So I was reading this article on Fstoppers.com on learning to say NO so I figured I'd share. It is quite interesting.....
Learning To Say NO
NO is a tough word to use when a client contacts you requesting a
bid on a photo project. Learning to use the word can be a powerful tool
that will help improve your photography business.
Hear me out. I know it might sound ridiculous turning down work but
if it isn’t right for you, it isn’t right. You need to recognize that
the project could be a drain rather than a benefit, even if a paycheck
It has happened to all of us at some point, we get a contact with a
photo request and things start out great. Then deeper into the
conversation all of the details are revealed and suddenly the project
starts to smell funky. So what do you do next? Do you just brush the
prospect off and risk losing future work down the road? That could burn a
bridge, it also might reflect poorly on you and your business in your
area. Learning to say no in a positive light can be a big benefit when
you don’t want to commit to any bad details of a project.
If the shoot or agreement is unbalanced, unfit or unfair, it might be
best to leave it alone. Turning it down and keeping your stance will
help you grow your business and make you look more professional in the
long run. It might not feel right at the beginning, but not being a push
over and having the confidence in your decisions are part of running a
Have any of the following scenarios ever happened to you? If so how did you handle it?
- A prospective client calls and asks you to shoot for (X dollars)
which is well below your normal rate. Let’s say you take the shoot and
finish the project. What happens next time the client calls? Do you
think you will fetch your normal rate? Probably not, it might happen,
but it is highly unlikely. What would happen if you said no from the
beginning and held your rate where it should be?
- Suppose a prospective client calls and is asking for a shoot where
the rate is good but wants access to all photos delivered in high
resolution, everything retouched with the ability to do whatever they
want with the images? Do you fold and give them everything they want
just to make the rate happen? How do you push back without making the
client turn and walk away?
- Let’s say you get a call about a project and you shoot them back a
number that is half of their budget. Do you give them the same shoot at
half the rate or do you remove something from the deal to keep it
balanced? How would you say no in this situation?
Next time you are put into any of these scenarious, try a modified version of these:
“Let me give this some thought and get back to you.”
– This could give you separation from the conversation and allow you to
put more thought into the decision, possibly buying you some time to
properly word an email or think about what you want to tell the client.
“I would like to shoot this but I just can’t hand over all of the photos for usage.”
– Simple, straight to the point. Offer suggestions and start a
negotiation. If they want 100 images when 20 is normal, let the client
know that and work towards an agreement.
“I am right in the middle of something, how about we touch base at X.” – It is nice brush off and it does leave the door open for down the road conversation.
“I am not the best person for this gig, why don’t you try X?”
– Maybe the numbers or details aren’t right for you, someone you know
could make a good reference and might be better for the gig. Maybe this
will come back to you down the road with a referral from the same
There are always factors that make it easy to give in and say yes to
bad deals. It could be fear of creating a conflict or maybe you don’t
want to burn any bridges. Maybe things are slow and you could use the
extra income. All are fair and valid points but by getting into the
correct stance from the get go, you will save face and keep things in a
positive light with the prospective client.
Keep in mind NO is not a negative word. Saying it might open a YES to a better deal for you."
So after reading this, it totally make sense. You don't always have to take every job that is offered to you. Stick to your style and let your client know that perhaps, you're not the right person to shoot this gig and refer them to someone else. They'll get it.