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06-22-2018, 04:31 AM   #1
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My first paid shoot hasn't gone so well

So a mate asked me if I would shoot a political candidate for $150 AUD and, stupidly, I agreed to the low rate, thinking I would at least be paid straight away.

There was nothing on paper, which I can see is major mistake number one.

After an hour shoot, an hour sorting and several hours PPing 15 images, I haven't seen a cent. My mate (possibly about to be ex-mate) said he couldn't understand why I would have thought it would be other than 30 days terms and that I should be grateful for having been given the gig.

What are some tips for avoiding ever having this done to me again?

Although people might not like discussing vulgar topics like money, what do people think would be a reasonable ask for that much work.

Also, do peeps generally ask for a shoot fee paid on the day, followed by payment for each delivered image afterwards?

06-22-2018, 04:47 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billk Quote
So a mate asked me if I would shoot a political candidate for $150 AUD and, stupidly, I agreed to the low rate, thinking I would at least be paid straight away.
Most of contractors would like to get at least a getaway car, and some fake ID's for the action.
06-22-2018, 04:53 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reed Quote
Most of contractors would like to get at least a getaway car, and some fake ID's for the action.
Love it!
06-22-2018, 04:59 AM   #4
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This sucks.

It might be that this person has an accounting system which defaults to 30 days payment, hopefully there is no foul play here. An aspiring political candidate who can have his career destroyed for 150$ ? I hope it doesn't come to that.

Suggestions:

1-ask for a contract from your friend, even right now.

2-Next time, sign a contract AND model release form so you can at least build your portfolio

3-Next time, for part payment upfront, and total payment before delivering final photos (you propose low-res, watermarked proofs beforehand)

4-Decide on your wages and what you're worth (what this is worth to you, mostly) and charge this, no less.

06-22-2018, 05:03 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
This sucks.

It might be that this person has an accounting system which defaults to 30 days payment, hopefully there is no foul play here. An aspiring political candidate who can have his career destroyed for 150$ ? I hope it doesn't come to that.

Suggestions:

1-ask for a contract from your friend, even right now.

2-Next time, sign a contract AND model release form so you can at least build your portfolio

3-Next time, for part payment upfront, and total payment before delivering final photos (you propose low-res, watermarked proofs beforehand)

4-Decide on your wages and what you're worth (what this is worth to you, mostly) and charge this, no less.
Thanks, great advice.
06-22-2018, 05:06 AM   #6
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I am not sure how things work where you are, but one danger in the US is as soon as the campaign is over, much if not all o the groups that pay the bills dissolve and it is hard to chase money. I worked for a printing company that as a policy did not do work for any political campaign. I hope all goes well for you.
06-22-2018, 05:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimfellows Quote
I am not sure how things work where you are, but one danger in the US is as soon as the campaign is over, much if not all o the groups that pay the bills dissolve and it is hard to chase money. I worked for a printing company that as a policy did not do work for any political campaign. I hope all goes well for you.
Down here there seems to be a culture of minor party and independent candidates expecting people to do stuff for nothing, even when haven't actually volunteered for the campaign. This person is a councillor in an inner Melbourne local council and will be running for the Senate (with little or no chance of election). He might not understand that I didn't take the gig because I support him and that the money actually does matter to me.
06-22-2018, 05:30 AM   #8
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Does Australia have the equivalent of American Society of Media Photographers? If you plan on taking more paying jobs, you might look into a book such as ASMP's Professional Business Practices in Photography. (I've not read this book, so it's not an endorsement.)

06-22-2018, 05:33 AM   #9
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A shot of a former politician I am more than happy to photograph for nothing. The great Moses (Moss) Cass, Australia's first Minister for the Environment (1972-1975).
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06-22-2018, 05:53 AM   #10
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neither did mine
06-22-2018, 05:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billk Quote
So a mate asked me if I would shoot a political candidate for $150 AUD and, stupidly, I agreed to the low rate, thinking I would at least be paid straight away.

There was nothing on paper, which I can see is major mistake number one.

After an hour shoot, an hour sorting and several hours PPing 15 images, I haven't seen a cent. My mate (possibly about to be ex-mate) said he couldn't understand why I would have thought it would be other than 30 days terms and that I should be grateful for having been given the gig.

What are some tips for avoiding ever having this done to me again?

Although people might not like discussing vulgar topics like money, what do people think would be a reasonable ask for that much work.

Also, do peeps generally ask for a shoot fee paid on the day, followed by payment for each delivered image afterwards?
Get it in writing (a contract), don’t sell yourself cheap (people are less likely to pay if they perceive that you don’t value your own work, and then get paid up front, preferably when the contract is signed, but always before picking up a camera, and stick to that.
If you haven’t been paid prior to the event, you have the choice of not showing up or doing the gig for free, since it’s a pretty good bet that there will be no payment coming your way at that point
This stuff was easier when prints were handed out rather than files. People put value on physical goods that they just don’t put on ephemeral digital files.
As far as most punters are concerned, the DVD the images are on is the only thing they will pay for, and they know they only cost a couple of dollars.
06-22-2018, 06:27 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Net 30 is common but don't be surprised or irritated if payment is a bit later than that.

Upfront or day-of payment requires negotiation and is usually only done for larger projects where the photographer has to invest significant money to do the work (e.g., airline travel, special equipment rental, set construction). Even then it might be some negotiated percentage of so much up-front, another percentage due day-of and a final percentage paid on delivery of the final images.
06-22-2018, 06:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Net 30 is common but don't be surprised or irritated if payment is a bit later than that.

Upfront or day-of payment requires negotiation and is usually only done for larger projects where the photographer has to invest significant money to do the work (e.g., airline travel, special equipment rental, set construction). Even then it might be some negotiated percentage of so much up-front, another percentage due day-of and a final percentage paid on delivery of the final images.
^^^ This. There were several jobs I wouldn’t take because they had a 60 day payment cycle, 30 days is very common among larger organizations.

In the future, just make certain you have something in writing up front that answers all questions on both sides, even if you start with something generic.
06-22-2018, 07:16 AM   #14
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30 days is quite a short term...many suppliers are expected to wait 60 days or more. Major buyers tend to have long-winded financial processes that mean that making cash available immediately is very difficult - keeping money in the equivalent of a 'current' or 'chequing' account loses them interest, they would rather it was in limited-access high-interest accounts.


In the absence of any other account, you have no agreement as to payment terms and so it would be reasonable to expect a period of grace for payment.


That said...I don't know who this 'mate' is or who he represents or works for. If it really was a mate-to-mate deal, I would have asked for money before doing the work to avoid potential nastiness.
06-22-2018, 07:55 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billk Quote
What are some tips for avoiding ever having this done to me again?
If you want to avoid waiting for payment, then just do photography for free, or do paid work for private people who are paying cash and don't need an invoice. Avoid all corporations with professional accountancy practices.

That's because many corporations will have minimum 30 days to make a payment, these are standard terms, normal admin, e.g. Payments need to be signed off by an accounts manager etc. payment cycles at the end of each month.

I would also recommend you don't hassle your friend about what is an entirely normal process for paying a contractor. It sounds like he did you a good favour. He is also likely not in charge of the organisation's accounting and payments.
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