I shoot family portraits, usually kids, when Im not shooting weddings. This post concernes a home shoot two boys aged 2 and 6 that was booked and completed 2 days ago (Tuesday).
Picture the scene, Backdrop and lighting units in a large living room. The kids were welcoming as was the mother, so after setting up I spent 20 minutes talking to the boys.
No problems here I thought so I got started with the older boy and things were going realy well. He was very natural eager to pose and show off and mum was beaming at her "Poser son".
Next up I planned to snap the younger boy and was getting on well untill he noticed his brother playing with a nintendo DS over in the corner of the room. All hell let loose, mum intervened but chose to target the older boy while watching the younger kick and punch him. At that point I should have stopped, but pride and a neglect of instinct ensured my mind was made up. The shoot was going ahead and I was not going to be beat.
The shoot.... Cajolling and bribery from the mum made matters much worse. The boys were now in command and they knew it. After nearly 2 hours I was done and done-in!.
On checking the camera it was good to see I had most of what I needed. Mum wasnt sure so I gave her access to view them on the cameras. She seemed fine, relieved even but I was aware that she was hurrying me out. She paid me and said she looked forward to seeing the proofs online in my usual 10 days. I retreated for a cool beer from my fridge and sat pleased that a sticky task had been overcome.
As an aside I use the social networking site bebo and have been fortunate to build up quite a following for my work in the last 2 years. Mum originally contacted me through bebo.
Today less than 48 hours after the shoot I got an email asking for a refund as she couldnt imagine the photographs being any good, also that her husband was angry with her for getting it done. I called her and told her I would not consider a refund or anything else due to her not yet seeing any photographs processed or uploaded for her to view. The result of this phonecall was my bebo profile being publicly commented to by the mum with acusations of anger, bad manners and an unwillingness to refund her.
Due to the language used the bebo admin removed the comments and have kicked her off. Unfortunatly for me many others that Ive done work for or have been booked to do work for in the future have seen the comments.
I know I am withing my rights to deny any refund for the reason that she hasnt even viewed one photograph from the shoot at this moment in time. When they are processed and on-line I will reassess the situation after she has viewed them.
Something that surprised me is the fact that this evening my bebo profile has been filled with references from many clients from the past. References concerning my ability, my manners and professionalism.
The lesson I have learned today is that instinct and the bell ringing in your head should be listened to. I will probably update when the photographs are uploaded.