How to deal with unreasonable Clients

B Kennedy

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So attached is a picture I took of a large pre-prom party. Although this wasn't a paid job, as I took these pictures for friends. But the mother of one of the girls in this picture as well as the owner of the house was absolutely intent on setting up the group shot this way. Which might I add was across a 40' long pool. I was much more in tune to shooting across the pool which was about 20'. But I just feel that if I would have been paid to photograph this, I don't know how I would have pursuaded the client otherwise.

So I guess my real question is two-fold. How to deal with clients when they insist on setting up a portrait setting even when you urge that it would look better in a different setting. I have "paid" pre-prom coming up in a few weeks, so this was a good trial run. I'm also going to have an assistant to make sure eveyones in order as well as looking at my camera for a few select shots and not staring into lala land ;). This next prom will be right around the same amount of people...and suggestions on getting the large shot?
 

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rabhobbes

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My $.02:

I actually think the shot posted looks really good, however if this situation does arise again, I would say something like, "I would like to try the shot from this angle (or side, or whatever) as well." I wouldn't refuse to do a shot as the people suggested, even though it might not be the best, but would make sure I did other poses in addition.
That way everyone's happy, and if they refuse to do YOUR suggestion, then you did the best you could without alienating the client.
 

NateWagner

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yeah, the shot really doesn't look bad at all. One thing I might say as well is that it might look better if you clone out the ladder.

I also agree with the previous poster. If the client were to want something I would definitely try it, or perhaps quickly summarize a modification to the idea. Either way, if it doesn't take too long I'd take the shot they wanted.
 
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B Kennedy

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Thanks for the response. I just wished I could have been a bit closer thats all, that way you could get more up close details. Thanks again
 

epp_b

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I agree, I think the shot you posted is pretty nice. As this is a centered composition, I would clone out the ladder on the left to make it more symmetrical, however.

If you have the time, perhaps you should just do the shot they want, then do yours and give them both.
 

johnbergsing

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Shoot it their way and politely and enthusiastically tell them you have "a great idea" you'd like to try. I've had this happen and, from my experience, nine time out of ten, the client will select your idea over theirs. Remember: They are hiring YOU as the photographer. They may have ideas of their own but they almost always expect YOU to step up and do what you do!
 
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B Kennedy

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yea I agree with all your responses, although realistically I am pretty sure I will only get them in a group shot 1 time lol. As it is most likely gonna be a bear to get them set up and finally get them all looking at the camera and not each other. So I think I'll stick with my guns and just talk to the client first about the location for the couple pics/large group shot and come to some sort of agreement that way we both have the same understanding. And of course it will all depend on how the lighting looks.
 

Big Mike

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although realistically I am pretty sure I will only get them in a group shot 1 time
Knowing this, you can say "Let me shoot it my way first, then we will try it your way"
You will get your shot, even if they never get organized enough for the 2nd. Just make sure that you idea is better than theirs...or else you look like an idiot. ;)
 

KmH

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You can get some more detail in the image you posted by cropping some from the top and bottom.

The only thing I would add to Mike's reply is, "That's a great idea. Let me shoot it my way first and then we'll try it your way."

The only way to eliminate unreasonable clients is to abandon photography.
 

bdavis

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You can try the shot both ways and have them look to see what they like. Even if they dont like the same one you do, it'll make them happy, plus you can have a shot you like to put in your portfolio. Keep in mind when you're shooting clients, you're also shooting for yourself too.

I looked at the picture and my opinion, its pretty damn good considering you did it for free, they shouldn't complain. Any other picture like that would've cost them a bit of money, so the fact that you did a good job for free should make them a bit more appreciative. Also, if they are going to ask you to take pictures, they should trust your judgment as a photographer about what will look good and what wont. If they had that much of a problem with it, they couldve just taken it themselves.

Thats just my 2 cents...
 

Christie Photo

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"Let me shoot it my way first, then we will try it your way" You will get your shot, even if they never get organized enough for the 2nd. Just make sure that you idea is better than theirs...or else you look like an idiot. ;)

^^^This is how I'd handle it.^^^

Like johnbergsing said, "They are hiring YOU as the photographer." Another way to put this is YOU have been charged with getting the job done... YOUR responsibility. When it's my butt on the line, I insist on making these decisions. So just as Mike pointed out, your choice get priority. If you can get theirs in too, all the better.

-Pete
 
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B Kennedy

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Thanks all, I definitely agree, and I would hope that since I'm hired they will look for my advice in setting up. The only thing I dont like about the photo is that it doesn't seem personal like if I were standing 10' away grabbing the details off dresses and flowers, but I guess with such large groups it is inevitable.

Oh, and btw, there was another "pro" photographer with a decent rig setup. I didn't want to embarrass him but I had to tap him on the shoulder half-way through the shoot to let him know his flash was off *woops*;) He apparently ran out of batteries. I'm guessing he's gonna have a whole lot of ps'n getting rid of the ol racoon eyes. That's when i pointed to my quantum and told him he needs to get one of these. LOL I know if that was me I prolly would have felt like a complete tool! Thats why you should always do your "pre-job" check.
 

bdavis

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Oh, and btw, there was another "pro" photographer with a decent rig setup. I didn't want to embarrass him but I had to tap him on the shoulder half-way through the shoot to let him know his flash was off *woops*;) He apparently ran out of batteries. I'm guessing he's gonna have a whole lot of ps'n getting rid of the ol racoon eyes. That's when i pointed to my quantum and told him he needs to get one of these. LOL I know if that was me I prolly would have felt like a complete tool! Thats why you should always do your "pre-job" check.

Priceless! That's gotta make you feel great. Everyone knows that you always check your equipment before the shoot, have spare batteries, etc.
 
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B Kennedy

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So just to give a little update, I have this pre-prom shoot later today which I'm really excited to shoot. Only thing I'm a bit worried about is this, the client told me theres going to be 30 couples gathering at her house as well as family friends, and the like. So I've been watching the weather all week long and its going to be raining here all day long!! Now I'm trying to mentally plan for what I'm sure is going to be a cramped house with backgrounds of pictures filled with people. I'm gonna be there like 30 min before people start showing up to try and scout some locations in teh house to do single/couple shots.

Any advice for taking control while organizing the pics? I talked to the client a few times about her house and apparently has a pretty large house with a formal living room so im hoping that for the large group shot to have couples on the stairs and down in the front. Maybe I'll stand up on a little ladder to get a bit higher up.
 

UUilliam

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personally i would take one or two the way they request and a few the way you want it that way when it comes to presenting, you have your version of the pose and theirs so they realise to shut their mouth next time :p (i say that in the politest way i can haha)
 

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