Reference photos should not be taken literally

The client sent in several reference photos that he liked before the photoshoot so I could create something similar using their products. They told me that I have creative control over how to take photos and have no restrictions.

After the photos were delivered, the customer complained about props (apparently wrong colors), styling (not enough / too many props), and “lack of pop”.

I sent a detailed email with their answers to my questions, how I had no restrictions, and most importantly, similarities in styles between the reference photos they liked and the images I provided.

Customer: In the future, if the examples provided are taken literally, we will have to go through them.


I’m still not quite sure how the reference photos are meant to be taken, if not literally.

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