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Archive 2012 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.
  
 
deepbluejh
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


Not many people have this issue, but I guess with "Jamie" for a name, I am in a unique situation.

I showed up to a meeting this past Sunday to meet with a bride and her mother (who was spearheading the wedding planning). Practically the first thing out of mom's mouth was "Oh, I thought you were a girl".

...

I kind of laughed it off and we went about the meeting as we usually do. Meeting went very well and they signed at the end. It's worth noting what they wanted was out of their price range (just), but they booked anyway. They went about $500 over budget for me. We filled out and signed the contract. They were going to send a check the following day.

They go home to deliver the news to dad (who is paying). The next day I get a call saying they are reconsidering and would like to meet with another photographer before making their final decision. They say "you're really out of our price range", and also "I kind of wanted a female photographer".

The price thing doesn't surprise me, I get that often. But the "not being a girl" thing is something new for me. I guess the people who are truly bothered by it typically don't contact me (I have a picture of myself on my website) - therefore I don't see it.

At any rate, I told them to take their time and make a decision they are comfortable with. Honestly, I give them about a 60% chance of backing out at this point.

What are your thoughts on gender preference like this?



Jun 27, 2012 at 02:41 PM
lisy78
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


I like girls too.

I was very disappointed when I saw your mug. In my mind you were a voluptuous blonde with neverending legs and a French haircut...

Yeah thats effed up. I would guess it has to do with the bride getting ready shots.



Jun 27, 2012 at 02:54 PM
swoop
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


Is she aware they can do things about that now? Hormone therapy? Gender reassignment surgery? This wedding can still be yours.

Yes it sucks, but anyone who seriously believes men and women are truly equal is lying to themselves. They're different, it's just the way it is. And for some people men and women will always have their roles. My girlfriend and I have a 1 year old and we had the whole babysitter debate. I am totally comfortable having a male babysitter, her not so much.

I guess you could ask why she'd prefer a woman and try to remedy any concerns she may have about a male photographing her wedding. But honestly I think the whole thing is insulting. How would she feel if she was turned down for a job due to her gender. When I was apartment hunting it was so frustrating how many ads specified female preferred.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:05 PM
SGallant
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


Gender change?

No seriously, it sounds like they might just be using that as a lame excuse for the fact you are out of their price range. Mom thought you were a girl, OK but it doesn't seem like they were really that hung up on it in the meeting. You obviously convinced them you were right with them, which is why they signed.

My guess is they are trying to use that to save face for the fact they signed a contract with you and dad said um, NO too much $$$$.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


I've had brides not want a male photographer shooting the getting ready pictures, I've also met some that feel other women are a better judge of what is/is not a flattering picture.


Jun 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
deepbluejh
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


Mark_L wrote:
I've had brides not want a male photographer shooting the getting ready pictures, I've also met some that feel other women are a better judge of what is/is not a flattering picture.


I get the whole "getting ready" thing. But really, the only situation people seem to have a problem with is being around when people are changing clothes. No problem, I'll gladly step out of the room. In my mind, it's not a big deal, but maybe I don't "get it". Is being around during hair/makeup questionable as well?

As for what is "flattering" or not, the clients said they loved my work, so I will assume it's not that.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:14 PM
whtrbt7
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


I feel for you Jamie. I think that's why I work with my wife. This way there's presence from both genders. There's a good rebuttal for everything and if they do come back to you, you should tell them that you're just as good as a girl . Even for prep shots, it just means that you'll need to be a little more muted and sensitive. Normally there's a level of trust that's there and the price/gender thing is just an excuse.


Jun 27, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


This is an example of what trr talks about a lot. You had (and perhaps still have, if you act quickly) an opportunity to dig in and ask about her fears. What is she afraid of that you could manage very well, even for a {gasp!} guy? Ale might be right -- it might have to do with the getting-ready photos, in which case you've got an opportunity to discuss your approach and put her fears to rest.

Or maybe she just thinks girls have a special view of things, in which case you might walk her through some of your photos and ask her what she liked about them when she saw them. An interesting question would be, "So, when you saw my photos, you thought I was a girl. Sure, my name is ambiguous, but you made an assumption. So what was it, about my style, that attracted you?"

She's afraid of something. You've mis-estimated the odds, I think. She has a 100% chance of walking away if you don't find out what she's afraid of and show her you're man enough to handle it.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Manzelle
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


I think it's pure drivel and wouldn't deal with them if it is brought up again.


Jun 27, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Robin Usagani
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


Bahahahahah... your name sounds like a girl!!!!



















I hope you got my joke when you see my name



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:24 PM
 

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deepbluejh
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


Ian Ivey wrote:
This is an example of what trr talks about a lot. You had (and perhaps still have, if you act quickly) an opportunity to dig in and ask about her fears. What is she afraid of that you could manage very well, even for a {gasp!} guy? Ale might be right -- it might have to do with the getting-ready photos, in which case you've got an opportunity to discuss your approach and put her fears to rest.

Or maybe she just thinks girls have a special view of things, in which case you might walk her through some
...Show more

We discussed that pretty thoroughly during the meeting. I told her how I normally handle "getting ready" time and that I'll gladly comply with whatever she is comfortable in. We talked about it for a few minutes, but I didn't want to belabor the point.

Seems to me like they had their minds made up before they even drove to see me. Apparently I did a good enough job during the meeting to get them to not only sign, but sign above their stated budget. I suspect the root of the issue here is the father's objection to the price. The gender preference thing is likely to be the lesser of the two concerns.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:25 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


I have a feeling that the majority of brides these days would prefer a pretty young girl they can relate to as their photographer.

Somehow this is important. I don't know why, but it appears to be the current preference in our industry.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:27 PM
deepbluejh
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


I didn't make a big deal of it, but it really is a little insulting to be turned down because of your gender. In how many other professions is this acceptable?


Jun 27, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


deepbluejh wrote:
I get the whole "getting ready" thing. But really, the only situation people seem to have a problem with is being around when people are changing clothes. No problem, I'll gladly step out of the room. In my mind, it's not a big deal, but maybe I don't "get it". Is being around during hair/makeup questionable as well?

As for what is "flattering" or not, the clients said they loved my work, so I will assume it's not that.


You don't ever feel of "this is women's domain" being in the room during that part of the day? I do, very much. Girls are doing what girls do in their dressing gowns and things and sometimes the bride is very nervous, some are tearful so I can understand why many would feel more comfortable with a female photographer during this time.

I recently mentioned to a bride to let me know when she was ready for me to take pictures of her in hair/makeup and she was all "omg thank you thank you I didn't want someone taking pictures of me with no makeup on!" I have also had other thank me for letting them know I will take off any pictures from the web gallery they don't want being seen by others they may give the password out to. It's that level of sensitivity they don't think they will get from a male photographer.

I have also so often seen a male photog show a shot he thinks is great and a women would instantly see backfat/armfat/whatever women worry about; just because they don't see it in your portfolio doesn't mean they wouldn't worry a picture they hate ends up on the front page of your site. It's not all logical.

There are all sorts of 'ladies days' for events and most women would probably prefer a female hair/mua person. For some things many just like to be with their own.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


We discussed that pretty thoroughly during the meeting. I told her how I normally handle "getting ready" time and that I'll gladly comply with whatever she is comfortable in. We talked about it for a few minutes, but I didn't want to belabor the point.

And I won't belabor this one beyond this point, either, but I don't think you quite got it. Talking about a thing isn't the same thing as allaying a fear. Whatever you discussed didn't get to the heart of whatever she's afraid of -- the proof is her request to back out.

If her issue is, in fact, with the getting ready photos, then it's clear that your assurance to comply didn't reassure her you'd take care of her and get all the awesome photos she wants. This means you probably need to rethink your message there. I of course don't know what you told her, but perhaps you needed to be more proactive and visionary, rather than defensive or submissive.

Either way, the point is she's got some gender-related (or at least it's related in her head, at the moment) concern that you failed to resolve. You can wait for the rejection, or you can go ask her what she's worried about and let her talk for a while, and thereby have a shot at reassuring her she made the right decision to book you.




Jun 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


Mark_L wrote:
You don't ever feel of "this is women's domain" being in the room during that part of the day? I do, very much. Girls are doing what girls do in their dressing gowns and things and sometimes the bride is very nervous, some are tearful so I can understand why many would feel more comfortable with a female photographer during this time.

I recently mentioned to a bride to let me know when she was ready for me to take pictures of her in hair/makeup and she was all "omg thank you thank you I didn't want someone taking pictures of
...Show more

Maybe this isn't normal, but I'm super comfortable during getting-ready with the bride, and the bride is always very comfortable as well. It may have something to do with my female assistant also being present, but they tend to be very trusting and comfortable around me.

As for the no-makeup thing, well there are some things that are just obvious, no bride is going to want close-ups done before makeup or while she's smearing gobs of it on her face. This is the time that you focus on wide shots, other people in the room, get some details, etc.

One of the first things we do tends to be detail shots in the morning, and I think it gives them some time to warmup to the idea of us being there without immediately pointing a camera at them.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Manzelle
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


deepbluejh wrote:
I didn't make a big deal of it, but it really is a little insulting to be turned down because of your gender. In how many other professions is this acceptable?


Prostitution, I would assume.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:39 PM
robert61
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


The vast majority of wedding photographic services procurement decisions are made by women. With a large number of females and couples entering the business, you could find this more common in the future.

1. She was honest
2. You can adjust your marketing strategies accordingly




Jun 27, 2012 at 03:41 PM
idyfohu
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


^ Good perspective Mark.

And still Jamie, that really sucks man. Hopefully it's JUST their budget that is potentially pushing them away, but hopefully they come to their senses, book you, and never bring up gender again.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Clients disappointed that I wasn't a woman.


I suspect the root of the issue here is the father's objection to the price. The gender preference thing is likely to be the lesser of the two concerns.

Sorry, didn't read this right. It could be this, but even then, you've got a chance to take away her pretextual objection. Address whatever concerns she proffers as though they aren't pretext, until you get to the root. Or don't, and let the relationship abate, but she doesn't sound like a troublesome client, so it seems a shame to let her off the hook without any effort.



Jun 27, 2012 at 03:42 PM
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