Bride wants to keep the negs
Looking for a little counsel.
Friends were getting married. Hadn't hired a photographer yet, so I offered to shoot the wedding for film/processing costs and do the prints for their album at cost. They accepted.
They paid the money for film and processing. I shot the wedding. They ordered 50 prints or so and I printed them. They're reimbursing me for the cost of making the prints.
Now the bride says she wants the negatives.
I feel weird about surrendering the negs. Certainly not something I've ever done. Some would argue that because of the way the deal was structured, asking for the negs isn't unusual. Some have said, you should have just shot it and handed them the film to develop and be done with it.
As it happens, there's a couple of images I really like and want to keep and be able to print and show. Certainly not ALL the negatives would I want to be able to print again, but there's probably two or three that mean something to me.
Why not print the ones you like and then give her the negs. Maybe mention you might want access to them down the road if for some reason you become a famous photographer.
That way you have your prints and can make another if you need to, she has what she wants.... and you don't have to store anything.
Traditionally the photographer owns the negs but since you had a non-traditional arrangement and they specifically paid for film/processing you probably have an uphill battle on your hands since you didn't specify ownership of the negs up front.
An amicable solution might be to have dupes made and you keep the originals or give them originals and you keep dupes of the ones you like.
Just my .02,
Last edited by Fred Aspen; 09-26-2007 at 08:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
It's up to you. Most wedding pros would never give away their negs, except at a substantial price, and then maybe not, because they would like control of the outtakes. But that's the business model for weddings--the profit comes from the albums, prints, and reprints.
This might be contrasted with the business model for headshots--the performer gets one or more master prints (but not the negs), which they take to a repro house to be duped with their name and contact info on the bottom, and maybe their resume on the back. The photographer makes the money up front and on reshoots, since performers will need fresh headshots again, and might want character shots when auditioning for a particular role.
If you're not a wedding pro, and this is just a favor for friends, you might just not want to deal with these negs or reprints when your friends need them, and you might prefer to get them out of your files. I certainly would. If you have a few that are important to you, but you decide in any case to give the negs away, make good prints and maybe large format dupes from the master prints, in case you really want to reprint in the future.
Well, it doesn't sound like you are making anything for your efforts. Why give up the negs. If they want more prints later, maybe you could make a few bucks. I don't think friends should ask you (or me) to do work for them for free, and then ask for the negs. I don't think most pro photgraphers would give them up, though I do run a small business I am not a pro photographer.
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Give 'em the negs as a wedding present. In my neck o' the woods every wedding 'tog shoot digital now anyway. Have dupes of the ones you want to keep as David Goldfarb says.
I would ask her WHY she wants the negatives. I wouldn't surrender them without a separate fee, because giving them up means that you've just given her control over the images, including for your own portfolio use at a future date. Because you didn't nail this down up front, you risk your friendship with these people if you add any demands now. For future reference, A: don't do friendly favor photo work, and B: put EVERYTHING in your for hire agreement document up front, including the buyout fee you want.
She wants you to divorce your negative so soon after the wedding? Grin.
How about you keep those negative you really want for the rest of your life, and give her the rest for, say, 5K?
Freakin' brides. They've got some balls. Ha ha ha.
i keep the first set i ever did and what a nightmare that was.after that episode i never kept negs again they were included in my price. if you like a few shots make her a deal.you will give her the negs except for those few that you like and make arrangements for reprints they may want of those few upfront.a win win situation.dont lose friends over the negs.
I personally wouldn't consider it, even for a friend. The foremost reason is that you want to control the quality of the prints. There's no reason for the bride to take them if you're willing to do the prints at cost.
My answer would be a firm no. With a friendly smile.