How to Say “NO” to Clients

Part of being a photographer is dealing with a wide variety of people and personalities. If you have any experience as a commercial or full time photographer you know that every person you shoot a job for is different and sometimes not every gig goes the way you want it. That comes with the territory when you’re on your own as a photographer. We are our own boss and that’s step one to remember. If someone is hiring you they are hiring you for your work and not to boss you around. Folks tend to make that mistake. Sometimes they think you are working FOR them instead of WITH them. When that happens by all means put your foot down and set boundaries without being disrespectful.

Note: This article follows up on some concepts we went over in “Knowing What To Charge Clients” article.

A big part of ensuring that your shoot goes well or that tasks that as asked are completed is to either have a set contract that both parties would adhere to OR an agreed upon shot list with a set number of edits. Keep this in mind going forward if have not already.

In your professional career you will come across price shoppers regardless of how high end your work is. If you want to throw in extras then that’s up to you and as a photographer I have gone above and beyond for many clients, however when clients start demanding extras that’s another time you have to draw the line. It happens. If you’re shooting headshots at an office and had a written contract for five people and extra folks are showing up because you’re there means that you should be paid extra for those folks. One remedy to this is to charge a day rate for regardless of who shows up within a certain time allotted.

How To Say No

One of your best defensive and offensive moves is to just say no. It might sting at first because as freelancers we don’t want to miss a job. BUT when you think about the time and effort you put into a job that someone bargained your price down for as opposed to a client who works with you; you’ll see the immediate difference. Knocking off a couple bucks here and there is fine but if you’re getting clients asking for 50% off or telling you they only want a certain number of photos for a certain price or that someone else can do it cheaper- you’re response should be; “Thank you for considering me but I don’t think I’m what you’re looking for.” It’s ok to turn down work and stick to your guns. This helps establish your worth as a photographer.

Many times you will get clients who want the world without considering your schedule or work flow. You have to establish boundaries and tell people you work with when you will work on their project, when a good time to call may be, or what your schedule is like to better suit their needs. You don’t have to be mean but if you get an inkling of a client who acts like they’re married to you then it’s time to set some boundaries. You have to also remember that you’re not a mind reader and cannot predict anyone’s motivations. Of course; walk into every situation with a cool head with the intent to do your best work. You’re there for a reason and just need to make that clear sometimes.

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This entry was posted by Richard Storm.

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