This post takes me back to a session I did a few years ago. It was a portfolio building session that brought me about $100 in cash and cost about $700 in time. Nice. Talk about a HUGE lesson learned here.
I'll break it down like this...
The session went very well that day. Mom was happy. Dad was happy. Baby was happy. And, I was feeling confident. On our walk back to our cars as we finished the session, I decided to grab a few last "just in case" shots. In camera, they were awesome. The trees framed the family perfectly. The baby was smiling. We ended on a high note.
Fast forward to post processing. As I was sorting through the images, I got to those money shots. It didn't take long until I realized that those money shots were worth about 2 cents. My shutter speed was at about 1/60. Doh. Still feeling very good about the session and the gallery that I selected for the family, I pushed on. I brushed those images off as my "lesson learned" images and continued to edit the rest of the gallery.
Shortly after delivering the gallery I received an e-mail from the client.
Michelle, I really love the gallery, but am disappointed that those last images by the trees are not in there. My son was laughing and giggling and they seemed perfect. Can you add them? I'm confused as to why they would be excluded.Oh boy... I proceeded to inform my client that, while the situation was perfect at that moment in time, the images were not perfect and were excluded. And then, I did myself in. What happened next still haunts me to this day.
I'd be happy to give the edit another go so you can have at least one image in your gallery. Would that work for you?What happened next was a cacophony or one issue after the other. As per is usually the case, the client chose the image with motion blur for her full size print. Against my better judgement, I ordered the print, had it shipped to her house, hid behind my couch and prayed to the photo Gods that she would know no better and hang the dang thing on her wall.
Well, I guess the photo Gods know my stance on religion and did nothing for me that day. Soon after, I received another e-mail from the client.
Michelle, I just wanted to let you know that there is something wrong with the image. It's very blurry. Maybe it's the printer's fault? You may want to contact them.She's so sweet. After informing her that it was in fact the image that was the issue we resolved to order a different print from the gallery. Before placing the order I receive the following e-mail.
Michelle, We are so excited to receive our next print, however the frame that I have purchased is for a landscape photo and the print is portrait. Is there something you can do about this?Clearly lesson not learned...
I'd be happy to give that a go!In the end, about 50 hours and several prints later, we settled the matter. There were no frustrations on the client's part (at least she was sweet in her e-mails to me) but there was much on my part. I should have been clear from the get go that the first image was unfit for print and politely encouraged her to move on. Once again, another lesson learned.
Running any business requires a learning curve. The next time a client asked me for a specific photo that didn't make it into the gallery because it looked like sh!t, I responded in the following manner.
Yes, I sure wish those images turned out well, too. Unfortunately, the light was horrible and the image just didn't turn out as we had hoped. But, on the plus side, you still have many amazing photos in your gallery to choose from. xoxo~Michelle
Thanks, Michelle. That's too bad, but we understand. We love the gallery and are looking forward to the prints. Signed~ Client
BONUS TIP - If you LOVE an image, but it's just not right in color, DO NOT create a black and white and give that to the client. Why? Because there is a 99.9% chance that they will ask for the color version. And, guess what? You'll be busting your hump to fix the crappy color picture. (Yeah...just another lesson learned from good ole Michelle...)