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Retoucher
Alejandro Crespo
Posts: 108
Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Bolivia


Lovely Day Media wrote:

I find that people in general aren't honest.  Part of the dishonesty is them being afraid to say how they feel because it's not politically correct.  Most of their dishonesty comes from them not being in touch with what they're feeling and/or why. If they know what they're feeling, they don't know why or can't put it into clear and concise enough words so they don't feel like an idiot saying it.

  It's easier for them to just deal with someone else so they don't have to say what they feel or why.  It took me eons to figure this out.  Since I did, when it happens, I chalk it up to their being whatever it is they are ... stupid, ignorant, afraid or otherwise.  If they want to pay more for less because they're afraid to say "I'm not available on Friday but I am available on Monday", well, I'd love to have their money but I can't exactly grab them by the ankles and shake them upside down.

  I recently discovered that one of my clients now uses someone else's inferior services (their words) because they go to the same church and their pastor said they should patronize each other's businesses before seeking out someone outside the church.  It boggles my mind a bit as to why a person would pay more for less just because their pastor says they "should", but again, it's their money.

  In my case, it's not about the money.  It's about them satisfying their feelings.  That's the case a lot of the time.  I don't know what the problem is in 100% of your (the OP) case, but I can almost 100% guarantee it's not worth giving up your photography business.  You may have to change your focus (no pun intended) or find a different type of client but I think giving up is the last thing you should do.

Thanks! big_smile. I always had some intuitive thoughts about this, but you made me clarify that and solve part of this puzzle smile.

Feb 26 13 06:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ArtisticGlamour
Posts: 3,846
Phoenix, Arizona, US


Patrickth wrote:
My brother hates people, he has become a highly successful long haul truck driver.

Before that, he was in his own back yard and the cops sent a police dog after him.  He bit the dog, got arrested and sent to anger management.

LOL! That's a classic! wink I can totally relate.

Feb 26 13 06:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SG-4 Photography
Posts: 119
Washington, District of Columbia, US


So. You don't like dealing with bs.  And you don't like dealing with rude people.  But you are just as pleased as punch to deal with nice people.  Hmm.  And you are thinking of quitting the business because of it. 

The only reason you should quit the business is because you not love the work. 

Nobody likes dealing with rude a-holes.  But they exist and they have to be managed. 

I totally understand wanting an in person before I commit my hard earned money to a shoot.  And I totally understand your not wanting to meet in person.  Well.  Obviously you two were not meant to work together.  You did not bend to her will and she did not bend to yours.  You were being a bit of a diva. Which is okay, but you have to take what comes with it. 

You could just as easily have chalked it up to stranger anxiety and met in a public place with your book.  But that's not how you do coz you're the professional, gosh darn it.  But people don't like divas who are not given to customer service and think they are doing you a favor just by consenting to dealing with you.

Just like you don't like rude people who are steeped in bs.
Feb 26 13 07:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Karasev Studio
Posts: 125
New York, New York, US


SPierce Photography wrote:

How do you expect to get business- and have people be comfortable with you, if you don't want to meet them in person first? Does it *really* cost you THAT much time to have a pre shoot meeting with them? I do pre meetings all the time for my business- and everyone loves it. Could you not have said "Ok, we'll meet at this time- bring your stuff in case you'd like to do the shoot directly afterwards" and so on.

You have to remember, people aren't just booking you for your work. They're booking you because they like YOU. If you aren't going to be able to be personable (being personable and sucking up are two different things) then you shouldn't be shooting what you're shooting. Try something different- but no matter what you shoot, you're going to have to deal with people. It's a fact of life.

It sounds like you really do need to step back and take a long-term break, and maybe try something else. It sounds like you're giving a lot, but expecting a lot back- which in this world you don't always get. Never do pro bono work you don't enjoy, and never expect to get paid work from Pro Bono work. Once you give something for free, they're always going to see you as someone who will work for free. Do pro bono work you enjoy, and love, and that's personally worth it to you... but dont' expect anything out of it.

+1

Many clients aren't inherently comfortable in front of the big black camera, they think they don't look good (part of their justification sometimes to invest in having a photo taken professionally), and importantly they AREN'T COMFORTABLE SPELLING OUT WHAT IT IS THEY AREN'T COMFORTABLE ABOUT.

It is understandable for a client to want to become comfortable with the place and the person and their work. If you do not have your book, could you have said "I don't have the book but I'll be happy to show my work on my computer, plus here's my web site - what style do you think you'd like to go for?" "I won't show you my book because it's somewhere else" plus no alternative, to a person who is trying to choose the right photographer, sounds like a negative, regardless of how things are from your perspective.

Some clients are shitty and try to screw you out of your money or image rights; other clients bring kids who topple your light stands and throw toys at your coffee table denting it - or damage your props.

Photography proper is perhaps 10% of the photography business.

Feb 26 13 01:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Julia Gerace
Posts: 1,889
Monroe, Connecticut, US


Karasev Studio wrote:

+1

Many clients aren't inherently comfortable in front of the big black camera, they think they don't look good (part of their justification sometimes to invest in having a photo taken professionally), and importantly they AREN'T COMFORTABLE SPELLING OUT WHAT IT IS THEY AREN'T COMFORTABLE ABOUT.

It is understandable for a client to want to become comfortable with the place and the person and their work. If you do not have your book, could you have said "I don't have the book but I'll be happy to show my work on my computer, plus here's my web site - what style do you think you'd like to go for?" "I won't show you my book because it's somewhere else" plus no alternative, to a person who is trying to choose the right photographer, sounds like a negative, regardless of how things are from your perspective.

Some clients are shitty and try to screw you out of your money or image rights; other clients bring kids who topple your light stands and throw toys at your coffee table denting it - or damage your props.

Photography proper is perhaps 10% of the photography business.

I did offer her three other websites to see my work, as well as two other dates to meet her at the studio to see where I work and even more samples of my work and/or for coffee - however, she would not bend even the littlest bit...

and we're not shooting nudes here, this was a headshot... of a veteran actor... who should know how to verbalize what they are looking for...

Feb 26 13 06:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
-Koa-
Posts: 5,250
Castaner, Puerto Rico, US


Rule #1
Most customers feel they are doing you the favor. With that in mind, you need to do everything they want, the way they want or they will go somewhere else.

Ok, customers are "sort" of doing you a favor by giving you their business. BUT! There is a line and many cross it.

Example: An elderly couple hires me to do their 50th wedding anniversary. Church, priest and reception. Basically, a wedding. At the church, just a few minutes before the ceremony, a limo drives up and a girl gets out. I am approached by one of the family members and informed, "We decided to add a Quinceanera to the anniversary as well". BOOM!!!!

Example: Couple, family on my brothers wifes side, asks me to do a Quinceanera. For $35. WTF!? So, for my brother, I tell them $75. They say they will have to think about it. I give them my contract and gtell them to look it over if they change their mind. EIGHT MONTHS LATER...my mother casually tells me, "So are you looking forward to shooting the Quinceanera for so and so? What? Well, they are telling everyone you are their photographer. Since F'n when, they NEVER GOT BACK WITH ME! A shit storm ensued that day and I was getting calls from all over. Fine, I'll do the Quinceanera...for $350.00. Another shit storm ensued, I held my ground and they backed off. The daughter ran off with a 20+ something guy the next year (she was 16).

I have tons of stories like these. Needless to say, I no longer do portraits, weddings, quinceaneras or any other general photography. Ok, I lied. I did the sixth grade portraits last year pus I provided photo mugs of the entire class for their graduation. But only because my son was in their class and the class president begged me to do it (they major screwed up and had nowhere else to go at such notice). That was the exception to the rule.

Like the OP, I just decided to walk away from caustic customers. Some customers were nice. SOME! Most, however, OMG.

So, I turned my sights to what I do now.  I interact with models and I am happy. No problems...yet (except for flakes). No biggie.

Suggestion: Find something you like to doing in photography that reduces your contact with caustic customers.

That, or simply qualify your customers better.

-Koa-
www.borikenwarrior.com
www.facebook.com/borikenwarriorstudiosmodels
Feb 26 13 08:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
A G P
Posts: 75
Orem, Utah, US


My four thoughts:

1. The grass is rarely greener on the other side. People like you are describing are pretty much in every job sphere you can imagine. Giving up on photography to only take another job that might be worse could be a monstrous mistake.

2. Giving up the last 7-8 years of your life experience and expertise because some people are obnoxious would be madness on your part.

3. It sounds like you need a good vacation. Burnout is real.

4. I agree with those saying hire someone to help. It sounds like you need a good people person who can close contracts and handle the crazies that pop out of the woodwork. If you find the right person you should be able to offset the extra cost by their landing and retaining more clients.
Feb 27 13 04:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Wayne Stevenson
Posts: 93
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Based on your first posts, you are definitely making it hard for people to do business with you. You can't do this line of work, AND avoid people until the day you do the job.

If a customer wants to meet you before they make up their mind that they want to hire you for a job, do it. Or someone else who wants their business will. As you have found out.
Feb 27 13 06:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jhono Bashian
Posts: 2,427
Cleveland, Ohio, US


Julia Gerace wrote:
Ok -- I've been on this forum probably since I started photography or close to it...

I've been in business about 7 or 8 years - it's slow but steady growing and I love what I do..

The problem is that I don't love people.

I love creatiing images for people, I love having people in my studio.. but I just don't like dealing with the bs that you get from some people before you even meet them or the bs you get from them afterwards... 

Have any of you closed your doors because it's probably not the business, it's you?

And you wonder why the BBB gave MM an "F"

http://www.la.bbb.org/business-reviews/ … -100089378

Feb 27 13 06:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Julia Gerace
Posts: 1,889
Monroe, Connecticut, US


Wayne Stevenson wrote:
Based on your first posts, you are definitely making it hard for people to do business with you. You can't do this line of work, AND avoid people until the day you do the job.

If a customer wants to meet you before they make up their mind that they want to hire you for a job, do it. Or someone else who wants their business will. As you have found out.

As I have previously mentioned at least twice now, I did give her plenty of places to view my work as well as two other times that I would meet with her in person after I knew that she had to meet up. 

The fact that she refused to engage in any type of conversation prior to meeting me and also would not change her date to meet me to match with what I had available is also a red flag that she indeed would be a pain in the ass client.

As I've also mentioned, I have met with clients prior and it has confirmed to be a waste of time because 100% of them have regretted not booking right off the bat that is a testament to how comfortable they felt and how confident and friendly I came across...at this point, I do pre-consultations over the phone and most people tend to talk with me for a good 30-45 minutes...

I will thank everyone again who was thoughtful in their replies and inboxed me... however if at this point you're only thought is to call me a bitch diva with no consideration for my clients then you're really just looking to stand out....

thanks again to the cool people!

Feb 27 13 01:25 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 20,614
New York, New York, US


Julia Gerace wrote:
As I have previously mentioned at least twice now, I did give her plenty of places to view my work as well as two other times that I would meet with her in person after I knew that she had to meet up. 

The fact that she refused to engage in any type of conversation prior to meeting me and also would not change her date to meet me to match with what I had available is also a red flag that she indeed would be a pain in the ass client.

As I've also mentioned, I have met with clients prior and it has confirmed to be a waste of time because 100% of them have regretted not booking right off the bat that is a testament to how comfortable they felt and how confident and friendly I came across...at this point, I do pre-consultations over the phone and most people tend to talk with me for a good 30-45 minutes...

I will thank everyone again who was thoughtful in their replies and inboxed me... however if at this point you're only thought is to call me a bitch diva with no consideration for my clients then you're really just looking to stand out....

thanks again to the cool people!

If you booked the job, it wasn't a waste of time.  You need to stop seeing a sales call as a waste of time, instead your time spent marketing your brand and selling sessions should be built into your fee schedule. 

In my business plenty of people already know they're going to hire me, but the want to meet with me first anyway - to kick the tires so to speak.  I know this going in and account for it in my fees.  It's not that they're looking for a reason to hire me at this point, but rather, they're often looking to see if there is a reason not to hire me.  Like you, I win most of the jobs I bid for, not all of them, certainly, but most.

That's pretty damn good.  If you're doing the same, and it sounds like you are, you should be happy with your conversion rate, not bemoaning the fact that you might actually have to spend a bit of time doing one on one sales.  Be proud!  Just adjust your prices a bit to reflect your time spent doing sales work.

When I have a client I know is going to be a complete pain in the ass and require a lot of hand-holding, I quote an outrageous fee.  If I chase them away with it, I'm happy to be rid of them.  If they pay it, well, it's enough to *almost* make it worthwhile.

Feb 27 13 01:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Connor Photography
Posts: 6,133
Elkton, Maryland, US


Julia Gerace wrote:
thank you all for the great replies!

to clear up a little: 

I do have good policies and how I run sessions but, you're right, I will waffle..

I don't have a problem with people not showing up - most people are on time, prepared, ready to go.... it's the 5% that don't follow the policies that create issues...

I do a very nice pre-consultation on the phone, though some clients are pretty satisified with just online talking and that's o.k too....  I have met with clients in the past but when they see the studio and meet me, they always say, I just wish I scheduled - so it's kind of a waste of time...  With this one person mentioned above, I really tried to be open for her to ask her concerns etc etc and the fact that she couldn't express it over the email or on the phone, to me, is a red flag that this might indeed be an extremely high maintenance type of person -  and I did give her three other times that I could meet up with her, I just couldn't do that particular morning because of a dentist appointment...

l think I have good policies in place - everything is there for a reason and I feel pretty confident.... am I unwilling to bend? no..  but I don't give out a disk and that has been a deal breaker for a couple of agencies...(and, yes, a disk of all the hi-res images from a session - and the proofs are online, it's not like they couldn't even cull through and pick their top whatever - no, they want all 200)

this is where I know I'm the problem....   I feel good about what I've set up for myself - I feel it's fair to the clients, I feel it's good all around... I get sooooo frustrated when people push me past what I'm offering... they want more and they want what they want... hey, I understand that, I really do....but I have to draw the line and a lot of problems start with that...

and, also.. I really do love doing things for my clients -- I have no problem doing the odd session because of some family crisis, I have no problem throwing in extra wallets if I know they want more, I have no problem rushing a job if I can do it I will...

I let the minority of clients get to me and throw my whole game off...and then I'm just super stressed...

My lease is done in June and I really think I'd either like to stop altogether or downsize to a smaller studio with much lower overhead and only take on what I want...

I am just truly so tired right now...

I think you just need some hugs, good sex, and a vacation, you will be fine. tongue

1.  Don't scale back.  If you are doing OK now with the business wise, work a bit hard to hire someone to handle the client relation.  She doesn't have to be very expensive.  Train her.

2.   Remove yourself emotionally when dealing with clients.  Don't take it personally. It is business decision and stick with it. 

3.  Learn how to say NO, with a smile.  You can say: I will consider it for your next order. 

4.  Stand up , you will get used to this.  big_smile

Feb 27 13 02:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jim McSmith
Posts: 635
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom


It goes with the territory. If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen!
Feb 27 13 04:10 pm  Link  Quote 
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