Help with unreasonable portrait client

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by acedigital, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. I have a question regarding an unhappy portrait client. She has some issues (personal and with her plastic surgery) and I knew she was going to be a tough customer.
    She was referred by a friend who did warn me, but I did the best I could and the photos came out pretty well, I have had another photog look at them and agree there are some good ones.
    I travelled 3 hrs (rt) and spent 3 hrs with her (listening to her whine about her plastic surgery also), hates her smile, etc.
    Anyway she liked many shots that I previewed with her day of the shoot, but when she saw them full screen shes unhappy with her looks (wanted to look the way she did BEFORE surgery oh well).
    She paid me $200 and now wants a refund cause shes unhappy.
    I feel like i spent way more time than paid for, I should just cash the check and send her a CD.
    She needs a good shrink not a better photographer.
    I used Portrait Pro to clean up a few images to remove wrinkles etc and she did NOT want me to do that, she said she should look good based on all the work she has had done etc.
    So the issue is really NOT about the photos, its her and her issues.
    How would you all recommend I proceed, do I give her any money back?
    I am gonna wait a few days and see if she cools off and sees things any clearer.
    Thanks for your advice.
  2. [Link deleted by moderator]
  3. As McCoy might say, 'damn it Jim, I'm a photographer, not a magician"
    You delivered a good set of images and fulfilled your contract. It's not your fault the surgeon didn't do a great job nor are you a shrink. On some level, I think her desire for money back is desire for tacit acknowledgment that her surgery didn't meet her dreams.
  4. Mark,
    Run away from this one like an Olympic sprinter!
    Immediately record all correspondence in paper form (no emails as they can be altered) and have it on file with your attorney or in a lock box at your bank. Write down your recollections of everything that has happened up until now and keep that with the rest of the documentation. Keep copies of all checks either way. Refund her money NOW so you are behaving in a timely way and keep a hard copy of the proofs in case you are ever challenged. Be sure you have current contact info on the friend who warned you and make notes on the complaints the client said about her surgeon.
    This woman is running scared from her own body and the aging process and may well blame anyone for her disappointments...real or imagined. You are in her sights right now and the ONLY smart thing you can do is get out of the way. Trying to reason this out or argue it out would be like baiting a pit bull. Put it behind you and send the refund check (certified for better records through the bank) in a nice card expressing your sincere hope that she will find what she wants with another photographer. Make a copy of the card before you mail it by certified mail so you have a delivery receipt.
    By the way, she already gave you a hint of her past problems referencing all of "work she has had done before". She has never been satisfied, never will be satisfied and you need to move on to other customers who are better grounded for your own happiness.
    Finally, be very grateful that his is the digital age so you are basically only out your time and a little bit of travel expense. In the days of film and proofing, you would have had possibly $100 or more of outright expenses plus all the extra mailing and lab time to have eaten.
    In the future, for all clients, you might have a brief interview before the date of the session in which you discuss with the subject what they like best and least about their looks. Then play up the good stuff and down play the bad in you posing and lighting.
    Good luck with this.
  5. It looks to me like you've posted all the photos from the entire shoot. Some of these are slightly out-of-focus (including the 1st and 2nd pictures in the set).
    It may be your policy to be completely open with your clients and share all of the shots, even the outtakes, but your problems might be alleviated if you comb through your shots and eliminate the blurry takes before posting for the client to see them. Some non-photographers expect that professional results are 100% perfect 100% of the time. What they don't understand is that part of being a professional is knowing what to show, and what to throw away. Trash the blurry pics, and it will give the entire body of work the appearance of improvement.
    Also, you might want to take the 3 or 4 best poses and clean up her skin so she doesn't look so....imperfect. You're not a magician, but a little flattery can go a long way. Put the 4 really good ones first, so that when she looks at the online gallery her first impression is, "This photographer is a genius!"
  6. I'm with Tim...$200 just isn't enough money for all the hassel she could put you through. Give her back the money and fix up a contract for future use that includes a fixed non-refundable shooting fee. You may not want to use such a contract all the time, but if you have any indication that a future client might be a problem, get it signed.
  7. Thanks to all, she did NOT like several photos i retouched (not on here) and didn't want that.
    I did speak with her ahead of time and didn't promise I could work miracles. She was comfortable with me during the shoot, we had fun and she initially DID like some of the shots.
    I guess i should have walked away knowing she was expecting a miracle of some sort.
    I am not worried about being sued, I may just return her check and be done with it, thanks.
  8. Mark -
    1. Do as suggested above - send her a check for the $200.00 (certified check) and sent it return receipt / signature required. Yeah - it will cost you about $10.00 to do this, but will save you in the long run.
    2. Request that the moderator pull this thread. Your issue is now saved for all Googledom to see - along with photos of a client that isn't happy with them.
    3. Pull her photos from your site. Burn a copy to dvd and send to her with the check. Burn another copy and save it someplace. Delete the photos from your hard drive. Don't use them in any way shape or form.
    4. Tighten up the contract to avoid this in the future. Be clear on a non-refundable sitting fee.
    As others have pointed out -she is trying (in vain) to fight Mother Nature. She is not happy with the surgery or the results - or has a different mental image of herself than the camera shows. There is no way you can keep the money and make this person happy.
    Good Luck!
  9. Really? I would have said she deserves half at best. She needs to understand a refund would imply you didn't show up or didn't take pictures--sounds to me like you did your job and it is unreasonable of her to expect you to make nothing for your time.
  10. Thanks Theresa, thats how I responded, giving her some time to think it over, hopefully she will chill and negotiate a compromise.
    David - why would I still send her a CD if she demands a refund?
  11. It's $200 and I don't think either way is an issue--small claims court on her part at best and then she would be "seen" in public! I am not saying I wouldn't send her money back, but good Lord, this isn't a cause for great concern!
    I think sending her her money back would be a humane gesture, let her live with her own stuff and extricate yourself. And if she has any issue, it will be posting her photos anywhere--so yes, have the link here removed and take down any shots of her elsewhere out of respect. I think the rest of the thread here could be instructive to others and her name or identity doesn't exist except through the photo link.
    Good luck!
  12. Mark,
    Those of us who are advising you to get this woman's refund to her NOW, are not on her side. We are on yours!
    If you respond to this immediately and as described for all the reasons being for your own protection, you are being very pro-active and getting out of the way of a potential train wreck. If you try to wait her out, hoping she will somehow see reason, you are being hopeful and foolish and giving her ammunition to use in the highest court in the land....public opinion. Don't worry about small claims court, or circuit court, or a kangaroo court. It's the public who make the judgments that can kill your business and she could easily get their ear. If you don't believe me, watch a few episode of any of the daytime talk show and see the poor pitiful wronged people who screwed themselves up and who are now blaming everyone else in sight for their woes....and getting all the sympathy.
    You hold off, she has reason to complain to family and friends who may have the ear of others who could be your potential clients somewhere down the road. She will have their sympathetic ear because they know her and may not know you. You are just the guy who isn't being responsive and therefore you are the bad guy....true or wear the label. That kind of rumor tree grows faster than you might imagine and it is remembered.
    It's up to you to put her in the only position that will favor you and that is to GET THIS BEHIND YOU! The money is almost irrelevant. It's your reputation you have to worry about. You are in business, so protect yourself like a good business person should. The sooner you do this, the safer you are and the quicker you get it off you mind and your back.
    Get it done so you can move on. If you don't get it done, it will eat at you internally if not externally until you almost can't let it go. It's time to move forward. It's the only way you will win.
  13. You should refund her money and walk away. Give her the pictures and ask to have this thread taken down immediately. Learn something from this for the future.
  14. MODERATOR - please remove this thread and link
    Thanks to all for your support and input - is there a more formal way to ask for this to be removed?
  15. On another note, is there anything in particular she isn't happy with in the images. As pointed out, some aren't in focus, others have too shallow a DoF, and for me the skin tones could be better. I am not saying that isn't her natural skin tone, but people seldom want to see themselves how they look, they want to see themselves as they imagine they look! I might have done a CWB using a warm card. On the black backdrop we even go from a very cool tone to a very warm tone which is very distracting at least. The lighting overall seems pretty flat to me. I might have wanted very soft lighting to smooth things out, but I would still want a direction of light for some shaping. You traveled one and half hours for a portrait shoot, what did she want? A 16x20 for the living room, an 8x10 for the bedroom? What was the goal? When I look at the images I really get a sense that we were trying a little bit of everything. I am not sure how much time was spent, but for me to get all of those looks/poses would have been several hours worth of shooting and setting up lights and so on. I bring it up because it hints at throwing mud against the wall and seeing what sticks. Where you paid $200 to come out a get a specific portrait or where you paid $200 to come out and take pictures? There's a difference. It also sets a certain tone/expectation. I suppose what I am suggesting is to see it through the eyes of the client and think what could I have done to make it better? And maybe the answer is nothing, I don't know. If it were me, and I wanted to keep the $200, I would offer a reshoot. But I would firmly establish the goal of the shoot, the purpose of the image(s) (large print framed on the wall? etc).
    And I do agree that I would take the images down. Your name is searchable in Google and this thread could come up!
  16. After I posted last, I did go back and look through all the work you posted, all of it not just the first one as I had done already. There are probably a handful of images that really flatter her and several that are very bad as to either lighting, focus or expression etc. Some of the flattering ones really need some hair clean up and maybe some other work as well, just to make them that much more. I don't say any of this as a criticism (as we all get bad shots because we try something that doesn't work!) except that I think you should, in general, reconsider what you post for clients to see. Become an artist and post only those you think really represent you in the best light, which will also be those that show your client in the best light as well. Two things are accomplished, first, the client doesn't see the duds--and there are duds in the group and they will be their focus(embarrassment). Second, you can honestly and enthusiastically present your photos to the client--any hesitation or doubt about any image on your part just sinks you with the client's confidence.
    I read way too much here on these sites about "having" to show the client all the work, that is totally ridiculous as you will only be as good as your worst image in the eyes of the client. I certainly am not saying that you could have pleased this client, but it would be a good practice to get into, showing only the best!
    PS I also think that some of the better shots really leave her no room to complain, she looks great in those!
  17. Agree with David about what you should do now.
    In the future, heres some helpfull idea;
    1_make clear that transportation is base on a .40$/km (or 1$/miles) that should already get thing moving
    2_client appointement should be also bill, define yourself what you worht per hours for a shoot (let say 125$/hre) and charge 50% of this or a flat rate.. like 250$ to meet a client.
    3_never talk about retouching with a client who your about to take picutre of.. they dont need to know that you use this or that software. If they ask, simply answer that in your basics images capture no retouching other than minimal fix will be done for free, and color density / contrast will be done..basically you will give them a nice well exposed shot.
    4_if they want retouching other than that, lips fixing, eyes fixing, pimple etc.. you should charge the client for that, define your own price depending on how good you think you are.. many photographer i know charge per image a flat rate of 20$ but dont do extensive chirugical amelioration.. portrait professional could be a quick recipe to get 20$ per final images.
    5_Youre right, you are not a magician or a therapist.. so next time, make sure you clearly define what you can and cant do with a client. A client that come to me with a unhappy plastic chirurgy done, and ask to make her look like she was before will be politely return to the door, or a clear discusion about why i cant put her back like she was but make her the best out of what she is now is possible.
    6_200$ is nothing for all that, you could and should have charge her at least 200$ just to move yourself to her, another 150$ for the talk, or charge her 150$ more than what you tought of charging her for a 2hres session (being around 250$ normally, so 150$ more ) so something around 400$, no retouching included. So around 500$ should have been ask, 50% before any click to cover your a** and a non refundable one of course. Then on delivery the other 250$.
    You think 500$ is way too much for what you have to offer.. well you can also start selling shoes for 10$/hre in that case.. truth be told, you have equipment to pay and house to pay.. by doing a 200$ gig you are not helping yourself or the market.. and this is why you end up having client like that .. not ready to spend more than 200$ on portrait, but ready to fight you till the end of time to get it back.
    Walk away with your pride, give her the money back, dont give her anything else (certainly not the image) advice her that you will get all the image destruct so she doestn have to worry about that since she dont like them they are of no use for you or her. and continue your journey ; )
    Oh by the way..
    a_never take a woman that age so close up, specially one that doestn like her face.
    b_dotn take a portrait of a female from above it make them gain weight.. not good for you and her.
    c_a lot of your image are out of focus, not just soft, major red cast, block shadow.. be carefull of the basic before thinking charging someone for your service.
    d_make sure she is well make up and that her hairs are brush correctly, on many image she look like a tornado have past over her before you click.
    e_a woman of that age need to be taken more sofisticated.. she is not 20 and she doestn look 20.. so just be carfull with the sleeping on her stomac with feet bend .. it give her a cheap look and the feet look like 2 rabbit ears.. not good looking.
  18. Get to know a professional makeup artist. They can work wonders with difficult clients - especially ones that are very concerned about their face & skin. Work the cost of the makup artist into your contract and if you want pursue more work of this type, you'll find they're worth every penny in client relations and the final work. Your work was fine there are 3 or 4 that are really good.
  19. Mark -
    My answer to provide her with the images and a full refund was based upon providing her with the best possible customer service and hopefully salvaging something out of the relationship.
    If there are sides to be chosen (and I don't think there are really) I with you... Sometimes we get clients that are just not happy - no matter what we do. I had one of them recently... No matter what I did - she was not happy with her children's photos - I reprinted 3 times - last time I even sent them to a lab to be "lab" corrected for color - I got a phone call from her saying that their skin tones where still not right and she wanted a full refund. I provided that to her, in addition telling her that she could keep the "bad" photos and do what she wanted with them... didn't hear from her again - but I sleep better at night knowing that I did all I could to make it right for her.
  20. I suggested she contact her hair dresser and a professional makeup artist, she declined.
    She wanted these for an online dating site and the more formal head shots for her business card.
    These are NOT edited, I wanted to give her a quick look but obviously that was a bad idea.
    I did NOT use a contract cause shes a "friend of a friend" and I didnt think this would become contentious.
    Writing it off and moving on, thanks all.
  21. Refund immediately. The Lady may/is difficult..The pix I see though are not what I consider good portraits.I am not talking about colors or focus. The lack of definite poses.They all look kinda very casual.Maybe thats what was ordered.With digital shooting one can do so many more things.Change poses, backgrounds, outfits,lighting.It costs no more, except time. You are to close to the tree to see the forest. We don't all shoot good all the time.I had a difficult client some years back. If "it" starts badly, it will end worse. Chalk it to experience..Photoshop not a cure. I did a portrait for a brochure(film days) and the neons in the background, were stronger than my umbrella flash.Green,green. I phoned the client, organized a re-shoot. Fitted into the time allowed.My first shoot sucked! Look at Kirk Tuck's "The Visual Lab" and definitely Jeff Asgough.Better luck next time.
  22. I knew she was going to be a tough customer... ...She was referred by a friend who did warn me... She has some issues (personal and with her plastic surgery)... ...I travelled 3 hrs... ...$200... I suggested she contact her hair dresser and a professional makeup artist, she declined... ...I did NOT use a contract cause shes a "friend of a friend"​
    We don't know the client's version of the story or whether your version is accurate. If you believed all this to be the situation you were getting yourself in to, you should have declined to go forward.
  23. Mark:
    I'd reiterate the advice about not showing all the photos. I didn't go through all of them, but the first several I looked at should have hit the figurative cutting room floor. Most people don't need a hundred portraits of themselves. They really only need one great one. Maybe a great one and a handful of really good ones.
    The first few (starting at the top) are not at all flattering. Take the first one for example. Most people don't want to see veins in their necks or sitting slouched over, looking sad. Put another way, would you take these pictures and use them for your own advertising to show off your photographic skills? Any photo that you wouldn't use should be tossed before showing the client.
  24. $200 is a cheap job. Refund half and move on.
    For your own good in the future be much more selective in the culling of photos to show - I wouldn't show that gallery as-is to anyone.
  25. $200 is a cheap job. Refund half and move on.
    For your own good in the future be much more selective in the culling of photos to show - I wouldn't show that gallery as-is to anyone.
  26. I love a challenge. Tell her I will shoot her for free and if she likes the pictures, she pays. Chicago area studio/photographer. Have her stop by my website....
  27. Patrick Lavoie - great comments. You are right on with all your advice! Thanks.
  28. Give her money back. I NEVER let a customer see raw files, unretouched, unless nice and blurred. Personally, I think your contrast is too high, the highlights blown out, eye reflections aren't fixed, and overall the quality of the images I looked at with your link are pretty poor. Some dark, some too bright, facial expressions strained. Ya gotta have these people at ease or it won't work. And, I think the lighting setup was piss poor. But, just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth. I am an ornery old fart, but I like things well done.
  29. From your posted photographs there certainly are a sufficient number of good photographs to warrant the fee of $200. You captured her. Unfortunately, there have always been people who "HATE THEIR OWN FACE." You need to learn to expect that outcome as much as they need to learn to live with their faces.
  30. Come on man this is WOMAN were talking about! When I shoot my wife she says do that thing you do to make me look good.
    She means good lighting, nice poses, touch up blotches, freckles, pimples, warts, soften wrinkles, and then overall soft focus via whatever means necessary. Then you sharpen the good parts, eyes and lips! Make her look beautiful! But you have to start with a good sharp well exposed negative or Raw file to work on.
    I did "the treatment" for my daughters once and they're teenagers. Their reaction was "wow, I look nice".
    We took them to a guy here in town who charges A LOT for their Senior photos and guess what? He gave them "the treatment".
    The treatment is photography that makes people, and listen, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, look much better than they usually do.
    Knowing her background, you have to make a women like this look beautiful.
  31. Come on man this is WOMAN were talking about! When I shoot my wife she says do that thing you do to make me look good.
    She means good lighting, nice poses, touch up blotches, freckles, pimples, warts, soften wrinkles, and then overall soft focus via whatever means necessary. Then you sharpen the good parts, eyes and lips! Make her look beautiful! But you have to start with a good sharp well exposed negative or Raw file to work on.
    I did "the treatment" for my daughters once and they're teenagers. Their reaction was "wow, I look nice".
    We took them to a guy here in town who charges A LOT for their Senior photos and guess what? He gave them "the treatment".
    The treatment is photography that makes people, and listen, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, look much better than they usually do.
    Knowing her background, you have to make a women like this look beautiful.
  32. Shooting "older" women should be done in B&W.
    I shoot "older" women all the time. Putting their B&W images next to their color work quickly convinces most of them the B&W is much better.
  33. I've keep a 100mm f4 single element lens handy for this type of shoot. Works wonders.
  34. Did the client approve of posting her pictures online like this?
  35. I think you did a pretty remarkable job in capturing this woman in many different moods and the fact that she is dissatisfied, is more an indication of her state of mind that any shortcomings in your work. The fact she has had so much plastic surgery shows she is not the kind of person to be easily satisfied. I doubt anyone could provide a portfolio totally to her liking so for you it was a no win situation from the beginning. I would think it reasonable to offer a refund minus your expenses in getting there. Then remember in future to listen to your instincts and pass up on any assignments that you suspect might be problematic.
  36. I saw several pictures blurry or out of focus. Certainly there are a really good ones, that worth money. In another hand, the woman is Ugly, and u cant do much more about that. If that would be my scenario, i would tell her that if she wants, i can do another photoshoot, and she needs to come to me, and if she doesnt like again, u cant do anything more about it.
    Get rid of people like this man.
  37. Wow, I see a lot of men responding to this thread. I am woman, not of her age (I don't think) and not of one who committed the plastic surgery she did, but I do understand her unhappiness. The portraits are WAY to "honest". She wants to recapture her youth, and these shots are way to clinical. This is not a "senior photo shoot" of the average 16 year old, but more a senior photoshoot. (Darn, I just look SO forward to getting older). These pictures suck, and even technically they are iffy. Skin colors are awful and they are taken way too close up. Most are OOF. What might have worked for this type of client are environmental portraits. The background on these pictures are such a bore. My vision of a photoshoot with this kind of client is: a Virginia horse range, where she leans over a white picket fence in the faltering sun, lots of pretty background and LOTSA photoshopping. Great makeup, as has been suggested in this thread. Why do you think she had this much plastic surgery? Only to have it thrown back in her face that youth cannot be recaptured? It was a big mistake to show her all these "honest" pictures. As a side note, she is a beautiful woman but she is not embracing her wrinkles. The last picture is nice, just photoshop the crap out of them= cheap plastic surgery......
  38. Mark, I believe you should return the money. Not because she is a pain or is unredeemable. She wanted to be shown that the "work she had done" was worth something. Many of your pictures did not do that.
    Some, most of them with her smiling, were decent. The lighting could have been much improved and many of her poses were not flattering or pointed up her "flaws" As for her saying no makeup or hair stylist - what woman goes out that way? A good makeup person could have improved things a lot.
    I have the feeling she called the shots - makeup, hair, poses, clothing - which, as the professional, was your job. Telling you she wanted the photos for a dating site and a business card means that it's your face up there. Is this the work you wish to advertise?
    Much good advice above especially Patrick. Definitely look at Steve's portfolio for posing and lighting.
    By the way, threads cannot be deleted, only stopped. Remove your pictures from the link address to remove them from the post.
    Also, work for a "friend of a friend" needs to be top notch so that the friend who recommended is not embarrassed. Gaining or keeping a referral source is vital to your business.
  39. When a person is unhappy with how she looks in photos, why post her unedited photos for her & the world to see in full?
    All it takes is to Google your name and either the word photography or photographer, and one gets your photonet bio page on either the 3rd or 7th Google result.
    And if one should click on that link now, one sees that your last 5 postings are labeled "Response to Help with unreasonable portrait client"
    And should one click on that link, one finds a link to her entire unedited gallery.
    I would agree with those who have suggested it may be prudent to remove the linked photos, and perhaps ask a moderator if it is possible to remove the portion of her name that appears in your 8:48AM post.
  40. When a person is unhappy with how she looks in photos, why post her unedited photos for her & the world to see in full?
    All it takes is to Google your name and either the word photography or photographer, and one gets your photonet bio page on either the 3rd or 7th Google result.
    And if one should click on that link now, one sees that your last 5 postings are labeled "Response to Help with an unreasonable portrait client".
    And should one click on that link, one finds a link to her entire unedited gallery.
    I would agree with those who have suggested it may be prudent to remove the linked photos, and perhaps ask a moderator if it is possible to remove the portion of her name that appears in your 8:48AM post.
  41. 1. Thanks to all for your responses and critiques - many of you did not read my whole post
    2. She does NOT like her smile, even though it makes her softer
    2. Client DID NOT WANT PHOTOS PHOTOSHOPPED! (I know they need to be)
    3. She "wants" to appear as she did before surgery and it has nothing to do with the lighting, makeup DOF or anything, its in her HEAD - I cant change how she looks or sees herself
    4. I am eating it and giving her a refund (gee I could think of 27 other things I could have done with my Sunday afternoon)
    5. I asked to have this removed YESTERDAY
    Lesson learned be very wary of ref flags early on, walk away if it seems like a bad situation
  43. /Hijack
    Howard -
    On many occasions in the Wedding and Social Event Forum - Threads that exposed a client / photographer issue similar to this (bad photographer, unhappy client, etc...) have in fact been removed from Photo.Net so the capability is definitely there to remove a thread.
    Also there is the capability for the moderator to remove or edit past posts. I've seen it done before.
    Bottom line - I believe it's up to the moderator.
    /End Hijack
  44. I was shocked by this posting. This is one of the most inconsiderate things I have ever seen in my life. The embarrassment you have caused this woman was uncalled for. All over $200. Judging by the quality of the shots you posted, you look like someone who just purchased a digital camera and now consider yourself a portrait photographer. I would not have paid for those shots either. You should pay her $200 for her modeling time.
    I think this post is going to be a career ender for you.
  45. i'd return her money, there's something gratifying for her in challenging you, she may be displacing her anger with the plastic surgeon onto you and that's a "no win situation". I would get rid of the link to the photo's you took, and as other's have pointed out in various ways, you are playing with fire...chalk it up to the cost of doing business, this isn't worth anymore of your time and effort...
  46. I was shocked by this posting. This is one of the most inconsiderate things I have ever seen in my life.​
    Get serious. I thought this was a perfectly reasonable appeal to understand the situation better. The portraits were reasonable, and some of them were VERY acceptable. True, some of them aren't keepers, and in the future hopefully Mark will sift out the throw-aways before posting the entire session for client review. The photo session appears much more favorable after you remove the out-takes.
    The client has no reason to be dissatisfied with the quality of the results. If there is some other dispute, it is not apparent from the evidence we are seeing here. The photographic result is acceptable, certainly worth the price paid.
  47. It looks like this is a case of person who does not like herself under any circumstance, hence the plastic surgery. You can not reason with people like that, give her her money back and move on. There is no need to rob off that bad energy and get it stuck on to yourself.
  48. This simply is my personal opinion. I just did an in home assignment for PR photos that was quite extensive. I brought a full set of studio lights and softboxes and a backdrop. I would never show those pictures on PN or anywhere else without written permission from the client. What if your client happened upon this thread. Discounting the legal issues she does have feelings also. I am sure she never expected to have a few thousand people look at these pictures. I have had people find me on PN from Iraq. That is just my personal opinion and it has always been my business practice. As far as the pictures go you did some decent ones. There are some very mild ways to retouch that tone down but not eliminate some deeper shadows that are not easily noticed. Her face lends itself to certain angles that you captured particularly well in some of the ones with the plaid jacket. What I learned long ago from a famous wedding photographer was edit, the edit again, and again, and again, until you are satisfied that only your best work is showing. My business has always been built on trust and rapport with the client. I have had a few difficult clients and my strategy has been to just give them some money back or additional pictures and move on to more productive work.
  49. As a middle aged male I have accepted the fact I'm am not going to look like Brad Pitt when photographed. (Nor am I going to attract young women like Brad Pitt) This very attractive woman you have photographed is having a hard time accepting the aging process. She was most likely a stunner when younger and that's her problem
    There comes time in life when singers can't sing, athletes can't run, dancers can't dance and stunners like her can no longer stun like thy use to. Less gifted folks spend less time worrying about such things.
    The shots with serious expressions were much better than the big smile photos you took but I have to say the photos you showed us have a snap shot feel and the lighting is not the best. It looks very direct with a lack of drama and dimension. Be nice and give her the money back.
  50. Hal B,
    I am serious. These are the words of the original poster:
    She needs a good shrink not a better photographer.

    So the issue is really NOT about the photos, its her and her issues.

    She wanted these for an online dating site

    its in her HEAD

    I am eating it and giving her a refund (gee I could think of 27 other things I could have done with my Sunday afternoon)

    You accepted the original poster's action as a "reasonable appeal". I think he is a fool and I question your ethical conduct if you think what he did was reasonable. He humiliated this woman for thousands to see.
  51. Hehe. Maybe you're right. Some of those do seem like unnecessary stabs, don't they? Commentary aside, the photos weren't bad, though. I'm for no refund and this lady takes a hike.
  52. Oh, the wonders of internet that let us witness such misery:
    - a self-loathing poor old woman, desperately clinging to a youth long gone.
    - an amateur photographer, posting a lot of inferior shots and berating his customer at that.
    As for the pictures, Herma Ornes said it.
  53. To Mark, the OP:
    Until this thread is removed/edited by the moderator, what you should really do immediately is break the link in your second post by taking the photos off your site. That way, at least, even if it takes a while for this thread to be altered, no one else will be able to access the photos that your client wasn't comfortable with to start from. Seriously. Don't wait for someone else to fix this for you. The longer they're accessible via this forum (which is still on the homepage of PNet for most active postings) the more likely this is to cause you more trouble than $200.
  54. To Mark, the OP:
    In addition to breaking the link by removing or changing the folder/URL of the photos on your site (to which you linked in your second post), as Skip Kempe has suggested, a second thing you can do yourself to lessen the possibility of someone stumbling upon this thread by simply Googling your name, and seeing the links to this thread in your Bio is this:
    If you immediately make 5 posts to threads OTHER THAN THIS, then those threads will be the ones which show up in your bio instead of the 5 links to this thread.
    As it now stands, it is incredibly easy for a cliient, or any confident of the client, including mutual friends, to end up on this page through a simple Google search of your name + either "photography" or "photographer".
    If you have been asking the moderator to remove this thread since "yesterday" as you stated, and if you value the sensitivities of your client, why on earth haven't you done the simple things within your control?
    Why have you not broken the link to the photos ON YOUR OWN SITE?
  55. Mark, I feel for you. I can imagine the anguish you are going through over this. Look, you made a mistake. It has hurt you and may well hurt another person. You should never have made a private matter public.
    But we all make mistakes. This will pass. Try to smile. :). JJ
  56. Well then for the record, I don't believe that there is anything wrong with the client. There are professional photographers out there that have studied photography and lighting and who could do a far better job. But not for $200. The White Balance was all over the place. I can't tell any discernible lighting pattern. Focus was either off or DoF too shallow. Some think that there are a few good shots. I might argue that, but again it goes back to my comment about throwing mud on the wall to see what sticks. I'm not trying to pick on the OP, but in terms of professional photography I'm not seeing any professionalism. But then again, it was a $200 shoot. That puts things in a certain perspective for me. Which is to say if we are looking for blame then it falls on all of us. I say that because if you are a professional photographer, you shouldn't be saying these are good shots (again, white balance all over the place, focus issues, overall lack of lighting skill). Saying these are good shot simply lowers the bar on professional photography. This lower bar means that anyone with a camera can be a photographer. And now with an abundance of professional photographers, the public wants everything for less because we are saying that it can be done. It's a vicious circle. I believe the client received images worthy of a $200 photo shoot. I believe she is within her rights to ask for a refund since I wouldn't deem these as professional photos myself. And there is the catch 22. Was the client wrong for expecting a certain level of photography? No (maybe at best since you get what you pay for). Did the OP provide a legitimate service? Yes. Did the expectations match the photography? Clearly not. But now it falls upon the professional photographers to explain why. And if we don't do that, then we are just keeping the bar too low.
  57. jtk


    Send an apology with innocent-looking flowers (eg daisies not roses) this Sunday. Return every nickle.
    Get Lightroom, study the Clarity filter.
  58. stp


    John D., I'd sure like to know where that bright line between "professional" and "everyone else" lies. I don't believe it exists. There is a continuum in individual skills and good photographs, and saying that a photograph hasn't gotten over the mark or past the bar of "professional" just isn't reality (IMO, of course).
  59. The subject is a woman in pain, and unfortunately, the photos show it.
  60. I'm not a moderator of this forum, but I have removed the link. policy is not to remove any thread or post unless it violates the Terms of Use (and this one does not). Any further discussions concerning removal of posted material should be addressed directly via email to the forum moderator(s) or discussed with site administration via the page.
  61. These kinds of threads always strike me as dangerous, betraying the customers confidentiality. To the OP: put yourself in your customer's shoes, would you want someone you hired discussing very personal details of the transaction on the WWW?
  62. Wow, that was intense....
  63. Stephen, while I am sure there is a line that exists between professional images and lets just say amateur images, I am not sure I would be the one to define it! But let me ask you this: would you call an out of focus image a professional image? How about images where the white balance is all over the place? Would there be an unspoken expectation that the a professional photographer knows how to achieve good color? And I am not even saying that the OP did an unprofessional job given the amount of money that exchanged hands. We all start someone. What I am saying is that I certainly understand the clients unhappiness with the images and that there are professional photographers that can deliver better results. It would just be unlikely for $200. And for what it's worth, I do believe that a professional portrait should be in focus, show a knowledge of lighting that flatters the client & pose, that the white balance be correct, and there be enough depth of field for the type of shot/effect you want. But that's again, is just my opinion.
  64. Mark,
    Some people are professional whiners. Did she really think that you could correct the mistakes her plastic surgeon made through photography. It sounds like she just likes to bitch, and she needs to see another kind of health professional besides a plastic surgeon. A MENTAL HEALTH professional.
    Were I you, I would subtract my expenses from the shoot and write her a check for the balance. I always charge an non-refundable sitting fee for every portrait shoot, whether I shoot film or not. $50 for studio, $60 for seniors/location. When the prospective clients writes me the check, it is with the understanding that it covers my time and expenses and is non-refundable. Some photographers will keep it if weather prevents the location shoot that day, but personally I think that is unethical. If weather prevented the shoot, I simply re-schedule.
    Unfortunately, the mod deleted the link to the photos so I did not get to see them, but man if there are some that are out of focus, delete them from the proof page. You need to put your best foot forward always. Often focus discrepencies may not be that apparent in thumbnails but certainly will under enlargement. If I chose a print of a pose I really liked and though was sharp based on the thumbnail, but what I got in the final print was something out of focus I would be rightfully upset. Always put your best foot forward, your reputation is on the line with every single shoot.
  65. I know what you're going through. Reminds me of one I had a few years ago. I did a bridal shoot with a woman who probably weighed around 400lbs. She kept saying throughout the entire session, "You better not make me look fat..." and, "if my pictures turn out looking like I am fat, I'm not going to be happy." I should have cancelled and sent her elsewhere but she was booked with us on one of our most prestigious packages. To make a long story short, and spending countless days in photoshop, we finally delivered something she was happy to recieve. It was the worst photography I had ever seen. She felt her neck and the rolls under her chin were so unattractive that she had us photoshop every single picture with a skinny neck. Seriously, her face looked like a pumpkin on a stick. It was surreal.
  66. You gotta wonder why people want pictures of themselves that don't look like them. It's one thing to get your best self, but when you want something more, shall we say, aspirational, you have to wonder what their friends/family will say when they see something patently different than the person in front of them.
    It was mentioned that this was for an online dating profile. So much for truth in advertising.
  67. i think Mark just made an error in judgement about posting the photo's with the link...we all make mistakes, the difference is that most of us don't make them in view of 100's of people.. i think some of these posts simply attacked Mark's skills and judgement...the guy just wanted some advice!
  68. Mark; I think 7262, 7213, 7115, 7321,7290,7271,7234,7230, etc feel like she is a catch; compared to others.

    She is really buying a dream; You are selling her one. ( or trying to sell her one)

    An mature old funky lens often is less harsh; more of a dream like state for a mature woman. Super soft lighting like in the Progressive car insurance advert helps too.

    She wants to be a 25 again; like a teenager want to be older.

    Jobs like this involve more than images; you are selling a dream.
  69. Some of the photos weren't bad, the more covered the lady was, the better she looked, why not try some B&W treatment, the pea-green background didn't really compliment the rest of the set up, there certainly were few images, that would be more than suitable after some subtle photoshop work.
    The problem I have with this kind of post is the lack of gentlemanly approach. The lady might be a difficult client, but I think a little of the good old fashioned courtesy wouldn't go amiss here and I fully support John Kelly's idea of sending her flowers and apology. I don't think the lady will still be so difficult after you show her your good intentions. Good luck and please let us know, how it all went.
  70. Okay the web link has been broken, the ONLY reason I posted the photos was because I was SURE people here would ask to see some. She is NOT angry and me (nor me at her) - I was NOT asking for a critique on the photos, just advice on the situation. Thanks for your input shes getting a refund. I don't need you zealots out there ripping me a new AH, I have been trying to get this post removed for 3 days, all i wanted was a FEW replies and some advice. SO NO MORE OPINIONS, I have gotten enough for a lifetime, but thanks. I treated her with nothing but kindness and respect and complimented her so don't make me out to be some bad guy okay? OH and I did NOT edit the photos, she wanted to see them AS IS ASAP. Some people don't read.
  71. This has been a very interesting thread with a number of lessons to be learned. I think that the responses have been well informed because people were able to view the images. Given the privacy concerns, I wonder if these could be addressed somewhat using some kind of masking like the black bars you sometimes see on images used on TV, in magazines, and in books where the visual is needed but the identity must be protected. Just a suggestion.
  72. Alin - do you mean is useless or the people using it? I am not sure why it is's fault for threads that need to be removed.
    And I was not aware that the OP 's client mentioned anything about suing.
  73. One can run into all sorts if *issues* when one deals with the public and photography for them.

    For example; a young pee wee hockey (*little kid*) players image is going to upset the kid if he looks like a wimpy whuss; the images that make him look strong ; more adult and pro like will set/agree with him better.

    A portrait of an old biker guy may want to look strong, wrinkled; weathered; ... like a strong old oak he has been around and stood the test of time. A whussy soft image like he is a pansy will upset him.

    One is going to run into difficult clients no matter what ones line of work is.

    If a client is a greenie weenie; images that that make him look like a wastefull chap will upset him.

    Mark; I do not think the moderators purposely limit/throttle the number of comments a thread gets. This thread might be around for all of our lifetimes; like words carved on a fence; letters written in a wet concrete sidewalk; or letter to the LA times.

    Showing *all* ones images to a client is not want some of us that have been around awhile do. I really do not know if you did this or not
    All clients have issues with their images, a negative looking image sets a bad tone when one shows ones work. If one shows all ones images then you set yourself up for a fall.
    Good Luck!
  74. Since not a pro, I am not able to comment from a business point of view. However from an aesthetic
    standpoint, I am surprised that any pro photog would let a client demand photos as is without and
    white balance or color balancing and a certain amount of skin smoothing. I can understand leaving the wrinkles alone, but I use Portrait Pro on a regular basis and have found that there are a number of minor adjustments that can be made in that program that could have avoided such honest photos from occurring.
  75. Alin Daju, there are forums for professionals only. PPA has such a forum. So you could post a client image(s) asking for advice or what not, without fear of retaliation.
  76. *"She wanted these for an online dating site and the more formal head shots for her business card."*

    Gerry; my take is that the client would want correct color balance; correct exposure and images that show her as a cute available babe; with a minimum of doctoring. Or maybe she is a realtor and wants a good business lady image for the Real Estate business card too.

    Some of Marks images are already like this as is ; from my viewpoint as a person older than the mature lady. Even a young super model's shoot has some duds too. The lady has a nice figure too.
    If an image of a woman makes the real salt monster on star trek look like one of Mudd's women; it is abit of a fib too.

    If the shots are for a modeling/actor agency; having a mix of moods can be used too.
  77. Does any one have a cancellation clause in their contracts for situations like these where you get a bad vibe off of the customer but it takes a few days to figure it out. I was thinking maybe a three day cancellation clause for wedding/portrait contract for when you get a bad feeling about being able to satisfy a customer. It would be a no reason given no fault sort of thing.
  78. Rebook another sitting in 10 years time. The photos will look so much better then.

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