Throughout the years I have learned that I can’t be the best photographer in everyone’s eyes. My job as a photographer is to listen to your needs and deliver images that satisfy those needs.
There’s been a handful of times in my career where I just couldn’t make my client happy. I guess that’s part of business and goes along with working as a creative professional. When I look back I can say that all of those instances where the client left unsatisfied had to do with poor communication. In one instance it was 100% my fault. I didn’t communicate my views and held my tongue for so long that it created an issue that I could no longer make work. I failed to communicate. In the end I lost money, a client and a big source of referrals. All because I bit my tongue instead of communicating.
With the other couple of instances where the client wasn’t happy my client didn’t communicate their expectations honestly. Thus the product I delivered was not what they expected. Had their been better communication I would have known what they wanted and been able to deliver exactly that. Whose fault is this? Mine again. By asking questions and interviewing clients before the shoot most of these issues are solved before I pick up a camera.
I bring this up because I randomly came across my Y3lp! page (mispelled on purpose because I hate yellp). One of these unsatisfied client’s posted a one star review about their experience with me and their dissatisfaction with the outcome.
We used this photographer for a family picture shoot under the impression that for $300 there would be a few prints included with the option to purchase additional prints. That was not the case at all. In addition, I ended up having to make suggestion for where and how we could have our photos taken. He has very little creativity for a photographer. I've used other photo- graphers that take charge of the group and very mind-ful of the location of peoples hands, hair, etc. Not so with this photo- grapher. Check out XYZ photography if you want great pics at a great price. They will drive wherever you want and include a few prints for half the cost. Additional prints are very reasonably priced compared to Chuck.
I post the review because it makes my point.
“We were under the impression”.
That line says it all. There should never be an assumption of what is expected. I expect $X for my services and $Y for my products and the client expected Z in exchange for his money.
The lesson is the same, make sure everyone is clear about the shoot. What’s gonna happen, how much it costs, what each party is going to receive…
In my defense this guy wasn’t really my client. He didn’t hire me. His daughter hired me. My client was happy with the photos, understood the process, what she was getting and how much it would cost. She was apologetic for her father’s reaction and in the end she was happy with the outcome. Had I spoken with her father about the shoot he would have understood what the cost was and what would be delivered. If he thought it out of his budget he could have said no.
The moral of the story. Make sure everyone is on the same page before money changes hands.