Last night I spent about two hours writing a post in response to a link I shared on our facebook post yesterday afternoon. It was referring to things you should never say to your photographer. It listed the things not to say, but never gave a reason why. My husband noted that he would’ve liked an explanation for each statement as to why they are annoying to hear. My post was pretty straightforward…with a good amount of sarcasm mixed in. We realize that sometimes joking and sarcasm aren’t apparent while reading…so we didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot. So I am going to take some time to really explain, from our point of view, why these statements made to photographers generally piss them off. This isn’t to offend anybody and I’m not saying that I’m speaking for all photographers, but this is our personal experience.
The original link can be found here: http://tutons.com/things-never-say-to-a-photographer/
24 Things you should never say to a photographer:
1. Your camera takes really nice pictures!
We hear this one a lot. It sounds innocent enough…maybe you’ve even said it. So, why does this make photographers angry? Maybe it doesn’t make photographers angry necessarily…but it does sting a bit. Before I even get into this, we know that you mean well. You may be trying to simply state that the pictures are very clear…or something along those lines. When we hear, “Your camera takes really nice pictures!” it makes it seem like anyone could take nice pictures if they had the camera. It takes the countless hours photographers have spent studying their gear, taking online courses, reading manual after manual and minimizes the hard work that all photographers have put in to creating those “nice pictures”. Even out on location, we are dealing with constant changes and as photographers we are continuously adjusting while keeping the session flowing. You probably wouldn’t even notice all the changes they are making. A camera is just a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. My camera can also take really bad photos. Trust me…I’ve seen them! It took a lot of practice to get where we are. So keep in mind next time, the camera only does what the person holding it tells it to.
2. You’re not allowed to take photos here.
If this is a public location can you please tell me why I’m not allowed to take photos? We hear this on occasion and usually there is no explanation. I totally understand for private property…and we respect private property. We will do our best to secure permission, and if we can’t…then unfortunately private property is not an option.
3. Can’t you just photoshop that?
I’m sure all photographers can relate to this one. This is a hard one to hear. The media shows all the photoshop videos and before & afters all the time. They make quick work of a photo and transform it into something completely different. It’s awesome, I agree, but no- I cannot just photoshop that. Photoshop is not easy. It takes time. I’d like to say that I’m decent at photoshop. I’m not an expert by any means. Because of this, it takes me a good amount of time to “just” photoshop that. Usually we get asked to photoshop a client’s love handles, nose, teeth, double chin, or insert body part you’re self conscious about here . Honestly, I am not comfortable with any of this. I don’t like drastically changing a person’s shape. Heck, I don’t even like altering it a little bit. That is not who you are or what you look like, why do you want to be different in photos? That being said, I will photoshop your blemishes, cuts and bruises all day long for you. I want you to have the best version of yourself in pictures, but who you REALLY are:)
4. Can I have all the reject photos too please?
You just hired your photographer. We are at the session… I’m taking quite a few pictures, some while you’re talking, some while your eyes are closed, some while I’m messing with my settings…etc. There’s some blurry shots. Some duplicate shots. Some that are over-exposed…these are what I get rid of. Add a family in front of the camera and I’ll start cutting out the ones where nobody is looking. Mom’s blurry from moving and trying to keep the kiddo in place. Dad is talking to kiddo mid-bribe, with his mouth wide open. These are the ones I cut out. I promise, I’m not holding out on you. The ones I get rid of are not even worth seeing! If you are one of our clients, you know I give you a ton to choose from. I always tell you that there are likely going to be a few that look the same. Why wouldn’t I just pick the best one out of a series and show you just one? Because, what if you like your face better in the second one and I personally like the first one. It would be unfortunate if I had only shown you the first one. It’s not going up in my home…I want you to have options. Why would I keep a good photo from you?
5. I hate having my photo taken.
Who doesn’t? But give us a chance. We are professionals for a reason. We are hoping to give you an experience that you haven’t had yet. This is a good time to give up some control and just let your photographer do their job. They’ve done this a few times. Have some fun with it. Stop focusing so much on why you hate being in front of the camera and just be silly. Who knows…you may even end up liking one…or five…or ten:)
6. I wanted to invite you to my event, you should bring your camera!
Ok, It sounds fine in passing…I mean come on, I usually have my camera strapped to me anyway. But if you are only inviting me to the event to take pictures, you will likely be disappointed. If I’m not hired for something, I may take a photo here and there…and if my kids are with us… that’s where my focus will be. So, if you are inviting us to an event, and you want us to shoot the event, you may want to make it clear that you would like to hire us for the event.
7. If I had a camera like that I could take the same photos you do.
Yes and no. This one actually doesn’t bother me at all. I know what they are getting at in this statement, (I could refer you back to #1) but I am going to take it a little further. Everyone sees things differently. Everyone has different methods. There are several settings you can use to take a picture. Everyone has their own technique. That is part of the beauty in photography. Place a child in front of 5 photographers and each photo will have a different perspective, different technique and definitely a different final product. So sure, if you had a camera like mine…we could take a picture of the same thing, but the odds of it being the same as mine would be nearly impossible.
8. You don’t have a degree, so you’re not really a professional.
A professional is defined: following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain. Basically, a professional is someone who is paid for their work. I’m sure all pro football players have a degree in football, right?!
9. It must be easy to run a photography business.
Again, this one doesn’t really bother me. If you haven’t run a business or tried your hand at editing, I could see how running a photography business would seem easy. (See #11) But a photography business is really just like any other business…if it’s a legitimate business. Photography only plays a small role in the business as a whole. There’s customers. There’s taxes, which include state and federal. There’s liability. There’s overhead cost. Some have employees…which I wouldn’t know about yet…but I can imagine the headache. A business is a business. Anybody who runs a business, no matter what it is, knows it isn’t easy. Worth it, yes. Easy, no.
10. Wow that Canon 5D Mk III must make you an amazing photographer!
Again, it doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you have. A camera alone cannot make you an amazing photographer. An amazing photographer is only amazing with the set of skills they have acquired. The camera is simply a tool. Think of it as a paintbrush…you can dip the paintbrush into paint, but that doesn’t make you Van Gogh.
11. Your job must be so easy, all you do is click a button all day!
12. My phone takes better pictures than your camera.
I haven’t run into this…at all, so I’m not really sure what to say.
13. Can you take your watermark off the photos you posted on facebook? my mom wants to print them.
Watermarks are on the photos to protect the photographer. Photographers use social media to advertise. Photos have been stolen from social media and used to promote other photographers or businesses. Essentially, if you are printing a photo from facebook…you are stealing it. That’s a little hard core to me…I mean really. It’s facebook. Go ahead and print them. Before you waste your money though, have you ever printed something from facebook? Have you tried printing it as a 5×7? How about an 8×10? You are pretty much guaranteeing yourself a pixelated mess of a print. Instead, call your photographer, and get a professional, high quality print.
14. Can I pay you in 3 installments over one year? my wedding really took a lot out of my pockets!
We used to have this issue. It happened to us two times. We felt awful! It felt like we were holding treasured memories hostage. A bride & groom are usually only budgeting leading up to the wedding. They aren’t prepared after the wedding when they come in to see their photos…and their dream package is way out of reach. Your photographer doesn’t feel good about it, I guarantee it! We changed our pricing structure. We have our wedding collections all inclusive, up front. There are no surprises. No hidden costs. No walking out feeling like you are going to have to eat Ramen for the next year to pay for your package…and then having to wait that entire time to hold your album, post your images, and reminisce with your family. By the time that happens…life happened. Enter: new baby. Enter: new house. It’s no longer exciting to post those photos. Since we’ve changed, we’ve had happier brides & grooms, and really…who needs more than that?!
15. Why is the background blurry like that?
It’s a word called “Bokeh”…a word I hate, but a style choice we love and is quite popular these days!
16. I only need a few photos taken, is that cheaper?
This is a good question. Let me explain. Even though you only need a few photos taken, we still need to go through the entire process on my end. The initial consultation. The session. The editing. Sure, there are studios that offer mini-sessions. We aren’t one of them. We still have to collaborate. I want to be sure to offer you the best experience I can, even if you only need a few photos. You can choose just a few pictures, but I’d like to be sure you have enough to choose from. Again, I am not speaking for all photographers. This is just the way we do things. 🙂
17. OMG i love your work!! would you edit this selfie for my facebook page?
This is a flattering statement. I love that you love our work! But, our work starts with our posing and our shots…so simply editing one of your selfies doesn’t make it our work…and it’s not going to come out how you hope!
18. What’s the discount if I edit the pictures myself? I use Picasa!
Why do photographers get so touchy about this one? I can explain…at least from our point of view. The editing software doesn’t matter, you could even have the latest version of photoshop. It seems like your almost doing the photographer a favor right? You are taking the “burden” of hours of editing off their plate. Here’s my point of view. You likely hired your photographer based on their portfolio. You are doing yourself a disservice if you do not allow your photographer to give you a finished product. Only your photographer can edit they way they do. If you are paying your photographer for their service and their style, you will not receive it when you edit the photos yourself. I guarantee it.
19. Photography’s easy, because the camera does all the work.
Again, please refer to numbers one and nine.
20. Photography’s not a real art like painting or sculpting where you need to build your skills. For photography you just need a good eye.
This one is short and simple. You need a good eye sure, but you also need the knowledge to achieve what you have mind.
21. Canon or Nikon, Which is Better?
This is Coke & Pepsi. It’s all subjective…and just for the record…Coca Cola all the way!
22. I don’t have to give a Photo Credit to the Photographer, do I? or Crediting the Photographer is not necessary now, is it?
There’s not really a rule on this one. I would consider this common courtesy. The photographer, even though they are paid, puts a great deal of time and effort into creating the art you receive in the form of photos. We all have a living to make, and assisting the photographer by crediting them for their images is a kind thing to do. Helping them expand their exposure by crediting is a good way to show appreciation. Not wanting to do so is considered classless by those in the photography world.
23. Your camera is so tiny it looks like a compact camera. You sure you a pro?
Here we are again…it’s not the equipment that makes the photographer. It’s the photographer that makes the photos. There’s a professional photographer who shot an entire wedding with an iphone just to prove a point. No joke. Google it.
24. Could you cover our event for free? It will be great for your portfolio.
I don’t hate this question, because once in a while, there are things that could benefit our portfolio. Although, these are generally very specific things that we are looking for. So please, don’t be surprised if you get a “no” answer. Ultimately, if a photographer must shoot something of yours, they’ll approach you first.