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Thread started 16 Dec 2013 (Monday) 10:55
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Bride Unhappy with Photos: ADVICE PLEASE

 
stefesphoto
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Dec 16, 2013 12:42 |  #16

sapearl wrote in post #16531796 (external link)
So basically you have no idea of any printing/album assembly expertise the Planner may or may not have. Unfortunately this is one of the pitfalls of selling disks (TBH though I do this myself). You really have no idea who will be doing what to it, nor their experience level.

At this point I'd just try to tune the Planner out. Those dealings are between the bride and her, unless you were given specific disk instructions that you didn't comply with (I don't believe that was the case though.)

Back to my original question though: Have you had a phone conversation with the bride about these issues?

The bride has stated to me that she used them for her thank you cards and an album (that she's not satisfied with), so yes, she has printed the images.

As for the planner, all ties have been cut with her.

I have not talked to the bride over the phone or in person. As I stated before, this is something I have mentioned in every single email back to her. "When would be a good time to speak over the phone or in person?" She simply responds back with another email. Her last email did say that she would like to meet in person after the New Year. I would honestly like to get this taken care of before that as I plan on taking a long break from photography in general, as I have a new baby and a toddler to take care.

Would calling her and letting her know this needs to be taken care of before the New Year, as I am going to be taking a break, be appropriate?




  
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sapearl
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Dec 16, 2013 12:51 |  #17

YES!!! Just CALL her some evening after dinner when you feel she may be home. No more emails - get it resolved now. If she doesn't pick up, leave a calm, professional message that you wish to resolve this as quickly as possible. Tell her a good time to call back.

If you don't hear back in 3 days, repeat the call. Simple.

Personally I'm a little shocked that even though this sounds like a troublesome client, you haven't phoned her. Unfortunately you have compounded the problem by not responding in the most effective manner. Email is often terrible for conducing business as it offers no tone nor emotional content. I routinely run into people in business who often write poor antagonistic sounding emails, when in fact they are calm, rational and very pleasant conversationalists.

I see this mistake being made over and over again in this forum and by many others just starting out in business. Effective communication skills are essential.


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KalebA
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Dec 16, 2013 12:58 |  #18

Disclaimer: No professional photography experience but have worked for myself and dealt with difficult clients

In my opinion you should have called early on after you've established your "paper trail" via email to make sure your part of the story is in writing.

I would suggest you call sooner rather than later and have some bullet points written out to keep the conversation moving in a productive manner and make sure you don't get railroaded by client.




  
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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Dec 16, 2013 13:03 |  #19

I agree with the above. A direct and live voice cuts through things in a way that text cannot.



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sapearl
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Dec 16, 2013 13:07 |  #20

KalebA wrote in post #16531859 (external link)
Disclaimer: No professional photography experience but have worked for myself and dealt with difficult clients

In my opinion you should have called early on after you've established your "paper trail" via email to make sure your part of the story is in writing.

I would suggest you call sooner rather than later and have some bullet points written out to keep the conversation moving in a productive manner and make sure you don't get railroaded by client.

ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY. You are attempting to run a professional business. As such you must act like a professional.

The client has now taken emotional control of this situation. Wedding photography is highly referral dependent. The opposite is also the unfortunate downside when clients are unhappy, whether real or perceived. You need to fix this fast.


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stefesphoto
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Dec 16, 2013 13:10 |  #21

Thanks everyone! I plan on giving her a call this evening.

Could you give some advice on what to tell her if in fact she does ask to meet up and go over the images "picture by picture". There 300+ images on the disc and going over them one by one is not going to do anything other than allow her to pick my work apart right to my face and is going to take up a ridiculous amount of time.

What is there that I can offer her? She has stated what she is unhappy with via email and if she is going to do the same thing in a phone call- how do I respond? I don't feel like there is any additional editing that I can do that will make her happy, so that is out of the question.




  
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sapearl
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Dec 16, 2013 13:18 |  #22

Just tell her to pick some representative shots. Perhaps images that represent a series of something she doesn't like. Trust me, she won't want to spend the time to go over 300 pictures. But yes, meet with her - it's always easy to beat people up in email, text and tweets as compared to a live conversation. And as I suggested before, she may even be a much more civil person in person which would be the desired outcome.

What to offer her? Certainly no refunds.

But iask her to bring an album so you can see the quality of the work coordinated by the Planner. Who knows, perhaps she did a bad job of making the books and the client feels that's your fault.

You may want to consider the following if you feel she has validity with her complaints: "In the interesting of trying to improve this situation, I would like you to pick a shot of your choice, and I'll have it enlarged to - perhaps 11x14 or 16x20, or a small canvas - at no cost to you." BUT, she has to pick the shot right now. If you let her get back to you, you will be waiting........and waiting.........and waiting.........all over again and this will never end.


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banquetbear
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Dec 16, 2013 13:22 |  #23

sapearl wrote in post #16531796 (external link)
So basically you have no idea of any printing/album assembly expertise the Planner may or may not have. Unfortunately this is one of the pitfalls of selling disks (TBH though I do this myself). You really have no idea who will be doing what to it, nor their experience level.

At this point I'd just try to tune the Planner out. Those dealings are between the bride and her, unless you were given specific disk instructions that you didn't comply with (I don't believe that was the case though.)

Back to my original question though: Have you had a phone conversation with the bride about these issues?

...just another point here: the OP initially sent a CD of unculled un-edited images to the Planner by mistake which probably didn't help matters at all.

Your advice for the OP to call the client is excellent. Unfortunately the OP got that advice three weeks ago, not only from myself but from several other posters.

stefesphoto: the longer you let this drag out the more pain you will experience and the odds of a successful resolution get less. Its time to nip it in the bud. Stop hiding. Stop waiting for your client to take the initiative. Write down what you need to do. Write down what you can't compromise on. Get it clear in your head what you are going to do.

Have a good nights sleep. Tomorrow morning give her a call. Get the pain out of the way. It will hurt, it will be painful, but it will be way less painful than the slow miserable death you are subjecting yourself to now. :D Set up a time frame to get this resolved. It probably won't be a "win win" but you never know with these things. Get it over with so you can learn your lessons and get on with life.

Just remember you aren't alone here. The reason why we can give this sort of advice is because most of us at some stage in our lives have been in your shoes. A few years ago (I won't name the place) I was conference co-ordinator for a venue. There was one particular conference that I was particularly careful to organise extremely carefully: briefed the Banquet Manager, and prepared the most meticulous Banquet Event Orders that a child would be able to understand.

Unfortunately the day of the conference the Banquet Manager had gone on holiday, and he failed to brief his team and on this particular day the team decided to put their brains on hold. Everything went wrong. Things that should never have gone wrong went wrong. It got to the stage where the client was literally shaking because she didn't know what was going to go wrong next.

There was no bigger feeling of dread than I had that evening having to go upstairs and sit down with the client and talk to her about the first day of the event. I had to bring my boss along to hold my hand. She was in tears. I was nearly bawling. In fifteen years of hospitality this was my worst day: and the worst thing was (and this was verified in the post-even analysis) that I had done nothing wrong.

These sort of things are just the sort of thing that happen. You just need to get over it, get it out of the way so you can move on.


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banquetbear
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Dec 16, 2013 13:26 as a reply to  @ banquetbear's post |  #24

...of course the above was written before the OP said he was going to make the call, so ignore what you need to!


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Chris
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Dec 16, 2013 13:33 |  #25

In my own non-photography related busines I had a difficult customer once that was unhappy with a job we did for him. We talked on the phone about it one time and then he started sending emails with details of his concerns. I thought he wanted to email back and forth so he had a written record of our discussion. But after several emails back and forth, I grew tired of the time it was taking to make thoughtful responses to his comments. I finally picked up the phone and called him to try to finalize our remedy to his issues. We had it worked out less than 3 minutes.

I agree with Stuart about the phone call and I'm sure you will be much more at ease once you have had the opportunity to speak with her on the phone. Some people can be so snotty in an email, but they would not dare speak over the phone in the same manner. I hope this woman is like that when you call her.

I think I would want to have a plan in mind before you begin your conversation of what you are willing to do. Bullet points as Stuart mentioned above.

I would not bring up anything about the extra hour you spent at the wedding. That would just fuel the fire. Good luck and keep it 100% professional. Do not allow emotions on your part to enter in to the conversation.


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gonzogolf
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Dec 16, 2013 13:36 |  #26

Personally I think you should welcome the opportunity to go through the images one by one. Keep a tally of the bad images versus the good ones. Clients like this often get hung up on a few bad images that you ought to never have given them in the first place, and forget the good work. If those are few, but carry more weight in her mind than the majority of good photos then you will have identified the problem.




  
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flashpoint99
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Dec 16, 2013 13:41 |  #27

Just wondering how she is viewing the photos. What computer and what program? I know that in light room when I view my photos they are lazer sharp and clean ,however when you view the same photo on same computer in Windows picture viewer they look a bit soft until you zoom in on the pic. I always relate this to everone I give photos to. Just a though although I think the damage is already done and caused by the Wedding planner!




  
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tomj
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Dec 16, 2013 14:04 as a reply to  @ flashpoint99's post |  #28

I may have missed this in everything that's been written, but has the bride told you what she wants from you?


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S.Horton
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Dec 16, 2013 14:18 |  #29

I'm not a pro photog. I am a software business guy, and this kind of thing does happen.

First, never offer her money.

Second, offer a specific date/time to meet.

If she does not respond, move on.

If she responds after the proposed date has passed, offer another date.

When you do meet, listen closely, don't argue, get very specific requests for exact things she wants and do them. (Within reason)

Ignore all of her emotions. They don't matter to you as a businessman.

And, by the way, you will run into customers who have emotional/psych problems, and they definitely can never help you get business. They also tend to lead to losses if you make any attempt to engage their dysfunction.


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adams_aj
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Dec 16, 2013 14:33 |  #30

I've shot a few weddings--and will never shoot another one, for just the reasons you and others have mentioned. Opinions are like @zzholes--everyone has one. As emotional as everyone is about the wedding, memories are short--but pictures live on to be scrutinized. Call her, be nice, setup a time and ask her to pick a favorite, then offer to have an enlargement made with a few tweaks, then printed on canvas.

Sorry to say, but all of your hard work--with a high probability--will either be burned in a husband bonfire, or the husband's face will be cut out of each picture in the album when they get divorced.

Will NEVER shoot another wedding again. It's a "contract of satisfaction", not a contract of performance--something one should always be aware of when conducting business of any kind. Unfortunately when it comes to shooting a wedding, it's VERY hard to avoid this type of "contract".

Be sure to report back on the resolution--I'm sure we'll all learn from it.


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