When the client is upset with their images



For photographers, one of the hardest possible messages to get from a client is…”I just don’t like the images.” As difficult as it is to hear, it’s a customer service scenario that needs prompt and courteous attention. Here’s a suggestion for how to handle it.


I’m so sorry to hear that you aren’t happy with your images. I really love them, so it’s upsetting to hear that you don’t feel the same way. I’d like to talk this out with you, and learn what it is that you don’t like about them, and see if there is anything that I can do for you.

I believe we would do better discussing your concerns in person or on the phone. What time works for you tomorrow?



Once you’ve responded by email, you’ll have time to collect your thoughts and plan for your phone call. Take a few moments to review the images, and if you think you need a fresh eye, ask your most honest and outspoken non-photographer friend to look at the images, not just your tribe of supportive photographer buddies. You want someone who can think like a client, not like a photographer.


Once you get them on the phone, here are a few specific thoughts to guide you. Remember the acronym LABS!

  • LISTEN. Invite your client to explain what’s wrong, and let him or her finish speaking.
  • APOLOGIZE. This is a big one, and it can be easy to forget. Whether or not you believe the situation calls for an apology isn’t the issue at hand. Do it. Be genuine and generous in your apology.
  • BE CALM. Don’t get defensive in your response. Convey understanding, empathy and respect for their situation.
  • SOLVE IT. Ask them what you can do to repair the situation. You don’t have to agree to do what they’re asking, but asking the question can help to diffuse the situation. If you can’t do what they are asking, come up with some other solutions, from retouching to a print credit to extra album spreads and anything in between.

Most photographers have experienced a version of this dilemma at least once in their careers (you’re not alone!), so having these tools for a calm and reasonable reaction will help you get through it while caring for your client. While you’ll never be able to please every person you work with, you will be able to build your reputation for kind and compassionate service as you work out your differences.

Was this a helpful scenario for you? You’ll find this one and more than 74 other helpful scenarios and email templates in our Wedding Photographer’s Inbox Solution, available in the store at Pencil & Lens!

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  1. Jack on July 15, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Great read! Thank you!

  2. Shannon Pierce on September 23, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Love this. Such a good formula to have on hand. Thank you!!

  3. Gabrielle R on September 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Great tips on dealing with a very non-comfortable situation.

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