What is the Best Way for Photographers to Handle Demanding Clients?

Andrew Cussens

AS SEEN IN

Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute
The temperament of the client can make a photo session better or worse. What are the best tips for photographers to deal with clients who are more difficult? Some fellow photogs shared the methods they use to help the session run smoothly. Keep reading to find out what those suggestions are.
Brad Filliponi

Brad Filliponi

Professional real estate photographer and co-founder of BoxBrownie.com

Keep Cool and Communicate Well

Listen carefully to the client’s concerns. Be clear about how you work and what they can expect. Show them your past work to build trust. When issues pop up, stay patient and focus on solutions. Instead of getting defensive, work together to find fixes that match their vision. Flexibility and genuinely wanting to meet their needs helps build a good relationship. By staying open, tackling concerns head-on, and proving your skills, you can handle demanding clients smoothly and make sure everyone’s happy with the results.

Mastering Client Temperaments

The best way for photographers to handle demanding clients is mastering the array of client temperaments. Clear communication and precise expectation management form the cornerstone for managing even the most exacting individuals.

Just in the previous quarter (having interacted with over 100 unique clients, 20% bearing high specific demands), the strategy that emerged triumphant involved engaging them in exhaustive pre-shoot consultations: we delineated every step ahead, attuned ourselves to their particular requisites, and established plausible outcomes. This approach, fostering a relationship where clients feel heard and understood, decreased post-shoot dissatisfaction by roughly 30% compared to previous quarters. It minimizes friction during the creative process.

Andrew Cussens

Andrew Cussens

Owner of Film Folk
William Don Orkoskey

William Don Orkoskey

Owner of WDO Photography

Confidence And Clarity

The best way to deal with demanding people, aside from trying to avoid them altogether, is to be firm and insist on maintaining your boundaries. Don’t apologize for setting your boundaries. Never allow them to make you feel small or that your other priorities are less important. I encourage everyone to include a clause in their contracts that if an agreement cannot be reached, they agree to arbitration and to pay all fees related to arbitration. If you encounter a client who refuses to be reasonable, remind them of this clause in your contract. Chances are they will not want to pay for arbitration and will back off with their demands.

I tell anyone I’m training who plans to work as a photographer to make everything clear up front, use contracts, set expectations, and be as transparent as possible. Ask the client what they like about your style. If they don’t know, make sure they understand your style. Use a price sheet so your clients know what everything costs. Avoid disappointing clients as much as possible from the start. You’ll have an easier time weeding out the complex people. You’ll know they’re difficult when they begin asking you to do things that counter what you just discussed.

Remember, stand firm. If they get you to budge, they will feel like they can bully you later. You’re worth what you’ve told them, your time is valuable, your work is good, and if they disagree, they can go elsewhere, which will make your life a lot easier in the process.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.

Why Networking with Other Businesses is a Must for Photographers

The business world loves the term networking. While it can be thrown around as a buzzword, when you break it down, it simply means making connections and building relationships. While networking is a part of many jobs, it is essential for professional photographers...

The Portrait Photographer’s Guide to Keeping Up With Trends

Who remembers the boom of selective coloring in the early 2000s? Everywhere you looked, you'd see black and white images but for a pop of red in the subject's shoes or a vivid, bright bouquet colored by hand with colored pencils. Trends come and go in all creative...