One for the wedding photographers

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by saltface, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. saltface

    saltface TPF Noob!

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    I'm not a wedding photographer and I have no real desire to become one (psycho brides, psycho brides...), but this question has been lingering in my mind: Have you ever had a client refuse payment/demand a refund for photography that they didn't like? If so, what did you do?
     
  2. saltface

    saltface TPF Noob!

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    Or we could open this up to what would you do in such a hypothetical situation?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  3. holga girl

    holga girl TPF Noob!

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    Thankfully I have never had this happen. I collect the entire payment upfront. it is written very clearly in the contract what type of service I provide and to what amount i am liable for if that service is not provided.

    depending on the legitimacy of the claim, it is likely that i would offer a refund if something really did go wrong. but other than that, we both signed a contract. thats that.
     
  4. Mike30D

    Mike30D TPF Noob!

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    You would attempt to find out what it is that they have an issue with and then try to resolve it. If it's for reasons such as "I just don't like the way I look" then no, stuff like that is beyond my control and I have fulfilled my end of the deal so no refund.

    It all depends on the situation.

    There are however brides out there that will never be happy no matter what you do to please them. Those are the ones you try to avoid altogether and not even sign a contract to begin with.
     
  5. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    I've had a client refuse to pay before. In hindsight I never should have done the shoot.

    They wanted twilight photos of a property done, but the property didn't suit it - ie: there were no windows at the front that we could shine lights out of and make it look romantic etc...
    I told them that it wouldn't look like what they expected and explained why and what it would turn out like and they still wanted it done.

    Of course, when they got the photos they weren't happy, so I didn't charge them for it. They were one of my bigger clients, but they were at rock bottom prices and demanded way too much from me. After that night shot incident they got whingy about everything - even going back to photos done 4 months ago and demanding why they weren't of a good enough quality.

    I basically told them to go shove it, because they had no issue with the photos when they were delivered to them, and 4 months is waaaay too long to complain. Happy to say that I've never heard from them since. They were real pains in the ass.


    Lessons learnt:
    1. People who bargain with price excessively are never happy - stay away from them!
    2. If you know the client may be dissappointed - Don't do the shoot. It will only hurt your reputation.
    3. If the client wants a shoot done, and you know they'll love it, but you think it will be lame. Don't do it. It will only hurt your reputation.
    4. Only do shoots you want to do.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    With most wedding photographers these days, payment is typically due up front...so when the photos/product is delivered, the payment has already been collected and hopefully the check has cleared.

    I've heard plenty of stories about clients who didn't like that situation, but then we need to remind them that everything else is paid for up front...the venue, the meal, the dress, the flowers, the DJ/band etc.

    If they are unsatisfied, I agree with Mike30D. Try to find out what it is that they don't like and address those issues individually. Offering any sort of refund should be a very last resort, once you go down that road, it's a slippery slope.

    Of course, it's important to have a good contract, which outlines your responsibilities and what you need to do you job. For example, 'client cooperation'. You could have something that states that if the client does not cooperate with you during the event, you are not responsible for the quality of the images. These should not be used to cover up for poor work but should be a protection for you, in case the clients really aren't doing anything to help you do your job.
     
  7. Brian Austin

    Brian Austin TPF Noob!

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    I simply don't bargain. This is my price list. Don't like it? By all means, talk to someone else. I don't negotiate on price.

    I agree.

    I actually disagree with this one. I've had plenty of images that haven't turned out to my expectations but the client loves them. If they're paying and they're happy, that's all I care about. Not every image is going to be an award winner. That's okay.

    I definitely agree with that one.

    I interview my wedding clients prior to the contract. If I don't like the attitude, I'll tell them they need to find someone else. I usually know in the first 10-15 minutes. Bride, groom, and "significant participants" like parents if it's a younger couple need to be part of it.

    I bring some portfolio images and watch their faces when they look through them. It's okay if they don't like something. Everyone is different. But if they're doing nothing but finding fault with everything, it's not going to be the happy day we all hope for. Find someone else.

    I just turned down a catalog job for the same reason. Doesn't matter if the images win a PPA competition (which is TOUGH); the client was never going to be happy. Find someone else. It's not worth the aggravation.
     
  8. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    My business is a bit different to weddings i guess. In the real estate side of my business, All of my clients are repeat clients and they're real estate agents too, so they need to bargain on price... and when they're purchasing 10 shoots a week I'm more than happy to offer a discount.

    For my other commercial (ie: non real estate) clients I don't bargain on price. I have a set rate per hour and I stick to that.
     

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