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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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
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.