Open letter two sides to the story

It has come to my attention that a disgruntled former client feels the need to slander, harass and badmouth my family and business with threats.

Legally I cannot respond however, it’s become now to where it’s nearly midnight as I am typing this, my husband is trapped in Texas in a tornado listening to this clients text messages telling him I am ‘cheating on him’ (at midnight!) , and speaking Ill of my children. My husband is a truck driver, we own our own trucking business, and unfortunately this client has felt the need to harass my husband the entire day. Now it’s become out of control by this client, as she is attempting to destroy my marriage.

(5/4/2015)This person is pretending to be other people all over the internet leaving me bad reviews, people whom I never photographed. It’s become so malicious that this person is stooping to identity theft just to do this. This harassment has been going on over two weeks. (since April 18th 2015) Is what’s really interesting is this client is claiming that I am stealing money from others, and so on.. yet she was my first paying client that wanted all three of my services I offer.

I would like to clear my name and my business from this person who is doing this to me. Here is an entire timeline of events. (everything is documented in writing and screenshots as well)

February 12th this client contacted me to do a boudoir maternity session for her. She insisted that she receives the images THAT night on a disc, as they where a Valentine’s Day gift for her husband. She wanted to put them on a calendar. So I took my watermark off those 12 images (12 months in a year) and gave her a disc of the images the following day, like she asked so she can make her calender.

No calendar was ever made-

On February 12th while at her home to photograph the maternity boudoir session, she had also wanted me to photograph her Birth. She claimed that another photographer she had wanted wasn’t “reliable” (her words not mine). I agree’d a flat rate of $400 for Maternity and Birth combined.

February 12th, I was paid $60.00 and it was agree’d that the rest of the balance be paid when this clients taxes came in.

February 18th, this client had me drive to Ormond Beach medical center where she thought she was being induced that day. And as it turns out she wasn’t. So the following day she asked if I meet her at her home as she was again being induced (she hoped).

February 19th, I got up and was at this clients home at 7:15am. I waited for her and her husband to get things gathered to leave for the hospital. I told her I would meet her there.

I did. She was induced, and we waited for birth. The entire duration of birth was 15 hours of labor. To which at times we had conversations. At one point I was asked by this client to photograph her newborn, this client stated that another photographer (the one who was going to do her birth) had taken her deposit and won’t give it back. This client and I then agree’d that she trade me pieces of fabric from for her newborn session.  I then stayed 2 hours after their daughter was born. Now for the record I am not photographing the ENTIRE time.

I didn’t get home until February 20th at around 5am. I was so tired, but stayed up a little to edit two photographs to show her and the photography page.

March 3rd this client came to our home studio. This client had brought all of her children, who my husband had no choice but to babysit as they where destroying my home, breaking my son’s toys and two of her children gained up on our 4 year old son and beat him up. However, my assistant and I did our best with what we could to settle this clients little one through all the noise, obtaining some gorgeous little shots. I paid my assistant $60 that day, as to where this client never brought me the fabric she promised. However she did bring beads (pearls?) to photograph her daughter. While she was at our studio, this client claimed that another photographer (who I have had lunch and a working friendship with) was at her home “recruiting” her baby as we photographed her newborn trying to put me out of business. My assistant and I brushed this off. As this particular photographer who I know, is not like that.

Client also stated that she would replace my son’s new toy that her son threw and broke. Client tried to replace it via amazon order.

March 5th this client came back to my studio wanting more newborn shots in a new “Romper and Bunny hat for easter” I had received from a vendor. This time she found a caregiver for her children. I photographed again her newborn. At this point, I wanted to do what I could to make her happy as I figured out that this client speaks bad about other photographers. I didn’t want to be on that list, so I did what she asked.

April 14th, this client shows up at my home studio with a payment of $100.00 to pay towards the balance of $400, which left a remaining balance of $240.  This client did receive a receipt as well. During this time that this client was in my studio this particular day, client proceeded to tell me that the one photographer who was going to do her birth session was at her house (April 11th weekend) during her daughters birthday party, speaking bad about my photography work and my business. This client claims that her husband and her kicked this photographer out of their home that day for speaking bad about me.  Once this client told me this, she also demanded that her newborn gallery be activated on our proofing site. I activated her newborn gallery which is valid for a total of TEN days (also per contract). Client logged in to her gallery this particular day snipping the watermarked images and putting them on her facebook page.

April 15th, I then receive a private message on my Facebook Photography page from that particular photographer (who was supposed to photograph this clients birth) stating that a “client” was telling her that I was telling people she went out of business. This photographer also claims that she was never at a “party” that weekend and has no idea who I am. Obviously our “mutual” client we have is trying to get us two photographers fighting by telling one photographer one thing and telling another something else. (The ENTIRE conversation between this photographer and I as we put our stories together of this ‘mutual client’ trying to get both of us fighting is screen shot, saved, and printed)

April 16th, I deleted this former client off my personal facebook page, due to the fact that this client has now tried to get two photographers and I into a cat fight.

April 17th, I then receive more harassment and threats from this particular client, on a facebook message. This message claimed she was taking me to court and will bad mouth me all over town if I don’t give her the birth images, even without payment.

April 18th, this client proceeded to go on to facebook groups slandering me, my family and my business. It was then that I had blocked this client from my personal facebook account. During this time I also received threats from her friends in the form of messages, between my personal facebook account and my business account.

Client had also emailed and claimed that she never signed a “model call waiver sign” (I think she meant Model Release) along with a bunch of threats. Model Release was signed for a “baby *”, as they didn’t have a name yet for their daughter.

My husband then called her and asked her to take the slander down, she still had NOT paid in full so she will not receive the disc of birth images until paid in full. AS PER contract stated.

During all of the slander this client was also emailed and told that the harassment and slander needs to stop otherwise a Cease and Desist order will be filed, and that the disc will not be rendered until full payment is received. It was also agree’d in email that the payment be in the form of a Money order and mailed Monday morning (the following day). Client agree’d that once this happens and I receive payment via money order, the disc will be released and sent via USPS.

April 20th, this client continued to harass my husband who was not even in Florida at the time. This client refused now to mail payment, and required to have my husband at the studio as she didn’t want to confront me. Unfortunately my husband as a job that does not allow him to be home.

Client logged into her gallery on this day as well

April 20th due to the harassment, I filed a Cease and Desist defamation order. One copy has been sent certified mail.

April 21-April 24 this client continued to harass my husband through text message and calling, claiming payment is in the form of a money order and needs to be dropped off. April 24th I drafted a confirmation sheet stating the following:

“This certifies that [former client] ***************** received a single regular birth session disc per agreement, in exchange for full payment of birth session on February 20th, 2015. Amount owed for Birth Session is $240 to be paid in a money order. 

This also certifies that TINY BEAR PHOTOGRAPHY and ******************** will no longer have further relations, including anything photography related” 

This client signed and dated this form April 24th, when she sent her son to the studio door to gather the disc of birth images and give payment. Payment was in the form of cash. Not a money order as stated by client.

At this point, this clients gallery of her newborn session did expire PER contract. In the allotted ten days, this client never ordered prints or digital images. Gallery expired 12:01am April 24th.

April 27th, client called my husband and continued harassing and screaming at him claiming she wants ALL the images for FREE not watermarked. And if she doesn’t receive what she wants, she will trash  my name all over town.

Meanwhile I receive emails stating the exact same thing from client.

While this was going on around noon time, it came to my attention that this client was now slandering me and trashing my name again all over our cities community facebook group pages. Claiming she had never received images. This client is also calling my organizations that I associate with, or threatening to, this client is threatening to go after my Fertility Business, this client is also claiming to be calling my proofing lab.

Also on this day, I had found another local photographer who I spoke to on the phone, as to where this client was trying to get this photographer and I into a cat fight. So now it’s three photographers this client is trying to get to fight one another.  Stories were all compared between these photographers and I.

During this evening, upon receiving screen shots of the harassment and slander, my husband is also being harassed through text message by this client-. My husband is exhausted and has told this client to leave him alone as to which she is not.

May 4th, client text messages my husband and claims I forged her signature on the contract client signed and dated February 12th. Client claims she signed this contract during labor February 19th/20th. Client also claims she called the cops on me. Client is also making up names pretending to be past clients of mine to leave bad reviews all over the internet.

May 5th, My husband and I went down to the Sheriff’s office to speak with the supervisor about filing harassment charges against this client.  The supervisor assigned us a case number and told us two officers will meet us at our home to take our statement and gather all the documents needed.

During our meeting at our home with the officers, they where given copies of the contract this client signed and dated February 12th, along with the threats, slander, timeline and the paper stating she received the images on the birth disc (dated and signed by client April 24th).  They took copies of comments client has made under her own photographs on our facebook page February 23rd-March 3rd. Client also claims she never “authorized” them to be on the facebook page.  Yet signed a form that allows Tiny Bear Photography to post images on social media, along with a model release form.

Officers assured me that if the harassment continues, I will be able to call them, as this was just a warning for this client. –

May 6th, Received a call around 4pm from the sheriff’s department who said this client came in with her signed contract and apologized, this client apparently forgot due to the medication.

June 13th, This former client and her friends are messaging people on facebook trying to withhold business from myself and a colleague. This former client is also pretending to be people on facebook inquiring to my colleague about sessions, trying to get my colleague and I into a fight.

July 8th, Former Client is Messaging people on websites who are looking for maternity/birth or newborn  sessions. Trying to get people not to schedule with Tiny Bear Photography

Sep 18th, Former client attempts again to contact my business partner and accuse my husband of being a sexual predator  in writing. Claims that former client and other individuals I do not know or had any association with are getting together to go after my business, and my family. Also threatens to put screenshots of another former client not receiving images due to non payment..both former clients trashing my family and I. Law enforcement has been notified, and report again was filed. Case is building for stalking charges. Former client lied to officer telling him that she has never said anything about my husband, however officer read back to her what she wrote to my colleague, as this officer has a copy of all the harassment messages and online bashing. The officer also told her that she has the wrong person accusing him of being a sexual predator.

Sep 19th, Former clients are having me removed from facebook groups, and the harassment continues to my colleague trashing my family again, having people say my husband is a sexual predator. Starting at 8am.

(I must say, the clients who have paid for their sessions I have never had an issue with. Each client has been grateful, and ordered prints. But the two clients who do not pay me, feel the need to trash my family, myself, and my business…it’s interesting)

This client received 100 birth images that are watermarked on a keepsake disc. This is PER contract, which was signed by client.  Also per contract signed by client, images need to be purchased through proofing gallery at a fee, which client had prior knowledge of.

However due to the harassment and slander from this client in these last few weeks, I had this client sign on April 24th, a paper acknowledging that we are no longer to have ANY relations together including photography related. (see above)

I do have everything in writing, I do have the contract that was SIGNED and DATED by this client. I have ALL documentation of incidences of slander, threats and harassment by client. Client was also handed the Cease and Desist Defamation order on April 24th.

As much as I would like to post the contract this client signed, the screen shots of threats, the emails, the messages and so on. I cannot due to liability, and the fact that now it’s become a legal matter.  The harassment this last evening towards my marriage by this client was going too far.

Unfortunately this Client doesn’t understand the different “releases” that us as photographers need, have, and offer. This client claims she was promised a ‘photo release’, which is another name for ‘model release’ . Which, this client signed in my contract and has a copy of. It releases the photos to be used for portfolio, business, commercial, and so on. This client also signed in my contract, that I do not offer print releases (for the fact that I love how my print lab obtains the images), images will need to be purchased for a fee to have my watermarked removed. (Again this is all documented, signed and dated by this client).

I value my photography, and the education I have paid to have the skill set. Workshops alone are over $1500 (and that’s just ONE workshop)  to learn newborn safety, ISO lighting, and so on. My equipment alone (lens, camera, lighting) averages over $5000. All of the programs, such as photoshop, lightroom, creative cloud.. costs money. I cannot just give my art away for free- this is why I do not offer images without my watermark for free- they must be valued and paid for as much as I value them and worked hard to achieve the art. The time I put into each photograph, each set up for my newborns, and prepare for each birth. It means so much to me, to much to just give it away.

Tiny Bear Photography has fulfilled EVERY item in the contract and client has received all items stated. This client received more than enough, especially for free. The entire 4 sessions (two newborn a birth and maternity) was heavily discounted (a discount of $912.00 which includes the first set of un-watermarked images)