- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- Selling Your Photography: How to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
“That is such an awesome camera! No wonder you take great photos!”
If you’ve ever heard this in person, I feel sorry for you. Photographers, like most creative individuals, tend to take things very personally, and this is one of the most insulting things you could say to a photographer. I don’t need to tell you why everything is wrong about this, but because it is so frustrating to hear it, it’s very important not to get carried away in front of your client and remain calm. To defuse the situation and restore your status (also patch your damaged ego), use this anecdote:
After opening his successful exhibition, a New York photographer is invited to a private party. At the table, all the guests are honored to have him there, yet the host is the first to make a compliment:”I love your work. The photos I saw today are amazing. You must have a very expensive camera.” The photographer quietly finishes his meal and as the time comes for him to leave, he tells the host:”Thank you for having me. The food was fantastic. You must have a really expensive oven.”
What’s the discount if I edit the pictures myself?
It’s surprising what people are willing to do to get a discount or because they feel over confident in their abilities. It is also a line that can come from clients who have little or no experience in acquiring photographic services. Whatever the situation, the best way to deal with it is explain that the editing is included in the price tag and that it is not optional. If the client chooses to do their own editing on top of that, it is their choice but you have to be consulted regarding copyright and publishing. Also, you should point out that editing the photographs is a great part of your work and that too is something people hire you for.
“I love these photos, but I was wondering, can you make the background all blurry?”
It might take you a few moments to figure out how to give the best response to this one without seeming rude or irritated. Just think of what a great and hopefully funny story it could be to share with your photographer friends over a beer. So, you obviously need to explain that the “blurry background” is an effect given by a lens. You shouldn’t get very specific because one, your client might not understand what you’re trying to explain, and two, you could become boring fairly quickly. Stick to the idea that it would have been preferable if they had expressed the wish for a nice bokeh before the actual shoot. If you have the skill, the patience and the time, you could offer to blur the background artificially in Photoshop. It’s up to you and the client, but you might want to reconsider your fee as it can be pretty difficult work.
“I envy you. Your job must be so easy. To make a living by just pushing a button...”
Ok, should this situation ever occur the first thing to do is take a long, deep breath and do your best to keep it together and not make the evening news. Having someone tell you your job is easy can be very frustrating, especially since you know how many hours, dollars, blood sweat and tears you put to get to that point, and still you have that kind of client. The truth is, you and your loved ones are probably the only ones who know what is behind the curtains, but it’s in your best interest to politely educate them that it’s not all just pushing a button and in fact, the work begins long before the shoot and finishes long after.
“Can you take your logo off the photos? I want to put them on Facebook”
I have heard different approaches for this issue. Some photographers say “yes, ok, I’ll take it off “and they return the photos in web size ready for uploading. Others refuse to do so, and that is mostly justified because it is their copyright. However, the mentioning of the logo has to be done after the photos have been taken and before they are delivered. You do have the right to leave your mark, but your logo should be as small as possible, yet visible enough to be read in case it has text. Nobody would like to have entire body parts covered by someone’s sign so be reasonable.
“Why are the prints so expensive? Walmart has way better prices.”
Because they don’t have experience with what quality photographic print means, many clients tend to feel offended by the cost for printed photos. Walmart and other such places are good for having your vacation photos printed and not for anything else. Next time your client complains about this, let them know what they’re getting different. If you’re using a high quality lab, like you should, that means those people also have costs to run their business, so cheap materials are out of the question. Delivery is also a crucial factor so it’s fair to say that out of the final price, only a small amount actually goes into the photographer’s pocket. Most important however, the quality you provide with the printed photos is (should be!) light years away from Walmart.
“What do you mean they won’t be ready in a week? The other guy said they’d be ready. Don’t make me regret working with you.”
Clients are usually very anxious to get their finished photos as quickly as possible, and often have no ears to hear that it takes a little bit more than five working days. Whenever you have to deal with this issue, as always, keep calm and politely explain that rushing the entire editing process will result in poor quality. Editing is every bit as artistic as taking the photos and requires inspiration. You and I both know it’s not there everyday, but your client doesn’t so you need to make sure they understand that, but make sure you don’t sound like you’re just lazy and don’t feel like working everyday. If you do have a tight deadline though (it usually comes in a package with a tough customer) make sure you meet it because otherwise you can bet you won’t get any work from that source again.
Image credit: iko / 123RF Stock Photo