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The Sad Truth about Vendor-Client Relationships

by Dan Bailey on October 20, 2011 · 19 comments

Go ahead, all you photographers, freelancers and self employed creative types: watch this video and laugh. Then, you have my permission to cry.

It’s great that someone actually took the time to make this video. I applaud them, although I have no idea how the any of the actors kept a straight face while making it. It’s totally over the top and yet it rings so true. It’s also a bit cathartic to watch because it reminds us that we’re not alone. We hear this stuff from our clients and customers all the time. Unfortunately, there’s an element of artistic and creative work that will always be treated this way by some people in the business world.

Will we ever be able to completely change this perception and get treated with the respect that we deserve? I doubt it. However, though continued education, carefully worded contracts, effective negotiation before a job, and through the advice, advocacy and information that is provided by organizations like ASMP, we can at least arm ourselves with the right counter arguments to these kinds of statements.

Of course, not every client is like this. Some gladly pay for services rendered and don’t grumble, haggle or try to split hairs or nickel and dime their way through the entire negotiating process. If you have clients like that, reward them. Work extra hard for them. Shower them with affection and presents and consider writing them into your will, because those are the clients that you never want to lose. They’re worth more than gold. No, platinum.

For help dealing with the not-so-easy clients, make sure you read our posts on pricing photography that I and some of the other contributors write about here on The Photoletariat.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear some of the “best’ ones” that you’ve heard. Post them in the comment section below. It will be like therapy.

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Senior contributor Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

 

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