Need advice: Unhappy client from a photo shoot

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by NatalieNYC, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. NatalieNYC

    NatalieNYC TPF Noob!

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    hey photogs !

    Looking for some advice from some photographers who may have had similar experience here:

    I photographed a Bris last week. The client is unhappy with the photos - she says that I did not submit enough pictures (I submitted 80 photos from a 2 hr shoot - edited down from 130) and she didn’t like the pictures that I took. I didn’t tell her this but I was in a very challenging environment. The room was extremely small, with no windows, no natural light and low ceilings. Not to mention very hot and overcrowded. I didn’t have a lot of room to move around and get good shots. This wasn’t the best shoot, I’ll admit, but I did the best I could given the circumstances.

    In retrospect, maybe I should have rented a wider angle lens. Was shooting with a canon 5D mark ii and 24-70 2.8Llens the whole time with a speed lite flash.

    The client is asking for a 50% refund as her “expectations were not met”. I am obviously very upset over this and disappointed in the outcome, but not exactly sure how to handle. I still took the time to shoot this event including all the post production - so quite a bit of time was invested on my end, but I will want her to walk away from this somewhat satisfied. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    Natalie


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    A 50% refund is reasonable. I'd pay it. Consider it tuition in the School of Hard Knocks.
     
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  3. Parker219

    Parker219 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I would refund the 50%.

    However the bigger lesson is, you should try and control the situation better.

    You should have also had an agreement with how many finished photos you would give them in WRITING beforehand.
     
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  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Your side of the story,without any photos, is all we have to go by. I guess refunding half of the fee is reasonable? To you,does that seem justified in light of the quality of results delivered?
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You rolled on the job without the proper gear. I'd say only refunding 50% is a BIG win for you.
     
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  6. NatalieNYC

    NatalieNYC TPF Noob!

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    Yes. Big lessons to be learned here. However I never try and commit to a certain number of photos before because I never know how the shoot is going to go. Sometimes I take more or less than expected depending on the vibe and the guests. I also charge 1 flat fee and that includes rights to all the photos.

     
  7. NatalieNYC

    NatalieNYC TPF Noob!

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    Ouch. I appreciate the honesty though. What would you recommend be the must have lenses for shoots without knowing the environment beforehand?
    I own a 50mm and the 24-70mm mentioned before.
     
  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    WHY didn't you know the environment before hand? If the client won't let me do an advance recce, then they have to agree to an "unknown conditions" waiver, meaning they get what they get. That said, they should have been able to describe the room to you fairly accurately. The other reason for the recce is to meet the clients at the location and discuss potential challenges. The big issue here doesn't sound to me like focal length, but rather light. You didn't bring sufficient light to ensure good exposure. The other critical tool is a short ladder (I use one very much like this). It allows you to get above the crowd and [relatively] a little further back. Shooting shorter than 24mm is NOT ideal ('though occasionally it can produce interesting images).
     
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  9. NatalieNYC

    NatalieNYC TPF Noob!

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    Makes sense. I made the mistake into thinking it would be inside the temple when it was in a small conference room in the basement of the temple.
    What other light would you have reccomended to bring besides the flash? The room was lit fine, but rather ugly lighting. Just high hats in an 8 ft ceiling.
     
  10. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Two good speedlights are ample for a room of say, 15x15; bounce them off the ceiling, and you'll have decent light around the whole room.
     
  11. Parker219

    Parker219 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Stop trying to use the...I never know how many keepers I will end up with as an excuse!

    You are a BUSINESS, so act like it.

    Have a written contract that says they will get at least 10, 20, 30 or whatever number you agree on final edits. Then IF you give them more, then they will be happy.

    That way they can't say that they didn't get enough photos.
     
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  12. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sorry Parker, this is NOT good advice. Guaranteeing ANYTHING in a photo shoot can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, in the agreement with the client, you state something (which your lawyer has reviewed and approved as being appropriate for your region) to the effect of, "While a session of this length and nature generally produces about XYZ images, because of the dynamic and uncontrollable nature of large groups I am unable to commit in advance to a pre-determined number. I will however provide you with a proof gallery which contains all of the images which meet my standard for quality and artistic merit" or similar.

    The last bit is critical as well since it gives you an out for those clients who demand to see "ALL the photos".
     

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