This is hardly the first time this has happened to me. A client wants to use photo of mine in a magazine – sounds great. Client specifies the photo, gives me the file specs, and I send the photo to confirm that we are talking about the same shot, etc. All is good and I’m about to send an invoice when they say:

“We need our contract signed”.
“No problem,” says I, “send it to me ASAP”.

Contract comes and as always, I read every word.

No problem. I cross out and initial a little over 25% of their unacceptable terms. Sign it and send it back.

No problem, pretty routine. Client gets my changes and says that it will issue a new contract with my changes for me to sign….except for the last part they say they won’t change. It says, what court, which state and what state’s law will apply if there is a problem and oh yeah, one more thing, I have waive my right to sue.

Umm… now a problem. I will still not sign it like that, as that’s a deal breaker. They have their terms and I have mine. No signed contract, no use of my photo. I can live with that.
No problem really. Today comes a brand new contract that is 180 degrees different from the first one they sent. In fact, looks so good, it’s almost as if a photographer’s lawyer wrote it. I was reasonable and they agreed.

Not the first time I’ve danced this dance, it’s just the latest.
As Ed and I always say, in negotiating, you have to be willing to say “no”.
If you learn that word effectively, you will have fewer problems.