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Photographer
Matt Throop Photography
Posts: 228
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


It's happened to me when I use to do graphic design work for bands years back. A band contacted me and we were working out ideas for layout for their promotional material including a MySpace page. I spent a week designing everything that fit the band to a T. I showed the band, and they said they didn't like it. So we went our separate ways. A month later, they update all their promotional materials and their MySpace using a hacked up copy of what I did for them. So I laughed and moved on. They have contacted me for photos and other work after that and I send them a quote and never hear back.
Feb 25 13 01:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Loki Studio
Posts: 2,893
Royal Oak, Michigan, US


You have no legal recourse, but if it makes you feel better and you want to burn that bridge then you can call him out for stealing the idea on Facebook.  Other than that-make more ideas.
Feb 25 13 06:03 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Robb Mann
Posts: 10,017
Baltimore, Maryland, US


Very few concepts in photography are really original. Imagine if someone copyrighted the 'model-looking-backwards while walking down railroad tracks' look! A lot of the quality of an image lies in the execution, not the concept.
Feb 25 13 08:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mike Collins
Posts: 1,756
Orlando, Florida, US


You don't seem to have any problem recreating a famous Herb Albert album cover.  Why should this bother you?  Not saying it makes the situation right, but I'm just saying...
Feb 26 13 05:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fullmetalphotographer
Posts: 2,692
Fresno, California, US


Just remember there lots of places to dig holes in the desert. Just make sure you have the hole before you share your idea with the client.
Feb 26 13 06:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dark Corner Studio
Posts: 39
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Mar 09 13 08:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


I've had people walk up to me at art shows and tell me to my face that they love my art and are going to steal my award winning concept and reuse/resell it.

I apologized to her and said I was sorry she was so inept to not come up with her own ideas.

I have a hundred more ideas to work on in the next few years.

I might not be able to stop them, but I now I'll always be ahead of them.
Mar 09 13 08:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Warren Leimbach
Posts: 2,554
Tampa, Florida, US


Shot By Adam wrote:
..... The only exception was that the photographer he used to shoot it did an extremely bad job with it and the initial retouching of the image looks like shit. He's getting tons of negative comments on it too but it seems he's going to use the image anyway. My bet is he used a low budget photographer to do the job who was in way over their head and just cannot accomplish the job the way I would have.
....

Serves him right for being a cheap ass.  When they come back to have it done properly tell him your rates have gone up.

On the bright side he was such a cheap ass he was probably going to sabotage the project at some point anyway by slashing the budget and using his sister in law as the model.  Just as well that you avoided that land mine.

I usually ask the client for layouts first so I can write an estimate for them.  It seems backwards that you came up with the layout and gave it to them.

In the future consider charging a creative consultation fee to sit in meetings and brainstorm shoot ideas with clients.  Also charge a fee for writing estimates.  This can filter out some of the less serious customers, those who just want to pick your brain and those who are only interested in you because they need three bids on every job and plan to use you as the "high bidder."

Also in the future try asking point blank "Have you settled on a photographer?  Do I have the gig?"  If he's vague about it, don't invest much effort in it.  Don't provide any tangible sketches, estimates, scribbles on bar napkins, etc. until they confirm that you have the gig.


Good luck,

WL

Mar 10 13 07:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Julian W I L D E
Posts: 1,799
Los Angeles, California, US


If that was your One and Only great idea... you're in trouble.

If not, Just keep Rocking.

It's not worth your time or your energy.  ;-)

-JULIAN
Mar 10 13 07:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
robert b mitchell
Posts: 1,257
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Bummer. sad
Mar 10 13 07:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,297
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Al Lock Photography wrote:
Situations like this is why I have a "consulting fee" built into my contract for the pre-shoot conference. It doesn't apply if they choose me for the job, but if they don't? It means that I make something for them picking my brains.

Since you cannot copyright an idea, this is the way to go.

Right on.

Mar 10 13 11:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Fryd
Posts: 3,469
Miami Beach, Florida, US


Shot By Adam wrote:
I have a bit of a love/hate friendship with a local entertainer here in Las Vegas who has an extremely bad reputation so over the last few years I've been keeping him at a bit of a distance. About a year ago he was telling me that he was getting a new show and that he wanted to hire me to do a photo shoot for promotional materials for it. I met up with him and I came up with a creative concept on a shoot that would involve multiple models, lots of unique angles, and a bunch of Photoshop post production. It was truly a unique concept for his style of entertainment. He LOVED the idea and asked me to put together a written quote for him, which I did. He said it was fine and that he would cut me a check in a few weeks when he got some time to do the shoot. A few weeks turned into a few months and then he kept telling me how he wanted to do the shoot real bad but to just be patient and wait a bit as he was having to renegotiate for a new showroom location. This dragged on and on and eventually I just gave up trying to get him locked-in. The last I spoke with him on the topic was about six months ago.

So yesterday, on his Facebook page, he posts a rough shot of what will be come his new promo photo and it is EXACTLY as I proposed it to him. Everything down to the angles, the poses of the models, EVERYTHING. The only exception was that the photographer he used to shoot it did an extremely bad job with it and the initial retouching of the image looks like shit. He's getting tons of negative comments on it too but it seems he's going to use the image anyway. My bet is he used a low budget photographer to do the job who was in way over their head and just cannot accomplish the job the way I would have.

Anyway, I know this is an armchair attorney kind of question but do I have any actual recourse in this since it was completely my original concept on this shoot? I actually have notes on this and my proposal etc. What do you guys think?

The trick is to turn this into an opportunity.  He obviously liked the idea, but the execution was poor.  Give him the opportunity to hire you for proper execution.   Do not reward his bad behavior with a lower price.

My advice would be to send him an updated quote.  Perhaps prices have gone up a few dollars since the original quote?


In your cover letter, mention that you saw the images on his facebook page and read the comments.

Offer to do the job correctly.  He may complain that he can't afford your rates as he has already spent money on the other photographer.

Here's the tricky part.  You need to paint a scenario where he can hire you without losing face. 

Perhaps discuss how there are many local photographers who will take on jobs well past their skill level, and there are many un-suspecting clients that get stuck.  You are here to help him.

Point out that many photographers would have been offended by this, and doubled their quote.    On the other hand, you're the good guy, and will take on the job at close yo your original quote.

Mar 11 13 10:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


Matt Throop Photography wrote:
It's happened to me when I use to do graphic design work for bands years back. A band contacted me and we were working out ideas for layout for their promotional material including a MySpace page. I spent a week designing everything that fit the band to a T. I showed the band, and they said they didn't like it. So we went our separate ways. A month later, they update all their promotional materials and their MySpace using a hacked up copy of what I did for them. So I laughed and moved on. They have contacted me for photos and other work after that and I send them a quote and never hear back.

That is pretty much the m.o. of graphic design and advertising and marketing in general, especially freelance. Check out Elance.com sometime.

The premise is you bid for the work (either as the provider or the client), many times submitting proofs (logo, website design, etc.) Usually what ends up happening is that someone takes your proof and submits to a cheaper provider, usually based in India. You've done, not just the conceptual pitch, but the actual legwork...only to lose the project.

I haven't been on the site in a few years, but unless something has changed, I don't see how designers aren't avoiding this type of setup like the plague.

But it's happened a lot to me in advertising as well. Weeks of creative briefs, working with the creative team on proofs to pitch...and the client uses the basic structure and design to go with a lower-cost alternative. There are some recourse in that situation because tangible work is produced...but it's still very difficult and time-consuming to fight.

Mar 11 13 11:11 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Nikki Magnusson
Posts: 6,841
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


OP..I feel your pain..

had a photog ask me if I had any ideas for an upcoming shoot..

next thing you know..

he was dicscussing it on facebook with another model..

had to dump him and the shoot..

also those of you who think there are no original ideas out there..

that havent been done before...

you really need to think outside the box..

I've still got a few original ideas rattling around in my little head...

one day I hope I'll haf all the pieces in place to pull them off..http://a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/44/f21faa4715f3480285c74d593899a371/l.gif
Mar 11 13 11:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


Nikki Magnusson wrote:
OP..I feel your pain..

had a photog ask me if I had any ideas for an upcoming shoot..

next thing you know..

he was dicscussing it on facebook with another model..

had to dump him and the shoot..

also those of you who think there are no original ideas out there..

that havent been done before...

you really need to think outside the box..

I've still got a few original ideas rattling around in my little head...

one day I hope I'll haf all the pieces in place to pull them off..http://a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/44/f21faa4715f3480285c74d593899a371/l.gif

It's not so much that there are no original ideas as it is that ideas hold no value until they're executed. The most revolutionary and innovate idea not executed is worth nothing. That same idea executed poorly, also holds very little value.

The true sign of talent (to me) is someone who can take the mundane and unoriginal and turn it into art.

Mar 11 13 11:38 am  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
sdgillis
Posts: 2,422
Portland, Oregon, US


MC Photo wrote:
You're only recourse is to keep giving him ideas until he decides to hire you. Then you charge a super premium rate.

\


hah, ya sure, consulting for free. Can't let them get away with it forever. Get a retainer up front.

Mar 11 13 02:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Oscar Partida
Posts: 729
San Diego, California, US


Bump
Mar 11 13 02:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Oscar Partida
Posts: 729
San Diego, California, US


In Balance Photography wrote:
Find his competition and come up with a better i
Devious perfection!! I love it!!:-))

Genius lol

Mar 11 13 02:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light and Lens Studio
Posts: 1,214
Sisters, Oregon, US


Josh Yu Photography wrote:
Unfortunately not likely. You gave him an idea. You can't technically own an "idea" no matter how original it is (except by patent which you must register) so bad luck. Just do the shot better with someone else and make the guy regret his choice wink

This

Mar 11 13 02:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Star
Posts: 17,909
Los Angeles, California, US


Shot By Adam wrote:

Yeah, I know, an NDA would have been the best move and knowing this doucheba....I mean "person" I REALLY should have known better. Oh well, my bet is his new show is going to fall flat on its face and this horrible photo he had done is just a disaster. I guess on that level I'm getting the last laugh and I suppose that makes it worth it in the end.

I don't know if it will help but you may want to contact the show producers, and the manager of the talent. If you had sketches that would help in proving fraud. You would be basically trying to show that the performer promised work in exchange for the work you did and instead of paying you took the sketches et all to a competing business.

Mar 11 13 06:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AG_Boston
Posts: 342
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Dan Howell wrote:
What exactly is a 'unique angle'?

Yeah. I've heard of obtuse angles, acute angles, right angles...but unique angles...?

Mar 11 13 07:59 pm  Link  Quote 
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