What is the alternative? She says no and takes only what you offered in the first place. She then scans the prints in oh her crappy scanner that is part of her home MFC and still does what she wants with them! (Don't think that will happen? I know from experience, my mother in law used to do it ALL the time!)
Be grateful if indeed she does print them @ Walmart (or some other chain), as they will be a lot closer to say printing at home on a crappy inkjet...
One good story that reinforces one should never do "paid" work for friends. It tilts things on its ear and can even result in the loss of friends.
Give her the low-res files to do as she pleases, but specify, in the nicest possible terms, that the original files are yours and if the client wants them, a fee is expected out of courtesy, if not need.
I have come to the impression that your costs are oustripping what you could reasonably have expected to have earned or been given for this task. I don't know if there was a written agreement (essential for this type of work) dictating what costs are involved, why and the alternatives, and whether she did or did not agree to them. There is the danger, as you pointed out, that the "substandard prints" may be interpreted by others as an example of your work and thus cause more problems. The way forward here is to speak with her, as a friend but also as a client who has engaged a professional, about your excessive costs vs the poor return for same. In a nutshell, she is expected to reimburse you for the costs and a bit more for your time and effort. That's it in black and white.
I did get a chuckle though that anybody could expect a decent print from a 300kb file. That's funny!
“The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see." ~Edward Weston, 1922.
if she's really a friend just explain your concerns, tell her that the prints will look like shit and you have a professional reputation to think of and she will understand.
If she doesnt understand, or acts pissed, the friendship may not be that strong. Seriously, friends to put friends into difficult situations.
In my first response I said to just get rid of 'em. I had failed to take note you're dealing with friends. Knowing that I'd say now to dispense with the situation in the quickest way that will make them happy enough, and call it a loss, so far as portfolio or reputation is concerned. Just end it and move on. Let them print their stuff on an etch-a-sketch for all you care.
Of course you could always go down the hard route and point out that although she commissioned you to take the pictures the copyright stays with you. (UK Law) Printing extra without your permission would be an infringement and you would sue. I think a little intense negotiating is required here. Or if the friendship is more important than your work, just give in.
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Seconded, except I might add "these small scans are not suitable for reproduction, only for choosing which images you want good copies of. I can pay my lab to produce high quality scans from the negs which you can use and/or I can get more prints to any size".
Just explain to the client that once watermarked, you cannot delete it and only proper printing from the negatives is all you can do for her.
It's wonderful how friends who know you have photographic skills can invite you to take "just a few snaps" of their kids, pets, weddings or valuables for insurance purpose, when they know the alternative is employing a stranger who does it for a living and having to pay them a the going rate.
may 21, 2013 from Lloyd Erlick,
Originally Posted by mr rusty
One of the things that caused me to take up photography was looking at
my folks' family photos, which in those days were all black and white prints. As a kid I noticed many of them had the word 'proof' rubber stamped on them. None of them was larger than 3x5. One or two had perforations arranged to spell 'proof'.
Of course, now I know that photographers of the day were used to clients keeping the proofs and ordering little or nothing. My parents were classic; they were content with the free pictures, even if they had a rubber stamp.
Now that I've spent the best years of my life trying to sell people that which they least desire - pictures of themselves - I can see that my parents were legion. People will content themselves with whatever comes for free or is cheap, or at least cheapest. No surprise, of course. Television instead of movies, 35mm instead of 4x5, you name it. So nothing in this story is unheard of; on the contrary, the surprise would be if these 'clients' behaved differently.
I'm afraid the only solution I ever found for the 'working for friends syndrome' was to work for friends for free.
One of the most powerful rules I ever learned was - if you don't take money, no one can tell you what to do.
Then do the job the best way you possibly can. When others look at the work they will see what you'd like potential clients to see. Plus - and this is the big advantage - you can take the position that you are a professional, like a doctor or dentist, and you know better than the client what the client wants and needs. The work you give them is by definition right, and legitimately bears your name. This is why it should be the best you can do.
If you work for free, it's a chance to do the work as you know it should be done.
I think it was William Mortensen who commented that doing work for 'cost' or for very cheap is a mug's game. That approach merely guarantees you are poorly paid at best, and at worst that you get into a situation such as we are discussing - and are poorly paid.
Much better to choose carefully who you will provide free work - in other words, give a gift. A gift is something you specify; there is no 'client'.
If you are not giving a gift, the price should be a legitimate reflection of your skills and costs. We all know photography is not cheap, and we shouldn't sell our work as if it is.
Totally agree with making a contract first that covers ALL of the rights, including the proof scans. Then the ball is back in your friend's court, and they have to decide whether they wish to pay you well or not.
I also agree with telling her the truth. Don't lie. Don't make anything up. Just the truth. Tell her straight that you would love for her to have an album of pictures, but that the proof scans are not meant for this; they are meant for viewing on a screen.
Tell her that to meet and preserve your quality standards, you have to make higher resolution scans that are color corrected and worked over which costs money and more of your time. Good luck!
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
I went the gift route with my sister-in-law's wedding. They had hired a professional photographer, plus lots of family was there with their digital P&S (there was even one family member with a DSLR!) so I knew there would be plenty of pictures. Everyone with a camera was shooting digital in color, so I went for a completely different tack. I shot film, of course, but instead of shooting color I went with B&W - a slightly expired (but refrigerated the entire time I had it which was a bit over a year) roll of 400TX. She got negatives, a CD (6 megapixel scans from the lab), and prints. She said she liked the way they turned out, especially because they were B&W which was so different from what everyone else did.
Shoot more film.
There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.