Photographers hear a lot of things, ranging from amusing to outright disrespectful. It happens in every line of work there is- particularly those of the artistic kind. Here, I’ve thrown together a few of the ones I hear most often, and what goes through my (and I’m sure many colleagues’) mind.
“You must have a great camera”
Why thank you- yes, my camera is pretty nice, isn’t it? Shame that’s not what makes the photo. I work hard to get to the point of producing the photos you see in the end.
“Can you Photoshop that?”
I’m not a miracle worker- I’m not a Photoshop artist. I’m a photographer. Please understand that. Yes, there’s a chance I could Photoshop that for you, but that’s going to cost extra.
“I’d love for you to come to my event! Do you mind bringing your camera?”
This line tends to come from family and friends, and is well-meaning, but still frustrating. A way to ask for free service by inviting me to your party is not cool. Either invite me to your party to be a part of the celebration, or pay me to photograph the event.
“Can I have all the files?”
Have you seen that image of Beyonce going around? That is why we don’t send you all the files. Not every image is on point, we’re only human after all- and our reputation depends upon our work. Please understand that the files we send you to review are the ones you will receive, and have been pruned out of the not-so-glamorous ones.
“But why does it cost so much?”
Why do most things cost a lot of money? Equipment, schooling, travel, the time it takes not only to shoot, but the post-process, the supplies… There is a lot more that goes into photography than just purchasing a camera and pressing the shutter button.
“Can I get a discount for xyz?” or “Is it cheaper if I only want a couple shots?”
Would you ask a professional such as a doctor, or a teacher, for a discount? Why is it fair to ask a photographer for one? Just because you want less shots, doesn’t mean we put less work in. It still takes the time to do the work. We’re still giving you all our professionalism, our talents, our time.
“Can you not watermark it? I’d like to print it.”
Now, if we did a paid shoot, then I give you a release to go ahead and print the non-watermarked images I sent you. If we did a TF shoot, I send you low-resolution, watermarked images… and not the rights to print it.
“Oh, we can just get Uncle/Aunt/Best Friend/Dog to shoot.”
Okay, well then, you can deal with the results of them shooting. Please don’t complain to me when you don’t have the type of images you hoped for.
I understand trying to save money, the economy isn’t pleasant right now, but when you want moments captured in a way that you can treasure them forever- letting yourself go for the cheapest option isn’t the best.
“Your job is so easy! You just press a button.”
Sure! My job is super easy! Anyone can do it! (Please, note sarcasm.) I manage a schedule with clients, a day job and social life. In the winter, I work two jobs. I travel to most clients, or have to set up and prep the studio prior to a shoot, spend 1 to 3 hours on a shoot, travel home (or clean up studio). I sit for hours going through photos to send to clients, post processing and administrative work to keep up on budgets, taxes and other paperwork. I spend hours on social media, arranging posts and updating my website to keep it appealing to draw in new clientele. Just to name a few things.
“Want to do TF for Exposure?” or, “If we shoot together, I’ll promote you!”
Exposure does not pay the rent, put food on my table, or gas in my car. Promotion is great if it gets me more bookings, or can expand my client base, but it does nothing to help in daily life.
“Can you shoot xyz?” “Sure, my rates are 123!” *crickets* or “Confirming for Tuesday, please respond.” *crickets*
Photographer’s time is the same as arranging an appointment with a health professional. Our time is precious! Please don’t waste it.
If you don’t like rates being sent to you, simply responding with a “No, thank you” or a “Not right now” is fine! Leaving us hanging is not.
If you’re booked for a shoot already- please respond to your emails/texts/voicemails! Ghosting on us makes us believe that the shoot should be canned, and we should move on. For you to last minute show up anyway throws everything off. Photographers should not have to chase you down- and most won’t.
“Can we do this image I saw on Pinterest/Google/Tumblr/Instagram?”
While I am more than cool with using another’s images as a reference or inspiration- hell, I have a HUGE Pinterest account full of such boards- it is NOT cool to try and exactly copy another artist’s piece. Please don’t do that, please don’t ask an artist to do that.
“Can you make me thinner/taller/bustier/etc?”
I shall refer back to “I am not a miracle worker, I am not a Photoshop artist.” Plus, that’s not my style. I want you to be comfortable in your own skin. If that’s not what you’re looking for, please book someone who will make you unlike yourself. The only time this is flexible is when it comes to minor changes for cosplay shoots- like those folks who can’t wear contacts, but the character has weird eye colors.
“Can you make this photo all black and white except for this piece?”
I mean, I can. And sometimes, it fits the image. Mostly, however- that is so cliche.
“My smartphone/tablet takes pictures just as good.”
Don’t get me wrong- smartphone and tablet cameras have come leaps and bounds, and quite a number of them are really good. I can say that my phone takes some wonderful images at times. But please refrain from trying to compare my camera to your phone. It’s disrespectful to the artist. I know some who depend on just phone-photography, but I would prefer to keep a DSLR in my hand.