I am a photographer who used to be based out
of Los Angeles. There was a large conference for a group of specialty surgeons,
who found me online and decided to contract me for three days to take photos of
their convention for their publicity department. My contact person with the
organization was from Chicago and this was one of her first times spending any
length of time in Southern California.
Client: (When we met) I like
the weather here, but everyone seems too laid back for my taste.
Smiling politely, I kept doing my work.
We had an agreement that I would be flexible
with my working hours because speakers often run over schedule.
On the second day of the conference, the
client told me that she absolutely needed me to stay for an extra hour, unpaid.
I also had an assistant with me, so it was even worse.
Client: I’ll be receiving an
award so I want you to stay – no, I NEED you to stay to take my photo after
Me: Well, since you know
you’ll be receiving it, and it’s not a secret, why don’t we just take the
picture beforehand, so I will only stay a few extra minutes instead of an hour.
to beg and plead with me, accusing me of being unprofessional.
Me: Well, if you ate out
at a restaurant and got your bill, but then you ordered more food, you would
expect that they’d add it to your bill, right?
She got even more upset, but I went to get set
up for another shoot while my assistant grabbed some gear. The client proceeded
to follow my assistant around to complain about me, calling me a
“bitch” and saying how unreasonable I was. They came back over to me
as I was setting up the shoot.
Client: No more of this
sissy California stuff! I’m getting Chicago on you now! I can’t believe you
won’t stay when the client asks you to!
I ignored her to continue focusing on my work.
She walked back over to my assistant to complain about me some more. What she didn’t know was that my assistant on
the shoot was actually my husband, who had no sympathy for her or her attitude.
The irony of the whole thing, though, was that
the conference theme was about women in business, and while she was berating me
to my husband, she was to receive an award for being a woman who supports other women in their careers.