Tina and I were scheduled to do some architecture photography this morning.
After talking to the client several times over the past few weeks, we negotiated a lower rate that they requested. But we wrote a contract that specified that the images they were going to get wouldn’t live up to the quality that we could give with a larger budget. If they wanted better images, we wrote in the pricing they should anticipate. We wrote that any images we used for professional promotion would get that treatment, but that they would have to pay for those images should they choose to use them.
You see, photos out of camera are rarely “pro”. And by that, I mean, photos need work for the most part for a myriad of reasons. Contrast, focus, color and saturation are typically the first things to move. And there are many layers of additional work after that which can be done.
Last night at 10:45 p.m., the client sent over 60 images from another photographer that the client had mixed feelings about, but she didn’t say which ones worked and which ones didn’t.
Keep in mind — this was the night before we were to shoot at sunrise.
I could see why the images were pro. But the client didn’t get corrected images. So they saw mixed light. They saw things that they shouldn’t have, because a pro would remove them.
So I drew up an email that said, essentially, go fuck yourself. We’re not going to a job that we are destined to fail. I’ve made that mistake before.
Call me crazy.
Let’s put it this way. Say you’re an architect and someone hands you a hand-drawn set of blueprints that didn’t use a ruler or T-square and said, “Build me this building. Make sure it is properly built and fulfills all modern needs and requirements.”
You’d get the rough equivilent of a 12-year old’s treehouse.
Take the shot that I posted yesterday. It wasn’t my favorite from the day, but I get itchy about sharing images. You’ll see the original is a little dark. It’s crooked. The color is weird, and the light is wonky on the model’s face.
In the worked image, I straightened it adding sand to the lower left. I brightened her eyes. Replaced texture in her hair. Ironed out some of the wrinkles in her dress. Gave the fogginess in the background a little more contrast. And if you look closer, I removed a little guy in the water hundreds of feet away and a plane in the air.
This isn’t even that great of an example. And frankly, there’s still work that I would do if I were to really use this one.
I called the client this morning to discuss. Of course they were frustrated. But talking it through helped, and we talked about a reschedule. Oddly enough, the client kept putting her foot in her mouth. She’d say, “After using all these high-dollar photographers, we want to use you because you’re giving us this cheap rate.” Great, so now I’m cheap and someone they can push around?
She also made on other comment before she made one that I almost hung up the phone over.
The client explained that they were going to North Carolina on Thursday, and would love to have it by then.
I said, “Oh cool, where in North Carolina?” I’m from there. I’m always interested.
She said, “Does it matter? Everyone there are homophobes and rednecks! It’s a huge contrast to Brooklyn where I’m from.”
So, North Carolina, if you’re reading this … you have a reputation with those liberal New Yorkers. Doesn’t it suck to be lumped in with the jerks and the low-lifes?
I’m sure atheists don’t understand at all.