Overcoming a Bad Review

The more popular you are as an artist, the more criticism you’re going to receive. If you own a personal photography business, you likely have a website and several social media outlets you use to display your work and market yourself--places where people can publicly review you and comment on your work. It's sad to say, but not everyone on the internet is nice, and negative feedback is something you’re likely going to have to deal with at some point in some way or another.

Here’s a little advice on handling negative feedback on your page:


1. Determine the validity of the comment.

Decide if the comment has any merit or not. Sometimes clients really will reveal an area of your work that could use improvement, even though it may hurt to hear. And sometimes people are just rude for the sake of rudeness. If it's good critique, think about it. If it's, "you suck," then it's probably safe to ignore it and move on.


2. Determine the importance of the voice.

If the comment is coming from an actual client that you've worked with, it’s important--no matter what. People are more likely to trust what a client is saying because he or she has worked with you first-hand. Although most people can determine the accuracy and validity of a review themselves, a bad review/comment is a good opportunity to show your customer service side and prove that you are willing to problem solve and take the best care of your clients.


3. Don’t delete the comment.

It may feel like a PR disaster to leave a bad comment, but it can actually prove your honesty and trustworthiness. People are smart enough to decide for themselves whether or not you’re a good hire. Unless the comment is inappropriate or offensive, leave it up. And sometimes a good client or two will stand up for you, which is bonus points for your page.


4. Respond. Always.

Always apologize and try to solve the problem. You're not afraid of confrontation because you are confident in yourself and in your work, so show off your killer customer service skills. Depending on how aggressive the comment is, it may also be a good idea to keep the rest of the conversation private by offering a phone number or email, just in case things get a little ugly.


5. Keep moving forward.

Don’t let the negativity get to you. Keep doing what you do and the good will outweigh the bad. Continue to build good relationships with your clients on a foundation of kindness and respect, and savor the positive feedback you get. Will the positive feedback always be totally accurate? No (see Why "Great Photo" Comments Will Ruin Your Photography), but if it makes you feel good...is it really all that bad? As long as you continue to grow and push yourself as a creator, you can take satisfaction in the work you put out and your clients and followers will take satisfaction in it as well.