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Archive 2013 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?
  
 
friscoron
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p.1 #1 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


Had two wedding consults on Sunday. First one went fabulous, just a lovely couple, a lot of fun and they've booked us. Second consult was a bride and her mom, with groom around the house not involved. (I work out of my house, so still meeting couples at coffee shops and their houses.)

Bride and mom were complaining about everything before we got started: venues they were looking at (nothing was good enough), dresses, colors, textures, nothing was beyond their reach. Set the tone immediately. I stayed upbeat, positive. She mentioned that I was one of three photographers she was meeting with, and photography was not something she going to skimp on. It was very important. She then ragged on about the first photographer she met with, a friend of the groom who offered a "friend discount" and the price was still outrageous. She wanted an album, 2nd shooter, and video. They live in a rented second floor of an older house, and their furniture was like from the 1950s. I mention this only because her attitude about her wedding was so completely incongruous with her lifestyle.

As I was showing her one of my albums, she said she couldn't even judge the quality of my album because as she was looking at my pictures, all she could think about was the choices the bride made and how she hated every choice she made. She then pointed out my first dance picture, a lovely b&w shot of the b&g blissfully cuddling on the dance floor with a shallow DOF and his parents, slightly OOF, in the background watching them. She points out some drapes, completely OOF in the deep background, and complains about them because of the way they were hanging.

She eventually told me her greatest fear was the photographer horror stories she's heard of her friends who did not get their pictures or albums within six months or longer. She also was majorly concerned about the clause in my contract about my being ill or injured and getting another photographer to replace me. "I'd still pay full price?" she asked. I could see this bride complaining about every aspect of the photography after it was done, and wanting compensation, or writing bad reviews.

She made a comment about the other photographer she met without mentioning his name, and I said, "Oh, that's so-and-so." She asked me about him and I said he was a nice guy.

What I didn't tell her was that I met this photog because he needed someone to cover a wedding for him. He said he had a car accident, but he actually wasn't injured and I don't really believe he had an accident. He later told me he didn't want to shoot anymore, just wanted to send out associates. He never bothered telling the wedding couple that I was replacing him, so it was kinda awkward when I showed, but it all worked out well. I was warned he wasn't very good at paying, and he was not very good at staying in touch. I wanted to tell the bride that she might want to look at his Yelp reviews because they a number of his bad reviews have to do directly with her concerns. In truth, I felt they deserved each other.

I think it would be ironic if he called me to cover her wedding for him. Not that I would do it, but the thought would be funny. So... what do you do in a situation like this? Do you kiss and tell, or take the high road, knowing this bride is going for a bad ride?



Feb 14, 2013 at 04:37 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #2 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


Sounds like its not a bride you want to work with so let her make her own decisions. Karma.


Feb 14, 2013 at 05:14 PM
morby
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p.1 #3 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


She will definitely be a headache to work with, especially after the wedding. I would do all you can to not shoot that wedding. It won't be worth it.


Feb 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM
hdavid
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p.1 #4 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


I would be "booked" at this point - and say sorry.


Feb 14, 2013 at 05:21 PM
morby
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p.1 #5 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


Also, I think you handled it right by not bashing another photographer. I think it's important to either speak highly of other professionals or not say anything at all (like you did). I think that sometimes it's okay to say general things like, "make sure you choose a good DJ, because a DJ can make or break the reception", but when it comes to specific names, steer clear of being negative.


Feb 14, 2013 at 05:21 PM
kwhaley29
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p.1 #6 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


"In truth, I felt they deserved each other." <----this made me laugh.

Take the high road.



Feb 14, 2013 at 05:26 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #7 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?



Thanks, guys. This really was easy as there's no way I would have wanted to work with her. But what if she was really nice? Then would you drop a suggestion to be sure she does her research online, such as review sites? Something along those lines? Even if she (a bride I liked) didn't choose me, I'd hate to think she's going to end up with a miserable experience for her wedding.



Feb 14, 2013 at 05:32 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #8 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


sounds like a nightmare. This is not even a "red flag" situation for me...it's just a person that I would likely never want to be around.


Feb 14, 2013 at 05:36 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #9 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


and, I think you handled it very professionally...well done.


Feb 14, 2013 at 05:36 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #10 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?



thanks, Joel. The post was long enough, I didn't say everything that made it a red flag situation. She wanted compensation in there in case I didn't show up and had to send someone in my place if injured or ill. She also had an issue with paying me in full 30 days before the wedding. She mentioned others' willingness to receive the final payment when she sees the pictures. Everything all together just added up to a huge debacle that I didn't want to be a part of.

This wedding is so important to her, it's on a Saturday in late May and she doesn't even have a freakin' venue yet?



Feb 14, 2013 at 05:58 PM
 

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Nikon_14
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p.1 #11 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


friscoron wrote:
This wedding is so important to her, it's on a Saturday in late May and she doesn't even have a freakin' venue yet?


This part makes it sound even more humorous. What else is missing- the rings? The limo? Groom having 2nd thoughts? I pity the poor soul who winds up shooting for her.



Feb 14, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #12 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


I know we talk about nightmare brides a lot, and I continue to be surprised by the number of people who look for reasons to turn down business -- not that the OP was doing so here, necessarily, but some of the comments urging the OP to avoid taking the client made me chuckle.

One of my last few clients of 2012 started off this way -- similar tone about worries, groom absent, strange vibes from the bride, mom figuring prominently, some demands that were a challenge to meet -- but they turned out to be some of my favorite folks of the year, and were very conscientious about payment.

I agree that it's best not to bash other industry professionals (though I would do nothing to encourage a client to use someone I know to be unreliable). But I think that we as a group are too quick to "red-flag" clients who instead we might simply view as puzzles to figure out.



Feb 14, 2013 at 08:35 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #13 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


it sounds to me they don't even have the right to start booking vendors if they don't have a venue yet, I won't accept a contract from anyone who doesn't have a venue booked


Feb 14, 2013 at 09:10 PM
morby
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p.1 #14 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


Ian Ivey wrote:
I know we talk about nightmare brides a lot, and I continue to be surprised by the number of people who look for reasons to turn down business -- not that the OP was doing so here, necessarily, but some of the comments urging the OP to avoid taking the client made me chuckle.

One of my last few clients of 2012 started off this way -- similar tone about worries, groom absent, strange vibes from the bride, mom figuring prominently, some demands that were a challenge to meet -- but they turned out to be some of my
...Show more

Good points Ian! I agree that I would never straight up turn someone down, but I've experienced that some brides are really difficult to work with, and I'd prefer working with brides that are easier. I've also had your experience where the meeting was rough, but the wedding ended up being awesome! For the most part I can't control who books me, but there are certain things I can do to try and lessen the possibility of bookings, such as follow ups, discounts, the way I respond to an email, etc.

That being said, I would only do that during certain months when I know that my calendar is going to fill up (mainly Spring, Fall and Summer) or if I'm at a comfortable amount of bookings for the year already.

A recent example was a bride that wasn't gelling with my style, was questioning my pricing and was having a type of wedding that I knew wouldn't yield great pictures or be enjoyable for me to shoot. After the meeting ended I left it up to her to contact me and she did only once to ask for a discount. I responded by saying I was unable to discount my price for her and I haven't heard from her since (that was about 3 weeks ago). The wedding is in April and the date is still open, but I'm comfortable with my bookings and would rather spend that day with my family (even though extra money would be nice).

On the other hand there are brides and weddings that I really want to photograph and I will do what I can (within reason) to work with them because I know it will be a great experience.

Sorry for the long response!



Feb 14, 2013 at 09:16 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #15 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?



Trust me, I didn't turn her away, and we followed up with her like we normally do. No response. But I know this one isn't just going to be a handful, she's going to be a nightmare.

But for me, the real question is how I would have handled it if it was a bride I really liked. I think I would have encouraged her to check out Yelp.



Feb 14, 2013 at 09:47 PM
morganb4
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p.1 #16 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


sherijohnson wrote:
it sounds to me they don't even have the right to start booking vendors if they don't have a venue yet, I won't accept a contract from anyone who doesn't have a venue booked


Why, just curious...?



Feb 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Corojo
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p.1 #17 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


drop back 3 & punt.


Feb 15, 2013 at 01:17 AM
truehuss
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p.1 #18 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


friscoron wrote:
Trust me, I didn't turn her away, and we followed up with her like we normally do. .


Your brave to have even done that. She seems to be a personality that will nit pick about the tiniest thing being wrong in a photo versus whats great about it. I wouldnt follow up again and if by chance she does come into play I'd be "booked".




Feb 15, 2013 at 02:52 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #19 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


truehuss wrote:
I wouldnt follow up again


Agreed: I wouldn't have followed up. Why follow up when you know you don't want the job. That's only encouraging things.



Feb 15, 2013 at 03:29 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #20 · Bridezilla -- Did I handle right?


D. Diggler wrote:
Agreed: I wouldn't have followed up. Why follow up when you know you don't want the job. That's only encouraging things.


She asked for some info, it would have seemed rude to just not provide it.



Feb 15, 2013 at 04:11 AM
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