Tell me about your “client-from-hell”

If you’ve been a photographer for any length of time you’ve run into your own “client-from-hell”.  I’ve had several

Today (Tuesday, September 25, 2012) I had a local (Asheville) musician that wanted to pay me $20 for 45 photos plus three hours of my time.

When I told him that wasn’t really fair, he got all huffy and told me he thought I was “playing” him.

Oh well, his music sucks and besides, I went on and gave him the shots and let him keep the money.  I figure that Karma can work both ways.

So what’s your story about a “client-from-hell”.  Post your story in the comment section, I’ll be picking one that I like the post and then be in contact with you about doing a story about the abuse you got in a future article for one of the media outlets I write for.

7 thoughts on “Tell me about your “client-from-hell”

  1. Several years ago I was requested to shoot an old family friend’s wedding. Having not seen the groom’s family in 20 years – I jumped at the chance. Mistake one.

    We booked the date, they paid the deposit and finally the day arrived. My car had broke down the day before and I scrambled to arrange transportation, but arrived in plenty of time. i chatted with the grooms parents, not thinking much of the talk about the bride’s wedding – thinking ‘so long as the bride and groom get along, all’s well’. Mistake two.

    I truly enjoyed the event in fairly lavish surroundings, and I devoured the settings that proved photogenically wonderful. I shot every photo requested by guest and family alike. I thought at the time to please everyone . THIS the families did indeed love. No mistake – just A LOT of work.

    As the meal was to begin the grooms’ father asked that I join he and his wife for dinner at their table, so that we may catch up on the years. Mistake three.

    After dinner and the cake cutting the band played for folks to dance. I took full advantage and took candids of – I believe – every couple on the dance floor, as well as guests in animated chats at the surrounding tables. The evening came to an end, and I packed my gear, called my ride and went home to begin processing the photos.

    I pride myself on a quick turn-around and had the finished work to the bride and groom within 3 weeks. We made arrangements to pay the balance the following week as their funds were tight and I felt I owed them (the groom) the courtesy as an old friend.

    A week later I received an irate call from the brides’ mother. Apparently I had shot a couple, older and very loving looking, dancing. The problem was It was the groom’s aunt and the bride’s great uncle – both of whom were otherwise married to other people. It caused a rift for the families as a long standing affair had been exposed … and I was out the balance of the money due. Over $600 that made my life difficult for a short time.

    I now relate the story to ALL prospective clients, ensuring them that in the contract I am in no way responsible for exposing, through my photos, any indiscretions in their families. Only once have I been refused a job, all others laugh about the events that lead to that clause.

  2. I worked for 6 years as a theatrical photographer at a major Florida theatre. I was told by my client that some people considered me one of the best live action theatrical photographers in the country. I also did some work for other local charities. One day one of their PR people offered me $200 to teach her everything I knew (about 20 years worth at that point) so she could do their photos herself. After considering the offer, I declined. One of the most un-cooperative clients I have had before that happened.

  3. had a maternity shoot call, two weeks before the baby was due, new folks in town moved here from the bronx wanting to be the hippie-dippie guru all-natural wanna-bes, so I took the job, even though my gut told me not to. My usual shoot time is up to 3 hrs, they detained me for 6 hours, I didn’t charge them extra, being nice and a baby on the way and all that, well, they didn’t have their checkbook can they pay me when I bring them the proofs. within 24 hrs they were calling me asking where their proofs were. I had their proof CD to them within 6 days, 154 images. unheard of in my little world. again, they had another excuse of why they couldn’t pay me. Again, being nice I let it slide. Didn’t hear from them for 7 weeks, then they started complaining about recieving a proof CD with PROOF on each image….really? it’s a proof CD…. so then they start trying to get all the images for free, and how they want ALL the images for free because out of now where, they are members of SAG. THey did not disclose this to me and are now demanding all images are theirs by right and I have no rights to the images. My stress level is off the charts, and I have hired an artist representative to take over. Plus, they never signed and returned my contract, and not one penny has been exchanged, Now, they are new here in town, I have been building my reputation for the past 8 years shooting professionally and they are threatening to destroy it. lovely. welcome to Asheville.

  4. You mean like the time I did trade/comp work with the stipulation that I own and can use the images but that I would comp six images of my choosing, and then, when they asked for 10 images, I said they would have to to pay for the extras?

    “Its no work on your part to send 4 more images” was the tantrum I heard. How about the effort I had to put in up front to get the $$ for the camera gear, and the effort put in to learn to know how to take the shot in the first place, etc, etc. Gotta love digital imaging, why everybody is a photographer these days and it takes not effort at all. All we do is press a button, Right?

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