What to do when a client doesn't pay for their wedding photos?

1 month 3 weeks ago #675022 by Monica Lafforgue
Back in November I shot a very small wedding that the client did pay their deposit and they did sign contract.  There was only $575 that was left remaining, and the day of the wedding which they had already made arrangements for the balance would be paid, they asked if they could have another month to pay, and for me to keep the photos till they paid.  I decided to do something I NEVER do and shot the wedding with out being fully paid.  It's been now nearly 4 months and they aren't responding to my messages.  

I've not sent the photos, and as mentioned the balance is only $575.  What would you do here?  I have offered payment option in one of the messages I left them also.  Offering for them to pay me $150 per month till paid.  Again, no response.  

Thank you for your help. 

Monica 


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1 month 3 weeks ago #675039 by garyrhook
You got paid a (reasonable?) deposit, that hopefully covered your time at the wedding? You haven't done any editing yet, until final payment is received? Based on how I spend my time, you should be ahead at this point.

If you have completed the work without the payment, that's something you can learn from. And not having that final payment before you show up to the wedding is another learning opportunity. If they are threatened with no photos through breach of contract (there's a contract, right?) that's on them.

Again: we presume monies paid up front cover your time on the calendar, and editing waits until full payment. Only in that way can you stay ahead, even if they flake.

At this point, set them aside. If they want them, they'll come back. And they can figure out how to pay for them. But no images until final payment. It's not cruel to draw a line and stick to it.


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1 month 3 weeks ago #675052 by effron
I agree with "set the photos aside" and wait for them. I'd also be ringing up interest in case they decide to do the honorable thing in the future.
Let this be a learning experience.

Why so serious?
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1 month 3 weeks ago #675099 by Ian Stone
Seems like a time black hole.  As Gary already mentioned, hopefully you have a deposit/retainer that covers your time.  Sit on the photos, and when they finally get around to responding, you can collect then with a little interest. 

Are you sure they are still together?  Perhaps they got a divorce already?  


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1 month 3 weeks ago #675192 by Mike McKinnon
Yep, that sucks.   Nothing else to post that hasn't been said already.  Just I feel for you.  Sucks to get ripped off. 


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1 month 3 weeks ago #675390 by Monica Lafforgue
OK, understood.  So how long would you keep the photos?  I know they don't take up much space, but still just curious from a legal standpoint, how long are we as photographers liable for keeping?


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1 month 3 weeks ago #675392 by effron
No contract? Doesn't matter.

Why so serious?
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1 month 3 weeks ago #675410 by garyrhook
+1 on the above. I don't think you're liable at all, unless there was some verbal discussion/agreement.


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1 month 3 weeks ago #675518 by ShutterPal
A couple years locally, if I need to move them, stuff them on the cloud for a few years.   


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