes I sometimes proceed with me sending along a proposal and the client emailing me that they agree, not printing, signing, and scanning it back to me.  However, local architectural projects are pretty inexpensive to produce.  Usually it is just the cost of driving there and paying an assistant. 

Any travel or ad work involves a lot of expenses on the photographer's part.  I don't consider the project a go until I get a signed proposal and a 40% retainer. 
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 06, 2016, 12:27:42 pm
...  I had a lawyer once tell to always get a contract...

Shocking  ;)
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 06, 2016, 04:11:39 pm
Shocking  ;)

doesn't negate the advice though
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 06, 2016, 04:14:20 pm
doesn't negate the advice though

Contracts are like prenups, kill the relationship before it even starts  ;)
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: MarkM on April 06, 2016, 04:45:55 pm
Contracts are like prenups, kill the relationship before it even starts  ;)

They don't kill relationships, they turn them into business arrangements - some people find that unromantic when it comes to marriages.

Maybe it's time to watch this again - especially where he talks about trust and contracts:
Mike Monteiro: F*ck You, Pay Me (https://youtu.be/jVkLVRt6c1U)
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: JoeKitchen on April 07, 2016, 07:14:22 am
Contracts are like prenups, kill the relationship before it even starts  ;)

I'm not sure how you can write that with a straight face; I hope you are joking. 

If not, think about it this way.  I highly doubt any of your clients are providing services without a contract.  I know not a single architect I work with would do any design work without out one.  Additionally, every ad firm I have ever talked to maintains contracts with their clients and usually will have some type of ND they have signed by their vendors. 

So to imply that a contract is going to prevent you from getting business is absurd.  You're merely doing what it is that almost every client is doing as well. 
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 07, 2016, 07:54:17 am
Resolution has been found.  We decided to pay him in full.  His email exchanges to us have been frankly shocking and rude, he is clearly very angry at having his work criticised.  My feeling is that in a creative position constructive criticism is part of the process and really should be viewed as way to improve / develop and shift with the times. I work as a designer and a photographer, criticism in the design world is part of the job, it is an essential part of project development. It seems more polarised in the photographic world, photographers on the whole seem to take offence to criticism more easily than designers, perhaps itís part of being your own boss. 

I gave him zero choice on handing RAW files over, he was OK with it.  The files show me someone who is shooting in a rather unstructured way. Every shot is heavily bracketed (6-7 exposures). Typically 3-4 of these have no value to the final image as they are so dark that the extreme highlight info is in the left third of the histogram, there is usually one shot that you can judge to be close to the right exposure, then another couple massively over exposed for shadows. He is making a lot of work for himself in RAW processing.  Dark / low light images are another matter, all massively underexposed and grainy as hell. All images exposed at ISO 50, he needed to crank up to 200 for the darker shots, perhaps even 400 with optimum exposure on the Aptus 75. He needs a service to the camera too, huge numbers of hot pixels in exposures beyond about 10 seconds at a guess (full metadata not embedded in rawís). 

A nasty situation to be sure, I am sure all parties have learnt from it.  I would have normally have shot the project myself but my design work commitments to the company didnít allow the time on this occasion.  TBH just glad the whole mess is over.  In the meantime I have had some excellent images from another photographer looking for work in the same region. Next time he gets the job if I canít do it.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: JoeKitchen on April 07, 2016, 08:21:36 am
Resolution has been found.  We decided to pay him in full.  His email exchanges to us have been frankly shocking and rude, he is clearly very angry at having his work criticised.  My feeling is that in a creative position constructive criticism is part of the process and really should be viewed as way to improve / develop and shift with the times. I work as a designer and a photographer, criticism in the design world is part of the job, it is an essential part of project development. It seems more polarised in the photographic world, photographers on the whole seem to take offence to criticism more easily than designers, perhaps itís part of being your own boss. 

I gave him zero choice on handing RAW files over, he was OK with it.  The files show me someone who is shooting in a rather unstructured way. Every shot is heavily bracketed (6-7 exposures). Typically 3-4 of these have no value to the final image as they are so dark that the extreme highlight info is in the left third of the histogram, there is usually one shot that you can judge to be close to the right exposure, then another couple massively over exposed for shadows. He is making a lot of work for himself in RAW processing.  Dark / low light images are another matter, all massively underexposed and grainy as hell. All images exposed at ISO 50, he needed to crank up to 200 for the darker shots, perhaps even 400 with optimum exposure on the Aptus 75. He needs a service to the camera too, huge numbers of hot pixels in exposures beyond about 10 seconds at a guess (full metadata not embedded in rawís). 

A nasty situation to be sure, I am sure all parties have learnt from it.  I would have normally have shot the project myself but my design work commitments to the company didnít allow the time on this occasion.  TBH just glad the whole mess is over.  In the meantime I have had some excellent images from another photographer looking for work in the same region. Next time he gets the job if I canít do it.

Just some advice on processing the RAWs. 

First, all CCD based cameras (along with any Sony CMOS based cameras) are IOSless.  Meaning that if you take an ISO 50 file that was under exposed by 2 stops and push it 2 stops in post, you will get the same exact IQ as a properly exposed ISO 200 file. 

All CCD based cameras, except for the P45+, IQ 260, IQ 360, and IQ 380, are really bad at long exposures.  Heat builds up faster on a CCD, and unless the camera captures a black file and the sensor is designed for long exposures, you really can't do long exposures.  30 seconds is the limit, but noise from heat will start to show up earlier.  You can use C1 to remove any single pixel noise to a degree, but he really should have done those exposures at a higher ISO to avoid noise from heat.  If it is too bad to deal with, push a shorter exposure; as noted above, it really does not matter where the push occurs (in camera vs. in post). 

I would recommend C1 v. 8 (if not v. 9) for the processing.  C1 v. 8 was really a great jump ahead with noise reduction; C1 v. 9 is slightly better here, but the increase in the amount of tools you can use is a real advantage. 
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 07, 2016, 08:24:14 am
Glad to hear the matter is resolved.

You've upheld your end of the deal and he has given you his RAWs for free. Best result in the circumstances. Him being miffed at the criticism is something he has to deal with.

Next time I would strongly suggest you get a contract in place spelling out what is expected of both parties.
Contracts are there for when things go wrong or at least to make it very clear what is expected of everyone.

without one, its very easy to get bogged down in email ping-pong and misunderstandings. Its also a way to make sure there is no abuse:
"Hey we dont like the images you took, so we're not going to pay you in full - but we're still going to use them for a while until we get some 'proper' ones taken"  sucker
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 07, 2016, 08:34:53 am
Just to add:
I've been freelancer for many years, and I havent always used a formal contract. Often I've been secure enough (or the job was small enough) to be able to ride out any issues.
but once I left myself open without a contract and was stung and lost about $20,000

A contract doesnt need to be 50 pages of legalese - its just a good way to be open and upfront about what is required and what is being paid for (and hopefully when)
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Ghibby on April 07, 2016, 09:39:12 am
Just some advice on processing the RAWs. 

First, all CCD based cameras (along with any Sony CMOS based cameras) are IOSless.  Meaning that if you take an ISO 50 file that was under exposed by 2 stops and push it 2 stops in post, you will get the same exact IQ as a properly exposed ISO 200 file. 

All CCD based cameras, except for the P45+, IQ 260, IQ 360, and IQ 380, are really bad at long exposures.  Heat builds up faster on a CCD, and unless the camera captures a black file and the sensor is designed for long exposures, you really can't do long exposures.  30 seconds is the limit, but noise from heat will start to show up earlier.  You can use C1 to remove any single pixel noise to a degree, but he really should have done those exposures at a higher ISO to avoid noise from heat.  If it is too bad to deal with, push a shorter exposure; as noted above, it really does not matter where the push occurs (in camera vs. in post). 

I would recommend C1 v. 8 (if not v. 9) for the processing.  C1 v. 8 was really a great jump ahead with noise reduction; C1 v. 9 is slightly better here, but the increase in the amount of tools you can use is a real advantage.

Thanks Joe, I am a lightroom user personally and I am seeing some fairly good conversions so far. I have literally just spent some time with C1 pro 9 as a trial, expired 2 weeks ago. The image quality is undoubtedly very nice, it certainly has a slightly different look to lightroom and I feel noise / grain control is better than LR as is the scope for colour adjustment. For the rest I think a lot is down to personal preference and perhaps above all else operator experience.  I know lightroom extremely well but I am a beginner on C1 pro.  I feel I can get as good but different results from lightroom in much less time so I will stick with that. For the really grainy images I am using NIK software in PS, (nice timing from Google on making this free!). Its a step up from the default PS tools in cleaning up the noise, a bit of spot localised correction for the hot pixels that are not picked up.  Thankfully only a few images from the low light / night shots are really important to us so I will invest a bit of time and care these.

We have decided to re-shoot the project later in the year though.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 07, 2016, 12:40:53 pm
... Next time I would strongly suggest you get a contract in place spelling out what is expected of both parties...

And exactly what part of that contract would've prevented what happened? What contractual clause would deal with "Oh, we just do not like what you did"?

Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Endeavour on April 07, 2016, 12:57:50 pm
And exactly what part of that contract would've prevented what happened? What contractual clause would deal with "Oh, we just do not like what you did"?

it would give you a basis to further negotiate and/or withhold payment - something which he didnt have the right to do before in my opinion.
as this is a pro business discussion, I simply offered my professional opinion based on running with & without contracts in the past

But I wont bother responding again. you appear to want to hold the last word
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: MarkM on April 07, 2016, 01:12:40 pm
And exactly what part of that contract would've prevented what happened? What contractual clause would deal with "Oh, we just do not like what you did"?

This is the language from the standard ASMP contract:

Quote
Client is responsible for sending an authorized representative to the assignment or for having an authorized representative review the images remotely during the assignment. If no review is made during the assignment, Client is obligated to accept Photographer's judgment as to the acceptability of the Images.

More here:https://asmp.org/tutorials/terms-and-conditions.html

Additionally, it is common to have contingencies for reshoot and kill fees which will provide a road map if things go wrong or change mid-assignment.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 07, 2016, 01:14:36 pm
it would give you a basis to further negotiate and/or withhold payment - something which he didnt have the right to do before in my opinion.
as this is a pro business discussion, I simply offered my professional opinion based on running with & without contracts in the past

But I wont bother responding again. you appear to want to hold the last word

This isn't about the last word. This is very precisely about exactly WHAT contractual clause would "give you a basis to further negotiate and/or withhold payment." Since you have that experience, I am simply asking to share it with us. You or someone else. And I am not claiming that such a clause does not exist, just asking for examples.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 07, 2016, 01:19:17 pm
Quote
If no review is made during the assignment, Client is obligated to accept Photographer's judgment as to the acceptability of the Images.

Which is what some of us were saying from the beginning is the case, without the fancy legalese and without a contract.
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: JoeKitchen on April 07, 2016, 01:22:06 pm
I think the heart of the issue is whether to use a contract or not. 

If you are dealing with smaller more skittish clients on small projects, then, yes, a contract may scare them off.  However, for large assignments, it is industry standard to have a written agreement across all markets and industries. 

For large paying projects, to proceed without a contract, I think, would make you look unprofessional, especially to an ad firm that knows what they are doing. 

On top of that, it is always good to protect yourself. 

Not to mention it clearly states, in written form, what is to be expected from both parties.  They can take the contract and hang it on their fridge if they want to; there's no what-ifs or ambiguities. 

Same sort of thing when it comes to saying you price.  Never ever say your price until you have a written proposal in front of them.  It just looks more professional, it gives you the opportunity to explain what will be done, justify your price.  Plus people always assume it is easier to negotiate a number down that is said then that is written. 

P.S.

On Friday last week, I had a major flooring company reach out to me about purchasing a license for 6 images I had shot for the architect 5 months ago.  I drafted a proposal and a contract for those images and got it to them by Tuesday.  With no problems what so ever, they signed it, got it back to me yesterday, got the images today, and I just got payment through Paypal.  On top of that, it was written in my contract that credit card payments would be subject to additional merchant fees, so they were not surprised when the Paypal invoice was 3% higher then what was originally proposed. 

Overall, they are very pleased, love the images and felt I was very professional to deal with. 
Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: MarkM on April 07, 2016, 01:58:06 pm
Which is what some of us were saying from the beginning is the case, without the fancy legalese and without a contract.

Sure we are saying that now, but the OP didn't, which led to this thread and could have been avoided had there been a standard photo contract like ASMPs.

What you are calling 'fancy legalese', others call precise language. There's nothing fancy about it ó it's very standard. It's written this way to avoid different interpretations, which are all too easy when you are trying to recall in hindsight the details of an oral agreements.

A contract does three things that would have been really helpful in the OP's case:

Your argument against contracts seems to boil down to:
These are the same arguments teenage boys use against condoms. It's a poor argument in both cases.

Title: Re: A Trickey Situation
Post by: douglevy on April 10, 2016, 05:42:05 pm
Contracts are like prenups, kill the relationship before it even starts  ;)

I could not disagree more. No contract, no work. I don't need a retainer or expenses up front (but have asked and they're nice), but in my opinion, professionals sign contracts, it's irresponsible not to. My best clients understand this and I think (hopefully) would think less of me if I didn't ask for one. Many of my larger clients also require NDAS and detailed other forms.

Amateurs don't use contract, it's poor business not to, and like the above posters says, the argument for not holds no water. This guy has been lucky.

-Doug