In response to a recent blog post I did, I received an e-mail from a subscriber saying:

I have been working with photographers who constantly claim that they are the best in the industry they are in; yet their turn around time to get me the images is terrible. How can a model follow-up? Do we have any rights?

This is a microcosm of a much larger and very perplexing issue involving the relationship between client and consultant that is not common in other businesses – and one that I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking of recently.

Normally when a client hires a consultant there is a very clear definition of what is to be provided, when it should be completed by, and the quality that is expected. The client essentially becomes the boss and the consultant is the service provider.

For some reason this all ended up backwards when it comes to models and photographers – even when the model is clearly the client and has paid the photographer.

What we’ve seen is that models are sometimes hesitant to assume the role of the client and to speak up to obtain what they paid for or what and when it was agreed upon.

In considering the reasons why – it could be that many talents are nervous or afraid to upset a photographer and end up on some “black list” and never be able to get work again.

Whether that is true or not (which I lean towards the latter), what can talents do to protect their rights when it comes to getting what they paid for.

First, have discussions with the photographer about your needs and expectations for the shoot, including when the final images are needed by or expected.

Second, realize that it is not unprofessional to ask, or at some point demand, you receive what you paid for. You’re the client. We (as photographers) are working for you.

Lastly, I think it is important for those within an industry to support one another in the business. Almost all services and products are constantly reviewed. Share your own reviews (not just the critiques, but the positive ones as well) with your colleagues. It will push the best service providers to rise to the top while encouraging others to improve their business practices.

Happy shooting!

James Patrick