Friday, May 08, 2009

So I Was Ready to Shoot This Gig...

...when I found out it's been put on hold. Postponed. Pushed back. Whatever.

I was fairly excited as this gig was something entirely different than I usually shoot. Don't get me wrong. I love shooting pretty girls. But sometimes shooting stuff that's different is refreshing. A bit more challenging. There's more to my photographic interests than pretty girls and T&A. (As heretical as that sounds.)

Anyway, this gig is in the world of non-pretty-girl photography. More mainstream-ish photography, if you will. Commercial photography. Stuff I can show my Mom or my kids photography.

Did I mention it was gonna pay fairly decently?

Well, it was. Maybe not hot-shot, "A" list, uber-photographer decently but fairly decently nonetheless.

My client for this gig isn't the end-user. My client is a graphic design firm. Being the photographer, I'm a line item on that firm's proposed budget to the end-user. Works for me. I don't care who I invoice. I don't care who pays me. I don't care who, technically, I'm working for. I only care the check clears.

But then, it seems, the main guy, i.e., the main end-user guy, realized the proposed budget for the project exceeded his discretionary authority. So now he has to take it to "the board" for approval. My client, the graphic design firm, says they're not going to green-light the photography until they have a purchase order. (Which they expect to get at some future point; hopefully, in the near future.) I don't blame them. Purchase orders often are what get you paid.

Yesterday, which was gonna be Day One for this project, albeit it was only gonna be shooting "event" candids for a few hours, was going to kick off this gig. Days 2 and 3, which were scheduled for next week, were to be the big days with architectural and landscape photography, more formal people stuff, etc. Next week also included me bringing along much more equipment as well as an assistant.

So, yesterday morning, I decided to add a piece of gear to my arsenal. To that end, I bought myself Canon's 17-40mm F/4Lto be better equipped to shoot this project. Sweet glass, right? Yep. On my full-frame 5D it's gonna deliver some potent images.

Prior to buying this new glass, the widest lens I had zoomed out to 28mm. Not very wide. And not wide enough for some of the stuff I needed to shoot for this gig. Yeah. I could'a rented a lens. But what the heck, I thought. It's not like I won't have other uses for a good wide angle lens.

But no sooner do I buy the lens--and I bought it at a local camera store so it could be immediately in my bag or on my camera--do I get a phone call telling me the project is pushed back-- Like within an hour of purchasing the lens! My guy at the design firm, a guy who knew I was going to purchase the glass for this project, said he hoped he got a hold of me before I bought the lens.

He didn't.

Oh well.

Timing is everything.

I suppose I could have asked for a "kill fee." It was only hours from showing up to shoot that my day got canceled. But kill fees can be two-edged swords. Discretion and careful consideration is, quite often, a good idea when thinking about pursuing kill fees.

Now I'm the proud owner of a Canon 17-40mm F/4Lwide angle lens. I'm excited to play with it. Since the project I bought it for is postponed, I guess I'll first be using my new toy shooting some pretty girls. That's cool! It'll give me some different perspectives and more optical options in doing so.

Then again, who knows? Maybe I'll take a little road trip and go out and shoot some landscapes or nature or something? I've done that before, although not recently, and had great fun doing so! I should add I had great company with me when last I did so and that added much to my pleasure shooting, uhhh... people-less landscapes.

The monochromatic eye candy at the top is Tori from a month or so ago. The perspective could have been more interesting if I had a wider lens when I shot it. With my nifty new 17-40, that won't be an inhibiting factor next time I shoot.


Paps said...

It's good habit (apart from the other 7) to wait for a purchase order before you start working. It doesn't look "nice", but then again, nice guys (and gals) finish last.

About the kill fee, I think every contract should have it. I hope the people that hired you had one too with the original customer. Apart from the lens, there's three working days down the drain for you, with only a slim chance get another paid assignment. Whichever way you look at it, it's loss of expected income. Just think how a lawyer would react if you did this to it (sorry, I cant think of lawyers as him or her anymore).

And considering this contract clause a double sided sword, I'd still add it. FIrst of all, the customer cannot and must not take you for granted. Second you have a right to be paid for your time, even if the customer neglects you. And third, you now have the choice if thing get ugly: cash or customer. If you expect more income from the relationship, you don't have to collect (all of) the fee. Just make sure they understand this is a one-time-only offer (and don't repeat it of course).

Anonymous said...

I hope the bored gets back to the Design Company soon with a positive response.

At least you got a new lens to play with, and that's always a good thing.


Lin said...

"So now he has to take it to "the board" for approval. My client, the graphic design firm, says they're not going to green-light the photography until they have a purchase order."Fortune and glory foiled again by the finance dept! Bloody bean counters! May I take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of my profession. We can put a spanner in the works at the most inconvenient of times :-)

jimmyd said...

@Paps, There were some existing/previous relationship factors that mitigated the decision (on my part and the graphic designer's part) to go ahead and schedule the shoot without "formal" and "binding" agreements and approvals. That won't happen now: It's a contract and a P.O. or nothing.

Sometimes things aren't always done "by the book." Sometimes it turns out okay, sometimes not so okay.

@Lyn, Apology accepted. ;-)

Rick said...

As a criminal defense attorney, I try very hard to avoid kill fees. ;)

I know how you feel. I was thinking I was going to get to do some interesting PAID shoots, so, in anticipation, I bought the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L series. While I was at it, I decided to get a 580 EX II. (Can't wait until the new PocketWizard stuff arrives, so I can play with that off camera.)

But, so far, not much to shoot. Definitely nothing that has paid me a single penny.

Still, I'm quite happy to have the lens. My only regret is that without paid assignments, it will be awhile before I can have the 70-200 f/2.8. :(

jimmyd said...

@Rick, Before you plunk down serious dough on a 70-200 f/2.8L IS, consider the 70-200 f/4L IS for somewhat less serious dough. That's what I sorta decided I was gonna do. More so after reading Ken Rockwell's review of the f/4L IS version of the 70-200.

Here's Rockwell's review:

Anonymous said...

re: K.R.'s review, did you take it with Lot's wife (a pillar of... yeah)? I find K.R. to be rather ridiculously fixated on non-issues much of the time.

re: kill fee, I wish you'd had one; as mentioned by a noted photographer that I follow, having a kill fee allows him to experiment with really creative shoots on the unfortunate days when shoots are canceled. I think on this particular instance, he shot ninjas in a warehouse on the client's dime. sounds like a blast to me.

jimmyd said...

@Anon, As ridiculous and as "grain of Lot's wife" he might be taken, I'd like to have his traffic!

Tim said...

I'm sure the genre of landscape photography will never be the same again once you, your company, and your new lens hit the road! I hope you will share some shots with us; looking at my own endless piles of pretty-girl-less landscapes, I would definitely welcome some inspiration ;-))

jimmyd said...

@Tim, Not sure if this is gonna make sense but...

With writing, it's like "I hate to write but love to have written."

With photography, however, it's like "I love to photograph but don't overly care about what I have photographed."

Like I said. Not sure that made sense or is even relevant. It's early. I just got up. I'm not much of a morning person... especially in the mental faculties department.

Scott said...

17-40 f4...nothing fact one of the weakest Canon L lenses I own. Hope you are not disappointed...

jimmyd said...


Glass don't make the shooter. The shooter makes the glass. It's a tool, bought for a specific purpose. Not expecting anything extraordinary from it. Just hope it does what I want it to do and maybe some stuff I haven't yet imagined I want it to do. Besides, if I'm disappointed, I'll sell it. Probly for not very much less than I paid for it. Such is the way with a lot of photography gear that finds itself on Ebay. :-)