Chasing Light Artistic Tools for Creatives

Top 10 Things Never to Say to a Photographer

Nikki Harrison1 Comment

"You can just photoshop that out, right?"

Some photographers will have the skillset to do just that.  Some will not, make sure that you prepare your clients for what is included in your packages, especially editing. If a client wants an unusual amount of editing done, make sure you have additional retouching packages that will make it clear that your time and talent are valuable.

"You are too expensive, its just a picture."

There are a lot of people that do not value photography, and all the time, and money we invest in our art.  Point blank. This is an instant gratification world now, pull out your iPhone and take a pic. Why would that cost so much? Its up to us to educate our clients the reasons why our work is worth it, better and more valuable than what they can do with their iPhone. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some incredible images taken with phones these days, but in all seriousness, it simply cannot be compared to technical lighting, posing, equipment and retouching.

"I don't need prints, just the digitals."

Wow.  Where to begin.  First, if you are like me, I am a Print Photographer/Artist. This means that I create for the WALL. I don't create for a phone or computer screen. Not to get all statistically on you, but 75% of images taken these days, in the most photographed generation in the history of the world, will be lost. We have to educate our clients the value of printing. Show them what a print looks like on the wall, show your work all over your studio, everywhere. There is nothing more satisfying for me, than printing my own work and framing it. I provide these images to my clients with so much satisfaction knowing these images will grace their walls for years to come. The only risk to losing the images is if they have a fire or other natural disaster and if that happens in my life time they can always come back and repurchase.

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"I Only Want an 8x10"

First - an 8x10 is not a Wall Portrait.  The amount of time and effort and talent we invest in ourselves to meticulously edit and create our art, is not so that we need a magnifying glass to see the work and detail we put into our images. An 8x10 is not a goal print, it is an add on after they buy their wall portrait. Best advice to get over the 8x10 crowd? Only offer them for sale with the purchase of a Wall Portrait no smaller than, say a 16x20. And then guess what? That 8x10 is more than a $4 piece of photographic paper! It is all the hours of learning, slaving over a computer screen, time taken away from your family, to learn your craft. Its the thousands of dollars in equipment that enables you to create what you do. It is more than a $4 item. Charge accordingly.

"Can I take some pictures of Suzie with my phone while you are shooting?"

No. No. No. Have a caveat on your email signature, have a big button on your website, insert it into your contract or in the info sheet you send your clients. NO CELL PHONE PICTURES ever under any circumstances. Ever. Clear?

"Does that include hair and make up?"

So you are doing a special. Boudoir or portraits. You inevitably get this question. If your special is $149, common sense would tell you there is no way it includes hair and make up. Some teach not to charge any fee and use the money to pay your make up person. I truly think everyone should get paid. But the agreement for hair and makeup is a service that you are not responsible for. I would suggest that they arrange that outside of your space, time and responsibility. Suggest who you recommend, but I wouldn't include it as part of your service. You should get paid, and so should they. So no, it doesn't ever include a different service than the one you offer.

"This is my Good Side."

Sure. That's what they all say. Unless they have a scar or wound on one side of their face, this is simply not true. I get this all the time. It is a struggle when I know full well that its not that there is a better side, its just their own perception of themselves. What I tend to do is tell them ok, that's great, but I'm going to also take images from the other side and show you at your viewing session both, and I will prove to you that there is not bad side to you.

"I don't want a blurry background."

So on your website your whole brand and way of shooting is natural light or outdoors using your prime lens you spent $xxxx's of dollars on. You shoot wide open and your whole portfolio of outdoor images clearly demonstrates this. A client shows up for their portrait session and claims they don't want a blurry background. How do you handle this? Grab your phone, go to your gallery, and ask them to show you which image is their favourite. Chances are they don't really understand what they are talking about. Go to google, pick an image where there is no DOF and ask them if that is what they want. Chances are, it is not. 

"Little Billy is in a bad mood today, can I bring him in tomorrow instead?"

Session fee's are for your time and talent. This is why I don't believe in the "no session fee" idea. If you don't value your time enough to charge for it, your clients won't value it either. If your client paid a session fee and wants to change it the day of? You are now out a session that could have been filled by someone else. Contracts are great ideas for this exact reason. Last minute cancellations will result in forfeiture of session fee. Period. No contract? Do up a client agreement or FAQ's in digital form, that you can send via email so that they have to initial or sign beside these points. Try DocuSign or Adobe are a couple that offer this feature. You will get far less if any cancellations due to Billy's mood!

"Can we think about it?"

In person sales is the only way I conduct sales sessions. If my clients view their images and do not buy at the sales session, but instead want to think about it, I know I've lost the sale. The moment of emotional purchase will be lost. Make it a rule that if they don't purchase during the viewing session, the images will be destroyed that night. They will not want the images to be thrown away, you will appeal to their loss by letting them know this. Let them know you simply cannot keep images that are not purchased due to the size of the files and the number of clients. Its not possible, but if they buy X package today, you will hold on to the images for another 30 days for them to decide.