I wanted to write this while it was still fresh in my mind so I can recount every moment from this transaction. Let me start off by saying that when I work with clients I am very empathetic to how they feel and what they go through because I am indeed a client at times as well. Let’s begin, I met this young lady about a year ago when she was doing visual work on her own project. At the time I was photographing a model and she had attended the shoot so that she can get B Roll for her series. She was amazing when I met her, very determined and she had goals and aspirations and I’m always looking to connect with like minded individuals. About 6 months ago her and I reconnected she let me know she was revamping her brand and that she was looking to develop content so that she can grab potential clients. At the time I had just spoke to my wife in regards to needing a videographer to do behind the scenes work because I couldn’t do two things at once. The video work was with a friend and client who owns a well known thriving skin care company.
Fast forward too a few months later and we had built enough rapport for me to hire her on an existing project. I’ll admit it wasn’t a super expensive gig for either one of us however it was a great way to continue building upon our budding working relationship. By that time we’ve shared mutual ideas, she’d been to my residence and I’d say we were developing a friendship. While working together on the wedding red flags appeared in the form of character flaws that I dismissed as being a long day but they never left my kind. There were times she could be a little short and borderline disrespectful which I saw during the preplanning process. To her defense i was a little vague with the details, despite it all we had a successful gig and we moved forward. She expressed to me that she was looking to get more content and experience shooting weddings and had asked myself and soon to be wife would it be ok if she shot the video for our wedding day for free. With all the craziness going on financially with the wedding this came across as a gift from heaven. My wife and I discussed it and we agreed that it would be a good move to have her shoot the wedding.
Throughout the process there were some hiccups here and there but nothing worth mentioning. On the day of the wedding she arrived to my wife first and then to me later on in the morning and also met with us at the wedding party photograph site. That day was such a blur I don’t remember much of what happened but it was an amazing day and my wife and I enjoyed every minute of it. Following the brief honeymoon is when things started to get a little hairy. I received a text message from her stating that her emails had been acting a little strange and she wanted to know whether I’d received her email a week prior, I hadn’t so she filled me in on the time table for delivery. She gave us a 4-8 week time frame for the finality and delivery of the video, for the fact I was receiving it at no cost i didn’t put up much of an argument I thanked her for the update and let her know I’d relay the information to my wife. A few weeks later she contacted me explaining to me that the audio wasn’t good because we were mic’d with lavliers and the officiant used a microphone as well, she let me know that she’d have to do a montage instead. In addition she asked me about my wife and I’s musical selection for the video, we told her a Brian McKnight song she said ok and that was that. About a week or so later she contacted me again stating that the music didn’t work and that she is starting to work with a producer and that for $200 we could get a custom wedding song. I quickly declined we were still paying on wedding bills and adding the additional $200 wasn’t in the budget. At that point she expressed she didn’t know if she could make it work but she’d try I offered to take the footage and put it together on my own but she declined. My wife and I discussed it afterwards and agreed that we just wanted a wedding video to show the family members that couldn’t make it.
Today we were updated again but the welcome wasn’t as warm and friendly, below you will find the correspondence between myself and her. My responses were based on the rapport that I thought we had built so far but was sadly mistaken.
We weren’t expecting a day like today, however I do understand that things like this happen and I don’t wish it on any client. A strong word of advice to my creatives who are willing to do on spec work (free) please understand that despite the fact you are not getting paid your brand is still in position. Over the years I used to get frustrated when i wasnt getting paid for what I was doing, it wasn’t until I begin making money that I began to understand how important it is to do on spec work to expand not only your market but your network. For the young lady, I wish you well this post was not to tear you down but to help you understand that standing in your own way won’t get you far.