Couples Threatened By Their Wedding Photographers Over Bad Reviews

Business Tips March 20th 2014 2:34 PM 2 Comments

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Shockingly enough, this isn’t the first time such a crazy story about wedding photography has been in the news:  A wedding photographer threatens to sue their client, because the client gave them a bad review online! Or even in the case of THIS STORY on the Huffington Posts’ wedding section, over a relatively positive review of 4/5 stars!

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As a wedding photographer, whenever I read stuff like this I just sit back and wonder. Am I doing something wrong, that such a business tactic has never crossed my mind?  Am I too nice to my clients?  I took a few minutes to think about it.

Should You Sue A Client For Posting A Negative Review?

Currently I am a lead photographer for the wedding & portrait studio Lin & Jirsa Photography, and we do use Yelp quite a lot.  So we understand that many companies in our industry rely highly on review sites (such as Yelp) in order to get business.  It has been a huge help to our business, and we work very carefully to make sure each couple is so happy with their experience (and their photos!!!) that they would gladly leave a 5-star review.

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However, suing couples over a bad review? Or, how about putting such terms in your contract that even give you the grounds to sue a couple over this?  I feel like it is just bad business karma, in the long run.

In fact you might say it’s downright backwards-thinking, in this service-based, personality-driven industry. Here’s how I see it: if you’re so bad at customer service, or if you’re such a high-pressure salesman, or such a stickler over pricing details, or if you’re so close to going out of business already that one single 4 star review could “take you down”, …then maybe you shouldn’t be in this business in the first place…?…

Yes, we understand that you “gotta look out for you and your own” and yes we do understand that every industry will have difficult clients who make impossible demands and/or threaten to ruin you via social media. So yeah, you gotta cover your ass in a worst case scenario.

However with everyday general situations, our motto is “bend over backwards for each client, so that THEY don’t bend you over….the other way.” Okay that’s not really our motto, but you get the idea.

Do Right By Your Clients

In conclusion, our wedding photography industry is about positive personalities, a happy experience for clients, and celebration in general. If you’re so jaded by previous bad business experiences that you think this is your best course of action, then maybe it’s time to retire from wedding photography, or re-think your whole perspective on doing business with engaged / newlywed couples at one of the happiest points in their lives.

Disclaimer:  These are just my personal thoughts, and they do not reflect any company policy or corporate mindset, of course.

Take care, and happy clicking!
=Matt=

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About

Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge. Connect with him on Google Plus

2 Comments

  1. Jay

    I somewhat disagree with your point of view that we have to bend backwards for clients. We are artists and portray that in the work we do everyday from shooting to post however sometimes you can provide your client a phenomenal job (that has even been published in a few magazines and wedding blogs and they still are unhappy and provide you with a beautiful 1 star review on yelp. What do you recommend doing in this situation besides contacting the client and figuring out what the he;! Went wrong?

    3
  2. bryan

    I’m really not a fan of your using SLR lounge as an avenue of self promotion, which is what this feels like to me.

    5

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