Mirror Mirror on the wall, who that monster be?

If a client ran for the hills, maybe there was a certain professional sin that you did? In this article, we cover some of the things that photographers do that chase away clients. While dealing with different clients, we have gotten to understand some of their fears and experiences they have gone through in the course of working with various photographers. Some of them actually make clients paranoid and obviously give photographers a bad name.

This is basically a mirror, in as much as we know that there are clients with bad habits, there are photographers/creatives who are nasty. Photography is an investment so most business expect to benefit from the investment they have put in. So let’s face it, sometimes we have traumatized clients and turned them into monsters. Let’s start this intervention:

Ghosting

Up in smoke they go; so this has come up a couple of times. These are photographers who are sometimes paid a deposit and sometimes the entire amount for a shoot then they disappear. They no longer pick calls and don’t deliver anything for the client. These guys can actually give Casper the ghost a run for his money.

There was one particular client who kept calling us on a daily, they had paid us a deposit for the work. Our contact person kept asking whether there was anything we needed. In the course of our conversations, we discovered they had been ghosted by photographers before. So, they were a bit paranoid we may do the same thing.
We had to keep our word and pick up the phone every time he called just so that we could build the trust between us.

Image of photographer not available
Not delivering as promised

Probably every photographer has heard of this when dealing with a client. “We worked with a photographer but they didn’t do a good job.” While this is subjective and it may be real or imagined, there are quite a number of real cases. One of the concerns we heard while dealing with a concerned client while we were shooting a beverage for them was, a photographer they had engaged before had gone ahead to shoot their product while the product which was in a glass bottle was broken.

The photographer may have been afraid of requesting for another bottle but the reputational risk that comes with shooting when the product is messed up is too high. If you would rather not reach out to the client for another product, try getting the product from the market. If that’s not possible, a little Photoshop magic will go a long way.


Poor communication

This is one weakness that a lot of photographers have. Most photographers and creatives in general, would rather be behind the scenes and concentrating on the work. Communication is extremely important when dealing with clients more so, when you are running a business. Agreeing on general expectations and guidelines upfront really helps everyone to be on the same page. So clients can know the timelines, the number of images to expect and input from your side.

What we have learnt from dealing with clients is giving them regular updates also really helps. Alerting them when something new comes up etc is important.

Image of notebook showing photographer didn't understand the client project

Trashing the deadlines

It’s just a date but it’s important especially if you had committed to it. Things happen and sometimes you need more time. If things are not working as per the plan, pre-empt the client and buy more time. Request for the deadline to be pushed forward. Most clients won’t have a problem with this. The biggest problem comes when the deadline has passed then you request for more time.

Image showing trashing of deadlines

 

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Under-quoting then trying to salvage it later

We plead guilty. If you gave the numbers, try to stick to them. If the numbers are too bad, walk away. You always look sleazy when you have given the numbers then you jack them up later because you realize you undercharged. Try to get as much details as possible about the project because they will affect the quote. Unfortunately, too many clients, want quotes too quickly without giving accurate details. RESIST.

Never ever hold out the pics and blackmail the client to add you more cash if you had agreed to a different price. Bite the bullet, learn the lesson and move on. Remember, next time you will be all the more wiser.

Image showing an old 10 shillings note indicating the photographer underquoted
While dealing with clients as photographers is not easy, (there are some crazy people out there) we can work professionally and improve the industry as a whole. These professional sins don’t mean you are condemned forever but these are worth noting and improving on. Are there some cringe worthy confessions you want to share below?

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