I can’t tell you how many times a client has just assumed that I would stay after the allotted time we had all agreed on in the contract without getting paid overtime. “Hey, it’s just an extra hour. No big deal, right?” This is why you need a good photography contract that states how much you will get paid should you go into overtime.
This isn’t to say that I don’t give people a little bit of leeway from time to time. An extra 15 minutes to make sure we got the picture of you and grandma before I go? No big deal.
I am not standing at the door with my gear waiting to shoot out of the venue like a cannonball once we hit the end time.
To help manage expectations, I always go to my clients half an hour before the agreed upon end time and let them know, “Hey, I am leaving in half an hour. Are there any photos that we haven’t done yet that you really want before I go?”
It’s simple and it makes sure that all the bases are covered, AND it shows your clients that you are thinking about them. 90% of the time, my photography clients will say, “Nope, we’re all good.” or “Oh, let’s get a shot with Aunt Suzie before you leave.”
But there are those occasional times that someone will say, “HEY! Why don’t you stay?!?” And it’s entirely possible that they’re not being malicious or trying to take advantage of you.
However, there will be those people who think they can get extra coverage for free. And that’s why you need a good photography contract. Something that you can go back to and say, “Nope, this is when I am supposed to leave and this is EXACTLY how much I get paid for overtime. And that’s due now!”
Don’t be a jerk about it, but stand your ground.
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