Here’s an article that you can send to all of your future clients. Attach it to the contract and tell them: if they, or anyone else at their event says any of these things, 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 even for just a short length of time, there’s a very good chance that you will hear all of these quotes 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; when I can legally take a photo, the last thing I want to hear is someone telling 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 from country to 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. This means that, so long as you’re standing in a public space, you can take a photo of most things and there’s nothing that the owner of the private property can do to stop you.
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 may have different implications but the actual capturing of the photo is perfectly legal.
Here’s a little bonus fact: if you’re on private property taking a photo of something you shouldn’t be and you get caught, 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.
“Hey, take my photo!”
I cringe every time I hear this because, more often than not, I’m going to either have to delete the photo, or share it with the person that’s in it.
We’ve all been there and there may even be a few of you who even like to hear it but, when I do, 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 capture nothing but a person/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 it’s unlikely that they would ever buy them anyway. When someone you don’t know, or barely know, asks for a photo for free however, they’re starting to cross the line.
If you’re a professional, 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, when it’s for someone I know, I usually offer a small discount. If they’re an adult about it, thee chances are they will accept whatever you’re charging without being offended (some even expect it).
Don’t be afraid to ask: selling a photo is a great way to start the day.
“I’ve got an idea for a photo…”
If you’re not a photographer and, for some reason, you’re reading this, please see this as a cry for help.
We have our own ideas and styles and choose how we take our photos very carefully.
I often give in and take the photo that someone else wants but it can get to the point where the photo comes out looking horrible. Admittedly, it can be fun at times but, more often than not, it’s an idea that they’ve got from somewhere else. This invariably means it’s not original and possibly cliche.
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: they’re not good enough or are duplicates of what I’ve already taken.
The portfolio of work is only as strong as the weakest photo so, by including all of 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 photos; 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; that’s just not going to happen – there are more important things going on.
At almost every event I’ve worked on there’s been a camera shy person. I do my best to let them warm to the camera before I get too snap happy but I always end up getting a photo of them.
I personally don’t care who I’m taking a photo of; if someone asks me to avoid them and the client doesn’t seem to mind, I will but I’m not going out of my way to make this happen.
When it comes down to it, if a client wants everyone at the event captured at some point, 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, I don’t know it.
There’s not really much I can say about this that won’t have 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 and I’m sure I’ve probably even said it as a joke. Still, we all cringe when we hear it.
The line ‘I’m a photographer, not a miracle worker’ comes to mind; a lot of people seem to think that we can work magic through Photoshop with ease – anyone who uses it knows it’s not as easy as that.
Firstly, the whole process of implementing Photoshop into your workflow in the first place is a pain. Having to then remove bags under the eyes, wrinkles, spots, moles and stains is even more work, let alone having to make someone look skinnier or prettier. It’s extra work for us, when we were getting it right in the camera in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem removing a mole or a spot; it’s not hard. It’s when it’s multiple things, on every photo, that you start to cross the line between photographer and retoucher.
“Do you mind bringing your camera?”
Usually no, I don’t, but there are times when I want to be able to relax and without having to pay attention to what I’m doing.
Sometimes I bring my camera out with me and 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 code from friends for: “I want a professional photographer but don’t want to pay for one”. You will even find people getting annoyed with you if you don’t take the photos they’re looking for. That, for me, has been the reason for not 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. You’ll hear it 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 end up adding me but the expectation to not be able to enjoy the photos yourself, that 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.