Handling Dissatisfied Customers      

Published on July 12, 2017

Remember our core values — be patient and kind at all times.  We never really know what is going on in people’s lives.  If a customer does not like their print for any reason — cropped differently than they thought, a blemish was not removed, colors are different than expected, whatever it is — retouch it and reprint it to the best of your ability and smile when you are talking to them.  If they ask for their money back — do it gladly.

IMPORTANT:  Even when you think the customer has made an unreasonable request, never let it show in your words, tone or attitude. 

Actual Emails and Replies:

Customer Complaint 1:  Having too much fun…

This is David Jones’s mom Gloria (names have been changed).  We are very disappointed that half of David’s pictures were ruined with such a goofy face that we don’t even want to order. I wish you guys had done a better job on taking his pictures. I know that he wouldn’t make such an expression on his face unless he was asked to do so. We had his picture done through you guys since his preschool. We never had such pictures.

Our Reply:

Hello Gloria,  I am so sorry we disappointed you.  I can assure you that we tried our best, and we are so sad that you are not pleased.  We had a great time taking his photos – and again, so sorry you are disappointed with his expressions.

*Note — this parent had 16 images in her proof set…  3 of the 16 images you could classify as having a “goofy” face… other parents might call the expressions “candid.”  We never heard from this parent after our return e-mail, but they did end up placing a $150 order, to our surprise.

Customer Complaint 2:  Not Smiling….

Do you by any chance offer retakes for school pics?  We were SO looking forward to more cute pics of Jenny- last year’s were absolutely precious!  Maybe she was just having an off day, but she’s not smiling in a single one- so unlike her! Just let me know if there is anything we can do.

Our Reply:

Hey Heather,  I am so sorry you were disappointed in your images.  We try so hard to get awesome images of every child at our schools, and it breaks out heart to know we did not please you.  We don’t have make-up sessions for schools, but we have a couple other Spoiled Rotten events that you may be interested in.

{Date}- we are having a special family portrait day to benefit TACA- details here: https://spoiledrottenphotography.com/archives/1156

{Date}- Spoiled Rotten Custom sessions.  Details here:  https://spoiledrottenphotography.com/archives/1150

Sorry again that we struck out with your images.  Please let me know if you’d like to participate in another type session.  Thank you!


Customer Complaint 3:  Multiple Children – costs….

Do you by any chance offer retakes for school pics?

We have 3 children at the school. Spending $20 a piece for 1 sheet of photos for each child or $50 each for a digital that I can only order to a 5×7 is not in our budget. The previous photographer charged $35 for 4 sheets. I believe is was $20 for the first and then progressively went down. We always bought the full package and they did an extra of our twins together which we also purchased. I understand you are not a traditional “school photographer” and we had choices of images, but the packages were just too expensive for multiple children. I pay less for our family portraits for Christmas and Easter than it would have cost for images of just one of our children. The photos of one of our twins were great. She is a ham and loves the camera. Our other daughter just doesn’t do strangers and won’t ever smile for them, but there was a sweet one with a tear in her eye that I loved. Our son’s were fine, but not terrific. But he’s at that age that is hard to capture a true smile. I took a great deal of care in choosing and preparing coordinating outfits and even went in late to work to make sure the kids were looking their best. I was very disappointed not to be able to buy their photos this season. Perhaps you might look into doing a discount for families placing multiple orders. Or allow your digital images to print to an 8×10. Or buy one sheet at $20 and provide progressive discounts the more sheets purchased. Most people have to buy for grandparents as well as themselves. Thanks for listening.


Our Reply:

Hey Cindy- I got your feedback- thank you.  You can combine all of your kids photos into one order.  Our sheets also start at 20 and decrease with larger packages.

  • 1 Unit is 20
  • 3 Units: 50 (16.67 each)
  • 5 Units: 75 (15 each)
  • 9 Units + the digital copies of the prints is 165

Let me know if that helps!  Thank you!

Her Reply:

Thank you, Melissa.  That does make a difference.  We did not realize that we could choose from all three of the photo shoots in one package.  We thought we had to order separately for each. So if we got the $165 package, we could do 3 sheets of each child and the digital images too?  Is that one pose a piece or multiple poses?

Our Reply:

I hope you are well…   I had already placed the order to my lab when you had ordered,  I just wanted to let you know that your order will not be delivered with the others.  (It won’t be to far behind, but I didn’t want you to be disappointed when everyone else’s is delivered).

In case you want your files before you get your order and cd, you can download them here: Dropbox link

And her final reply…  No worries, I didn’t expect them to since we ordered so late.  Thank you for the digital file.  I appreciate you working with me on the order.


Customer Complaint 4: Pricing too high
Words to use when someone questions your pricing  – This is geared for the sign up sessions …  *** EDIT AS  NEEDED*** This is also in our email templates.

Thank you so much for your feedback!  We occasionally hear from clients who feel our custom sets and prices are a bit much for “school pictures.”  While we are capturing beautiful images of your children at the convenience of your school, we actually try very hard to set ourselves apart from the typical “school picture” company.  Let me explain…

We are different…  Our company was born out of a boutique portrait studio where service and quality always come first.  We feel every one of our clients deserves the honor of a custom studio session where they are the absolute star of the show — even if it’s only 10 minutes. For this reason, we’ll never line kids up for the 15 second sit, say “cheese,” and next treatment.

Our sessions are elective…  We only photograph children if their parents sign them up.  There is never a session fee, and there is no obligation to purchase.  We never liked the “surprise” pictures our kids brought home from school for us to buy, so we will absolutely never do that to you.

We are skilled professional photographers… and local business owners.  We never hire hourly-paid seasonal employees and we always bring a photo-stylist to each of our sessions.  We spend however much time it takes with each child to show us his or her personality, because authenticity always trumps a forced grin!  Then, each of our proofs are hand-selected and cropped by a trained re-toucher who makes them as beautiful as possible.  We never use automated color-adjust and center-crop software.

Our prices are competitive…  Our single 8x10s have started at $25 since 2004, with increasing discounts, when you purchase more.  “School picture” companies price 8x10s in the $18 – $20 range.  We don’t force you to buy odd packages to get  the print sizes you want.  All of our packages are flexible and allow our customers to mix and match multiple poses – instead of buying multiple sheets of a single image.  We want you to have what you want!

We love to give back…  Our sales raise funds for your school.  We gladly send a handsome commission to your school.  You love your school and we love your school, too.  What could be better than that!

Our promise…  If, for any reason, you are not absolutely positively thrilled with your portraits, we will gladly refund your purchase.

It’s going to take time to transform the tarnished “school picture” landscape, but that’s our goal.  We plan to keep providing beautiful portraits of children from the convenience of school, and we hope parents will love what makes us different.

Customer Complaint 4: Digital Files not big enough

You took several pictures of my daughter from her daycare at the church, and we liked them very much.
But I do have several concerns pertaining to them.
1) Your prices are outrageous!!!
2) you state that the photos were taken with a 10MP camera, and yet only take up 2.1MB per photo.
a)  Your photo cannot possibly be 16×20 printable without major pixelation!
b) I call bullocks on quality, as I have a Canon 5D, and if I take a photo, it is 16-28MP file(unless I crop out over half the photo, and then I must ask why, was my eye not working properly that day?)
c)  I would attach 3 photo’s for you to compare, one from my wedding, one from my wife phone camera, and yours, please note the size difference and the quality,  yours falls short considerably compared to even a Samsung S4 camera, but as you know, most email accounts can only handle up to 25MB, so then I’d have to send in 2 different emails(but if you like, I will follow-up with them if you doubt my quality of our other pictures.
3) Our baby pictures from Baby Bella at the hospital we received were higher quality, and 3 times the photos for the same price, and all of them between 8-16MB.
4) My wedding pictures came out better quality, and in comparison of pricing, I paid 4 times the amount than for yours, and received all the raw files and have over a   100 pictures that are all able to be printable at 16×20 with 0 problems, to include several printed photos and photo books as well for our families.
So, Melissa, please don’t go telling my mother, who purchased the pictures about what a great deal she received, when I and every other photographer would beg to differ with you, and we have access to proper Digital Photo Printers(as I said, got friends that are in the publishing and photo business) so don’t go acting like we don’t have a clue in what were talking about when it comes to photography and quality, thank you.
We really liked a few of the pictures, and really wished they were higher quality, but I get these quite often, and at $200+, I’ll be getting them all the time without the use of a “so-called photographer” trying to charge a ridiculous amount of compensation.
For 3 pictures, you asked for over $200, and only one was printed at a 5×7,  this is a complete ripoff!!!   I have several very good friends that are professional photographers, for over 20+ years, and none of them can believe the quality of work and what was charged for 3 small file pics, and 1 5×7 printed.
I simply want either high quality files sent to us, or a slight refund made to my mother for false pretenses on what was received, or I will be forced to contact the Franchise in which you signed on with to let them know the quality of work you are performing and charging, as I know this is not standard by any means, cause if this is what you consider a great deal for high quality pictures, I just may have to quit my job and change professions and give people a good honest deal on pictures and experience.
I will promise this, if something is not corrected to make this wrong, right, I will do everything in my power and spread the word to make sure you and this “Spoiled Rotten Photography” company never gets another dime from me or anyone else I know, and will aide organizations and schools to go elsewhere in the photography needs, as I know this isn’t right whatsoever!!
Look forward to seeing a resolution to this matter,


Thank you,

Warren Woods, President

Our Reply:  (Copied his mother and the Pre-school director)

Good Evening Mr Woods,
   I’m sorry you were not happy with the images your received.  I re-processed them (uncropped) and uploaded them to your Dropbox.  These are the original files at the size that they were taken.  I uploaded them as TIFF files and JPG files for you.
  Let me know if these are satisfactory — if not, I will be happy to refund your mother’s purchase.