When you work in a creative field you are often creating a product that is very personal to the person who is paying you to create it. Often times once the product is created, whether it’s a photo, video, website, or logo, you will receive negative feedback. This unhappiness with what you created for the person isn’t always a result of your poor skills, but sometimes a result of the clients own insecurities or expectations. You can offer solutions to fix the problem, but sometimes there simply isn’t a chance to make this person happy. Bad news, that’s life.
Recently I had the pleasure of doing some photos for an undisclosed client at an undisclosed business and while we’re at it let's just not even disclose the time, location in the universe, or what color of shirt I was wearing that day. The day started as a simple shoot for one person and moved into supplying my service for another person at the same undisclosed business. The shoot went great and both undisclosed people were happy with what they were seeing in camera with the expressed knowledge that some editing will be done. Note too that these photos were being performed at a very low cost to these undisclosed clients compared to market average for the area.
After the photos were edited and sent to the undisclosed clients, both of them came back and were unhappy with what I had given them. Now, one might look at this and say I took crappy photos and should give up forever and find a nice office job at an undisclosed business in some undisclosed office park offering undisclosed services. However, I showed the photos to several non bias third parties and they unanimously felt the work I produced satisfied the needs of the undisclosed clients. So I went back to the conversations via email and explained that I would be happy to make another go at the edits to see if I could please them.
Undisclosed Client #1 initially wanted to re-shoot as they did not feel the photos looked like themselves. (I’m not sure what witchcraft I performed with the camera to have a photo of a different person come out.) After I took another go at the edit, Undisclosed Client #1 was happy and decided they no longer wanted a re-shoot. Undisclosed Client #2 asked me if the photo options I sent them were the best ones, as if I for some reason was hoarding the best photos for myself and sent them the garbage I didn’t have any use for. They then told me that they would pay me, but would not be using the photos. I offered to reedit and even did so on one photo to show an example. Undisclosed Client #2 came back and told me not to waste my time and repeated that they would pay me, but not use the photos.
I offer this story as an example that it is important to do your best work and when the undisclosed client feels it isn’t good enough, to offer to make it better. When that doesn’t work there is little chance that what you do for such a person will in fact make a difference. Some people will not be pleased with the results given and are most likely not willing to pay for what would get them the results they desire. I do want to express that I feel no ill will toward Undisclosed Client #2 and I hope that they find someone who can produce a photo that they are happy with. You can’t win them all.