I hate to turn down clients. I usually only do it when I am forced to for scheduling reasons. I try to remind myself that many of the people that walk through the doors of my studio are stressed out or on tight budgets or strict deadlines. I am not always seeing them at their best and most relaxed so I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Rarely have I ever had such a frustrating meeting with a potential client as I did today. I had a feeling it was going to be bad when the first thing he said was, “I’d like to speak to your boss. Is he here?” I patiently explained that the name on the door is Renee Minnetteo Photography, and that I am Renee. Then he looked at the photos I have up on display and asked me if I really took them all. I was tempted to say no, that sometimes I just cut things out of magazines because they look pretty. I assured him that yes, I took them all. That I could discuss them with him if he wanted further proof. He rolled his eyes at me like he was a teenager and told me that he was looking for someone to do a catalog shoot for his company.
We talked details for a few minutes. He kept interrupting and asking if I was sure I could do things a particular way, if I had the room to do things “properly” here in my studio, what recourse he had if the photos weren’t up to his high expectations. It was that last one that did it. I realized then what kind of client he would be to work for. The kind that will find something—anything—wrong with the pictures and then demand at least a partial refund. Or try to lower the final payment because I wasn’t able to satisfy his ever-changing demands and requests. I’ve been there before a few times and I have to say, it is never worth it. You end up with bad choices like taking less than you deserve or risk hugely negative reviews on social media or bad word-of-mouth.
I did not want this guy’s business in any way, shape, or form. The beauty of being your own boss is that although you make your own wallet suffer, you don’t actually haveto take every job that comes your way. You can actually say no to people like this. I very politely asked him for the dates he would need me, then went over to my calendar and frowned for a few minutes. Then I told him the “bad” news—that I was booked at that time. Then I handed him the name of a fellow photographer who would definitely be able to hold his own with this guy and sent him on his way.
I was so happy to hear my office door close! What a relief!