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Archive 2012 · Red Flags
  
 
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p.1 #1 · Red Flags


It's getting easier for me to turn down clients when I recognize potential issues. I just had to turn down another one today because she sounds very self-conscious, is wanting a second photographer, and sounded dissatisfied with what I provide...she "likes my style," she just doesn't like anything ABOUT my style. The red flags for me are as follows:

1. "I notice some of your photos...show lots of wrinkles and blemishes..." - IMO, this is first and foremost an exaggeration. Second, it shows a great deal of self-consciousness that is very hard to satisfy. Third, I don't DO much skin smoothing except reducing eye bags for formals and pimples throughout...because I can't afford to charge what I do and spend that much time editing skin in each image of the B/G. Fourth, I would rate my skill at skin smoothing to be average at best, and I would need to learn more than I know about photoshop editing to pull it off well.

2. "I would like a second photographer, I don't feel comfortable with just one photographer" - not a deal breaker by itself, because I can access a second photographer sometimes for a wedding. However, when combined with other red flags, it signals dissatisfaction with what I am providing.

3. Any kind of rudeness, curtness/shortness or overly picky or demanding behavior. I don't want to work with this client.

4. Any other kind of sign that shows a great amount of self-consciousness is a red flag. This does not mean I won't work with someone who wants a specific blemish removed, as I can understand not wanting to show certain undesirable scars or flaws. Instead, what I see as a bad sign is verbalizing excessive awareness of personal flaws or flaws in other people. Bad...Bad...

5. Negotiating price. I don't negotiate price. If they want cheaper, they can get their cousin - there simply isn't a much lower price than me, and there certainly isn't a lower price that I could still justify actually doing the work for. I spend too much time and effort shooting and especially editing (even without skin smoothing). If they accept my price anyway after asking if I can go lower, it's only a half-red flag.

5.5. Telling me that they can get etc. etc. etc. from so-and-so for this-much. My response: Great, it sounds like they are the better option for you.


Anyone care to add others?



Aug 09, 2012 at 05:05 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #2 · Red Flags


What are you doing to make the wrong person want you then?

- trr

Edited on Aug 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM · View previous versions



Aug 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM
marti.g3
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p.1 #3 · Red Flags


Don't know your price range, but sounds like a budget minded bride who are the most demanding and hardest to please. If you are happy with your booking rates then pass on her.

Her "lack of comfort" with ONLY one photographer is not a reflection on you. She's merely one of the sheep who reads this stuff on the Knot and believes it.

As for the "wrinkles and blemishes", yes that is a ball buster. She will expect every image to be "perfect". Been there done that with a client. I ended up cancelling on them even after showing them their signed disclosure on what "editing" consisted of.

Their response was " Well, even though we signed that, the customer is golden and always right, and you should be concerned with making us happy".......their exact words.



Aug 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM
DmitriM
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p.1 #4 · Red Flags


You are a budget photographer who charges budget prices for budget oriented clients...
If you don't like that, then increase your prices. Don't blame your clients!!

Additionally, on your website you specify your experience and on top of that it's worded in such way that shows you are not the best and experienced photographer. That's why they want a 2nd.
I shoot on my own and nobody cares(99% of the time) as they trust me.

No girl likes to see wrinkles on her face. They put on make up,go to spas for a reason you know.
Editing on it's own is a destructive process that destroys skin and sometimes exaggerates all the negative facial features. If you can't deal with it in PS then there's a way to light your subjects to minimize wrinkles.



Aug 09, 2012 at 05:25 PM
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p.1 #5 · Red Flags


I have had a total of 3 clients that I have had to turn down out of about...150? Not a huge number. I know all of you more expensive photogs love to say that the lower-budget clients are all the pickiest and most demanding people and any photographer catering to them is going to run into tons of that...but I think my experience has disagreed with that.

About 1 in every 8-10 clients ask about a second photographer. I will look at my about-me page.

Light isn't always optimal to make skin look perfect during weddings. It's not a studio.

My latest inquiry has actually discovered skin pores on the faces of another local photographer whose photos HAVE NO SKIN PORES VISIBLE. This, to me, is paranoia...



Aug 09, 2012 at 05:31 PM
marti.g3
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p.1 #6 · Red Flags


Sounds like SHE has issues that YOU don't want to deal with. No big deal. Just move on to your next client.


Aug 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Chris Cooke
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p.1 #7 · Red Flags


My biggest "Red flag" is more of a pet peeve but it still raises questions on whether or not I want to work with a client.

" I saw XXXXX's photos on your blog and I LOVE them, but will you not post my photos on your blog?"




Aug 09, 2012 at 06:24 PM
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p.1 #8 · Red Flags


See I would have no problem being asked not to blog photos. I respect the desire for privacy for whatever reason.


Aug 09, 2012 at 06:40 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #9 · Red Flags


It's never a good sign when clients start out by asking what kind of camera you have...


Aug 09, 2012 at 08:08 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #10 · Red Flags


Chris Cooke wrote:
" I saw XXXXX's photos on your blog and I LOVE them, but will you not post my photos on your blog?"


And I will ask the same when I get married.



Aug 09, 2012 at 08:56 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



D. Diggler
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p.1 #11 · Red Flags


tobicus wrote:
It's never a good sign when clients start out by asking what kind of camera you have


That one doesn't bother me; it's so rare, like under 5%.



Aug 09, 2012 at 09:01 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #12 · Red Flags


Hi form. How often do 4 & 5 come up? I think my prices are "low", but I'm clear with prices from the first step, and I do offer flexibility with components (time, products) to allow them to adjust price. This first step is always done in writing, and personalised, so they can see what I cost 'for them', and that they have some control over the exact price. So if I speak to them or meet, the price is already out the way, no "negotiating" or "comparing".

I have had one person then try to scavenge 100 off me after quoting them (which as I mention offers flexibility). They insisted on an exact time, and exact budget, tired to negotiate, and then tried adding products AND asking for a discount. I'm quite new to this but even I could see this was a definite situation to avoid. As well, their wedding was the day before a long booked wedding of a couple who really liked my work, so I'd rather be able to give them 100%, than anything less for a almost certainly 'difficult' client.


tobicus wrote:
It's never a good sign when clients start out by asking what kind of camera you have...


Have I missed some context here? Quite a few of my clients take an active interest in photography, so this does pop up as a curiosity.



Aug 09, 2012 at 09:52 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #13 · Red Flags


ricardovaste wrote:
Have I missed some context here? Quite a few of my clients take an active interest in photography, so this does pop up as a curiosity.


Really? Almost never am I asked about gear. Actually, I'm surprised how little I'm asked.



Aug 09, 2012 at 09:59 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #14 · Red Flags


On an unrelated note... Are you really charging $1075 / 690 for 8 hours w/edited disk? Your work seems accomplished, consistent, I have no idea what your local market is like, but that does seem pretty low to me...


Aug 09, 2012 at 10:03 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #15 · Red Flags


D. Diggler wrote:
Really? Almost never am I asked about gear. Actually, I'm surprised how little I'm asked.

Comes up from time to time. I see it as part of the digital 'proliferation', yes, some people think they can make a living from using a cheap dslr & kit lens for weddings, but many others take a genuine interest in photography as an art form, and then see a wedding as an opportunity to have something a little different, high quality, creative... They see the beauty in the photography. For example, the wedding I did on Saturday, the bride is an art teacher who has enjoyed photography for quite a while, she teaches B&W film. I tried to integrate a bit of film for her, but the light didn't really allow it, but I got a couple.

So yes, if someone has a keen interest they might ask about equipment as curiosity, but they'll likely ask about many other elements that 'regular' people might not do, but in a good way. It certainly wouldn't be a reg flag for me, but context is everything I guess, and exactly how/what they're asking.



Aug 09, 2012 at 10:11 PM
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p.1 #16 · Red Flags


I don't mind people asking about camera equipment, it's #1 a security thing (especially if they ask about backups) and #2 a curiosity thing for those interested in cameras themselves. Not a red flag for me.


Aug 10, 2012 at 03:12 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #17 · Red Flags


Chris Cooke wrote:
My biggest "Red flag" is more of a pet peeve but it still raises questions on whether or not I want to work with a client.

" I saw XXXXX's photos on your blog and I LOVE them, but will you not post my photos on your blog?"



This is an interesting one. We don't blog every wedding we shoot, so the odds are that we wouldn't blog this couple's wedding either, but the choice is always going to be ours, as that's part of our business approach.



Aug 10, 2012 at 03:17 PM
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p.1 #18 · Red Flags


1. "looks like you're looking for someone to shoot in "dream" mode. I don't think we're the right photographer for you."

2. "I can provide a second photographer. The additional fee is $XXX.XX."

3. "I don't think we're the right photographer for you..."

4. "I don't think we're the right photographer for you..."

5. "I don't think we're the right photographer for you..."

5.5 "I now KNOW we're the right photographer for you..."

nuff said.



Aug 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM
TheGE
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p.1 #19 · Red Flags


Sounds more to me like you don't know how to handle these objections.

On top of that, if a prospective couple are telling you these things such as wondering if you photographing them will show their blemishes, feel better if you provided a second photog., negotiate price - even the "so-and-so is giving me this for $XXXX" - all that suggests they're thinking of hiring you or they wouldn't be bothering doing any of that. At least, it could be.

And you're shooting them down, calling them red flags instead if recognizing them as buying signals. And then testing to see if they are.

The "so-and-so is giving me this for $XXXX" could be a bluff of course but it still shows they want to book you.

What you need to do is to understand that and then turn those objections into a sale, instead of losing them. There are better ways to handle it. Right now the way you handle it results in losing the sale. Handling it successfully means turning them into happy, compliant clients.

Number 3, rudeness, yes, that's a red flag. Disrespect and I'll add not going along with your policies and directions are the three red flags. But don't confuse rudeness with a dominant type personality. Someone who's at a place in life where they get what they want and are used to being the boss in charge of others needs to be handled a certain way.



Aug 10, 2012 at 04:53 PM
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p.1 #20 · Red Flags


Ohhh oh I forgot one!

6. "Your xxx is fine, but I will only pay half up front and then the other half after I receive the photos." OR...."I will only pay after I get the photos" OR any other variation of that.



Aug 10, 2012 at 04:59 PM
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