Things can get a little sticky when a client comes to you with issues or concerns.
Many times, it will be the first time you deal with this.
So we put together the following situations that may arise and how you can handle them.
What to do when a client asks for a refund or re-shoot
Ultimately this situation should be addressed upfront in your contract.
It is important for both parties to completely understand expectations and also go over policy so that should this situation arise you can easily refer them back to the document they signed.
Of course this doesn't always stop your clients from trying.
Here is a sample email for your response.
It is my understanding that you are not happy with the outcome of your recent photo shoot. I was very sorry to learn that this is the case. I always try to do my best to confirm location and situations so that each session is a successful one. Photography is artistry and not everyone has identical taste but I assume when hiring me and signing a contract that my clients have been on my website & reviewed my work to confirm that my style is exactly what they are looking for. Unfortunately there appears to be a mis-step in this case. Though we do not offer refunds or reshoots per the contract I would like to help ease some of your discomfort. Please except a FREE 8x10 (valued at $xx) of your choice. Yes, I know this doesn't fix all of your frustrations but I do feel it may provide a peace offering of some type.
Of course the FREE product doesn't fix it but its a simple way you can try to help them.
Ask what it is that bothers them.
If it something small and you know you can rectify the situation then do it. If it is clearly out of your control and not what was agreed upon then try a peace offering of some type. Remember though, this is a business & word of mouth is very important.
However do not break policy when possible.
You also have to option to offer a reshoot.
However, it's important to be selective about this. Is there a good reason a reshoot is necessary?
If it is just due to someone not liking a simple thing that can be fixed it might not be in the best interest of both you and the very busy client.
What to do when a client misuses a print releasePrint release should be something that is part of a contract. You shouldn't apologize for this, you should be up front immediately if any situation should arise.
I would like to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to photograph your wedding. I am just sending a quick note to remind you of our photography contact and it's content regarding print release. Per the document you have signed you must not ________________. Your cooperation is expected and appreciate.
Sometimes a gentle but firm reminder is all that is needed.
Why are your prices higher than ________?
Thank you so much for contacting me. I know that sometimes pricing can be a difficult thing to understand and even swallow. Prices may seem higher on my end than ________ but the quality and time that I put into each customer reflects the difference. Doing business with high standards is our mission. I am sure you can appreciate the great care taken to showcase your special day in this manner.
What do you do when your client tells you they want a print release to print at a local store? How do you convince them that printing through you is a better option?
We feel it is very important to clarify with your clients what your expectations and limits are. If you do not want customers printing their own photos due to quality reasons then it is best to not allow this.
Ordering prints yourself through professional printing companies will represent your business and work with a high quality standard. If you still want to offer a disk without print rights you can simply create web size images with lower quality just for keepsakes.
If you are afraid they will not book you due to this then you are simply marketing to the wrong audience anyways. You will get the customers you seek. It isn't a fluke that celebrity photographers charge more. They require it for their services. They do not apologize for their policies and they move on from customers that just aren't their type.
If you want to offer a disk but ensure that they order the prints from you just simply create it in your print package such as: Print orders over $250 receive a FREE disk with images. Now of course they could go print them else where but they already ordered your prints which will be higher quality, so why would they?
I find it difficult to handle repeat clients/friends who want the original price from 2-3 years back despite the increase to my price. I always feel bad and offer a discount which I don't want to do.
Repeat customers can sometimes expect the same price or deal as a prior year.
Let's be honest though, there such a thing as inflation, equipment upgrades etc.
Again, this isn't something you should apologize for because it is simply out of your control. You can remember they are a returning customer and let them know that though your prices have increased slightly their repeat business is very important to you.
A FREE product such as an 8x10 can make all the world of difference and make a price increase feel less painful.
Price increases are never fun but let me promise you that during the year you have been away we have upgraded equipment, continued our education and invested in products that make your photos that much better! I certainly appreciate that you came back to me and want to thank you by offering a FREE 8x10 that I know you will love! So, let's get you scheduled!
How to handle clients asking for every photo from the shoot because they don't understand why they only got 30.
I am so happy to have photographed your beautiful _______ session and know you must be over the moon to see anything that came out of my camera that day. However beautiful they are, there are always those shots that are less than perfect due to blinking, off colors or other situations out of our control. It is our process to only show what is of highest quality and we take more photos to ensure that we can provide you with a large amount of these. It is not our process to show any images other than those that were chosen as finest quality. This is our strict process. Trust me when I tell you that those chosen were done with care and consideration. Doing business with high standards is our mission. I am sure you can appreciate the great care taken to showcase your special day in this manner.
By giving them something they did not expect it lightens the sting of an increase. This shows they are important to you!
How do you handle no shows and repeat last minute cancelers/rebookers?
First I would like to reiterate that being in business is about policies and reminders.
It is important for you to chat with a client prior to their session, indicate in a contract what your expectations are regarding no-shows and/or last minute cancellations.
Your contract should state that cancellations need to be made within 24-48 hours of a session or the retainer fee is forfeited.
I was very sorry that you were not able to make it to your scheduled photo session on _____. I recognize that on rare occasions situations arise that require a rearranging of schedules. However, maintaing my schedule is very important so that I can provide high quality customer service to all of our clients and ensure that I am meeting my deadlines. It is stated in the contract that you sign and returned that you agreed to notify me within 48 hours of our scheduled session. The short notice that you gave does not meet our contractual agreement.
Here is where you can be a softy give them a FINAL chance but please state that this is a one time opportunity to do so. Any more reschedules without notice will forfeit their retainer. OR you can finish with the following.
Per our contract you may reschedule your shoot, however your original retainer will not be refunded and I will require another retainer for a new session date. Please let me know if you would like to proceed with a rescheduling. I hope to hear back from you soon.