Quite a wide range of opinions on this.
I think my plan is to (1) give them 99% of the negs, (2) make digifiles of the ones that I plan to keep and give them the digifiles.
As for why she wants the negs, she wants to take them to CVS Drugstore for cheap reprints, because I'm too expensive.
Never again for friends. If they're friends, I'll either give it all away for free or not do it. This 'trying to cover my costs' thing is just a losing battle.
Are these folks friends you want to keep?
If so, give her the negatives.
You volunteered to shoot pics as a friend and they agreed to pay you for your expenses. Seems to me that they own the negatives unless you have a written contract to the contrary!
If you value certain negs for future use - they can be duped (or you can scan them).
But I really do not think you can complain about the bride's request. It seems as if she just wants to be sure she can always get more prints made - even though it's unlikely she ever will.
Next time, if you want to shoot like a pro, for a friend or stranger, write a contract.
But meanwhile, consider this, is the matter worth losing a friend?
Well that's a great point. When I explained my position to the bride and groom the disconnect was so HUGE that I am not sure it's really going to work out. I see this being really awkward because they just don't conceive why they're mine. It just leaves me really scratching my head about the relationship.
Originally Posted by copake_ham
What's wrong with scanning them (at whatever quality she is willing to pay for) and letting her have the disc? What the hell is she going to do with negatives?
Tell her to open the phone book, locate a few wedding photogs who shoot film, get a price on a wedding with fifty wet prints. . .then she can ask how much more if she can have the negs. Tell her to have a diaper on.
No way. Those are your images, not hers. I've shot exactly two weddings on buddy-buddy terms (I won't do another), and one bride wanted the negs. She was happy to pay for the scans.
VERY TONGUE IN CHEEK!
Tell her she can have them for her 3rd wedding anniversary. Odds on they will never leave your hands....
Now that's cold!
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Just explain to her (and him) that to relinquish the negs would mean you can't oversee the quality of printing of any future issues - and that they are your 'intellectual property' and thus you are not able to do that (there's LOTS of precedent for it)... and further explain it's NOT about future moneys etc... and they're QUITE welcome to use the negs as long as you sign off on any prints made, etc...
NEVER give away a negative. I would resign the gig first.
She can only want them to reproduce at a later date, give her a contact sheet. You retain all control over what is printed and how.
Personally, I would not photograph a wedding that depended on me for their life long memories. I have shot as a back up/fill in/another point of view photographer but I would not want to be principle photographer at a wedding.
If you can't find the answer in APUG then it probably is a really dumb question.
This is one reason why I don't shoot weddings. I learned it the hard way with doing it for my cousin, as a gift. I shot black-and-white at her wedding, and had an album put together for her. I was later on told that I "Saved the wedding" because the pro they hired shot all the family group shots on 35mm, mostly with a 28mm lens, so you couldn't recognize any of the faces in the bridal party- the groom had 16 people on his side. Anyway, long story short, at the time I gave them the album, they told me, 'Oh, we're going to order a whole bunch of enlargements from you!". My cousin's 10th anniversary is coming up, and I still haven't heard from her. I'm sure she took the proof book down to her local Ritz and made copies on the copy-print machine. Small consolation that her copies will look like shit because the original prints I gave her were on matt paper.
Just tell her (and him) that no photographer gives up his negs....unless the client wants to pay dearly for them. Of course, if you want to be a nice guy and good friend, tell her she can have most but not the 2 or 3 ones you want.
A pro photographer once advised me to never let a photo leave your control that you wouldn't be happy having your name on. If there is at least one shot you wouldn't like to be associated with, retain the negs.
That being said, I've done two weddings for friends as a secondary photographer. One my prints came out much better than the "pro" who showed up with a digital Rebel, and I got the film run at the local mini lab and just gave them the package of 4x6's and negs. I couldn't be bothered with the hassle of doing reprints and I wasn't making any money out of it anyway.