November 27, 2014, 05:54:12 AM

Author Topic: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it  (Read 5577 times)

procentje20

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The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« on: May 10, 2014, 05:26:50 PM »
Not sure if this has been discussed before. But I was wondering if any of you ever had a photo assignment where the client gave you a task, you made a picture to the best of your understanding of the task. Liked it, send it to the customer. And the customer hated it.

I'll start with my example. I was asked to photograph the work of volunteers at a triathlon in my home town. They were overhauling their volunteers website, and wanted good pictures to go with the site. No budget, but I was asked nicely.

So, I went in, took lots of pictures and figured one in particular captured the whole story of the volunteers.



Their first reaction. "The volunteers are out of focus"

Which was exactly the point. The volunteers are there to make the athletes excel. This guy has a drink, because there are volunteers. I still like the picture, they went with some of my other pictures.

I would love you guys to share a similar story.
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The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« on: May 10, 2014, 05:26:50 PM »

sagittariansrock

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2014, 05:50:43 PM »
First off, I am not a professional but I have taken pictures of events and families on request (of friends, of course).
I never suggest which one out of the final pick is my favorite, but I notice often theirs is something else. And while I have never commented on it, it does disappoint me.
So yes, I can empathize with your experience.
However, liking is often subjective, so it is possible what you have loved from a creator's perspective is not shared by someone from a viewer's perspective.
The situations, the psychology, are all different.

Now, regarding this image you posted- I am afraid it does not tell me the story you described.
If I took the photo, it would have been from a volunteer's PoV, showing the hand holding the cup in sharp focus and taking up a big part of the screen, and a bunch of runners, tired and thirsty, running towards it- in relative off-focus.
I am not saying my concept makes any more sense than yours in absolute terms- just demonstrating how relative and subjective one's viewpoint might be.
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David_in_Seattle

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 06:04:44 PM »
Yup, happened to me on several occasions.  I've learned that when it comes to event, wedding, and sports photography that my personal style is only part of the equation (sometimes 25%, other times 95%) of why they hired me.  Every client has their own vision of what they want out of a photo.  It's a good idea to discuss the specific deliverables with a potential client before any contract is signed.

Personally, I got tired of doing weddings, events, and sports photography as a profession and transitioned to lifestyle/travel photography where my employer hired me for my creativity and ability to scale my workflow on a global scale.  Nowadays I do the other stuff for the fun of it.  Takes most of the bad stress out of the equation.
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Don Haines

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 07:26:34 PM »
I know the feeling....

Set up to photograph "The Band" at a concert... (not the famous "The Band", just a local one). Shot hundreds of photos from dozens of angles and in the end they were more impressed with the time lapse shots from a GoPro that I had stuck to the side of the piano.... because that's the view they were interested in.... up close and personal.

The moral of the story is, find out what they are looking for and what the vision is. For the triathalon, I would have split my shots between the athlete's view of the volunteers, and a view of the volunteer's helping the athletes, with another good clump of the two interacting. In your case, they defined the vision and you shot the opposite. Your shot (at least to me) focuses on the athlete and minimizes the presence of the volunteers, the opposite of what was requested.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 07:28:07 PM by Don Haines »
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surapon

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 08:16:40 PM »
Dear friend procentje20
Wow " Their first reaction. "The volunteers are out of focus"  "----I ( as Photographer) love your photo, that show the main subject is sharp in focus, and most all of the volunteers are good blur.
BIG BUT = As the "  the work of volunteers at a triathlon in my home town. " = 99% of the VOLUNTEERS are Volunteers, Many of them Big / High position in their business in your Home town, And They working hard  with out pay, And The Most important thing in their lifes are have the good Photos ( OF THEM) in the Publish/ Magazine/ Pamplets--To show off that " Here are ME, , who working hard , to make this event Success---MOST OF THEM do not care , who are the winners---At all.
YES, I have learn from more than 10 race like this-----The first one try to do same thing that you did, AS THE REAL PHOTOGRAPHER, not point and shoot to get every thing sharp in focus, And I Miss alot of the Volunteers/ Staffs's Photos---Just Pin point to the Public Racers.----YES, I AM WRONG.
Yes, I ask the Boss( Of the Race) , why They do not like my " PHOTOGRAPH'S IDEA Photos ", And He explain to me like I tell you.= The Most important Photos = The Photos of their staffs and The Volunteers, Including  another Volunteer Photographer too.---If No their Photos on the Book/ Publish or Pamplets after  the end of Race---Most of them will not come to help in another race.---YES, Most important Pictures = BEFORE THE RACE/ Preparation, and Clean up job, by Volunteers. To record the Photos that they can use as the Volunteer project, Not The NO NAME WINNERS, who just one time race.

Yes, After the first Race/ Volunteer----I know , who I will shoot the most---The Boss and all / Yes, All of the Volunteers.

Surapon
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 08:49:42 PM by surapon »

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2014, 08:40:00 PM »
Dear friend procentje20
Wow " Their first reaction. "The volunteers are out of focus"  "----I ( as Photographer) love your photo, that show the main subject is sharp in focus, and most all of the volunteers are good blur.
BIG BUT = As the "  the work of volunteers at a triathlon in my home town. " = 99% of the VOLUNTEERS are Volunteers, Many of them Big / High position in their business in your Home town, And They working hard  with out pay, And The Most important thing in their lifes are have the good Photos ( OF THEM) in the Publish/ Magazine/ Pamplets--To show off that " Here are ME, , who working hard , to make this event Success---MOST OF THEM do not care , who are the winners---At all.
YES, I have learn from more than 10 race like this-----The first one try to do same thing that you did, AS THE REAL PHOTOGRAPHER, not point and shoot to get every thing sharp in focus, And I Miss alot of the Volunteers/ Staffs's Photos---Just Pin point to the Public Racers.----YES, I AM WRONG.
Yes, I ask the Boss , why They do not like my " PHOTOGRAPH'S IDEA Photos ", And He explain to me like I tell you.= The Most important Photos = The Photos of their staffs and The Volunteers, Including  another Volunteer Photographer too.---If No their Photos on the Book/ Publish or Pamplets after  the end of Race---Most of them will not come to help in another race.---YES, Most important Pictures = BEFORE THE RACE/ Preparation, and Clean up job, by Volunteers. To record the Photos that they can use as the Volunteer project, Not The NO NAME WINNERS, who just one time race.

Surapon

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2014, 09:04:56 PM »
Great shot.  It really is.  I've done some charity work and love it because I can relax and no one is looking to me for direction.  I just get to walk around and hunt down the shot.  But we're here to talk about yours.  And I can see how the volunteers might not see it your way.  I agree that it highlights the athlete and he's able to do his thing because the volunteer is doing his/hers.  But it is sort of highlighting the athlete though and I suppose the volunteers want to be in the spotlight.  The volunteer in focus with the athlete oof in the background would probably be what they wanted.  Not as spectacular a shot but it's what they wanted.  I see your point but it's sort of like some people who, when seeing my B&W photo of their daughter getting married ask if they can get it in colour instead.  This is normally the older folks who still think B&W is "old fashioned".  Ok, whatever you want.   


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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2014, 09:04:56 PM »

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2014, 10:11:32 PM »
I see that all the time, the customer may be looking for something that has meaning to them, and I totally miss out on.  They like photos that I would have passed on.
 
It does not bother me, since I understand that we all see things in a different way. 

procentje20

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2014, 03:58:36 AM »
Dear friend procentje20
Wow " Their first reaction. "The volunteers are out of focus"  "----I ( as Photographer) love your photo, that show the main subject is sharp in focus, and most all of the volunteers are good blur.
BIG BUT = As the "  the work of volunteers at a triathlon in my home town. " = 99% of the VOLUNTEERS are Volunteers, Many of them Big / High position in their business in your Home town, And They working hard  with out pay, And The Most important thing in their lifes are have the good Photos ( OF THEM) in the Publish/ Magazine/ Pamplets--To show off that " Here are ME, , who working hard , to make this event Success---MOST OF THEM do not care , who are the winners---At all.
YES, I have learn from more than 10 race like this-----The first one try to do same thing that you did, AS THE REAL PHOTOGRAPHER, not point and shoot to get every thing sharp in focus, And I Miss alot of the Volunteers/ Staffs's Photos---Just Pin point to the Public Racers.----YES, I AM WRONG.
Yes, I ask the Boss , why They do not like my " PHOTOGRAPH'S IDEA Photos ", And He explain to me like I tell you.= The Most important Photos = The Photos of their staffs and The Volunteers, Including  another Volunteer Photographer too.---If No their Photos on the Book/ Publish or Pamplets after  the end of Race---Most of them will not come to help in another race.---YES, Most important Pictures = BEFORE THE RACE/ Preparation, and Clean up job, by Volunteers. To record the Photos that they can use as the Volunteer project, Not The NO NAME WINNERS, who just one time race.

Surapon

Thanks Surapon, thats probably the misunderstanding. They ask for photos of the work of the volunteers, and they meen photos of the volunteers working. Which sounds the same, but is something else artistically.

I just thought of a wedding aniversary I was asked to shoot, where I had a list of attendants I used to make sure everyone was in at least one picture. But the list didn't include the uncle that flew 2000km to be there. And I managed to not include him in any picture. I thougt I wad being oh so professional. But in the end, the whole gig left a mediocre impression.

Learning from mistakes is important. And I've been learning a lot these past years :)
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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2014, 06:10:45 AM »
Welcome to the world of professional photography  ;)

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2014, 08:25:27 AM »
It happens and usually can be checked by interviewing your client as best as possible. I learned to shoot "safe" portraits alongside the more edgy stuff just to have something to fall back on if they don't like something.

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2014, 09:20:15 AM »
Dear friend procentje20
Wow " Their first reaction. "The volunteers are out of focus"  "----I ( as Photographer) love your photo, that show the main subject is sharp in focus, and most all of the volunteers are good blur.
BIG BUT = As the "  the work of volunteers at a triathlon in my home town. " = 99% of the VOLUNTEERS are Volunteers, Many of them Big / High position in their business in your Home town, And They working hard  with out pay, And The Most important thing in their lifes are have the good Photos ( OF THEM) in the Publish/ Magazine/ Pamplets--To show off that " Here are ME, , who working hard , to make this event Success---MOST OF THEM do not care , who are the winners---At all.
YES, I have learn from more than 10 race like this-----The first one try to do same thing that you did, AS THE REAL PHOTOGRAPHER, not point and shoot to get every thing sharp in focus, And I Miss alot of the Volunteers/ Staffs's Photos---Just Pin point to the Public Racers.----YES, I AM WRONG.
Yes, I ask the Boss , why They do not like my " PHOTOGRAPH'S IDEA Photos ", And He explain to me like I tell you.= The Most important Photos = The Photos of their staffs and The Volunteers, Including  another Volunteer Photographer too.---If No their Photos on the Book/ Publish or Pamplets after  the end of Race---Most of them will not come to help in another race.---YES, Most important Pictures = BEFORE THE RACE/ Preparation, and Clean up job, by Volunteers. To record the Photos that they can use as the Volunteer project, Not The NO NAME WINNERS, who just one time race.

Surapon

Thanks Surapon, thats probably the misunderstanding. They ask for photos of the work of the volunteers, and they meen photos of the volunteers working. Which sounds the same, but is something else artistically.

I just thought of a wedding aniversary I was asked to shoot, where I had a list of attendants I used to make sure everyone was in at least one picture. But the list didn't include the uncle that flew 2000km to be there. And I managed to not include him in any picture. I thougt I wad being oh so professional. But in the end, the whole gig left a mediocre impression.

Learning from mistakes is important. And I've been learning a lot these past years :)

I think Surapon gave you a pretty good answer, but I'd like to expand on it a bit.  First, I like your photo as a race photo, but not as a volunteer photo.   I do some local volunteer work, and my take is that a good "volunteer photo" is a "volunteer recruitment photo."   A recruitment photo needs to say one or more of the following:

  • "See how much fun it is to be a volunteer" (e.g. smiling, laughing, bonding)
  • "See how rewarding it is to be a volunteer" (e.g. volunteer reading to elderly person, who is smiling)
  • "We really appreciate our volunteers"  (positive feedback/approval)
  • "See how generous and caring I am to volunteer for this event."  (as Surapon said)
  • (maybe) "See how important I am to be selected to volunteer for this prestigious event."

Your photo says "see how important it is to be a volunteer," but says little or nothing that would recruit or retain volunteers.  If this were a BIG race (i.e. with celebrities of some kind), this might be a helpful picture because it would say "see how close you can get to celebrities."


Again, I like the photo, but agree with the client.

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2014, 10:32:08 AM »
It is unfortunate that when you volunteered your time to shoot for this organization, they were ungrateful and did not recognize the value of your work. Regardless of whether or not it was exactly what they wanted, they should remember that YOU DID IT FOR FREE. Sadly, a paying client will make sure they let you know exactly what they want (or at least their is a much greater chance they will) so that their money is not wasted on you.

Since you did them a favor of shooting for FREE, that is about how much they value your work. I would not waste any more time with someone who does not value your work and is not willing to set you up to succeed in meeting their needs.

As a documentary/commercial photographer with 25 years of doing this, cut your losses and move on. They will never be happy, and you will never get that feeling of a job well done from this group of self-seeking "volunteers."

This same phenomenon happens with paid clients, too. They talk you into giving them a good deal on pricing, and then they start to change the deal and want more, or decide after the shoot (and they've signed off on the work already) that they suddenly aren't happy with what was shot.  They plead poverty, ignorance, etc. etc. when you hold them to the signed agreement.

The best thing you can do is take your photos, chalk it up to experience and move on. If they are not happy with them, then certainly they don't plan to use the images... right??  So then you can all happily part ways. You with your photos and them without your photos.

 If you want to shoot for non-profits, there are plenty of good ones out there that will appreciate your efforts.

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2014, 10:32:08 AM »

sagittariansrock

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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2014, 12:40:05 PM »
It is unfortunate that when you volunteered your time to shoot for this organization, they were ungrateful and did not recognize the value of your work. Regardless of whether or not it was exactly what they wanted, they should remember that YOU DID IT FOR FREE. Sadly, a paying client will make sure they let you know exactly what they want (or at least their is a much greater chance they will) so that their money is not wasted on you.

Since you did them a favor of shooting for FREE, that is about how much they value your work. I would not waste any more time with someone who does not value your work and is not willing to set you up to succeed in meeting their needs.

As a documentary/commercial photographer with 25 years of doing this, cut your losses and move on. They will never be happy, and you will never get that feeling of a job well done from this group of self-seeking "volunteers."

This same phenomenon happens with paid clients, too. They talk you into giving them a good deal on pricing, and then they start to change the deal and want more, or decide after the shoot (and they've signed off on the work already) that they suddenly aren't happy with what was shot.  They plead poverty, ignorance, etc. etc. when you hold them to the signed agreement.

The best thing you can do is take your photos, chalk it up to experience and move on. If they are not happy with them, then certainly they don't plan to use the images... right??  So then you can all happily part ways. You with your photos and them without your photos.

 If you want to shoot for non-profits, there are plenty of good ones out there that will appreciate your efforts.


After a string of very positive input from forum members and a VERY positive response from the OP, this post hits a jarring note.
I have not shot any photos for money till date, but if someone whom I shot doesn't like my photos I won't deduce automatically that he/she isn't appreciative of my work. It might be a question of taste, or perspective. It is very important to understand the audience. It is unfortunate that your 25 years experience has made you so cynical.
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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2014, 02:12:14 PM »
LOL...that is one of the reasons why I got out of the business and became a carpenter.  I got away from photography completely (so sad), during the whole film>digital transition.  I got back in when the 5DII came to market (I used to be a nikon film guy..but I thought that was the most affordable digital finally equals film camera to finally come along).   I have been shooting ever since prodigiously ever since...FOR ME!  I love it.
I can not imaging shooting professionally now...at the risk of sounding like an arrogant snob...everyone has a cell phone and takes pictures and they can be your "director" at a photoshoot...thinking that they know a lot about professional photography based on "their" experience.  They have no clue what a good photographer brings to the table.  ...but like someone said above ....shoot safety shots and cover your ass.  It is frustrating..no? ...they see your best work, hire you and then want safe medeocrity....and you walk away so unfulfilled.    LOL.   It has to be worse now than ever with instagram, snapchat, etc....EVERYONE thinks they are a photographer. Shoot a pic, run it thru some software, immediate gratification....I am an expert!!!!   
I know I am oversimplifying it.... but...just shooting for me gives me MORE joy, knowing everything that I know.
Your shot at the top of the page totally tells the story beautifully....but they were not looking for your ability and vision, they wanted snapshots of their volunteers.  Don't you see, your intellect and vision are the problem.  Not them!!!!!(very high sarcasm).   LOL!
Nice work...I understand your dilemma.   Perhaps you can balance it out and continue...
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Re: The client doesn't like your picture, while you love it
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2014, 02:12:14 PM »