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5 Tips for Handling Negative Reviews Photographer

So…you got a bad review in your boudoir photography biz. Such a bummer, right? I know how that feels and I’ve definitely had my fair share of them. 

It’s so frustrating because you immediately feel that the world has ended, like this one bad review is going to break your business. 

Spoiler alert: It won’t!

Remember, stuff like this is inevitable. You can do absolutely everything right, and there will still be unhappy people. You can’t please everyone!

But whether it’s in public on somewhere like Google reviews, or privately via DM or email, it’s so important to respond constructively to criticism. 

As a business owner, you’ve got to develop thick skin in that sense. You won’t enjoy criticism, but you CAN learn and grow from it. 

And that’s why in this episode, I want to show you five of my best tips for handling negative reviews as a photographer. 


 Tip #1: Know the Impact of Negative Reviews

Most clients are finding photographers through Google Business profiles at this point.

And most are looking through the reviews. So, they are important

You definitely don’t want your Google business page littered with negative reviews, warranted or not! Because reviews can affect reputation, client trust, and business growth. And while yes, one bad one won’t make or break your business, you need to avoid them at all costs. 

Do whatever you can to create a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere and a smooth client experience — from inquiry to final delivery!

Tip #2: Pause, Process, and Plan

Our first instinct is to be upset and react. But it’s so important to take a moment to breath before doing anything. Responding when you’re upset doesn’t end well for anyone. 

So pause, process, then plan. 

Take the review seriously. Read through it. Think about it. Are there any truths to the review? Is it something you can improve? And don’t forget to process how you feel about it. It’s okay to be upset! You just don’t want to act based on that upset. 

Then it’s time to formulate a professional, calm response that acknowledges the feedback, offers a solution, or clarifies any misunderstandings. Leave this on the Google review and then contact the client directly if it makes sense to do so. 

Trying to make things right can make a HUGE difference in the end. 

Tip #3: Respond to the Review Publicly

You’d be surprised at how responding to reviews can impact your image. I like to respond to all reviews, both good and bad, but this is especailyl true for negative ones. 

You have to show potential clients that you are responsive and committed to their satisfaction. Personalize responses and avoid defensive or overly detailed blurbs about the situation.

It’s important to stay professional. You don’t have to justify or overexplain yourself. But you can explain your side while still being committed to client satisfaction.

The biggest thing to remember is to be open and hear them out. And when you do that, and others stumble upon this review, they’re less likely to think of it negatively.

People know that things happen, but responding well says A LOT about you as a business. 

Tip #4: Learn From It

You can’t control what people say about your business. But you can control how you respond to it. And that also means how you move on from it. 

Early on in my business, anytime I had any client issues, I brought them straight to my business coach. It was super helpful because I was able to see how to move forward professionally. So if you have some sort of mentor, you could bring the feedback to them and brainstorm ways to move past it. 

And have an honest talk with yourself, whether you have a mentor or not. Is there any truth to that feedback? Take it, and see how you can implement it to improve your business. 

Tip #5: How to Avoid Bad Reviews in the Future

While each situation is different, I do think there are certain steps you can implement to avoid bad reviews as much as possible. 

For one, set expectations before they walk into the studio. Explain how pricing works, how your sessions are run, and how ordering is done. The more detail, the better. In my experience, at least, most negative reviews came from clients who felt shocked or surprised at any part of the process. 

If you want to take this a step further, then you can do a follow-up survey or feedback form.

Sometimes your clients just want to express what they felt or what they didn’t expect. 

The only place they feel they can do this is in a review so that’s when they leave a negative review.

Be proactive and ask for feedback in a form so that you can catch and address these issues before they become public! 

Build a Business That Generates AMAZING Reviews

If you only get one thing from this whole episode, it’s that feedback is something you need to learn to handle. Not everyone is going to like everything about your business. I hated this part at first, but I’ve grown a thicker skin over the years.

Maybe you need to step away from things for a bit and come back with a clear head. Then, you can look at the criticism with an open mind!

Now, if you’re ready to know how to build your business in a way that brings in glowing reviews naturally, consider joining 6FS! 6-Figures Simplified will show you how to grow your business in a way that garners a great reputation and the income to match. 

After all, if you can get ahead of the bad reviews by building a business that genuinely makes clients happy, the better!

Learn more about 6FS here.


Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.

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