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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 30 Aug 2012 (Thursday) 23:41
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So I finally got a nightmare client...

 
JohnThomas
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Sep 11, 2012 11:56 |  #31

I just shot a sweet 16 that I booked as a referral from a DJ friend - same situation as you (OP). Before the family contacted me my friend (the DJ) called me to give me a heads up that the client was impossible to please and looking to nickel and dime me on everything I offer. Maybe it helped knowing that in advance, but as others have said, you just need to remain professional and calm. I worked with the client on a custom package as she wasn't pleased with one of my standard packages.

Long story short, I had a great relationship with the client while my friend, the DJ, had a horrible time with them. Same client, two different ways to approach their negotiating tactics.

It all starts with getting off on the right foot.


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bigarchi
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Sep 12, 2012 12:20 |  #32

JohnThomas wrote in post #14976951 (external link)
I just shot a sweet 16 that I booked as a referral from a DJ friend - same situation as you (OP). Before the family contacted me my friend (the DJ) called me to give me a heads up that the client was impossible to please and looking to nickel and dime me on everything I offer. Maybe it helped knowing that in advance, but as others have said, you just need to remain professional and calm. I worked with the client on a custom package as she wasn't pleased with one of my standard packages.

Long story short, I had a great relationship with the client while my friend, the DJ, had a horrible time with them. Same client, two different ways to approach their negotiating tactics.

It all starts with getting off on the right foot.

I've had a very similar thing happen too actually. it did help having a "heads up" from the person that reffered the client to me. setting the right tone early makes all the difference.


~Mitch

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xburrows
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Sep 12, 2012 14:07 |  #33

JohnThomas wrote in post #14976951 (external link)
...remain professional and calm.
It all starts with getting off on the right foot.

bigarchi wrote in post #14981631 (external link)
setting the right tone early makes all the difference.

Does this mean you stuck to your guns on pricing and managing expectations?
Could you give an example or two of how you defused or deflected a conflict with your client.

Thanks for the insight.

Ray




  
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bigarchi
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Sep 12, 2012 16:07 |  #34

xburrows wrote in post #14982059 (external link)
Does this mean you stuck to your guns on pricing and managing expectations?
Could you give an example or two of how you defused or deflected a conflict with your client.

Thanks for the insight.

Ray

yeah, didn't give them an inch. when they wanted to reduce cost, i reduced the service given.
normally i'm pretty flexible and laid back, and will bend a little here or there so that everyone is happy. but in this case I knew they were a pain, so i never gave them anything. this managed expectations from the start.
you know the old saying "give 'em and inch and they'll take a mile"
well that's how this client was, so i never gave even an inch. normally i would.
i think they also respected that too.


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JohnThomas
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Sep 15, 2012 23:29 |  #35

xburrows wrote in post #14982059 (external link)
Does this mean you stuck to your guns on pricing and managing expectations?
Could you give an example or two of how you defused or deflected a conflict with your client.

Thanks for the insight.

Ray

The client I was working with was very nice, but consistently tried to negotiate a better price. Instead of lowering my price simply to appease her, I asked her what was least important to her about the package I put together. Removing that from the equation allowed me lower the price for good reason.


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Kirill
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Sep 17, 2012 14:09 |  #36

Now think about her husband - poor guy has to live with her. I would send him a thank you card.




  
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Apex174
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Sep 17, 2012 15:35 |  #37

Kirill wrote in post #15004391 (external link)
Now think about her husband - poor guy has to live with her. I would send him a thank you card.

The husband during our meeting was my equalizer as he understood where I was coming from, but during the situations I've mentioned before, he's nowhere in the picture.

I'm now thinking the same thing.....Poor guy.


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MrClark7
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Sep 24, 2012 13:42 |  #38

very interesting read. i had flashbacks to this type of problem earlier this year with the best friend of my wife's son. he wanted a photographer for his wedding and didnt want to pay what my wifes son had paid. he tried constantly to lower the price. i bailed. thanks goodness. went from $1000.00 to 350.00 over a two month period. after reading this there is so much more i need to know with doing paid events.


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Apex174
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Oct 23, 2012 13:41 |  #39

Ok folks...let me update this story.

I prepared wallet size pictures of the celebrant as an event keepsake with her name and date of the event, plus my website and phone number at the bottom. I figured if she won’t refer me, then the crowd might as well know who took the pictures if they like them and like how I worked the event, they can contact me. 
On the day of the event, we show up a bit earlier than the call time (as usual..about 15 mins). She was stressing over other vendors on how things aren’t done the way she told them to.

DJ, annoyed, pulled me to the side and said, “she changed the program on the fly after we planned and discussed it”….in my head…LOL, not my department :D

So....yes, there was a brand new looking easel for the portrait. She must have forked out $20 for it. The DJ provided the screen and projector to present the slideshow.

Long story short, I made sure that I met everything that I had on the contract to her and maybe added a bit more only for the sake of the celebrant.

I have recently posted the images to proofing gallery and her comments were positive. I’m glad that she’s happy, but I’m not done with her until I deliver the album and close out the project.


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John ­ Photography
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Oct 23, 2012 13:54 |  #40

You should've never accepted her deposit without her signing the contract.


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Apex174
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Oct 23, 2012 13:57 |  #41

John Photography wrote in post #15159595 (external link)
You should've never accepted her deposit without her signing the contract.

Agreed. I've noted that and will never leave a client meeting without the contract signed.:)


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ScullenCrossBones
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Oct 23, 2012 14:17 |  #42

I'm just curious why you wouldn't have an easel to display large prints. I realize you didn't contract for one, but if you're going to bring them to the event, why not display it?

I knew a photographer back in the day that always made a large print of the bride, whether they had purchased one or not as part of their package. He always had it with a nice frame on an easel at the reception. And he usually sold it because he displayed it.


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Luckless
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Oct 23, 2012 14:39 |  #43

ScullenCrossBones wrote in post #15159676 (external link)
I'm just curious why you wouldn't have an easel to display large prints. I realize you didn't contract for one, but if you're going to bring them to the event, why not display it?

I knew a photographer back in the day that always made a large print of the bride, whether they had purchased one or not as part of their package. He always had it with a nice frame on an easel at the reception. And he usually sold it because he displayed it.

How large of a print? Bit of a gamble going too big, but I can see how that would be effective.

Personally I would strongly consider getting not only a display easel or two to rent out, but also a few matching frames to go with them for times like this.

"Oh, of course I can provide you with an easel, I rent them out for $x.00 a night" (Where x is something like 1/5th to 1/20th the cost of the easel.)

Biggest thing to remember when you're getting nickeled and dimed is that it really isn't personal, they are just trying to save as much money as they can to stretch things as far as they can go. Step back and look at yourself, and you'll likely notice that you try to get as much from a project as you can. You might not be as blatant about it as a real nickel and dime client, but you're both trying to win at the same game.


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Apex174
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Oct 23, 2012 14:57 |  #44

ScullenCrossBones wrote in post #15159676 (external link)
I'm just curious why you wouldn't have an easel to display large prints. I realize you didn't contract for one, but if you're going to bring them to the event, why not display it?

I knew a photographer back in the day that always made a large print of the bride, whether they had purchased one or not as part of their package. He always had it with a nice frame on an easel at the reception. And he usually sold it because he displayed it.

At the client meeting, I discuss what is provided ans an easel was not. In my area, most of the hotel venues can provide an easel, if you negotiate then they can throw it in. In this scenario, it was a $20 rental for the evening.

She told me that the hotel doesn't have an easel.....LIE! They do! she just didnt' want to be honest with me and put the burden of obtaining an easel for free on my shoulders.

I generally don't mind bending over backwards and more for a client who is up front and honest.

Just to add...This past weekend I shot the wedding of a very simple and loving couple. Super courteous and considerate with regards to their photography and what can be done to make it easier for me and my assistant. I could start a thread about that but I just want to say that it was the complete opposite experience.


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So I finally got a nightmare client...
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