Ask an Agent / Potential tricky situation!

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column answering your questions about the business of photography– the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt! If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

For this month’s Ask an Agent we have a potentially sticky issue!


Hi Ask an Agent,

I wondered if you could give me some advice as I’ve found myself in a tricky situation. Last week a design agency that I’ve worked with a couple of times asked me to quote on a shoot for their client. I duly did this, but then this week their client has been in touch with me directly and asked me to quote on the same brief! I really don’t know what to do, it seems a bit strange quoting on the same job and not mentioning it to the agency, but then it seems a bit awkward mentioning to the agency that their client has been in touch with me directly.


Hi there,

Yes this is a potentially tricky one. Chances are the client might have thought the estimates their agency had submitted to them were a bit on the high side so thought they’d give it a go themselves. Or maybe they thought they’d prefer to handle the shoot.

It might be a coincidence that the client are also asking you to quote, then again it might not! If it’s not a coincidence and they want to see how much the agency has marked up the costs, then you really don’t want to be stuck in the middle. It’s quite normal for agencies to mark up photography quotes, just as most businesses add a handling charge to any expense going through their books. If, however, they are simply gathering additional estimates and didn’t realise you had already quoted, then I guess the expectation would be that you would come clean anyway, you don’t want to be seen as the ‘sneaky’ one if this is the case by making no mention.

© Julian Calverley : For illustrative purposes only

I think in these situations it’s best to be transparent and simply say to the client that you have already quoted and see what they say. I know it may seem strange not submitting costs when you have been asked, but I think the main thing here is to protect your integrity and your relationship with your existing client, the agency.

Keep me posted and if it’s ok, I’ll share the update on next month's Ask an Agent.

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions sent to Ask an Agent.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.