The “Client”

I recently wrote a blog post about the  The Bad Economy and the 50 million photographers. For those that didn’t really grasp the situation(hopefully a lot of you did), here’s exactly what I am talking about. This is an email conversation between me and what I thought might be a possible new client. (No names were used to protect the “innocent”)



Thanks for adding me on here, not sure how you found me but it turns out that I’m actively looking for a skilled photographer.

I would love to take a look at any possible online portfolio or sample pictures you would be willing to share and am also interested in your rates and/or any package deals you might have going on.

I’m looking to schedule a session as soon as possible.

Thanks for your time,

I send “Client” a link to an online Portfolio of mines. Then, here is “Client’s” response


I checked out your work, thanks for sending that along.

The photo’s I need are for a very specific project with and look. The style i’m going for is a spiced up 1920’s-1930’s kind of image and the shoot would need to be set in that kind of a theme.

Some thoughts I have are:

Do you work out of a green screen studio?
Alternatively, do you have any locations suggestions?
And do you do photo retouching, and if so, can I see some sample work?

I would love to hear some of your ideas and please let me know about your rates as well.

Ok. Now, I have to be honest. I am the type of photographer that likes to nail down details, and throw around ideas before we get to the rates. Im not a rate first, everything else later type of guy. To some, that may be a flaw, it’s just the way I like to work. Back to the story. I send “Client” some great ideas for the setting, how I would light it, some great prop ideas, and the whole shabang. “Client” replies



That sounds very promising. I’m pretty solid on what I want to do concerning my costume/image though. I appreciate the bamboo cane/beer bottle idea but that specific style doesn’t really fit in this case.

The image I’m going with consists more of a cross between a classier 1920’s – 30’s look, think Absinthe instead of a beer bottle, a black cane with a golden handle instead of a bamboo cane. I guess just a bit classier… crossed with an almost Michael Jackson “Smooth Criminal” type of thing.

The outfit i’m wearing has a little bit of my own twist too, though based on a 1920’s-30’s style. I’m wearing a sleek 3 piece black leather suit, black and white saddle shoes, a white skinny tie, a black felt boater type hat (like a very short top hat almost) with a white hat band, and a black silk eye-patch.

The location sounds great, the time period and specific style are relevant to the project this will be used for, which is a concept album and accompanying film which I’m putting together, the story of which is set between the summer of 1929 – 1939. So any backdrop would need to be period specific. There are two specific scenes set in a club/speakeasy, so the old school pool table/bar type setting would work perfect.

I also have an actual (empty) bottle of Absinthe which I could bring as a possible prop, the label looks like it could easily be vintage.

Please let me know what kind of price range we’re looking at as well here. I’m definitely interested in your services, I should note though that these pictures are needed for a promo package which me and my business partner are putting together which we will be presenting to possible investors who are seriously interested in this project. So we don’t have the big bucks for this yet, but could very soon. I am able to pay a reasonable rate though. Also, if things work out and we work well together there will definitely be further photo shoots along the way, there’s a lot happening concerning this project.

I would like to get this done soon, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks for your time,

This is where my Spidey Sense started to tingle. I threw some more ideas at “Client”, and being that I sensed some shenanigens, I asked “Client” what was their budget? Hope you have your seat belts fastened for “Client’s” response


At the moment I’m looking at $100 – $150, and will be needing full rights to use the photographs as needed (with credit to you, naturally).

The focus of the shoot at the moment will be on me, so models/extras are not really needed right now if it hikes the price up a lot. If we do use model(s) though they would need to look exactly period specific and be in more of an extras kind of position.

Huh?…..crickets…….. My response


Oh no, I’m sorry. I can’t shoot your project for this price. It is too far below my c.o.b.(Cost of business). Plus you want full rights. I don’t know too many photographers that will shoot for that budget. I wish I knew someone I could recommend but unfortunately I can’t. I’d really like to shoot it, so if you can find a way to increase your budget, I’d be more than happy to. Take care for now.

“Client” final response

Well the budget is negotiable, but you’re giving me no concept of what your rates are. I’ve been quoted $200 for some really great quality work set in a pro quality photo studio. I’m just shopping around to see what my other options are.

You can’t make this stuff up. “Client” still wanted a rate quote at this point. Even after they claimed to have spoke to “Pro’s with a Pro Studio”, that quoted this project at $200 dollars. Sorry, not calling them liars, but I find it hard to believe that quote. No pro I know will shoot anything, except maybe a head shot for $200 bucks.

Just sharing some of my experiences with you to let you know we are all battling this economy and low balling out here. I’m right there next to you in the trenches. We will get through this if we just stick it out.


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