I have not read any of the posts in this thread but here are my thoughts on this issue and I think I will piss off a few people but what the hey.
I photographed quite a few weddings years ago and I am really glad that I gave the negatives to the couple.
Unless you truly believe that the bride and groom will order prints 10 years from now*considering the divorce rate not bloody likely* All you are doing is opening yourself to becoming a storage unit for these negatives.
So twenty years goes by, the colour negs have faded, you have held onto their work for this time, moved it 10 times in 20years, You get lucky and the bride calls you up, Dear Sir/Madam I would like a print off my wedding you photographed in 1986 at your studio, you go retreive the negative from storage, *which by the way you have been paying for 20 years* put it in the enlarger and find out that the negative has huge cyan blobs on it from uneven fading. You have to digitally restored the negative , since you are a reptuable photographer, $300 later she orders a 5x7 print.
I got out of wedding photography specifically for the fading issue on colour work, one may say shoot black and white and make fibre prints, well it didn't work this way when I was doing weddings, every single bride wanted colour prints with absolutely no black and white. I am really glad with my decision today. Mr Filipovich who I apprenticed with did fibre weddings from 1950 to 1972 , I joined him in 1976 and he would reminice about how his work in black and white which stood the test of time and unwittingly scared me into making the decision of not taking over his studio when he retired.
Make your portfolio prints , do the print order right now then give her the negatives for reasonable fee you are comfortable with and move on.
I see absolutely no reason whatsoever for holding onto a brides negatives after your initial contract and print sales are fufiled.
My business partner is a working commercial photographer. In the last few years we have seen ZERO sales from past commercial photographic work, I can assure you , a wedding today falls into this catagory.
Bob, when you do read the posts that came before yours, you'll see that the concerns voiced about giving away negs have little or nothing to do with money.
I've seen this as well. Most everything I've shot (almost entirely architecture) in the last 5 years has resulted in scans, proof prints and very few prints. I've used the photographs for my client's advertisements, web, contest/competitions, editorial work, and the very occasional display print. If I were shooting weddings (god forbid) I would only do it if I thought I'd get a print order afterwards. If this is no longer the case I'd not bother as I too wouldn't want my reputation to be tarnished by a CVS film guy.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
I think Cheryl hit it on the head earlier in the thread.
Weddings have to be one of the highest risk/stress photographic jobs out there.
One more thing to consider about the photographer’s reputation. The photographer and the bridal couple were “friends”, and special arrangements were made on the basis of friendship. If the photographer does not give the bride the negs, the bride may feel betrayed. The bride may not only drop the photographer as a friend, but may also “bad mouth” the photographer forever. What would that do to the photographer’s reputation?
Wedding photography might be stressful and high risk, but it's nothing compared to being a conflict photographer working in a war zone.
Originally Posted by jd callow
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I delibertly did not read any of the posts as I wanted to be the 2nd post to the original question without any influences from other people so if my post was off the mark I apologize.
I am in the middle of a very unfortunate for photographer/fortunate for me situation. This photographer has walked into my shop, with basically 40 years of studio work, I am to prepare a series of limited edition prints that this photographer has produced . Over 50 original film capture to make 1 artist proof then limited editions after the photographer approves my interpetation of the images.
1/3 are Black and White negs and 2/3 are colour, I am to make suggestions on the best possible method of output. To my earilier post , I have decided to recommend scanning and then converting all the prints to Black and White and print on the Harmon Fibre Paper and double tone for permanence. The photographer has accepted my recommondation and is proceeding in B&W even though 2/3 are spectacular colour images.
After scanning the bulk of the colour , it is obvious, cyan shadows,red/magenta midtones and highlights. If converted to BW this cross curve is not obvious but if I try to stay to colour it would take a PS wizard much more experienced than myself to bring them back to any sort of pleasing balance.To my earlier point, the photographer is in a very difficult and sad position and I really feel for this person as ones lifes work should not boil down to this issue.
This issue in my mind is the hidden, problem for those chosing a photographic career which deals with imagery that needs to stand the test of time. I know too many mid career Wedding/Portrait photograhers who are dreading the phone calls from clients who have over the years brought in all their familys and friends for important events and have insisted on colour film even with the photographer suggesting putting in B&W. This issue is real and of importance to a budding photographer to consider.
I guess I am trying to warn the OP the pitfalls of the current wedding/portrait world* which John points out as a very stressful job* and even though it may be the start of a successful business, film selection ,permanent archiving of the images that ones starts their career with are more important than the decision of whether giving the negs to a Bride. BTW i do not agree with giving up the negatives until the entire print order and wedding album and wall prints are done. Even if it takes five years for the lovely couple to make up their mind. After this financial deal is completed I would give away the negatives, unless of course the bride is Madonna.
My posts may seem off base to the original question , but this issue is close to my heart as I started my professional career as a wedding/portrait assistant for four years after specializing in portraiture in photoschool.
It gave me a lot of grief to change my direction after 6 years of walking in one direction.
Originally Posted by Cheryl Jacobs
After looking at the original post again I think Neil should make the prints for his portfolio , he has already made the prints for his friend, and now I see no reason to keep the negatives.
Les Mclean photographed my wedding this summer and he gave me the negatives and the photoshoot as a gift , I think this is the same as Neil and his friend.
Just a simple friendly transaction.
it took me along time to get to the end of this thread....it was fun reading. photographers feel connected to their negs.....bottom line!
i just shot my very good friends wedding on sept 29th (right while this conversation was happening). it is my last wedding. too much stress. all my other weddings (4) i did at cost and i gave the negs up. i do not need or want them.
back to the 29th. i told my frind he could have the film, scans and CDs. i shot 35mm, 120 and 8x10. i asked him if i could keep the 8x10 negs as i wanted to use them for my portfolio and to make some prints. i told him i would scan them for him. i also made him 2 prints from the negs that i delivered on sunday at noon (the next day! see my gallery for my crappy scans of said images)
this is the best part of the story!
they said they would pay me what ever it cost to make what ever they wanted later. they said i could keep the 8x10 negs! they said i did an excellent job! they were very happy with the results so far (i am still waiting on some scans) AND they said if i need more money just tell them! NOW THOSE ARE FRIENDS!
i am happy to have helped them. i am happy everything is in focus! i am happy they love my wedding present (shooting the wedding and my wet print 8x10 contact prints (you guys should have seen everyones faces the next day at brunch when i, the analog shooter, showed up with prints!). i am happy the flash exposures are good! i am happy these people are my friends! i am happy they are happy! i am happy that that was my last wedding!!!!
What a sticky situation. You could say, "I agreed to photography the cost of the film, process and printing at cost to you. Not that you own the negatives." Years ago when I did weddings I charged an hourly fee and for each roll that included processing and proofs in a album for $25." (Now I would charge $75 per roll) The reason I charge $25 per roll was I kept getting request for more pictures to be taken. The bride and groom knew this before hand. They didn't get the negatives. Keep the negatives you own them even if they brought the film.