I wrote a post previously sharing tips for photographers on how to let your clients know that you don’t Photoshop their images extensively.
Wait, I mean edit their images extensively; “Photoshop” isn’t a verb.
It also isn’t a term every client out there knows what it means.
That’s the problem though, right? Because it is a term you use all the time, common language in the photographer industry, it bleeds over in to marketing materials, in to conversations, and in to client meetings.
This leaves clients feeling like they should know what it means, so they nod their head and go along with it. Or, possibly even worse, they think it means one thing when you mean something completely different.
I received a comment today on that blog post from a client of another photographer, stating that, “Unfortunately it now seems the work on her website is not reflective of the level of editing she gives to her clients. Her words were “the images i sent you are edited, i have tweeked (sic) the one I uploaded”… In reality the ones she wants me to accept are a completely different colour, and my daughter has blotches all over her face in some of them. In another shoot my daughter’s white cardigan is slightly overexposed, but the edited one on her website has perfect colour and contrast. Is this normal and acceptable? To advertise images edited differently to what you then sell to clients?”
I responded that there is no industry standard. What is normal editing for one person isn’t for another.
The REAL PROBLEM though is the fact that the photographer didn’t explain this to her client!
If you look through your marketing terms on all of your materials, your pricelist, anything that you put out there, do you have words like this in it? Are you explaining what you offer, what you include, how the process works, in a clear manner that someone not in the industry will understand?
You need to explain your process.
Stop assuming your clients know what you think they know!
Are you leaving things open for interpretation?
If you’re a photographer, stop expecting people to know anything about retouching terms – Photoshop, how you do a “light edit”, how you color correct, cull, or any of it. Take it off your pricelist, and if you have to talk about it in your marketing materials? Make it easy to understand by non-photographers!
When you pristinely retouch every photograph that you show on your website, but then turn around and hand your clients digital files that look like they came straight out of the camera?
You’re confusing the hell out of your clients.
When you brush them off afterwards and just point them back to your promo that they purchased with the confusing language on it? You’re guaranteeing that not only will they not return to you, they will also tell all of their friends to avoid you too.
Speaking of what you deliver, photographers? “High-Res Digital Files” – your clients have NO IDEA what this means. Hell, half the time I don’t even know what you mean by this. Your High-Res Digital File and mine might be two different things. You’re causing yourself more headaches than it is worth with this one. You need to clarify!
Find where you’re causing your clients confusion!
This is important, no matter what industry you’re in! Have friends that aren’t “in the know” read what you are putting out there and tell you what they think it means.
You might be surprised about the confusion you’ve been causing people.
What terms do you see people using often that leave you feeling confused about what they are including? Have you ended up disappointed after you made a purchase when you found out what it really included?
3 replies on “Stop Causing Your Clients Confusion”
Such great advice, Christine! Too often we assume things and don’t actually find out how to speak our client’s language.
Solid advice! I’m going to double check all of my contract & website terminologies now.
AWESOME POST Christine! I see this so much and I think some photogs use it to cleverly pull the wool over clients eyes! I also hear this consistently from models and while I’m all for great quality images the best teacher I can think of on this is wedding photog Joe Buissink. I love how he uses gaffer’s tape to tape up screens on his student;s and associates cameras as well as does not allow the use of Photoshop software in his business. Sure minor adjustments in Lightroom, but that’s the key! Forcing us to learn our cameras (bodies) and lenses (glass) properly to get the best shots with little or no editing!
You also nailed a major point on this one! I have a ton of friends who feel they were ripped off with their wedding images. Saturation and color adjustments are off throughout their images. There are obvious differences when their friends post their images online and I explain it to them and the lingo we use, not to many feel it was a good deal for what they got for what they paid for and won’t recommend those photogs ever again! They would rather get less quality shot with their point and shoots or their cellphones. But I do know a lot of photogs who use this type of confusion to exploit models and paying clients. A good way to end up in court if you ask me!
I will add one thing to this post! Photogs, STOP with the one liners crap! In chat rooms , groups, and forums I consistently see… “You are long winded and say nothing.” or “That was an essay!” That says a lot about how you treat your customers and clients. One main reason I succeed is I thoroughly explain everything and I I get tons of awesome comments for that! Clients want more than emjoi responses!
Awesome post Christine and keep up the great work!