Client wants to pay after receiving the film

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    • #91097

      Hi, I’m new here and just wanted some advice from people more professional than myself. Sorry if this is a bit long winded. So, I shot and edited my first wedding a month back and the bride took the DVD the other week. I was there from 7am-11pm and charged only £200 for this since it was my first wedding and I wanted it for my portfolio.

      I wrote up a contract which stated that I would receive the full payment a week on from their wedding and before the DVD was given to them. They told me in person when I gave them the contract that they wouldn’t be able to do this as they would be on their honeymoon, I said that was fine and for them to pay me when they got back (probably stupid of me I know).

      So, they get back and request the DVD. I haven’t been payed and I’m at work, I said they could collect it from my house whilst I was at work if they wanted it then and now providing they pay me before-hand, they say they will, they collect the DVD and still I haven’t been payed. Since handing over the DVD the brides sister saw it first and thought it was brilliant, she messaged me to say so. The bride however, wanted changes made, which I said in the contract that I would do up to 7 days on from the wedding date, so I’ve made these changes, however, she also said that the DVD skips and lags for her so she doesn’t feel comfortable paying until she knows it will work, she now wants to meet to take the new DVD and she wants to pay me after receiving it and checking that it works okay. I feel like I’m being taken for a ride here? But it’s my first wedding and I want to make a good impression and hopefully get a referral from this. How would you guys handle a situation such as this?

    • #214539

      Ask the bride to bring back the DVD that she says doesn’t work. Sit with her and watch it on your DVD player or computer. If it works, as I suspect it will, the problem is in her player. The important thing here is that you’ve demonstrated that the DVD (and your work) is not defective. Keep the DVD she returns, even if it does work.

      She wants a new DVD, which you’ve prepared for her with the changes she has requested. Sit with her and watch it, verifying that it’s o.k. After the viewing have her pay you.

      Under no circumstances should you give her the new DVD (or return the old one) until she has paid you in full. Stand firm!

    • #214540

      As long as you have all the original source material, It should be an easy edit. Get it in clear writing, while sitting on a couch or chair, with her and Him if needed, watching this DVD on your TV. Kick her (them) out the door, do the edits, cut a new DVD, then invite her (them) over to watch it on your TV, to show her it works fine, then do not give her the DVD until they are paid up in full.
      I used to shoot weddings also, and the folks I worked for paid in full on delivery of the finished DVD

    • #214545


      I always express my terms of trade as (i) 50% deposit on day of shoot or prior and (ii) the remaining 50% on completion of project. Completion of project includes any clients edit changes (2 sittings maximum), thereafter the finished project only passes to the client on the remaining balance being paid.

      In the circumstances you describe if possible best have the bride sit in on the edit to ensure she is fully satisfied. If she wants to take a copy before payment ensure that copy has “for approval only” titled over the entire length of the video.

      Good Luck

    • #214551
      AvatarKevin Mc

      On a professional level, I stopped shooting weddings 2-1/2 years ago. I simply got exhausted dealing with bride-zillas. These “Princesses-for-a-day” became (for me, at least) unbearable. Contracts mean nothing to them. Meaning, she has already decided to manipulate you – and she may have already decided not to pay you (been there). That is why, if they insist on receiving a copy of the finished video prior to payment, I would run a very transparent watermark over the entire video. Honestly, my watermark is barely noticeable. One bride insisted that she could not pay, after viewing the video, as she couldn’t see anything through the watermark – insisting that I deliver an unmarked version. I asked what she thought of the footage of their vows. She said she loved it. I said, great – so you were able to see the video. A long silence followed… 🙂

      Get paid. It’s business. For the bride, their wedding is supposed to be the greatest day of their life. They really place some unreal expectations on every aspect of their goal for excellence (sorry for any happy brides out there reading this) :)… For you, tdh-, this is a business transaction. Yes, you can be caring and true to your work, while smiling while insisting that you get paid.

      I completely agree with the comments above. Move any future viewings of the DVD to your house, and retrieve the DVD they already have. This way, you can view it together, make your changes together, get the bride to say she’s happy, and collect payment, without any further manipulations.

      Take your work seriously – to the extent that – if you have honored your contract, it is completely reasonable for you to stand firm and (literally) smile as you say, “I just need to get paid before releasing the finished product.”

      Also send the bride an Amazon link for a DVD laser cleaning disc. If her version of the video skips, she probably needs to clean her DVD player. You might also ensure that you burn the disc at the absolute lowest speed possible. This tends to make for better playback across almost all players.

      Edit: I couldn’t help telling one more story about your future as a wedding videographer… I once had a bride request that I include in the contract that we will shoot and cut together as many scenes as possible of children playing at the wedding, and make this a common theme throughout the video. Sounds easy, right? One child, I SAID ONE CHILD, was present at the wedding. She was therefore disgusted with the final video. Was I supposed to bring random children with me? 🙂

      That video remains archived on a hard drive, and the bride now has no video of her wedding. The video and DVD design displayed really good and professional work on my part. Months later, I received a letter from her attorney (holy WTF Batman?)… I ceased all future communications with the “happy” couple and their attorney. I only hope the groom knew what he was getting himself into. BTW, I had been paid in full.

    • #214583

      Thanks for the advice guys! Sadly I didn’t see it all until now.

      I actually sent her a new DVD. I had arranged to meet her in person where I’d go through it with her but the night before she said she couldn’t make it so instead, I posted it to her after her insisting multiple times. Since then, she said it plays and she was happy with it, I told her that that was great and then requested the payment and she then told me she wanted changes made and she’d pay me after they were done (same line as before). I refused, saying I wouldn’t make any further changes until after the payment was made. She got very angry and has accused me of ruining the best day of her life.

      I’m at a loss, I’m incredibly disheartened that my first ever wedding client could be this difficult. I’m actually quite upset by her remarks and at this point just want to wash my hands with it. My thinking now is screw the payment, keep the DVD’s and leave me alone. I don’t think I’ll be pursuing wedding video, not for a while at least.

    • #215095
      AvatarSDE Weddings

      yes, usually when a client says that, they did have a bad experience or not trust you.

      just say, we do this XXX weddings a year, and all of our clients are okay with. you are an established business with this # years in business and having filmed X# of weddings.

      and lastly, offer to give them maybe $250 to $400 amount on delivery, a comprise half way if you really want to book them and they are not willing to change their mind.

      SDE Weddings |

    • #214588

      Sorry you’ve had a negative experience. I would say get used to it, don’t take it personally, but work with a contract that protects you.

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