A bad way to start the day.

Hello friends,

Today I received an email on my web-mail (no way to hit reply) from an angry wedding guest.  It makes me sick to my stomach to EVER have an un-happy person/client/friend whoever. I really don’t like when people aren’t happy. (who does – right?) So much that it ruins my day.  (I may have to take the day off and go shopping…)

You can read the email below – or to let you know – they don’t like how I post images for my clients.  (no they are not my direct clients but they are friends of my clients) They think the site I use… well… is to say the least poorly designed – they hate the music choice (HELLO – TURN THE SOUND OFF) they hate the slow slide show and on and on…

I guess this person (and his wife standing arms crossed head shaking behind him as he wrote this email) thought it would be helping me to send this email – but really it didn’t.  Because for one.  I don’t know who this is – or who’s wedding they are referring to.  Out of the 6 years (has it been six years really?!) that I have been using this service – I’ve had a couple of complaints of minor things – they have called & I’ve been able to fix them (easily). Making everyone happy – overall.

The point of me sharing this TERRIBLE email with you is that I am not perfect (nobody is) and not one service or website will be a great fit for every person (how could it?!) so if you (or your friends/wedding guests/moms’ cousin/grandma’s sister) have any problems with the design, music, user interface – anything no matter how trivial – PLEASE tell me.  (feedback is key) Let me know which wedding you are referring to and I will happily upload your images on a different site. (there are many options)

No matter how big and scary I look (hee hee) I promise not to be mad, not to cry – or cause a scene and will quietly and happily fix the problem.  After all, photography is what I love, it is my business and how I make a living.

Thank you to the anonymous writer for reminding me – I need to ask people if they are happy.

I hope you guys have a wonderful day,


P.S – please share your thoughts (the leave a comment link is at the top of this email)

(letter from annoyed guest)



no thanks!

SUBJECT:: sucks

Hi Barbie,

I am a guest of one of your recent weddings. Both my wife and I cannot stand your display. First and foremost -- music is a no-no on any website. By
having music you ensure that I cannot visit your site at work, and quite frankly I
find it terribly annoying at home.

More importantly than the music, however, is that when I go to click on any of the
thumbnails, your flash site blows up and goes full screen (a HUGE no-no! My web
browser is my domain, and it's hiding my windows menus, the start menu, and
everything else I'm doing!) If I don't like it I need to back out of full screen,
then I still have the slide-show view, which I also don't want, so I have to click X
again to go back to the tiny thumbnails.

The HTML version of the site (ie, "click here if you are having troubles with the
page") is somewhat better in the regard that it doesn't explode all over my monitor
when I click a thumbnail, but it does also go into a sort of slideshow. And the
right-click menu is disabled. I'm no dummy -- I know you're doing that to make it
harder to download the photos. But I'm no dummy -- I also know alt+prtscn gets me
the photos just fine too. I'm not going to steal your photos, but I like to have the
right click menu to do all sorts of things -- like bookmark the current page, or go
back to the previous page.

In the end your site breaks my browsing paradigm so badly that I glanced over some
of the thumbnails, and gave up in annoyance. Surely that's not the way to get me to
purchase prints -- you got less of my attention, and I'm annoyed enough that I'm
writing this message to you -- any business that annoys their customers -- sad. But
I figured you might not be aware of this, so I thought I'd let you know.
Have a great day!

The awesome follow up email – clearly they were very mad.  Yet giving me no contact info to help resolve the problem.  I don’t even know which wedding this was.  Again – I’m happy to re-post a wedding on a different viewer, it isn’t that big of a deal.  really.





oh, and one other thing --I have to log into xxxxserver with the login information on
the little card you gave out, then I have to log in again with an email and a
username for chat?! I don't want to chat, and I don't want to give out an email
address (obviously!). You should seriously consider changing vendors.

Message to the writer:

Dear Anon,

I’m sorry to hear that you are un-happy with the image viewer, I’d be happy to upload the images to another site so you can look at them easily while working.  If you could just let me know which wedding you are referring to I’ll get right on it.

My goal in using this interface was to give viewers a nice presentation to which they could give their full attention (hence the full screen) -not to annoy anyone.  My apologies.   I didn’t know it blocked your ability to right click and I had hoped that people would see right away the way to turn down/off the music.  On the music – I agree, the choices are lame.

Please re-email or message me with the name of the couple and the new viewer will be uploaded immediately.

Thank you for your feedback & I hope you have a wonderful day –


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  • JJAugust 13, 2009 - 7:29 pm

    He has valid points but needs to work on his delivery. When you’re critiquing something/someone, you gotta be nice!

    He’s likely coming from the tech world where there is a culture of efficient web browsing and they want things to run fast and easy, with aesthetic taking back burner. Our whole livelyhood is hinged on presentation and aesthetic. It’s hard finding middle ground without giving up some pretty pretty, which can be tough for us to let go of at times.

    What control do you have over the’s settings? Is it possible to custom configure them for each gallery? With my host, I can set custom permissions for each gallery so that if one client doesn’t like the slideshow function, I can turn it off. If another wants to right click, I can turn that back on. Just make sure you check with the bride & groom first to see if that’s what THEY want.

    Offering to upload to entirely different system is going above and beyond. You rock the customer service!ReplyCancel

  • AngieAugust 13, 2009 - 11:16 pm

    Oh Barbie! Getting an email like this would totally make my heart sink (and our gallery server is set up with several features similar to the ones they are unhappy with). I think your response is great! Just like your photography. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • LaurelAugust 14, 2009 - 7:03 am

    Weeellllllll…. here’s the thing.

    You are a business, selling a very specific product you’ve no doubt done loads of research before offering, and spent tons of time refining. If someone doesn’t like your product or packaging, you haven’t tied them to a chair, taped their eyelids open, nor strapped earphones on them, so they have a choice NOT to view your product, right? And that’s fine. Move on and don’t buy it.

    While some functions are an inconvenience, there are always specific reasons for why they are there that obviously outweigh the drawbacks, and there are work-arounds so users can browse as they wish, as you have pointed out (volume knob, copy/paste, unsubscribe, etc.). Many of this website company’s format/options are the similar to the other widely used professional photography proofing sites, except they don’t spam you (and I know which one you use, I use them too because I find them to be the best for me and my clients, superior to just about anything I’ve ever found for ease of use and presentation for viewers!).

    Your client has no issue with your product (because they obviously hired you…), so I’d focus on that. You weren’t hired to please the guests- if you were, then you’d be called a… wait for it… clown.

    (That’s right, I said your magic word. You knew that would make you giggle! Hee hee!)

    And… if you ask me… if you’re complaining that having music start makes it so you can’t look at a specific site and surf the web for personal reasons at work… well… then… maybe you need to rethink your workday activities before your boss notices what sites you hit by checking your browser history.


    p.s. you guys are all much nicer than I am 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer GasparAugust 14, 2009 - 4:06 pm

    Barbie – You handled this with grace and professionalism! As others have said, you go above and beyond when it comes to customer service. Guessing you have learned a lot when it comes to someone who is very technical looking at your site.ReplyCancel

  • elizatruittAugust 14, 2009 - 9:38 pm

    What a sour email. I’m so sorry you got this. It seems odd that the person had so many complaints, but left you no way of fixing his problems! I know how way over-and-above the call of duty you are in terms of customer service–if this person had sent you an email you could reply to, or left a phone number, I just KNOW you would have found a way to resolve this. But as it is, there’s no way to satisfy this person, other than changing your image-hosting setup (and I know which one it is, because I use it too!)

    How frustrating…ReplyCancel

  • PaulaAugust 15, 2009 - 7:35 pm

    Comments may be meant for your fellow photographers but I just wanted to put in my two cents as a customer.
    Our family, especially Max, Loves, Loves, Loves you and your wonderful, upbeat personality, not to mention your incredible talent. You have always been an absolute blast to work with.
    I feel sad that this person felt compelled to ‘share with you’ all that he knows in the condescending tone that he used. I suspect he is one of those people who is extremely difficult to please and is sure the world is filled with idiots, except for himself, of course. I would not be surprised if the bride and groom, upon learning of his comments, are horrified and embarrassed.
    I fear the damage is already done since his caustic comments have already caused you heartache. I hope that you realize, however, that his email is much more a reflection of him and not at all of you and your amazing talent and remarkable customer service. Barbie, you rock.
    Here is a big hug from us { }.
    By the way, we love our photos! We had so much fun that day and you truly captured it!
    Much Love,
    -Paul, Paula & MaxReplyCancel

  • YvonneAugust 19, 2009 - 9:29 pm

    Gosh I am sorry you had to get that email. He sounds like a whiney baby who was having a bad day and decided you would be the whipping post. I would just let it pass. You do awesome work and posting it to the site so everyone who wants can view your pictures is not something that every photographer does. We love your pictures! yvonne, mark and miloReplyCancel

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