What To Do When A Client Doesn't Like Your Pictures

Every professional photographer will find themselves in a situation, at some point, where the client is unhappy with the photographs.

I've faced this situation once for a commercial project, where I was photographing karate students for a book.  The author, the karate instructor, was as picky with the pictures as I am.  However, the areas of pickiness were very different.

I was concerned about light, shadows, color, focus, exposure, etc.  He was concerned about the hands, feet, finger and even belt placement.

Weeks after delivering the photographs, the author told me he was unhappy with the photos. The words he used were much stronger than that, though. It was enough to make me feel like a failure.

But then I thought, how could I have failed? The photos look incredible!

So I asked for the details as to why he was unhappy. Was it the light? The color?  No.

It turns out that the author was unhappy with the placement of fingers, and the direction toes were facing, and how close hands were to chests. There were many other items on the list aside from those.

It turns out that the author was unhappy with his direction during the session.

So I put a plan in action to address his concerns. He hired me to redo the photos, which wound up becoming two additional sessions.

When all was said and done, he was happy with the photos and his book was published.

Why am I telling you this story?

When you find yourself in a situation like this, step back, think, and create a plan of action.  Spend a few moments to compile yourself. Take the time to focus on what needs to happen. But be sure you made the mistake.  Because maybe you didn't. Get specifics from your client. Make sure that you need to do something to fix the problem, and not the other way around.

No matter what, be prepared to address the issue, no matter what it is.

Some ways you can keep the peace when things go wrong, are to offer a discount, offer a free mini session or offer a free print.

What To Do When A Client Doesn't Like Your Pictures

The screenshot here is a made up situation. I asked my friend to email me as if he was unhappy with his photos.

Have you faced a similar situation in your photography business? Comment and let us know what happened, and how you resolved the problem.

Strive for excellence!

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