Here’s an article that you can send to all your future clients; just attach it to the contract and tell them that if they, or anyone else at their event says any of these, then they’re in breach of contract! Well, not really, that would probably be a bit of an over reaction, I’m merely highlighting the less attractive side of being a professional photographer. If you work for even a short amount of time, then there’s a very good chance that you will hear all of these quote at some point.
“You’re not allowed to take photos here…”
This one really bugs me, because nine times out of ten, the person telling me doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t tend to take photos where I’m not supposed to, so when I can legally take the photo, the last thing I want is for someone to tell me I can’t. You will hear complaints of ‘security issues’, ‘private property’ and even ‘threat of terrorism’, but these are largely unfounded. It varies depending on your country, but in the UK, and I believe the US, so long as you’re on public property, you can take photos of both public and private property. That means that so long as you’re standing on a public property, you can take a photo of most things, and there’s nothing that the owners of the private property can do.
The same goes for taking photos of people, whether they’re members of the public, or persons of the law. What you then decide to do with these photos will have different implications, but the actual capturing of the photo is perfectly legal. Here’s a little bonus fact too, if you’re on private property taking a photo of something you shouldn’t be, and you get caught, then no one can legally take your camera off you, or make you delete the photos. Check out this lens cleaning cloth from Amateur Photography magazine, click on the image to be taken to the article.
“Hey, take my photo!”
I cringe every time I hear this because more often or not, I’m going to have to either delete the photo, or share it with the person that’s in the photo. We’ve all been there, and there may even be a few of you who even like to hear this, but when I hear this, it usually means that I have to stop what I’m doing and focus on something else. As a photographer, it’s nice to be able to decide exactly what I think should be captured, in the way that I like to capture it. That’s what I’m there for. Forced smiles and boring poses make for boring images that don’t capture anything, other than a person, or a few people, at a single event, which could be anywhere.
“Can you send me that?”
Ah yes, I have a camera, it comes naturally to me, therefore, I should do it for free. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to share photos with friends when they want them, and I know that it’s likely they would ever buy them anyway, but when someone you don’t know, or barely knows, asks you for a photo for free, that’s when it starts to cross the line. If you’re a professional, then you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for money, if the photo is good and someone wants it. How much you want to charge for a single photo is up to you, but if the photo is for someone that I know, then I usually offer a small discount. If they’re an adult about it, then chances are they will accept whatever you’re charging and won’t be offended (some even expect it), so don’t be afraid to ask. Selling a photo is a great way to start your day.
“I’ve got an idea for a photo…”
If you’re not a photographer, and for some reason you’re reading this, then please see this as a cry for help. We have our own ideas and style, and choose how we take our photos very carefully. I will often give in and take the photo that someone else wants, but it can get to a point where the photo is going to come out horrible. Admittedly, it can be fun at times, but more often than not, it’s an idea that they’ve got from somewhere else, and that invariably means it’s not original, and possibly cliché. No one likes to be told how do their job.
“Can I have all the reject photos too please?”
No you can’t. There’s a reason why those photos don’t make the cut, and that’s because they’re not good enough, or they’re duplicates of what I’ve already taken. The portfolio of work is only as strong as the weakest photo, so by including all these dud photos, I would be bringing down the overall quality of my work by sharing them with you. Trust a photographer when they say that you don’t want those photo, because the ones you do get will be much better.
“I hate having my photo taken.”
I know it’s not very nice, and I should probably be more sympathetic about another person’s insecurities when they come in front of a camera, but if you’re at event where there’s a photographer, there’s a good chance your photo is going to be taken. Avoid the camera as much as you like, but don’t go up to a photographer and ask them to avoid you, because that’s just not going to happen; there are more important things going on. Almost every event I work on there’s a camera shy person, and I do my best to let them warm up to the camera before I get too snap happy, but I always end up getting a photo. I personally don’t care who I’m taking a photo of, and if someone asks me to avoid them, and the client doesn’t seem to mind, then I will, but I’m not going out of my way to make this happen.
When it comes down to it, if a client says to me that they want everyone one at the event at the event captured at some point, then that’s what they’re going to get.
“You must have a great camera.”
Is there more of a faux pas that you can say to a photographer? If there is, then I don’t know it. There’s not really much I can say about this that you’ve not already experienced when someone has said this to you, so I’m just going to leave you with this quote from Sam Haskins.
“Can you Photoshop that?”
This is something that we’ve all heard one time or another, I’m sure I’ve probably even said it as a joke, but we all cringe when we hear it. The line ‘I’m a photographer, not a miracle worker’ comes to mind, because a lot of people seem to think that we can work magic with Photoshop with ease, when anyone who uses it knows it’s not as easy as that. Firstly, the whole process of implementing Photoshop into your work flow in the first place is a pain, and then having to remove bags under the eyes, wrinkles, spots, moles and stains is even more work on top of that. Let alone having to make someone look skinnier, or prettier, it’s just extra work for us, when we were getting it right in the camera in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not problem removing a mole or a spot, it’s not hard, but when it’s multiple things, and on every photo, then it starts to cross the line between photographer and retoucher.
“Do you mind bringing your camera?”
Usually, no I don’t, but there are time where I want to be able to relax and not have to pay attention to what I’m doing. Sometime I bring my camera out with me, and I don’t even use it, but I have the freedom to do what I want with it. ”Do you mind bringing your camera?” is essentially codeword from friends who want a professional photographer, but don’t want to pay for one. You will even find some people getting annoyed with you if you don’t take the photos you’re looking for, and that for me has made me stop bringing my camera to so many parties.
“When are these going to be on Facebook?”
And the above quote leads me to my final point. When are they going to be on Facebook? This is something we’ve probably all heard from time to time, and quite often if you use your camera a lot, because everyone wants to see the photos while they’re still relevant. I share my photos on Facebook, in fact, I often make the albums public so that people I don’t know don’t even up adding me, but the expectation that you can’t just enjoy the photos yourself, and you have to share them, is not what photography is about for me. If the expectation wasn’t there, I would probably only share single photos every so often, but that’s often more hassle than it’s worth.
I know it doesn’t sound like it after what I’ve written, but being a photographer is a great way to make a living, these quotes are just meant as a bit of fun to highlight the everyday annoyances we have to go through. If you’ve enjoyed it, please click ‘like’.