TCD 002 – When Your Creative Portrait Doesn’t Hit Home

You know what it feels like when you deliver an awesome portrait to a family and it doesn’t get quite the reaction you had hoped? Yeah, pretty bad, which is why I think it’s important we address this issue right up front.

Since starting Photillustrator 3+ years ago and delivering 60+ really awesome family portraits, I never really knew what it was like to have a client not completely over-the-moon about their portrait. That is until now.

Check out this email I received a couple of days after my client’s BIG Reveal.

“Thank you. Full disclosure: everyone at the reveal morning loved how all the boys turned out but agreed that neither of the girls’ personalities came through. (Color me blue) My brother: You look spaced out and 10 pounds heavier. (Laugh-Weep) Note to self: burn entire ensemble in portrait. Immediately I thought that the little one’s B-I-G personality is nowhere to be seen. She looks timid and scared. Sigh, deep sigh, deepest of sighs. Hoping our feelings about it shift over time. Thank you to you and Taren.”

My number one goal is for families to always love their portraits, so you can imagine how I felt when I received this email from a less than satisfied client.

Have you ever had a dissatisfied client? How would you handle this situation if it were you? What steps would you take to avoid ever having this problem again?

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Comments (2)

I was curious if you show the clients their images in camera as you take them. Maybe this would help manage expectations if they see their facial expressions on the raw images before the final reveal. So happy the podcast is back!

In this case, Yes. The client saw the images in camera. One thing I’ve learned with all the portraits I’ve done is that regardless of how hard you work to make a client happy, there will be a small number who will have issues. I’ve been super fortunate that I’ve only had a couple in my time and in this case, I’m working with the client to solve the problem because I HATE when a client isn’t 100% happy with their portrait. Thanks for your comment!

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