Several situations warrant turning down a photography job, such as if you don’t have enough time to work on the job, if the budget is below your value, or if you notice some other type of red flag.
How you decline the job is pivotal. You should do it in a polite way so as to avoid offending your clients.
To politely turn down a photo job, it is essential to give honest reasons as early as possible. Point out that the budget for your work is not sufficient or that you currently do not have the time to deliver images of the quality you stand for.
Here is how you turn down a photography job when faced with each of the situations.
When You Sense Red Flags
There are times when you’ll work with clients and you are beginning to feel totally uncomfortable about the project they’re offering you. They will be too demanding and pressure you for no good reason. If you meet an overly controlling client, you should know that you’re dealing with the wrong one.
If you notice that a client doesn’t show you respect, this is a red flag that you’ll be in for a rough time if you agree to offer your services. From the beginning, you can know whether a client is worth your time or not. You should not pick a job when the client makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you happen to say yes to such a job, you’ll end up being so stressed and frustrated so it’s better to decline it. The big question is how to politely decline the photography job.
You should begin by thanking the client for offering you the opportunity to offer your services for the photography project. After thanking the client you can say something like this:
“After careful consideration of your project with my team, we have gathered that it doesn’t match our level of experience and professional focus. For that reason, I am politely declining it.”
The message above is polite enough for the client to understand that you couldn’t handle it.
The fact that you carefully looked at it and made the final decision shows that you were willing to work on it, but it proved difficult. This is something that the client will be able to see and appreciate.
You can also go ahead and tell the client that you can share the project with other professionals who may be willing to take up the job.
“I can forward the project to another professional to look into the project if you are interested. Please inform me if you would like this idea so that I forward the necessary project details. Also, I can give you their contact details if you so wish.”
If you’re writing an email, remember to end it with a thank you note and wish the client the best in the project. It is evident that you have declined to take the photography job in a polite way. In this way, the client won’t go feeling mistreated or devalued.
When the Budget Is Less Than Your Worth
As a professional photographer, you have a set rate of how much you charge for particular projects. The rates you charge per task are in line with your standards and quality of services. In other words, there is justification for how much clients should pay for the services you offer.
You may choose to give discounts and special prices to your clients depending on the season you’re in. Also, you can listen to your clients and see whether you can work on their projects with the money they have.
You have the right to decline a job if you feel it’s paying less than your worth. The amount of time you put into your work and your level of skill is a reflection of how much you charge.
So, don’t feel bad when declining a photography job. The big question is how you politely decline the job.
If you’re responding to your client via email, it’s courteous to begin by thanking them for thinking of you for their project. After thanking the client, you can go ahead and decline the job offer.
You can say something like this:
“I took time to consider your project and I feel it’s way outside the range of what I can offer you at the moment. I usually charge more than what your budget is offering and since you would like to stick with your stipulated budget, I respectfully choose to decline the job offer.”
You can go ahead and explain to the client that you respect their budget but it would be better if they found another service provider who can handle their project with the same budget.
If possible, you can connect them with a photographer who can accept that budget. That way, they will feel respected and not have any hard feelings about you declining the job.
When You Don’t Have Enough Time to Work on the Job
We live in a very busy world. It makes it even busier if you’re a photographer. There are many events that require the services of a photographer today. Weddings, corporate events, birthdays, and many more must-have photographers. That’s why photographers are very busy people, especially if they’re sought-after professionals.
It is highly likely that you have a very tight schedule and you’re choosy on the projects and clients you’re working with. For a job as involved as photography, you can’t afford to pick a job if you don’t have the time to handle it. If you do, you’ll end up frustrating your clients and you may limit your future engagements together.
So, you have every right to turn down a photography job if you don’t have time to dedicate yourself to it. Here is how you can decline the job politely.
The first thing you need to do is to show appreciation for being considered for the job. The fact that you could be considered for the job means that you’re highly regarded for your services. Once you have thanked your client, you need to go ahead and communicate your turning down the job.
It doesn’t have to be something complicated. It can be as simple as this:
“I have reviewed your project but I feel I am not in a position to commit my company to it. Your project requires more time and attention that I am not able to offer right now. I wouldn’t want to offer you low-quality services because of insufficient time.”
This is a good way of declining a job offer. You’re telling a client that you would be willing to work on their project but, since you are busy, you’re not able to take the job at the moment.
If you think you may be available in the future you can ask the client to consider you if the project will still be on. In this way, you’ll have approached the matter in a polite way and you’ll open doors for future engagements.
Important Aspects to Consider When Communicating Your Message
Whenever you’re politely declining a photography job, there are important things you should put in mind.
Decline Early Enough
Part of being respectful is declining a job in the early process of engagement. It is good for all the parties involved if you tell your client that you can’t work on the job. It will give the client the opportunity to find another service provider early enough.
This will prevent any cases of inconvenience. Your client will not feel disrespected if you let them know in advance that you won’t be working with them. So, as you think of the language to use, it’s also important to think of the timing.
It pays to be outright with your client. After assessing a situation and you find you can’t work with a particular client, you shouldn’t beat around the bush.
Instead, you should go straight to the point and tell them the honest truth. This calls for you to not only tell them that you won’t take their project but also why you won’t be doing so.
Your client will appreciate it if you let him know the reasons why it was not possible to work with them. If you just decline a photography job without explaining to your client while you did so, it may be interpreted as arrogance.
Make sure you communicate in an assertive and respectful way to avoid damaging your reputation as a professional photographer. According to a 2018 article by ResearchGate, being polite is an essential trait of a good communicator.  Also, don’t forget to show appreciation to the client for considering you to work on his project.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.