Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When Client Doesn't Understand Time Needs

A question I see frequently on photography boards is how to address clients who want 100 images to be created in 30 minutes of time- or some variation of how to deal with a client who is expecting too many images in too short of a time frame.

The Problem: 
Generally, clients have this expectation because they haven't fully understood how much time professional image creation takes.  You're the expert, and perhaps you even provided them with timeline suggestions, but somewhere along the line your suggestions weren't understood or were trumped by someone else who told your client that it wouldn't take that long.  As far as the client is concerned, taking a photo is like taking a selfie- a few seconds and you're done- so you need to help them understand why it takes longer when working with a professional.  They aren't ignorant, they just aren't professional photographers who see 100x more detail in every image and spend extra time making sure it looks better... which is exactly why you're being hired in the first place.

The Solution: 
Address this as early and as soon as possible by quantifying the amount of time each image takes for the client.  Help them understand the process and what happens during that time so that they can be realistic in their time goals.

Wedding Example: If it takes 5 minutes to round up the right people and create a great formal portrait at a wedding, than let the couple know that every posed image request needs to have 5 minutes allocated in the timeline.  If they request 50 posed images in 30 minutes, remind them that each pose can take 5 minutes to get everyone in place and properly focused, and then ask if they'd like to add more time or remove some of the requests.

Commercial Example: If it's a product shoot and you know it takes about 1 hour to get the lighting right with all the variations you need in post-production, than help the client understand that every photo request will also require 1 hour of time from the stylist, studio, and lighting crew.  By helping a client understand what is involved in the creation of each image before you get to the shoot, you save everyone time and frustration in the end.

Be The Expert:
Clients come to you for your expertise because they don't have a full understanding of what it takes to create the work you create.  Make sure you educate clients and help them understand as much as possible in order to have a successful shoot with realistic expectations.  A client needs to know when their expectations aren't reasonable or accurate, and you are the only one who can help them understand what time is needed to create your professional quality.


Anne Ruthmann is a professional photographer in New York City. With over 10 years of success as a full-time photographer in weddings, portraits, editorial, and now architecture and interiors, she spends any extra time she has helping others find smart solutions to business problems.  Stay in touch on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.
    Wedding Photographer in Jaipur

    ReplyDelete

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