While your wedding photography business is all about being picture-perfect, sometimes, even the smallest imperfection could turn out to be a challenge, like when you receive a bad review from a couple. There are various reasons you might receive bad reviews, sometimes valid, and sometimes because of something that was not in your control. Here are some steps you can take to avoid or handle receiving a bad review from a bride.
Ways to Avoid Bad Reviews From a Bride
Your couples are expecting a lot from you on their wedding day, so if something goes wrong having to do with photography on the day, it might seem logical for them to blame you for the issues. However, before it even gets to that point, here are some things you can do to avoid being in a situation that would result in a bad review from a bride.
1. Do Your Homework
Once a couple hires you to be their wedding photographer, your next step would be to try to get to know their vision for the wedding. When you know what they are looking for, there are fewer chances of disappointing them or missing a step. Most couples will have ideas about how, what, and whom they’d like photographed at the wedding. Meet with them or send a questionnaire to get to know them if meeting in person is not an option. You could also consult with them while finalizing your shot list to lower the possibility of missing something with the family photos.
Suggested Read: A Wedding Photographer’s Checklist For Reception Photos
2. Have a Wedding Photography Contract
Certain challenges with your couples can be avoided if you have a contract that protects you. A detailed and solid contract signed by both parties will be legal proof of the agreement that you and your couple agreed to when deciding to work together. A contract that protects you when your client fails to stick to the terms or when you fail to stick to the terms is ideal in this situation.
If you are the kind of person who prepares ahead, you could discuss various scenarios that could lead to a bad review from a bride and consult with a legal professional about drafting related clauses in your contract that would protect you. If you are unsure about what your contract could include, TheLawTog could offer some help. Having legal professionals to consult could also be helpful if you receive a bad review from a bride and need to take legal action especially if the nature of the bad review is defamatory.
3. Document Everything
Whether you do it yourself or get someone else on your team to do so, get all agreements with your couples (even outside of the contract) put into writing. This is not just a good practice for maintaining records, but this also documents all your discussions and deliverables. Try to keep it as detailed as possible, and you could even ask your couples to sign these kinds of documents for that extra assurance.
If you are having difficult client discussions over the phone, you could record the calls – with their permission – or send a follow-up email with the points discussed after the call. This way, if you ever find yourself in a situation where a couple is giving you a bad review or is threatening to take any legal action against you, you have documents to support your case.
4. Own Your Mistakes
The best way to handle a bad review from a bride if you are at fault is to come clean and own up to your mistake. Couples will most likely appreciate your honesty and maybe even change their perspective. Rather than arguing with them and letting things get worse, handle the situation like a professional and find ways to make it up to them. Try to avoid taking this personally and use empathy as your tool. Going into defense mode is a common reflex but can be counterproductive, so try instead to understand how your clients feel. If the error was out of your control, try to get everyone to be calm before you say your part. The key is to have your lines of communication open.
5. Offer Solutions
Don’t give up. If a bride is threatening you with a bad review, try finding solutions you can offer. If possible, offer to photograph things you missed again. This might not be an option if you missed out on something that cannot be repeated or staged, but could be feasible in some instances. This will show them that not only are you willing to correct your mistakes, you are also ready to make an effort to right the wrong. If a re-shoot is not possible, consider giving them free prints or offering a free session. Make a list of things you can offer and discuss how your couple would like to take it forward.
Suggested Read: 10 Must-Have Detail Photos For Every Wedding
A Bride Has Given You a Bad Review – Now What?
1. Request Removal of the Review
If you have already got a bad review from a bride, you could try contacting the bride to see if she would reconsider her decision and words. It might be just a bad review for her, but it could be a huge blow for your business, so try to explain how just one bad review could cost you so much. As we said above, to make up for the mistakes, you could also offer something free of cost. But try not to pester her as that might make the situation worse. Calmly explaining why her reconsideration is important to you might help her understand the impact of her bad review.
2. Bury or Dispute the Bad Review
Deleting a bad review may not be an option, but you could make it disappear from the top few reviews. Dig deep into your testimonial archives and start using them or sharing excerpts to push the negative review away from the top. If you don’t have any testimonial material left, re-use excerpts from your old testimonials. Reach out to your past couples and request a good review. Besides getting more positive reviews, you could also dispute the bad review from a bride depending on where it showed up. You will probably have to show documentation for your dispute, and that is why documenting everything is your best bet to stay protected.
Suggested Read: How To Ask Your Clients For Reviews
Stay Professional & Carefully Consider Your Actions
A bad review may hurt, and you might lose potential clients from it, but staying professional and calm will help you navigate this situation. If a bride gives you a bad review, try to understand her perspective. If it is your fault, then offering some solutions might help. Try to show her that you are committed to improving and want to undo what you did as well. If the situation was not in your control, you could still reach out to your couple to explain and apologize.
While you could take several precautions to avoid getting threatened with bad reviews, sometimes they might not work. If you do end up receiving a bad review from a bride, you could still work your way around it. In the end, remember to learn from your mistakes and communicate with your couples. Keeping them in the loop, and being honest with them, could make all the difference.
At ShootDotEdit, we understand that you might need some help navigating challenging situations with clients. Therefore, we offer you guidance on how you can do that seamlessly with blogs like this one. We also help wedding photographers with all their editing work. To see how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our price plans.