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Thread started 05 Aug 2013 (Monday) 01:56
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Bride with unrealistic expectations

 
FlyTvr
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Aug 05, 2013 01:56 |  #1

Has anyone ever come across a bride with unrealistic expectations? Someone that thinks their wedding is going to be like a photoshoot?

I've just been handed a list of about 150 shots that my bride wants at her wedding. I'm not talking about formal group shots, but a list that comprehensive that it even has pictures that have been listed from Pinterest.

I will have to address this issue, but I am really concerned that I've been picked on the merit of my work but now been asked to produce a list of shots that are not my style.

If you've had similar experiences, then I'd love to hear.

Thanks in advance! :)


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Nightstalker
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Aug 05, 2013 02:33 |  #2

Every bride is different - I have had several who hate having their photos taken and believe me they are a lot worse than someone who knows what they want.

However, given your predicament I guess you have 3 options :

1 - refuse the job on the basis that it is not your style and you do no think that the bride will be happy with what you produce,

2 - do the job and try to match her expectations,

3 - thank her for the guidance but make sure that she knows you do not guarantee to get any of the shots in the style she wants - make it clear that you are happy to do the job in your own style but give her the chance to cancel and go elsewhere.

Doing the job and trying to match her expectations is risky as if she is so picky she will potentially find fault everywhere.

Good luck - I don't envy you this job.


  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Aug 05, 2013 02:34 |  #3

FlyTvr wrote in post #16181989 (external link)
Has anyone ever come across a bride with unrealistic expectations? Someone that thinks their wedding is going to be like a photoshoot?

That is pretty much what part of the wedding day is, isn't it?

FlyTvr wrote in post #16181989 (external link)
I've just been handed a list of about 150 shots that my bride wants at her wedding. I'm not talking about formal group shots, but a list that comprehensive that it even has pictures that have been listed from Pinterest.

I will have to address this issue, but I am really concerned that I've been picked on the merit of my work but now been asked to produce a list of shots that are not my style.

I make it clear to people before they book how I work and what I do and don't do.

This is from part of an online directory listing I have (5 REASONS NOT TO HIRE ME as your wedding photographer). These are two of the reasons.

"You want me to copy another photographer's style or shots. If you want someone else's work then you really ought to hire someone else. I only have one style and that is my own."

"You want selective colouring... You know the type of shot, everything in black and white and then one item in colour. I don't and won't do this."

I did have one bride recently though who after booking sent me an email saying she liked x photographer's style and could I do something like it. The answer was "No". I opted to refund her deposit when she chose to cancel her booking with me (I had no obligation to do so, but the wedding date was about over 14 months away still and I've filled the date).

If someone hires you and then says they want a whole load of stuff other people have done the reality is they never hired you for your photography in the first place. They hired on price or package. These clients are best avoided. If you can I'd be politely be finding a way out of this one as some jobs just aren't worth it.


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sydneyshooter
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Aug 05, 2013 07:45 |  #4
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Aug 05, 2013 08:54 |  #5

Whatever happened to the old adage:
Rule No. 1: The customer is always right.

Rule No. 2. Should the customer be wrong, reread rule No. 1.

Obviously I'm partially joking. But do we do this (I don't any longer and barely did) to make money or earn a living? Although I guess there are those who are artists and will not compromise. Just remember, neither does the bank when the mortgage comes due ;)




  
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Nathan
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Aug 05, 2013 09:02 |  #6

While I appreciate the principal contained in memoriesoftomorrow's response, I think that it is a bit unrealistic for some photographers - depending on the market demand for their work, experience finding talent and need to fill their calendars. Work is work and it's not always art.

Nightstalker's option 3 is my preferred approach here. However, I would include language in the contract that a best effort attempt will be made to meet the bride's expectations but it will largely rely on the circumstances of that day and no guarantees can be made that specific shots will be created.

A conversation with the bride and her groom will go a long way. Speaking to both together could help clear up misunderstandings. Not saying that the bride is unreasonable, but if she edges in that direction then the groom could help put things in a different light for both the bride and you. Sometimes a bride will give you an extensive list just because she is excited about the day and it's safer for her to communicate what she wants rather than have you guess.

sydneyshooter wrote in post #16182401 (external link)
If this is the first time you have come across this, I can only assume you are either quite new to wedding photography or lead a very charmed life.

And you are quite new to the forum, because this comment adds no value to the thread.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Aug 05, 2013 09:14 |  #7

Nathan wrote in post #16182548 (external link)
Work is work and it's not always art.

It isn't a case of it looking it as art. It is a case of looking at what you want to do in the job you do. Granted there may be economic drivers for some photographers to work to a list like that but the great thing about the job is we have choice.

150 must have shots. Say allowing 2-3 minutes to set each one up, find the lighting, pose etc to match her requirements... that is 5 to 7.5 hours just for those shots. Some clients are just not worth it.

I wouldn't just be having a conversation with that bride. I'd be making sure my rear was covered in my contract (extensively) as there is every chance her expectations in one way or another wouldn't be matched.


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mpix345
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Aug 05, 2013 09:23 |  #8

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16182578 (external link)
It isn't a case of it looking it as art. It is a case of looking at what you want to do in the job you do. Granted there may be economic drivers for some photographers to work to a list like that but the great thing about the job is we have choice.

150 must have shots. Say allowing 2-3 minutes to set each one up, find the lighting, pose etc to match her requirements... that is 5 to 7.5 hours just for those shots. Some clients are just not worth it.

I wouldn't just be having a conversation with that bride. I'd be making sure my rear was covered in my contract (extensively) as there is every chance her expectations in one way or another wouldn't be matched.

If you have the ability to execute the bride's list isn't it mostly a matter of charging appropriately? Customization almost always comes with an upcharge. Seems reasonable that standard wedding coverage that costs X would justify a hefty add-on for all the specific shots.


  
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Sens0r
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Aug 05, 2013 09:39 as a reply to  @ mpix345's post |  #9

You are doing business, and business is not gambling.

That woman brought 150 (ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY) images to you and she wants you to reproduce them with her in the photos. :rolleyes:

If she's stupid enough to think that ANY photographer in the world could do what she's asking for then you should be smart enough to get her 150 of your own work and tell her "this is what I've done before, and I'll do my best to make your photos be the best shots I've ever taken".

Explain to her the difference between a wedding event photography and a wedding/couple photo shoot. Make sure she understands the difference.

If she does, great! Maybe you'll score the wedding and do more portraits before or after the wedding of her and her overrated white dress.

If not, let her man take her and her troubles far far away from your life.


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1000WordsPhotography
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Aug 05, 2013 09:50 |  #10

Nathan wrote in post #16182548 (external link)
While I appreciate the principal contained in memoriesoftomorrow's response, I think that it is a bit unrealistic for some photographers - depending on the market demand for their work, experience finding talent and need to fill their calendars. Work is work and it's not always art.

Nightstalker's option 3 is my preferred approach here. However, I would include language in the contract that a best effort attempt will be made to meet the bride's expectations but it will largely rely on the circumstances of that day and no guarantees can be made that specific shots will be created.

A conversation with the bride and her groom will go a long way. Speaking to both together could help clear up misunderstandings. Not saying that the bride is unreasonable, but if she edges in that direction then the groom could help put things in a different light for both the bride and you. Sometimes a bride will give you an extensive list just because she is excited about the day and it's safer for her to communicate what she wants rather than have you guess.



And you are quite new to the forum, because this comment adds no value to the thread.

This part in bold should be in you contract regardless of this little bump in the road. I also have a section in my contract that says I will give the customer an estimate of how much time is needed for formals and they are required to give me that amount of time. If they can't can't provide that much time I can't be sure to get their all their shots. These little constructs can help you manage their expectations.

I find it helpful to have them list preferred shots in order (most couples don't even know what they want in my experience) and then try to work that list from top to bottom.

And for the guy who won't provide selective color that made me say wow. I mean I'd never shoot something for my own purposes with selective color but if a customer wants it I'm more than happy to process it for them.


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1000WordsPhotography
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Aug 05, 2013 09:59 |  #11

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16182578 (external link)
...

150 must have shots. Say allowing 2-3 minutes to set each one up, find the lighting, pose etc to match her requirements... that is 5 to 7.5 hours just for those shots. Some clients are just not worth it.

....

OK sorry, my first read was that you were simply opposed to doing the recreations because it was different stylistically from your regular work. But right here you are on the right track. At least in my opinion.

So i'd take that estimate and bump it up to 100 shots at 5 minutes, 25 shots at 10 minutes and 25 shots at 15 minutes per shot. The variance is the degree of difficulty in setting it up and lighting it. You have the shot list so you know what shot goes in which stack. Thats 18.75 hours of time.

The first thing is that she probably isn't willing to pay for that much time, you can explain to her you didn't quote that kind of coverage but you are willing to (don't forget time and half after 10 hours). The second thing is she doesn't have that kind of time to give right? If she's shooting her formals on her wedding day she doesn't have the time for all these shots.

Then ask her how much time can she take from the wedding to do formals. From there she can back figure which shots she can fit into the time she allows.

But in my opinion the key is not to present this as she is unreasonable and can't do it. Present it as "this is what it takes to do what you want" and then present her with reasonable alternatives.


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Aug 05, 2013 10:05 |  #12

Nightstalker wrote in post #16182051 (external link)
Every bride is different - I have had several who hate having their photos taken and believe me they are a lot worse than someone who knows what they want.

However, given your predicament I guess you have 3 options :

1 - refuse the job on the basis that it is not your style and you do no think that the bride will be happy with what you produce,

2 - do the job and try to match her expectations,

3 - thank her for the guidance but make sure that she knows you do not guarantee to get any of the shots in the style she wants - make it clear that you are happy to do the job in your own style but give her the chance to cancel and go elsewhere.

Doing the job and trying to match her expectations is risky as if she is so picky she will potentially find fault everywhere.

Good luck - I don't envy you this job.

I tend to agree. (And I don't shoot weddings.)
OTOH, you could offer to hire a 2nd shooter for more $s to try to get her other shots, but I wouldn't guarantee that you'd have all of them when the day was done.

Our mis-manager once sent me out of town for two days to get some images... lots of them. I had him categorize the list to...
1. MUST HAVE!
2. Would like to have.
3. Shots for the file.
4. Try for them if there's time.

Guess what? He left out the one that the CEO wanted for the Annual Report? Guess who's butt that list saved? ; )


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Aug 05, 2013 10:50 |  #13

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16182578 (external link)
It isn't a case of it looking it as art. It is a case of looking at what you want to do in the job you do. Granted there may be economic drivers for some photographers to work to a list like that but the great thing about the job is we have choice.

150 must have shots. Say allowing 2-3 minutes to set each one up, find the lighting, pose etc to match her requirements... that is 5 to 7.5 hours just for those shots. Some clients are just not worth it.

I wouldn't just be having a conversation with that bride. I'd be making sure my rear was covered in my contract (extensively) as there is every chance her expectations in one way or another wouldn't be matched.

I agree with you. It sounded like you were talking more upon principle than upon logistics. The comment about selective coloring tainted your response in my mind - just do what the client wants. I wouldn't walk away from a job or make my client unhappy because it's "not my style".

I agree with the other comment about charging appropriately for the shots she wants, provided that there's time for them.

Addiction2k wrote in post #16182710 (external link)
But in my opinion the key is not to present this as she is unreasonable and can't do it. Present it as "this is what it takes to do what you want" and then present her with reasonable alternatives.

Agreed. This is what is meant to the saying "client is always right." They are not absolutely right, but make them feel as is they are and include them in your thought process and approach to the assignment as a professional.

PhotosGuy wrote in post #16182728 (external link)
I had him categorize the list to...
1. MUST HAVE!
2. Would like to have.
3. Shots for the file.
4. Try for them if there's time.

Glad you brought that up. Out of a 150 shots, she must have some priority shots. First of all, we don't know what these 150 shots might be... some might be table arrangements, examples of kids running, other candid type shots that a photographer would try to grab anyway. Perhaps looking at the list, they aren't that bad and they don't all require set up time.

Secondly, the OP might want to ask her what are her 3 MUST HAVE shots for each part of the day - bridesmaids/groomsmen getting ready, bride/groom pre-ceremony, reception, etc...


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Aug 05, 2013 10:58 |  #14

MDJAK wrote in post #16182530 (external link)
Whatever happened to the old adage:
Rule No. 1: The customer is always right.

I have also seen that modified...The customer is always right, and even if they are wrong, as long as they have the money to spend to make it right, they can be right all they want.....


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Aug 05, 2013 12:21 |  #15
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Bride with unrealistic expectations
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