Managing Difficult Photo Clients

Do you have bad photography clients? Managing difficult clients is the name of the game when it comes to photography. Have you ever wondered why the clients are difficult? It seems they like to spread misery and make life difficult for everyone in sight.


Believe it or not, there’s a method that I use to help bring them back down to tolerable levels. In some cases, they’ve become my biggest ally and supported me over the years. YES! And I’m going to help you recreate the same miracles for your photography business. Ready? Let’s go!

Bad Photography Clients Are Rare!

From experience, I have learned that difficult photography clients are likely misunderstood. They’re misunderstood. That makes it easy to confuse that as being difficult or even evil. As photographers, we don’t sign a new client. We inherit their past experiences and biases. Lovely, right?


You could be dealing with a client who has romance problems with the person of interest. You could be dealing with someone on the verge of a terrible divorce or someone who never felt heard. You have some of these issues and so do I. They are also human, though at times it seems they’re completely alien.


I learned that it’s important to step back from any situation and ask yourself a few questions. There’s a small chance you could turn an “evil” client into one of your biggest fans. The video goes into more detail, but here are a couple of easy ways to turn a negative into a positive.

Photo 1: Directing a commercial for a shoe brand

Your Client Is Misunderstood?

Some people are terrible at communication. They have no idea how to ask for what they want or how to communicate frustrations in a positive tone. Sometimes the tone of voice can cause for frustration.


This is where you come in as an entrepreneur! Entrepreneurship skills are what manage a difficult situation. Your photo skills do not matter at the moment. Without business it is hard to have a profitable business.


Ask them how you could better serve them. Ask them what a successful shoot would mean to them. Get in the habit of listening more than you speak. When you listen, they will give you all the puzzle pieces. It’s one of the easiest things once I learned to listen. They’ll provide you the roadmap to success each time!


They Had a Terrible Experience with a Photographer?


Imagine having a horrible photography experience. People heard horror stories and they figured “acting mean” might be a great way to avoid this.

Walid Azami Directing a Commercial

Questions I Ask My Photo Clients:

Is this your first professional photoshoot? Because if it is, we have a lot of things to do in order to prep them for the shoot.


I ask if they were inspired by any particular photographs on my portfolio. If they were, I ask them to name which ones. Because that way I can see what they like because sometimes it’s hard to put words to your likes/dislikes.

What would you say makes you the most excited about us working together? Is it the personality? Is it the awesome locations? What is it? Because I’ll make sure they get that!


What is your biggest area of concern? Is it about how they feel personally? Is it about the budget? Is it about not having control of the final images or the direction of the shoot? We listen and then we address their concerns with compassion.


Start a conversation and hear them. Actually, listen without interruptions. When a person feels heard, they usually drop all of their guard and are more willing to accept your notes. This is one of the easiest ways we can manage a difficult situation with a client. You already have the skills that you need! Just remind yourself to step back and ask questions. Listen to them and grow together!

I Like How You Teach. Do You Need Help?

Amazing! Did you watch the video and think “I could do this!” and now you are inspired? If so, I’m smiling for you and excited about the future you will create.


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Thank you for reading,