Have you ever been working with a clients files, and had a sinking feeling in your stomach? Maybe you were having a bad day, and the quality just isn’t there. Or maybe you had the wrong settings, and there’s no way you can recover the image and make it acceptable.
Whatever happened, what do you do? How can you make it up to the client? Consider these 8 strategies.
1. Admit your mistake. Sometimes hiding it is the worst thing you can do. Instead admit it up front, and continue on from there.
2. Ask what the client wants in return. I’ll admit it, once we made a pretty major mistake on a wedding early on. We messed up the entire cake/toast section, and didn’t have one image to place in the album. I was ready to give the client a ton. But instead we asked what she wanted. She simply chose a few pictures her guests had taken and we placed them in the album. She was happy. I was happy. And I learned to ask what they want before I impose my thoughts.
3. Use Photoshop to improve the image. In many cases you can improve the image enough to be acceptable to your client simply by spending some time in Photoshop. If it’s your mistake, invest the time to bring it up to quality.
4. Use a professional retoucher. I know Photoshop. But I would never consider myself an expert. For extreme retouching, I would definitely hire someone who know exactly what can and can’t be accomplished, and can do it quickly.
5. Take control over the sales process. If you know an image is soft, and isn’t up to par, showcase it as a 4×5 in an album or wall collage. Don’t give them the option of blowing it up to a 30×40 – show them there are much better images for enlarging.
6. Always take extras. Certain things you can’t cover, like my cake/toast error I mentioned above. But if you are photographing a portrait, and 10 images didn’t meet your standards, don’t show them to the client. If you take 50 and show 40, your client will still be impressed by the results.
7.Offer a reshoot. For most types of photography – commercial, portraits, stock – its easy to reshoot. And yes, I know it is next to impossible to reshoot an entire wedding. But even with a wedding, you can offer another portrait session. Offer to rent the groom’s tux for a day. Then take them out for afternoon and have a ball photographing them all over town.
8. Offer a refund. Sometimes there is no way to please your customer. Write the check, shake hands, and move on.