Unhappy customers...

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by fotomama, May 13, 2007.

  1. fotomama

    fotomama TPF Noob!

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    It's happened- my first unhappy customer. I'm fairly new in the wedding business (my second "wedding season" and wedding #12...) and would probably be considered a "budget photog". I recently shot an hourly job and just received a call from bride's parents informing me that they are unhappy. To be perfectly honest, the photos are not my best, but I do think they are good. Some processional shots are out of focus (my error) but ones of bride and bridal party are great. I'm not sure what to do. Nothing? Partial refund? (And how would I determine that?) Any suggestions?
     
  2. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    Well I am not a professional but if it was me I would offer them a free session for any photo session they want. Maybe an outdoor session or a first child, etc. Good Luck with the angry parents ;)
     
  3. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    I'm sorry to hear that:( I think you should for sure ask them specifically what it is that they are unhappy with. Maybe you could figure out what percentage of the shots they didn't like and give them a similar percentage of a refund? Although, if it were me, I'd try to figure out a way to make them happy before giving a refund. (If possible, of course).
    I'd love to hear what the more established wedding photogs have to say about this.
     
  4. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Hopefully some of the tried and true wedding photographers will come in here - but from what I have read, 'budget photographers' are the most likely to receive customers who are looking for a good deal, and are also the most likely to be the most picky.
    Do you have a contract that states what the consequence of quality images (as determiend by your portfolio probably) not being delivered? If not, that is pretty rocky ground.
    On one hand you don't want to give their money back - as you are now going to appear unprofessional, and the word will get out to other brides-to-be looking for a good deal.
    How do you charge? If you charge for prints, perhaps you say you will give them a $100 (or more) credit on prints. Otherwise, perhaps a post-honeymoon shoot.

    Once again, I have no experience in this field, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
     
  5. fotomama

    fotomama TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses thus far! I may try the percentage idea, April, but I'm pretty sure they're going for a full refund (NOT going to happen...)- the first question I was asked prior to contract signing was "what happens if we don't like the photos"- should have listened to my gut. I was taken aback and only answered the question in regards to camera malfunction (full refund).

    My contract only specifies camera malfunction, I think quality is fairly subjective and am not sure how I could handle this type of situation in the future.
    I charged them hourly ($150/ hour) and they only had me shoot 2 hours. They received a dvd with full printing rights.
     
  6. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    I'm not a wedding photoghrapher but having read the replies here's my take.

    Since they have a DVD of images (presumably full size/hi res) then a full refund is out of the question since they could easily be copied and the disc returned to you.

    Also, since they asked about not liking the images before the first frame was shot, then i'd think (quite cynically) that they're trying their luck.

    A percentage reduction is a possibility but word may spread that if you complain about shots you'll get a reduction. But again, they have a dvd of hi res images so they can be copied and kept.

    I'd think a reduction on a future shoot or as was suggested a post honeymoon shoot at a reduced rate.

    I'd also think that rewording the contract would be advisable. It's tricky because, as you said, liking an image is subjective. However, as long as they're in focus (I know some aren't) then you could argue that they're good. They don't have to buy that particular image but technically it's good.

    And giving a dvd of hi res images isn't a good idea until everything has been agreed and you've been paid. Why not use a program like ProShow Gold to make a dvd slide show of the images? They can be viewed on a normal TV and they'll see the images. Yes they could copy that disc too but that's only a movie. So they can't make any prints from those images. The other thing you can do is use lower res images on that dvd. TV's (even a widescreen, hi def lcd/plasma) isn't much more than 1440 x 900. That's no use for a good quality print. It's also easier for ProShow to deal with because the image is smaller.

    Including that DVD in your price as an extra is also a possibility - i feel that more people will buy a dvd for a few pounds/dollars for quite a few shots from the day rather than a few prints at probably higher cost. The bride and parnets etc will still buy prints but guests may be more likely to buy the disc than a print.

    Hope it works out ok for you!
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I agree with Brittany, don't give them any money back. Offer them some sort of credit for future use...whether it's prints/albums from this event or a photo shoot later.
     
  8. theusher

    theusher TPF Noob!

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    I'm not speaking for experience here, but after a question like they asked I would assume they were always out for a refund. Don't give them one.
     
  9. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    I'd have them show exactly what pictures they are unhappy with.

    But if you honestly feel that they got their moneys worth, I would just give them a free session (maybe one of those trash the dress type deals).

    But, I am not a wedding photographer or even a photographer making money so take what I say with a grain of salt. I am just basing this off of my gut instinct (hey, I trust it) and what I'd do in your situation.

    Like mentioned, the cynic in me has to think they are trying to get something for nothing.
     
  10. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

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    I also agree that you should not offer a refund. I would ask them to show you the photos that they are unhappy with and ask why. While you mentioned a couple were out of focus, let them articulate that, their answer might be a clue as to whether they have a real complaint. If they do indeed express a legitimate complaint, then I would offer some sort of credit for like $ amount of work. Also, you mentioned that your contract has some language about a full refund in case of camera malfunction. I am not sure this is such a good idea as the legitimate expectation of brides and grooms when hiring a photographer, is that they will get photos of their day. Camera malfunction should not be an issue if the photographer has back-up equipment, a must for anyone doing wedding photography.
     
  11. teachflute

    teachflute TPF Noob!

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    I think I would find out exactly what was wrong first. It may be correctable in PP. I had a bride last year that wasn't happy and come to find out she didn't like any of the soft glow effects that I did. I went back and PP'ed them again more to her liking and she was happy. It was weird, because some of the shots that I thought were fantastic and looked awesome with the PPing that I did, she didn't like. To each his own, I guess.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that I don't pass along all of my shots to the B & G. You admitted that some of the shots were oof. The ones that are oof or not correctable unless it was a crucial shot like the kiss, I don't give to the couple. I try to take enough shots that I have a good variety just to present my keepers to them.

    I agree that I would offer credit towards prints or for a future sitting. I would try to keep them happy, but I wouldn't give them a refund. When you start to do things like that, word gets out pretty fast and you get pegged as a pushover or as incompetent. Neither reputation would suit you.
     
  12. EBphotography

    EBphotography TPF Junkie!

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    It's pretty much been said, but I think if you can't give a reason you don't like it, you don't deserve a refund.

    Credit seems out of the question, since they can't print whatever they want. I think a free shoot of whatever would be the best choice.
     

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