When do you tell a prospective client (bride) to get lost?

Started Jan 25, 2009 | Discussions thread
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deuxcent
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When do you tell a prospective client (bride) to get lost?
Jan 25, 2009

I like to get to know my brides/couples a bit before they book me, to the extent that time and geography allow.

I'm dealing with an unusual situation at the moment: a bride whose wedding I'd really like to shoot for various reasons, but the lady is indecisive to the point of exasperation. I must have spent at least five hours on her already, including an hour or two on the phone. It's not that she asks bad questions, she is just more thorough (read: exhaustive) than any client I've experienced so far. The other day I got an e-mail from her asking how, in general terms, I handle different lighting situations, and she requested sample shots. I tried to gently explain that that's what photography IS, handling and capturing light, and that if she likes my online portfolio, she's probably seen all she needs to know... but in the end I relented and sent her shots I painstakingly selected from my library over a 90-minute browsing session: portraits under overcast skies, sunlit scenes, ambient mixed with flash, pictures with multiple remote flashes and small softboxes, photos taken outside at night with no ambient light to speak of, etc. I accompanied each type of light with a little explanation from a photography point of view. I think I even explained to her what rear-sync flash is!

Then I needed to show her, she said, that I could handle landscapes and nature photography, because she's getting married outside in a very pretty location with a view. Ooookay. More browsing on my computer (I don't have a separate 'nature' or 'landscapes' tag), and I sent her the photo she requested.

Then she wanted to know what kind of feedback I've gotten from my clients, so I sent her a link to my Google small business listing, where two dozen recent (2007/2008) clients have left glowing reviews. That was helpful, she said, but could she please speak to three of my recent brides? Sure. So I called and e-mailed to broker permission for her to call them, and she did, and they talked, and that's fine, and everyone sang my praises.

Did that clinch it? Nope.

This evening she was back on the phone asking more questions about my style and aesthetics. None of them were inane or completely irrelevant -- except maybe for the one where she asked (sounding just a tad suspicious perhaps) why I wasn't a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association -- she had gone to their site and couldn't find my name there (I am, however, a member of the PPA and WPPI, I pointed out).

Anyway, COME ON -- the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and my work (on my website) is public. If you like my 100-plus photos showcased there, book me. If not, there are always other photographers who'd be happy to take the money.

Through it all, she seemed a little uncertain about what she wanted -- she talked about photojournalism AND formal portraits, soft romantic photos AND bold colors. She has taste (or at least an eye for photography), I'll give her that, because the other two photographers she had considered/was considering are (like me? in the upper echelons of their craft, at least for this geographic region.

Anyway, I'd be asking questions too if I were about to drop three or four grand on pictures, but .... this is perhaps a bit excessive.

The odd thing is that though I know she sounds anal, I think I like her. We have a pretty good connection -- but I have no sense how flexible she will turn out to be on the day itself. Could be fine (that's my sense). Could be a nightmare (please, god!).

How have you dealt with brides who are maddeningly indecisive? How much time are you willing to spend on a prospective client before you tell her (nicely) to sh+t or get off the pot, as the charming expression goes? And which approximate words/approach would you use if it did come to that?

Thanks,

dc

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