Can you say, awkward?
Although this may be a bit uncomfortable, don’t worry, it happens to all of us! A client may think that bright orange tunic in the yellow sunflower field is going to look glorious, but as an experienced photographer you know better. So, what do you do when your client emails you an outfit before your photo session and it just won’t work? Here are a few recommendations:
First off, I always recommend starting with a compliment. After all, THEY hired YOU and you don’t want to come off like a total jerk. Pretend you’re seeing your client for the first time in the women’s bathroom of a bar, and their outfit choice is on point. You could say something like, “Oh! I love that color on you!” or “I love your accessories, where did you find them?” And then, after a little bit of sugar coating, go ahead and redirect with some helpful criticism.
For example, for your sunflower field client with the orange tunic, you could try, “In my experience, it is best to have a complimentary color to our location site, and in this case since we will have SO much yellow surrounding us, do you have anything similar in blue or black? ” or “I’m a little concerned it is going to be difficult to see you in our sunflower field (orange and yellow blend so much together), and that’s the last thing we want! Do you have any other options you might be considering?”
Also, always offer to help them choose an outfit if they’re having a hard time. That way, they know you’re there to help and you want to deliver quality photos they’ll be happy with. As long as you make it helpful and be kind you’ll be just fine. They will likely (hopefully) appreciate the honest feedback!
If your client is a little on the stubborn side, and even after you compliment them and suggest another outfit option, they still decide to show up in the orange tunic, there really isn’t much you can do. Try not to push too hard, or you could upset them (and remember we don’t want to be jerks).
Some clients have a vision and they are hell bent on seeing it through no matter what you say. Just remember, your goal is to make your client happy! Maybe happiness to them is floating about in a sunflower field in a bright orange dress. Maybe that particular dress or outfit is important to them in some way. Maybe their great grandmother gifted it, and her dying wish was for her granddaughter to take photos in a sunflower field wearing it. I’m just saying, you never know!
The bottom line is not to stress, especially if you’ve done everything you can to redirect your client on their outfit choice. Even though we always hope for the best, not every photo session is going to be 100% on point 100% of the time. After all, we’re only human! And, so are our clients.