Over the past year, as many of you know, I've amped up my fashion career. I'm still suffering multiple career disorder, I work in PR, Digital Strategy, Brand Consulting and Fashion Journalism but my favourite of all my "careers" is still Styling and Photography.
It's something I'm very good at, I'm brazen enough to let you know that, and honestly, the proof is in the pudding.
I've worked with a lot of up and coming designers, many of which I'm lucky enough to call friends, and I am fortunate enough to never have the business side of what I do effect those friendships. Until recently.
I was hired by a friend to produce a lookbook for her new line. As a friend, I offered great rates, pulled in other professional colleagues and produced a stunning set of photographs. A sample of these photos are above, the results of a full day of shooting and styling out on the beach, a shoot that had me waist deep in water, fully clothed and giving my all. A shoot that now, thanks to non payment, I can only share with you on this site with really obnoxious watermarks.
The reason I share this story is simple, it's a lesson I've learned now and a mistake I won't be making again. Always, always, work with a contract. I don't care if your client is your Grandma (well maybe that might be the exception…!) if you don't have a contract, there is no way to ensure your time, energy and creative product will be rewarded properly and when it's not, the process is emotionally exhausting and honestly a little heartbreaking.
In this particular scenario I am within my rights to pursue the client in a small claims court (according to my lawyer) thanks to some richly worded emails, however I'm not going to. Why? Because this is my art, and at this point I don't want my client to have access to these gorgeous photos. Not after everything that we have been through. In my opinion, my client is not deserving of my work, and I'm retaining my dignity and integrity by not doing this, in my own special way. Maybe it's not the best business choice but it's the choice I'm comfortable with.
Anyway, I hope you can enjoy my work, despite the watermarks, and take this whole experience as lesson for everyone in the creative industry…contract, contract, contract!
Styling and Photography: Kelsi Smith
Hair and Make-Up: Amber Ayala
Assitant: Tiara Henry