Here’s the scenario: A client hired you for a photography job, which you did, and you provided the deliverables on time. The client is unhappy with their photos, threatens to leave a bad online review if you don’t give them their money back.
What do you do?
You’re a Photographer, Not a Miracle Worker
Your client has put you in a difficult position. You have to work with what you’re given from the client. You don’t want to be insensitive, but you can only do so much. It may be impossible to give the client images that match what they envisioned in their head.
Many times, part of being an entrepreneur involves educating and managing the client’s expectations. Based on the client’s complaint, it may be prudent to review the images and see if there’s anything you can do, perhaps suggest additional edits than what they hired you to do or explain that this is best you could do given the constraints of the situation.
Ask Yourself the Difficult Question
Ask yourself the difficult question: Did you screw up? Do you owe this person additional edits, a re-shoot, or some type of compensation? If so, admit it.
As Peter Shankman says, “There is no greater lover than a former hater.” If you make a mistake, admit it, and make up for it, that person may become your biggest cheerleader.
Go Back to the Contract
When dealing with an upset client, having a well-written contract can help you resolve the matter and remind the client about what you both agreed to at the outset of your working relationship.
If the client is upset because you didn’t provide an image of certain pose, show them the provision that says there are no guarantees that they’ll get every pose or image they hoped for.
If the client wants to see all the images you took during the shoot, show them the provision that says you’ll only be showing them the best images and that they won’t see every image you take.
If the client says they shouldn’t have to pay because they’re unhappy, remind them that they hired you for your time and skills. Payment is expected if you fulfilled your obligations under the contract.
Hopefully, you have a photography contract that anticipated common complaints and addressed them accordingly.
You Can Always Cave to their Demand
Whether you give this person their money back is a business decision, not a legal one. You may decide that the best course of action, regardless of whether you think it’s warranted, is to give this person their money back and move on. That’s your call.
I recommend you decide in advance, just for yourself, the circumstances under which you’ll give a refund. Many photography contracts state that there are no refunds or that they are given only in rare specified situations.
If They Leave a Bad Review
If the client follows through on their threat and leaves a bad review, respond to it in a polite and respectful manner. You can say you’re sorry they’re upset and invite them to contact you directly to discuss it. (Many times, how you respond to a bad review isn’t about the upset client, but rather it’s an opportunity to demonstrate to anyone who reads it that you take client concerns seriously.)
In a perfect world, you’ll have enough positive reviews that one bad one won’t tank your average. But if you’re just starting out, one negative review could have a substantial impact on your score. You may want to invite happy customers to leave reviews about their experience to bring your average back up.
Lights Camera Lawsuit
There’s always a need for quality legal information for photographers. That’s why I created an online course called Lights Camera Lawsuit: The Legal Side of Professional Photography to address photographers’ most important questions. I want you to feel secure in your business, confident in the way you operate day-to-day, knowing that you’ve set yourself up to get paid what your worth without incident.
The course goes live on March 16, 2020 and is $497. That’s less than what I charge for two hours of work and you’ll be getting over ten hours of legal information.
Please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out on other fantastic offers and opportunities to interact with me.