"Hi Jen, We got the pictures. We really weren't interested in black and white photos and there was one with my eyes closed, one with the top of my head cut off and one with Bill hiding behind me. We were wondering if there were any better ones (close ups) of me or Bill from the indoor shots or other outdoor shots. There were several we really liked, but we were hoping for a few more."
(no black and whites)
(top of head cut off)
This is not the kind of reaction you want from a client.
The photos were for their adult children, as a Christmas gift. Jane (the wife) booked the shoot. She let me know ahead of time that Bill (her husband) was going through cancer treatment. She asked if I could Photoshop the scars and spots on his head.
It was perfect weather. We went to a park by the lake. It was a really fun shoot! I had only been doing portraits for maybe a year, so I was still learning. But I thought it went well and the pics were great.
Then I got the email. I was horrified. I'd never had a client complain. I showed the photos to my husband and a fellow photographer, and they said the photos were wonderful.
So I emailed Jane and asked her to do something. I asked her to show the photos to their children. Because I knew those adult kids would love them.
A few days later I got an email from Jane, asking me to call her. I was at work (my day job) but I found an empty office and called her. I was prepared for the worst.
She said she was calling to apologize. She showed her kids the photos and they loved them. They loved the candid shots, the relaxed and happy looks on their faces. That these pics were so much better than a boring Sears portrait.
So Jane and Bill went back and looked at the photos again. But this time, with "different eyes" as she put it. Once they weren't expecting to see a traditional department store portrait, they loved the photos!!!
So of course I started crying (happy tears) and told her I had to hang up but would email soon.
"I wanted to thank you for taking the time to work with me to understand your first reaction to the photos. And thank you both for going back and looking at the photos a 2nd time, with an open mind (and heart.) That was such a gift to me. I feel like you helped me grow as a photographer."
I think about them a lot. And I