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If you commission photographers or hope to do so, this is for you, we share 7 engagement mistakes that photography clients commit on the regular. Maybe you don’t know these things affect the photographer’s profit, productivity or joy of doing the work and can be downright annoying, but we are here to educate you.

We also recently wrote an article breaking down the things that photographers do, that chase away clients. You can read it here. After we shared the article, various photographers shared that we should also write an article also putting out how clients also commit transgressions when engaging with photographers and creatives at large.

This is not to bash clients but to point out the issues that arise from their side when dealing with photographers as they are pursuing their individual goals. It should start from the point of viewing photographers as professionals who depend on their skills to make a living.

So let’s get into it.

Over the phone quotes

Different photographers have different ways of working. For instance, a lot of wedding photographers and some portrait photographers have packages which most will share via email or a meeting. Some product photographers do have packages but not everyone has a package offer. All in all, before a photographer can share a price, they need to understand what you need.

Over the phone quotes image

A lot of clients in Kenya request for quotes over the phone and insist when requested for more time. More so, sometimes without giving all the details. If a photographer requests for more time, please accord them the time to get back to you with the cost. Also, with proper planning, it should not always be an emergency.
Also, when you are requesting for a quote, don’t leave out important details that could affect the quote. It’s could mean the difference between the photographer making a profit or a loss..

Ghosting after receiving the quote

Most requests for quotes come with a lot of pressure. Statements like, how soon can we get it? I need to share it with stakeholders in a meeting in the next one hour. You share the quote then all of a sudden the prospective client doesn’t respond to your call or emails.

The photographer has taken their time to send you the quote. If the quote doesn’t work for you, simply tell them you can’t work with them at the time.

Scope creep

Wikipedia describes scope creep as “changes, continuous or uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope, at any point after the project begins”. If the statement has described how you interact with photographers, please STOP. If you keep redefining the deliverables of a project, then that’s scope creep. A lot of clients have normalized scope creep because of lack of planning and at times giving the photographer as much work as possible at the lowest price.

Discounts 100% of the time

Almost all clients have no budget. If you have mentioned it to a photographer, just know, the person who just called them told them the same thing. Even larger corporations have no budget, yet they want to accomplish something??

Also, while we are discussing discounts, let’s talk about the promise of future jobs in exchange for a discount. Most of these future jobs never come anyway, it’s a carrot approach and it’s meant to tempt the creative to do the job at a lower price. No one knows the future so let’s deal with the now and develop a relationship with the photographer where it makes sense to ask for a discount.

Simply be honest with the photographer, tell them your budget, be open to fewer deliverables if you are not able to meet the price.

Asking for free work in exchange for exposure

This is a discussion that has come up over and over again with creatives expressing their disgust at this practice. The latest outrage was directed at Art café in the way they had set up the winnings for Art of the City competition. It was a couple of days of online thrashing, justifiable rage and artivism that brought up discussions on the worth of artists. The good thing is they listened and reformed the competition to better reward the artists.

Unfortunately, our society doesn’t really value creative work as it should. Photographers also want to live their best lives just like you. So just like you would want people to respect your work, respect the photographer’s work as well. Don’t ask for free work but pay what its worth for the job.

Delayed payments & outright refusal to pay up

This is so criminal. Don’t get into a relationship with a photographer on the basis that it’s a trial and you will pay them only if they do a good job. Avoid all that by looking at their portfolio and how well they have done previous work. Get into a relationship with the RIGHT Photographer for that job.

If you refuse to pay a photographer for work they have done, remember hiyo ni ngeta (i.e. likened to chokehold or physical violence) without the physical action.

On the issue of delayed payments, a lot of photographers are forced to chase so many payments that the value derived from the job shrinks or your joy is taken away. Do better please.

‘Minimizing’ the job to get a lower quote

How many times have you said; it’s a simple shoot, you won’t need to do a lot. Wewe oliskia wapi, oliskia wapi mheshimiwa? (Where did you hear this?) The reason you have approached a professional photographer is because they know their job and they have enough experience to determine what they need to do to get the job done.

I know a lot of clients are afraid the quote may be higher than the amount they are willing or able to afford but as mentioned earlier, be honest and tell the photographer your budget. They will be more understanding and willing to accommodate you than when they realize you downplayed the deliverables.

There you have it folks, these are some of the things that clients do that adversely affect photographers. If you have done any of these things before, you can reform. Respect what photographers do, just as you would like your work to be respected.

If we have missed anything, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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