How to Deal with Unsatisfied Clients

Dear Rima

I need your very straight advice. What if you have a very annoying client who is not satisfied with the photoshop we do for her wedding album? As she saw her cousin’s images that I took, she started to complain that her images is not as good compared to her cousin although her cousin spent way more money on the decoration and other details. What do I do with her??

Please. Please. Give me your advice please!

Sincerely,
Severely Annoyed

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Dear Severely Annoyed,

I know exactly how you feel. The third year of my business, I had a client who just wasn’t happy with her photos. Apparently she didn’t like the curtain color in the room & believe me there were just 2 rooms in her suite. The other one had a huuuuge bed & no space for the couple or my team to stand. I mean, I am a photographer, not the hotel’s interior decorator.

Now that I know better, I’ve become very open about this with the brides and I discuss these details in advance like: its not my style to change the backgrounds of the photos so they let me know if they like one room of the suite better than the other, if they have a preferred face-side, if they have marks/scars that they worry about, etc.

**Here is my advice to you love: you may ask the bride to meet you (or your editor) in person and make the changes exactly how she wants them to be.

At the end of the day, she’s the client and its her wedding photos. I completely understand that some clients are harder to please but I suggest you schedule plenty of time to meet her in person. Meeting her will validate two things: (1) you care and are willing to do anything in your power to make her happy & (2) it’ll fasten up the process and you can finish the albums ASAP.

Always put extra care, be extra polite, and try to be super fast with the clients who may turn out to be not-so-easy. Just so you can finish and deliver their albums in less time.

I hope you stay strong, give a top-notch service to the bride, and take your customer-service to the next level. The best thing will be when this specific bride refers you to her family/friends for your ahmazing service, inshaAllah!

Love,
~ Rima

Should You Turn Away Business?

Hello Photographer Friends,

A follower of mine sent a message on my Instagram asking “if you have a soon to be client and she said that her budget cannot afford your price, will you go with her on her wedding or you will decline her?”

I literally cringed after reading her question! In the past 6 years of my photography business, this has happened way more than I want to admit that a bride really likes my work but can’t afford me. And although it has always been a difficult conversation to navigate, I have managed both – adjusted package and worked cost-to-cost as well as politely & gracefully turned down jobs that didn’t fulfill my brand or covered costs.

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To answer the question in detail, if a wedding photographer should turn away business or not”, here is my advice:

  1. First and foremost, the decision should be based on supply and demand. If the wedding season and/or demand is low, absolutely go for it by adjusting to her budget.
  2. Secondly, if the client hasn’t signed the contract, payment not received, and the date isn’t locked – you are in the negotiation portion of your agreement. My advice is to be honest with her. Explain to her why you are charging what you are charging or make her a new package based on her budget/requirements.
  3. Cover your costs. At all cost! If the bride’s budget will not cover the cost of your travel, videographer, album-designing time, and printing; then its best that you don’t offer those services because you’ll have to pay for them yourself.
  4. Ask questions about other wedding vendors she’s hiring. May be she’s working with a wedding vendor that you have been wanting to work with & that can be an opportunity to grow your business in future (please cover your costs though).
  5. If you decide to turn away the business, go the extra mile and refer her other photographer(s) in your area who may be a better fit for her.

If your heart continues to feel dissatisfied even before signing the contract, the chances are both parties will be left unhappy at the end. It’s a tough conversation to have but I’m sure you’ll find a way to make sure that she’s well taken care of – by you or another wedding photographer.

Best of Luck,
~ Rima

How to Price Your Wedding Photography Services

Often I get questions from photographers asking about how to price their photography services. Although there isn’t one specific answer to this question because several things need to be considered while pricing your services (such as: different markets, clients’ spending on weddings, your experience, demand, etc). But following principles may help you with pricing your wedding photography services.

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  1. Costs must be covered.
    Make sure your fixed costs are well taken care of (studio rental, assistant/second shooter, online gallery, album printing, etc). Know your fixed costs, variable costs, and then add your salary so you don’t end up working for free.
  2. Demand of your services.
    As tempting as it is to compare yourself to other photographers, don’t establish your worth based on their work/pricing. If you think you are worth $5000 and your clients are willing to pay, kudos to you.  If you are in high demand & seem overbooked, it is about time you raise your prices a little but If your bookings are decreasing, there is a good chance you’ve raised your prices too high.
  3. Adjust pricing over time. 
    If you are starting out my friend, it is okay to test the waters. Don’t hesitate to adjust your pricing gradually overtime as wedding season & demand fluctuates. Adjustments is also required if your fixed costs increases. Try at your own pace and improvise your pricing based on what needs to be done.

I hope this blog helps & wish you much success with your business.

Your friend,
~ Rima

How to Use Social Media Strategically

Dear Photographer Friends,

Before I start this post, here is the brutal-honest-truth: I’m not a social media specialist or a guru. But obsessively using social media for years, running a successful business and thriving it solely because of it, I can safely say that the following useful pointers may help you with some ideas on how to use social media more strategically.

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The biggest turn off for me is when I visit a photographer’s Instagram account (or any business account) and I can’t figure out what they do & where they are located.

  1. Clearly mention WHAT you do (wedding photographer, portrait photographer, etc).
  2. Do mention WHERE you are based (Dubai – UAE, NYC – USA, London – UK, etc).
  3. State HOW your prospective clients can Contact / Connect with you (email address, contact form, website/blog, phone number, direct message, etc).
  4. Make your Instagram grid & Facebook feed consistent (colors, style, etc).Rima_Hassan_Photography_instagram
  5. Post regularly. Avoid posting 4-5 photos a day and then long breaks. Pay keen attention to the time you are getting most engagement. Make your own posting schedule & patterns.
  6. Show Personality!!! People are investing more into WHO you are as a person. Show what books you are reading, what kind of pets you have, what cool places you are exploring, your favorite drink/food/place, etc. Give people a reason to connect.
  7. Create Content. Show the process or before/after photo of your work. Answer frequently asked questions to help those who are starting out as well as to your clients.
  8. STOP turning your Instagram/Facebook profiles/captions into advertisements. It is okay to post occasional ads but people are more interested in behind-the-scenes and reading about your clients, knowing the process of how you got that photo, etc.

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Friends, I hope this blog post helps you change a few things around and gets you to think more strategically.

I pray for your success & hope to celebrate it together virtually, so let’s connect on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to meet you there!

Shine on,
~ Rima

Wanna Talk about Business?

Most people look at successful photographers/studios and think it is solely because of their amazing skills and techniques. Let Me. Tell You. The TRUTH!!!!

Honest equation of being a successful photographer/studio =  20% of Photography and 80% BUSI-NESS! (get it, busy-ness/business 😉 )

I’ll tell you what…if you are an aspiring photographer, it is easy to find photography techniques on Google. You may also learn by trial-&-error & self-teaching. But one thing that most people will not teach you is how to run the photography, or in fact ANY, business!

Very very fortunately, I graduated with a business degree (majors: marketing & management – graduated with honors – on full scholarship!) So here is my humble proposal to YOU!

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  1. Do you want to learn about photography business?
  2. Need help with marketing & social media?
  3. Wanna learn how to write emails/contracts?
  4. Need help selling your services?
  5. Want to build a brand?
  6. Want to be your own boss?

If you answer YES to at least 2 of the questions above, you wouldn’t want to miss this chance. I’m hosting the very first Rima Hassan Photography’s Mixer on 9th December 2017 from 3pm-5pm in Jumeirah area, Dubai, where I will be answering all of these (and some more…) questions. And YOU are cordially invited. Only a couple of seats are left & registration will close on 7 December 2017. All you need to do is fill out the form on THIS LINK.

I hope you join me to celebrate photography & talk business!

GirlBoss,
~ Rima

Let’s Celebrate Photography – First RHP Mixer

I felt alone…
Nowhere to turn to, no one to ask for help.
Refreshing the inbox every 5 minutes waiting for the enquiries’ email is frustrating. Very frustrating.  Starting a business wasn’t easy. I didn’t know where to look for the ideal brides, how to reach them, how to price the packages, and the list goes on.

Five years later, as I enter the 6th year of business, I can proudly say that I have established not only a successful business (Alhamdullilah) with the bestest of clients (double Alhamdullilah), I continue to try my best to help both (the brides & the photographer friends) who need help with photography and business.

In honor of my consistent photographer-followers, who ask me questions about both photography and business, I am hosting my First Rima Hassan Photography’s Mixer!

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If you are a photography lover, especially wedding photography, I cordially invite you to join me for a fun event on 9th December 2017 from 3pm-5pm in Jumeirah area, Dubai. Yes, I will be answering questions about building a brand, social media, running a business, photography, and marketing your wedding services. There will be lots of food & lotsssssssss of fun & informative chatting involved! ❤

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This event is FREE but highly private, RSVP is must as the seats are very limited. More details & venue of the mixer will be sent via email to the confirmed attendees.

I hope to see you there & don’t hesitate to bring in allllllll the questions that you need answered.

Let’s Celebrate Photography!
Because together we go farther… ❤

Love,
~ Rima

Wedding Planning & Setting Expectations

Hello lovely Brides-to-Be,

When I spoke at the Pre-Wedding Extravaganza event hosted by MyList.ae, I shared insights on how to prepare for the wedding, setting timelines, communication, and expectations.

Here is another installment of UnOfficial Bridesmaid‘s post, for those who weren’t able to attend the event, to help brides-to-be with the pre-wedding planning & how to set expectations for wedding vendors & for yourself!

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1. Setting Time

  • remind all the vendors of your wedding date and location.
  • discuss timeline with the decorator, makeup artist & hair stylist, photographer, ballroom staff, DJ, etc. All of Them!
  • make sure the checks/payments are made/cleared a week before the wedding.
  • keep grace period for everyone. If the makeup artist told you she will be there by 4pm, don’t expect that your makeup is starting at 4pm. She needs time to arrive, parking, setup her stuff, and then she starts her work.
  • set aside plentyyyyyyyyyyyy of time for the photoshoot.

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2. Communication

  • please make sure to discuss details with all appropriate vendors.
  • ask questions & explain yours concerns so the vendors can answer them.
  • if you have a certain concern about photography, like one side of your face better than the other, don’t like the curtain colors of the bridal suite, make sure you discuss it with your photographer.
  • don’t assume you will receive things (projectors, screens, extra pages in the album, extra tables/chairs in the ballroom) that are not mentioned on contract. If you want/need something, discuss the details beforehand with the specific vendor.

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3. Setting Expectations

  • how you set expectations of the wedding vendors is what you will receive. If you are late for a meeting, the vendor might think it is okay for you if they are late. Set their expectations right.
  • make sure to explain each vendor how important time is for you. If everything is going in a timely manner, you will enjoy your wedding to the fullest. I PROMISE!

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I hope these tips help you plan a wedding of your dreams. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section and I will be more than happy to answer them.

Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
~ Rima

 

How to Take Sharp Photos

Once I heard, “if you learn late, pass on the knowledge to someone else early.”  When I received her message, I answered her questions and then asked her if I can share both (her message and the answers) publicly so someone else might benefit from it too.

“Hey Rima!! I saw your Instagram feed and I am so inspired by your detail shots! They are so beautiful! How do you get your lighting in such difficult venues so perfect? Every single one! So consistent and glossy. Just beautiful. I have major goals this summer inspired by your sharp images. Totally in love.”

Even if it helps ONE person, I’d feel that this post served its purpose. I’m not a guru but I tried my best to answer with all that I know. Here is my answer to her…

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  1. Know what your equipment can do.
    • I upgraded to Canon 5D Mark IV. It is a 30.4 Megapixel full frame camera (5D Mark III is 22.3 Megapixels in case you wonder). It is ahhhhhmazingly SHARP!
  2. Macro Lens.
    • Get close to the main subject, use shorter focal length and lens. For all my detail photos (as well as few of bride’s portraits), I use Canon’s 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. The macro lens is specifically used for tiny-details and its latest results can be seen here.
  3. High Aperture.
    • I use a flash or soft-box with very high aperture for jewelry shots. Most of the jewelry, bouquet, shoes, and/or dress photos I take are between f/4 – f/11. The high aperture will produce great results regardless of the lens.
  4. Use Flash.
    • For ballroom photos, I use On-Camera Flash (600 EX II-RT) but on MANUAL to keep the colors consistent. You might need a battery pack for speedlites because manual mode uses too much battery power.
  5. External Lights.
    • I also use external lights in the ballroom (for details only – not for the family/bride/groom photos in the ballroom). It provides extra lighting and separates the main subject from the background so it pops out in the photos. High aperture makes it easy to edit and the photos end up crisp sharp regardless of the dark venues.
  6. Light Angles.
    • Use flashes/soft-box at different angles so the details, especially diamond jewelry, doesn’t get too many highlights. Place the external source of light on the sides, on top, or behind the main subject to produce exotic photos.

I hope my answer help you create beautiful sharp photos. Feel free to share your own tips/tricks in the comments. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions related to photography. I will try my best to answer. Promise! 🙂