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How to Handle Unrealistic Wedding Photography Clients

Infographic - How to handle unrealistic wedding photography clients

Your wedding photography business is not just your livelihood, it’s also your creative outlet. And your job is awesome. You get to take beautiful photos, be witness to life-changing moments, explore different destinations, and build lasting relationships. But there are some aspects – like working with unrealistic wedding clients – that could easily have the potential to turn your dream job into an unpleasant experience. From setting unreasonable deadlines to making impractical Photoshop requests, situations like these can turn even the simplest of weddings into a monumental assignment. In this blog, we offer some tips that will allow you to handle unrealistic wedding clients smoothly and successfully.

Top Tips to Help You Handle Unrealistic Wedding Photography Clients

1. Get to Know Your Potential Clients Beforehand

Infographic - Spend time getting to know your clients

Before you sign a contract with a couple to be their wedding photographer, get to know them. Communicate via emails or phone calls or invite them to a face to face meeting. Discuss who they are as a couple, get to know their story, and then ask them what they expect from you as their wedding photographer or from wedding photography in general. This way, if you sense that they are potentially a couple with unrealistic expectations at this initial stage, politely decline to be their photographer. Alternatively, you could also ask them to fill out a wedding photography questionnaire, which would also help you get an idea of what they expect from you. Remember to trust your instincts in this case, but also make sure you are making an informed decision that won’t lead to any significant setbacks for your business.

2. Be Clear About What You Can & Can’t Do

Infographic - Be clear in your communication about what you can and can't do

Try to keep discussions with your clients clear right from the beginning. Whether it’s about what services are included in a certain package or the number of hours you will be dedicating to their wedding, try to ensure that your clients are on the same page as you. A difficult wedding photography client may put forward demands that you can’t possibly fulfill, such as setting unrealistic deadlines or demanding deliverables that you don’t offer. So, to avoid any future problems, let them know what you can and can’t do for them. This will help unreasonable wedding photography clients set their expectations accordingly. 

3. Use Your Contract to Deal With Unrealistic Wedding Photography Clients

If your couple starts setting unrealistic expectations once you’ve agreed to be their wedding photographer, then turn to your contract to remind them what they’ve signed up for. Your contract legally binds your client to accept all your terms and conditions and is a great source of truth if questions come up, so be sure to have a contract and keep all your wedding photography paperwork updated. Seek legal advice while drafting your contract and include policies that protect you from the trouble of dealing with unrealistic wedding clients. Don’t forget to include clauses about the timeline of deliverables, your services and additional products, and your fee. Always advise your couples to go through the contract carefully before signing. 

Suggested read: The Ultimate Guide To Wedding Photography Contracts

4. It’s OK to Say No

Infographic - It's ok to say no or we're not a good fit

Whether you are at the stage where you are just connecting with your clients for the first time or have already agreed to be their wedding photographer, being OK with saying no to unrealistic wedding photography clients will benefit you in the long run. However, stick to being professional in this situation as well. Saying no does not mean you throw caution to the wind and forget about etiquette. Stay calm and be kind even when you are trying to explain why their ideas may be unreasonable. However, if you are still in the initial phase of getting to know your client, and they raise red flags for you, then you might want to consider the option of not taking them on as clients at all. This will save you time and also give you a chance to book other couples who might be more aligned with what you have to offer. 

5. Share Your Perspective

We know that it can get difficult to deal with unrealistic wedding photography clients, but you could still use your experience and skills to get them to trust you as a professional. You have invaluable experience that can help guide your clients away from unreasonable, and into more reasonable, territory. Your couples may not think that they are asking for too much until you share your perspective with them, so sometimes all it takes is an honest conversation about what you know will work, or work better, than what they are asking for to help them see more clearly.

Stay Professional With Unrealistic Wedding Photography Clients

Infographic - In any situation stay the course, be patient and kind

If you are currently dealing with a difficult client, remember to still hold onto your professionalism and navigate the situation with patience. Your job requires you to deal with all kinds of people, and unfortunately, sometimes those people might turn out to be unrealistic wedding photography clients. So, in case you are already too far along the process to bow out, then try to gain your couple’s trust by assuring them that your suggestions are more realistic than what they had envisioned but will still be incredible. If this doesn’t work, then you may want to consider drawing a line and have a serious discussion about why you can’t meet their unrealistic expectations and just say no. If problems do arise after both parties have started working together, use your contract to remind your clients about what they have agreed to.

Further read: Wedding Photography Liability Insurance Explained

At ShootDotEdit, we aim to help wedding photographers navigate through tricky situations that might arise with clients. We can also help lessen your workload by doing the editing for you. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our price plans.

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