Get it in Writing!- STORY TIME
Good morning beautiful people! Thank you so much for your continued readership. I hope you are having and will have a fantastic Friday! I woke up this morning, ready to post, because there are lessons I have learned during the week, and the main lesson I learned is that no matter what, always get it in writing.
This will be a bit of a story time, and I am dishing the tea from my week. So grab your breakfast and have a seat! Lol. The issues started on Monday before the week was even awake, where I had done work for a previous client, and she asked me to do some extra work not included in the contract on the due date of product delivery. The product was complete, but because I valued her as a client, I attempted to do the extra work. However, when I realized the extra work would take an inordinate amount of time, I let her know I would not be able to do the extras and submitted the completed product in the exact same format as before. However, because she had now decided she did not want the product without the extras, she said she would only pay me half of the price I quoted her for the contract. This issue obviously had to be disputed, because it is absolutely crazy to think you are going to get away with shortchanging me when you got exactly what the contract stated you wanted for the price I quoted. If she wanted the extra work done, she would need to pay for it, plain and simple. That was the first time I was extremely happy that everything was in writing, and that issue will be resolved in my favor.
Now for the event of the week! The next issue happened the VERY NEXT day! There is a girl I know well, for whom I was doing photography. She saw a photoshoot I had done, and reached out to me to let me know she was starting a brand and wanted use my services for her business. She stated she was willing to pay for my services or barter. I reviewed her website, and asked if she had ever considered modeling, because I believed her brand would benefit from her as a model. In her exact words, she said, "I have before, I wouldn't mind being a model for you of you need more." I knew she meant if I needed more models she was willing to model. I kept this in the back of my mind. Then one week when I had free time, I asked her if she wanted to model, and she said, "yes!" So we scheduled a shoot. We had the shoot and it was very successful. She told me which pictures she liked and I let her know I was uploading them to my social media and website. She asked for permission to also upload them to her IG, but said, "I did already." I didn't mind, but I said "Wait let me edit them first!" After all its representation of my work. When I tagged her in the photos, she asked that I tag her personal account instead of the business account and I did. I tagged her in every photo and she liked every photo, and then told me in order to get more views, she thought I should use the promotion feature to get the photos in front of more people, and that she had promoted two of the photos I took already. So I tried it. The views starting coming in as well as the followers. She sent a text saying "I see those views increasing (thumbs up). Then she said she wanted to do more shoots and that she had so many ideas of the shoots we could do, and I was all here for it. So we scheduled our next shoot, and planned it for a week. It was scheduled on a day that wasn't necessarily convenient for me, but I moved my schedule around to accommodate. It was supposed to be a rain shoot. I even bought a clear umbrella to make the vision come to life.
After a week of planning, one hour and thirty minutes before the shoot was to start, she called and said her husband did not think it would be a good idea to do the shoot that day because he didn't want her driving in the rain. She was driving when she called!
While it felt like a slap in the face, because I spent the whole night before excited and charging up everything with a battery for the shoot, I just said, "ok." Then five minutes later, she called back and said, "we can shoot today, but can we move the time back three hours and shoot at 4pm instead of 1pm?" This is nearly a two hour drive for me, so it was significantly altering my day, but since I had planned all week, and my day was already shot I said, "yeah that's fine." I arrived to the location she chose at 3:55 pm. I had to pay $15 to park. I let her know I was there, and she said she was not far away. However, I ended up waiting 35 more minutes for her to arrive. During the first shoot, I had to wait 45 minutes. She finally arrived, and we did the shoot. I strapped a GoPro to my chest to get video footage of the event, and let her know that I would be having a video and then a picture of the final product. She said ok. After the shoot, she asked for a ride to her car, because she didn't want to pay $15 for parking, and parked far away. I said, "Sure." When we were right around the corner from her car she said, "CiCi, I have a serious question and favor to ask." And I said, "what?" Then she turned around and glared at me and said, "I need you to sign my contract." I was a bit surprised and asked, "A contract for what?" She handed me a wrinkly piece of paper and a pen and said, "you can read it." I opened the poorly formatted piece of paper and read it. It was written in first person as if I was the person who wrote the "contract." I, CiCi, .... It said that I understood that she was modeling for me "at her leisure" until she decided she no longer wanted to do so. It also said that I could not upload or share any photos of her anywhere via text, email, etc. and that it could only be photos she approved of via email only. Basically, she wanted all the rights to her photos. She said "there are two copies so you can take one home to read it." And I said, "I only need one copy, I'll take it home and read it." She said, "it's not that complex." And I said, "I understand, but it says here you can only approve of photos via email only." And she said, "Well you don't have to email them." And I said, "No, that's what it says." I just said, "yeah I will review it, and get back to you." She then said, "It's not personal. It's just business." Then it occurred to me, "that's why she asked how to spell my name yesterday!" On the long way home, I sent the document to several other photographers and a personal consultant and they all said the same thing. "Do NOT sign that." So when I got home, I sent her a properly formatted, professional price quote on letterhead with all of my terms and conditions including late fees, cancelation policy, etc. All future shoots with her would be charged full price. If she wanted the rights, she was not going to get them for free.
The next day she finally responded asking if the document was an invoice. And I told her no, it was clearly stated at the top of the document that it was a price quote. If she wanted to do business, this is how I do business. I own the rights to all of my photos and videography. At that point she got mad, and started saying all kinds of mean things to me, and said she should have been sending me a price quote for modeling for me even though she VOLUNTEERED! She then said she wanted all photos of her taken down and that she only consented to being in my portfolio, but not on my social media. My IG is my portfolio. Then she "unsent" the message where she said she was willing to model if I needed more models, trying to make it look like I had begged her to model for me.
Personally, while I was annoyed I found it interesting the lengths people will go to make up a story. I had all of the messages via text where she chose the photos she wanted to be posted, where she approved of the photos. One of the texts said, "That headshot on your page is magazine worthy!" But now she was saying she never gave consent for the photos to be there, and wanted them taken down immediately or she would be pursuing legal action. This girl and I go way back. As a matter of a fact, a few years back she stayed with me for free for a WHILE, saying she needed to save up for her wedding, and then didn't even invite me to the wedding. Clearly, I wanted no part of her foolishness. I enjoy my peace way too much. So I went ahead and deleted the photos even though I knew I didn't really have to, because it was my hard work that she gave verbal and written consent to show. But that was a lesson to me. NO matter what. No matter who you are dealing with, GET IT IN WRITING.
If you decide to be a Good Samaritan and change someone's tire. Have a pen and pencil ready to let them know if they get up the road and those tires get weak and fall off, you are not responsible. Remember everyone. GET IT IN WRITING! As always, I wish you nothing but love, peace, and happiness.