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How to Politely Say NO to Shooting a Wedding

April 3, 2013 - Business, How To, Photography

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Dear Jasmine,
I agreed to shoot an acquaintance's wedding recently, it's a destination wedding in Florida (I'm from MN). I confirmed via email that I would offer her a very good deal on the photography in order to build my portfolio. We discussed she would pay for my flight and she offered to get me a room with her mom. I didn't want to stay with her mom, so I said I'd pay for my own hotel and requested the travel dates be Friday-Sunday. Now she is asking the travel dates be open ended, and I just feel if it's open ended and I have to take work off, I'm also losing my personal time at work that I have earned and not being compensated for that extra time from her.

All in all, I'm realizing this photography opportunity is a bad idea for me and I'd be losing a lot more than I'd be gaining. No contracts have been signed. How do you get out of something you realize is not good for you? Or do you just suck it up and do it since we already discussed some of it and the terms via email?

Thanks,
From Opportunity to Overwhelmed

Dear O to O,
It was close to a panic attack. Heck, maybe it was a panic attack. All I remember doing was leaning on the bathroom sink sucking in large breaths that didn't seem to suffice. I, too, needed to tell a client I wasn't a fit for her wedding. It was my first year of business and I thought it would be the end of me. Certainly this bride would yell from roof tops about what a horrible person I was and smear my name. That's what I feared would happened.

But like most imagined scenarios in my mind, it didn't come to pass.

I have no doubt you're fearing the worst at this moment and though it'll be a very uncomfortable situation, you're still in the negotiation portion of your agreement. Legally, you aren't responsible because a contract has not been signed, services not rendered, and zero payments received…at this point, there isn't even a solid wedding date. In light of these factors, I'd encourage you to simply be honest.

The hardest part about honesty is that it's hard. It's an awkward conversation where you show your cards and walk away from the table. You need to have a conversation explaining that due to you paying for your own room, the lack of wedding date, and the possibility of it being a weekday wedding, it's no longer a wedding you're able to photograph.

However, this isn't enough. Go the extra mile and do some work for her. Two things in particular:
1. Find a list of alternate wedding photographers in Florida.
Connect with photographers in the area of Florida she's marrying (you can find a ton of help and referrals on the Restart Facebook Group) and send her a list of referrals within her budget. She'll save on flight and hotel, so it'll ease the frustration she will feel when you tell her you're unavailable.
2. Have your new requirements ready.
If the bride is set on having you as her wedding photographer (which is understandable and something you need to be very sensitive to), be sure to have your list of requirements ready in order to preemptively answer her questions. Would you be willing to shoot the wedding if she were to, say, cover your hotel room? Guarantee a Saturday wedding? Pay you a little more? There has be explainable reasons for your change of mind and you need to be candid as you explain your point of view.

Please know you'll likely ruffle feathers, but if you're already this dissatisfied before the contract has even been signed, chances are both parties will be left unhappy in the end. It's a tough conversation to have, but I know you'll find a way to ensure she's well taken care of…by you or another wedding photographer.

Stay Fabulous,
j*

To read more Dear Jasmine posts, feel free to click HERE.

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FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER

Life is about to get a whole lot easier.  

Desperate for change, I created a Productivity Planner to help streamline my workflow and I kissed stress goodbye. 

[With cherry flavored chapstick.]  

FREE INSTAGRAM GUIDE

Oh, friend, it's time to start growing your business on Instagram.
  
Sign up to receive a free Instagram marketing guide, helpful tips, and free stock photos you can use for your business.  

It’s basically an Instanote sent to your inbox to help push you toward your social goals and help grow your following.

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You're busy, pulled in lots of directions, and trying to run a business. 

In addition to all this, you know you should be posting on social media, so how do you balance it all? 

I'm dedicated to your success, so download five free stock photos to use online...I hope this empowers you to attract dream customers along the way!

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