Not even sure where to begin. I wasn’t sure if I should write this post or not. Am I giving it too much importance? The fact is, I let it get to me. That horrible customer got to me.
*spoiler alert: I cried
Surely there are more people out there that have gone through a similar situation. This post is for all of them and also to allow myself to get this off my chest. Writing always helps.
This one is also for those lucky enough to have not dealt with a horrible customer. Maybe this post will help you avoid making the same mistake as I did.
I get this is sounding very grim already! Well, it paints an accurate picture of how I felt.
Let’s get to it then. On a very average day I was going through Instagram stories when I saw someone was looking for a photographer. Very promptly I said I could help and we took it from there.
There were plans for a complete overhaul of this person’s Instagram feed. On the horizon was a long term business relationship. I was excited. A lot of back and forth of ideas and sharing of example of feeds to be inspired by. Hours of texting.
Initially my prices were a little too high so I tweaked my packages to suit her. It was not so much the price but the number of images offered.
Even offered to do a free shoot as a trial! I really wanted things to work out and to keep working with her on a regular basis.
The reason this person was looking for a new photographer was due to her current one not having a lens wide enough for her outfit shots. She even offered to buy a new lens for him to use! He politely declined and advised her to get a new photographer.
This was the first red flag! And I let it slip. Why would someone let a customer go like that? So easily. As a photographer the only reason I would do that is if I did not like working with that person. Only if you were dealing with an horrible customer would you let it go. Why did I not question it at the time? No idea.
When I went all the way to central London for this trial shoot everything went smoothly and she was lovely. Even gave me some money to cover transport which was a nice gesture. I did shoot for two hours instead of one but I was OK with that.
We had agreed that I would edit a couple of shots that same day so she could decide whether to shoot again next day or not. I did send the two edits that night. Even though I had a temperature and my whole body was aching.
She was not happy her skin was not retouched.
For that reason we postponed the shoot on the following morning. We were going to shoot that day and I had my gear ready to go but I was cool with that as I was sick anyway.
Got home after work and retouched her skin. She was finally happy so we booked to shoot the next day.
At this point in time I started to feel like troubled times might be approaching. All the signs of a possible horrible customer were there! To cover myself I wrote down some terms & conditions for my shoots and emailed those to her. These are just to clarify what to expect from the shoot and from the delivered images as well as timelines for delivery.
Unsurprisingly she was unhappy again.
Surprisingly she wasn’t happy with something I thought would go without saying. Thankfully I wrote it down. She was expecting me to deliver all the images from our shoots (unedited) on top of the edited shots.
I said that was definitely not something I would do and for a while she went quiet. At this point I was not even sure if we were shooting anymore.
She had written down that in that case it wouldn’t work for her and left it at that.
Later I clarified she still wanted to shoot so I got out and to central London I went again. I kept my professionalism and at any point was I moody or acted any different from the previous shoot.
She on the other hand was not so cheery.
She kept rushing me around, saying she wasn’t happy with the shots, making remarks about wasting time, asking me to change lenses quite often, telling me to shoot from the middle of the road and in the end she cut the shoot short.
I was out for a three hour shoot that ended up being only two hours’ long.
Honestly I was thankful for that and just wanted to go back home. I was feeling broken from all the verbal abuse.
When I went up to her hotel room to get paid she was going on about how phones take amazing photos. While I was still there she turned to her friend and asked him to shoot her in the remaining outfits with his phone! No respect whatsoever.
Throughout the whole ordeal she kept going on and on about buying a super expensive camera and the best lens. This went on in person and via text.
She could not even take a picture that was in focus with my camera when she owns the same model! Not sure a better camera is going to make any difference if you don’t know how to use it but some people just have more money than sense.
It may seem silly but this situation made me feel insecure about my work and about my gear!
I literally got home that day and cried.
Wish I did not let it get to me but I am too passionate about what I do to not care.
I delivered the photos as soon as possible as I just wanted to be done with the whole situation. It is a shame it all went so wrong as I actually like some of the shots and would have loved to share them.
Massive thanks to a few of my fellow photographer friends that stood by me and cheered me up. You know who you are 🙂
Hopefully you will never have to deal with such an horrible customer but if you do please reach out to your friends, write about it and let it all out. It does help a lot and soon you’ll be back to normal. If you think I can help you can always message me on Instagram.
To the person that made this post possible: If you are reading this please know that I sincerely wish you treat the next photographer with the respect we all deserve. I know you don’t believe in crediting your photographer but know that doing that is not free publicity but simply the right and polite thing to do.
Yes, she did mention she does not credit photographers! Another red flag I let slip. Top tip: do not work with people that don’t credit their photographers.
Thank you for reading and please come back next week for another post!
New blog posts every Wednesday at 6pm (London time), unless I am travelling.