I photographed night harvest for wine grapes last night at Ceja Vineyards, one of the first Mexican-American wineries in the country. Harvest happens very quickly...and with little light, it made photographing harvest a little challenging. I wanted to shoot with available light to get the feel of what its like to work in the dark or with unnatural lighting.
Sometimes its a hard knock life for freelance photographers: an over-saturated market with photographers, small budgets, less publication space, selective audiences, etc. etc. etc. Since I've been laid off from my newspaper job, I've done fairly well in trying to grasp the business and maintain some work to get me by. I've learned to diversify my photography by breaking into stock and lifestyle photography and weddings, with all the while still shooting photojournalism. And with a little help from friends, I photograph their family portraits. Here are three scenarios that i take as one to grow on in my first official year in the freelance business.
1) I recently had a commercial job that i got via a friend (thank you alli) who called me up to see if i was available. I took the job, no contract, all negotiations over the phone, i sent an estimate for approval, i mean, it was a situation that was pretty much set in stone verbally. I sent in the final estimate, I shot the job, and mailed the images and invoice. My contract was the invoice which had our terms that we negotiated over the phone and that was that. Granted, it was friend who hired me, but still, it was bigger then editorial paid job.
2) For the past several months I had been waiting on payment from a client for two editorial jobs. I still await one more payment. The contract terms was vague. I gave the agency the benefit of the doubt that I would be paid on time. However, what I failed to do, was question their payment timeline. That even though they have a contract, I still need to work with each client with my contract needs, and that includes being paid within a reasonable time frame.
3) Over the summer, I received a phone call from a local wedding photographer who wanted to know if i would be interested in being a contract shooter for their business...on their terms. I was fine with the shooting rate, though less then I would normally charge, and our agreements for shooting and editing fees were made in person during our initial meeting and over the phone. However things got complicated when I sent my invoice in and they were certain i had agreed to a rate via email. Now, this job was significantly less, not only was its less in terms of rates, but the difference in payment between us was $40. Now, I made no such agreement, but this was a very small job that ironically I should put all verbal agreements into the contract prior to working on a job with them. I regret that I didn't do that. But I take it as a $40 dollar lesson, that no matter how small or big a job is, their terms or mine, a contract is everything; it guarantees specific agreements and payments. (Or at least it should).
sweet little surprise from an outtake of an assignment. sax player from the robin duhe band in oakland that i photographed on assignment for the sf chronicle.
an outtake portrait of robin duhe:
It was a bit of challenge shooting this portrait, considering the new canon flash slave option is a hidden function, and not as easy as the flick of switch. I had forgotten where to find it....but thanks to a little help from a collegue and the SF Chron's intern, stephen lam, problem solved. the next issue was that i had chosen a difficult spot, at night, with the musician wearing all black. Even his guitar was black! The Chron editors chose a different portrait that you can see here: bassist