One of my university friends was
getting married and offered me a cheap wedding gig. For £200 I could shoot my
documentary style for their wedding, they’d get a photo book and I would video
record the wedding vows with their camera. My actual profit would be £150, as the
book came out of the final price.
Everything went great on the day,
but the mother of the bride panicked when they were showing me how to use their
video camera and just threw it in my lap as her daughter was walking down the
I managed to hit record in good
time and that was that (NOTE: in hindsight I should have kept the SD card with
video). I shot the first dance and each table with guests, it was arranged that
I could leave early (more on that later). The book was finished in about a
month and waited for them to come and collect it, they were in no rush as money
I sat on the book for a year.
They either had no money or were
too busy, but I wasn’t bothered because the sum was small, I wasn’t completely
dependent on the money, and this was a friend. One day, they said they had the
£200. We met at a park near my place. I
didn’t bring the book because I thought I would invite the bride and her friend
back home so we could catch up. They however were expecting the ‘transaction’
to happen in the park.
After inviting them home, I
explained the book, she loved it, but noticed I spelt her husband’s name wrong
on the front of the book. Her husband’s name was “Daffyd,” which is Welsh for
David, and I’d made a slight error because I wasn’t familiar with the spelling.
There was only one letter difference, so I offered to reprint the book at my own
cost. I was embarrassed until the bride started haggling with me to get the
copy with the error for half the price. I said it would cost me less to reprint
it than to give it to them the misprint for less than half price. Then I got
the truth of the matter.
Client: The thing is John. I only have half the
money. Since you spelt my husband’s name wrong, I think that’s fair.
The bride confessed she never had any
intention of giving me the full amount. The misprint was an easy out. Her
husband had hurt himself at work and was on benefits. She herself was also on benefits, wasn’t
speaking to her parents (so they couldn’t help pay for the book) and had a
child on the way. Those are good reasons, but maybe not when you spring them on
an old friend who did work for you as a favour.
After a huge, pointless, shitty
and heated conversation, I gave her the book for half the price. I got half the
money, but take great joy in knowing that the keepsake of their wedding
has the wrong name on the cover.
When money is involved, your friends aren’t your friends.