What Happens When Clients Aren’t Happy?

Business

Dear Jasmine,
I may sound like a total rookie for coming to you, but I got rocked pretty hard after reading an email from a client that I shot their wedding a year ago that they don’t like their photos. They tried to soften the blow and tell me that they love me and love my work, but the photos didn’t have the quality they were used to. I’m super confused because they kept on saying how much they loved their photos with every sneak peek and their blog post. I’m trying to process why this is hurting me so much.
Wondering if you’ve had this happening to you and how you dealt with it that made sense to you and the client.
Sincerely,
Sucker Punched

Dear Punched,
Okay, so here’s what I need you to do: stop, take a step back, take five DEEP breaths with your eyes closed.
No, really. Do that *right* now.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s be real: are they just now coming to you after a year from their wedding? I’m wondering what took them so long. Expressing displeasure a year after their wedding just feels off to me. Not that their feelings aren’t substantiated, but–rather–it feels like passive malcontent. Which isn’t the same as outright dissatisfaction. But let’s dive a little more into your email…

They tried to soften the blow and tell me that they love me and love my work, but the photos didn’t have the quality they were used to.
A client is free to have her opinion. Really.
But it’s important for you to carefully weigh your efforts against her expectation. If the client expected something, and you didn’t deliver (despite your best efforts on the wedding day) then there’s nothing you can do. If you believe you shot the same way you shot many other weddings last year (and you felt you produced great work), then you must let it go.

Yes, it hurts. Obviously. We want all our clients to love our work and creative eye. But if your clients were expecting something that didn’t live up to their imagination or hopes for the day, that’s not your fault. Know this.

I’m trying to process why this is hurting me so much.
If you think you didn’t do as good of a job as you normally do, then you may be grappling with the gravity of the truth. Truth sometimes hurts. If you think you did a great job, then you’re grappling with someone criticizing you. Both of these options are hurtful. But, I promise, it’ll make you grow.

If the situation is affecting you, or you believe you could have done better, or you’d like to amend the client’s feelings towards the photos, offer to reshoot their bridal photos. Perhaps this will make them happier. If not, simply try to hear them out, then move on…determined to approach every wedding with your commitment to quality and art.

Shine On,
j*