People can be frustrating. That’s life. Clients can be even more so and then add to that the stress of a wedding day and that’s where terms like “Bridezilla” come into play. As a business owner, for any type of business, you will have the inevitable client that is a P.I.T.A. That’s part and par with owning a service based business. It’s your job to deal with these people, with a smile, and with the utmost professionalism.
When dealing with difficult clients, there are numerous ways to approach a bad situation. You could stand your ground and uphold your policies, you could bend your business rules a bit and save your sanity or you could do something in between. What you should never, ever, ever do, though, is vent your frustrations publically, and especially not on the Internet. Because, what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet FOREVER. There is no delete button (just ask any celebrity that’s had a naked picture of themselves leaked online).
One wedding photographer, Lee Maxwell Judd, found out the hard way when he, having no common sense or tact, took to Facebook on his professional business page to air his grievances about a client of his. Judd posted a picture of his client, Ashlea Howard and wrote that she was the “ugliest bride [he had] ever photographed. Whinged the whole time. Bridezilla #1,” when she complained about the delivery of the photos. The bride, after seeing the post was reportedly mortified.
The issues arose when Judd sent the USB to the wrong person. When Ashlea finally received her photos, she said that, though she was happy 90% of them, many were “overexposed, leaving the background blurry and people’s faces contorted.” Judd told her that it was his “creative style.” She also stated that he acted “like some artsy-fartsy creative, it was just a bit bizarre,” on the day of her February 21st wedding. One report cites that couple paid £800 for Judd’s services (another site reports $1500) and said, “He was definitely one of the cheaper photographers, but now I know why.” (Ahem).
After a hailstorm of angry comments on Judd’s Facebook page and much negative press, Judd apparently tried to use the old, “I was hacked” defense and even went as far as a blanket apology to “all concerned.” When people continued to criticize him, Judd went on the defensive, telling people to “get back in your trailer,” calling them “boring, hopeless, haters” and then reveling in his newfound infamy. A brief look at his page showed him trying to raise social awareness with his 15 minutes of fame and talking about how he is now “infamous” on his personal page.
The latest post on Lee Maxwell Judd Photography’s Facebook page shows what appears to be an apology from Ashlea Howard.
Upon further investigation, a commenter posted that the apology was not directed to Judd at all, but posted from Ashlea to a photographer of a similar name, Lee Maxwell Photography, based in the UK. Lee Maxwell Judd decided to pass it off as if the apology were to him and “forgave” Ashlea.
Lessons to Be Learned
Once you stop shaking your head (I mean, I can’t make this stuff up, people), here are a few takeaways from this situation.
1. If you have an issue with a client, keep your mouth shut. Social media is not a place to rant about the people that paid you money to provide a service. Especially NOT on your professional business page. Yes, the bride went the budget photography route (and that’s an article for another day), but as a business owner, there is a level of professionalism that clearly, Mr. Judd does not understand. If you must complain, go home, have a glass of wine and talk to your cat.
2. Bad publicity is not always good publicity. Though it can be true for the Kardashians, as a photography business, most of the time bad publicity will irreparably damage or destroy your business. These days brides do their research and guess what’s going to pop up when anyone Googles, “Lee Maxwell Judd Photography?” His “overexposed, blurry, creative” work along with a dozen or more news reports of his behavior toward a client before, during and after the wedding.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below; I’ll grab the popcorn.