I would love your advice on how to tell a client that you have missed a shot on their wedding day. In the instance I’m referring to, I took photos of the bride coming down the aisle at the wrong exposure, and although I’ve tried to “rescue” them in post-processing, it is just not possible. The images are pixelated, patchy, and missing colours – so there really is nothing I can do to save the photos in order to be able to deliver them. I understand that a lot of the advice on the ‘How to manage a client when you lose their Wedding Photos?’ post will apply, but I wondered whether to address the missing images upfront or to not say anything unless they do (in case they don’t care/don’t notice). How do I admit that it is my fault, as professionally as possible? HELP!
Sincerely Gone But Not Forgotten
Dear Gone But Not Forgotten,
As I was reading your letter, I found myself holding my breath. As I finally exhaled, I realised that I was holding my breath because I get it. I know just how much pressure is on us as Wedding Photographers, documenting a day where there are no do-overs, no second chances… and there are some particular shots that we are expected not to miss – the bride walking down the aisle is one of them. Now, I know that you’ll be feeling bad enough already – so let’s focus on what you should do to get ahead of the situation.
I know that you did mention that you have tried to rescue the image through additional editing, but I did want to ask – have you tried converting it to black & white? As a total last resort, a black & white conversion can totally be a life saver and be the difference between including an image or dragging it to the trash (I will sometimes do this for frames that might be super noisy, or slightly soft – especially if that particular photo could hold extra significance for my couple). If you have tried a black & white edit and still don’t believe you can include it, you have to say something. The last thing you want is for your bride & groom to notice this key photo is missing and start to question what other images may have been left out as well. You definitely need to address this with them and humbly offer a peace offering…because, truthfully, the responsibility to document this moment was on your shoulders, no one else’s.
If I was in your shoes, I’d be honest with them and let them know that whilst you try to never miss a shot or moment – you have missed this one and you would like to know how you can make it up to them. Don’t blame it on your settings or your equipment (trust me, they will only see this as you making excuses) but be up front, honest and do whatever you can to rectify the situation. Try and exceed their expectations in other ways – such as including more images than they paid for in their final delivery (for example, if their package only included 400 images, edit and deliver 500) or perhaps, offer to increase the size of their album or add pages to it. Most importantly, ALWAYS approach the situation from the clients’ perspective, not your own – and work hard to reach a positive resolution.
Hopefully, you find this helpful – as always, if you need help or support getting through this issue (or any others) don’t hesitate to email me! I’m here for you – believing always in community over competition, K.