There are things that annoy your hairdresser, things that irritate your waiter, and things that piss off your photographer. And while it’s true they don’t have the power to wreck your ‘do or spit in your food – not that your hairdresser or waiter would ever do that! – you really don’t want to do any of the things that piss off your photographer either. Someday when you’re rich and famous, they’ll have way too many embarrassing “outtakes” to blackmail you with! So perhaps it’s best to keep on your photog’s good side – plus, chances are, she does amazing work, and you might even be friends. Curious how many of these things you might be doing without even realizing it? Let’s have a look…
1. Showing up Late
Of all the things that piss off your photographer, nothing is worse than showing up late, other than just not showing up at all. Children’s photographers in particular know that things happen that may make you late – Johnny didn’t want to wake up from his nap, Janie spilled juice on her dress – but we also know you’ve got a cell phone in your bag, with our number programmed into it. It’s just good manners to call your photographer to let her know you’re running a little late – just as you would for anyone else. Do this, and we'll be sure to let you know if we're running late too; we don't want to make you angry, either.
2. Uncle Bob
Who is Uncle Bob? He’s the guy at every event with a fancy new camera he’s been dying to try out, who follows your photographer around, getting in the way of the shot and/or ruining the shot with his flash. More than merely annoying, Uncle Bob can actually wreck an entire shoot with his arms/head and flash. What’s worse is that some clients have actually asked Uncle Bob to “help” the photographer, making it incredibly awkward for the photog to ask Uncle Bob to get out of the way. Remember, you’ve hired a photographer because they had a style you loved – trust them to do a good enough job that you won’t need Uncle Bob – and please ask him ahead of the event to come and enjoy the event, rather than offer his “skills.”
3. Assuming PhotoShop is Magic
I can’t count how many times I’ve had to gently inform a client I wouldn’t be able to add Aunt Susie to a photo of an event she didn’t attend, or remove Uncle Sal from a shot he drunkenly photo-bombed. While the software allows me to retouch out a distracting curl or icky blemish, it’s not magic – if only it were! I can whiten teeth, brighten eyes, lighten an image, convert it to black and white – but transport Aunt Edith from Texas and add her to your wedding photo? I cannot. I really, really wish I could, so your special event photos could include everyone you love, and wish was there. Want to make your photographer cry? Ask if they'll take a photo of you with a keepsake from a loved one you've lost, or a photo of you holding a photo of that special person.
4. Asking to Copy
Before I work with a new client, I’ll ask them to share a Pinterest board of photos they love, to give me a sense of the look or tone they’re trying to achieve. But that’s a far cry from providing your photographer with a photo you want to copy, down to the props and background and poses and lighting. If you want the exact photo you saw on Facebook, your best bet would be to hire the photographer who took it, rather than asking another photographer to plagiarize their work. It may sound hokey, but we photographers fancy ourselves artists, and as such, we want to knock you out with our own skills. Give us your ideas and a chance, and we will - we'll knock your socks off with amazing photos that everyone else will be pinning, sharing, and possibly, wishing they could copy.
5. Offering “Credit”
I’m open to bartering – in fact, I love it! But offering me photo credit on your website or Facebook page, or your permission to use the photos I’ve taken in my portfolio, rather than payment, is just insulting. The “exposure” won’t pay my bills – and since photography is my job, I do require payment so I can do exactly that – pay my bills. Offer me free coffee for a month at your coffee shop, or exchange a cut and color at your salon for a shoot, but don’t think for a moment I’ll be keen on the thought of working just for a shout-out.
6. Stealing Work
There’s a reason most photographers plaster a watermark and/or copyright notice on their images – because clients have been known to try and make prints of shots they haven’t paid for. This is, simply put, stealing. In most cases, your photographer will happily share the image you want, either for free or for a small fee. We want you to have your photos - if you ask us for them, we're flattered - that means you love our work!
7. Whose Fault?
Let me be candid – it is not your photographer’s fault you look fat in your photos – while it’s true some angles and lighting and poses can add weight or a double-chin where there isn’t one, in most cases, you look chubby in that photo because you ARE. Don’t blame the photographer. Take it as a wake-up call that maybe it’s time to make a change. I know it’s painful – I’ve given up my favorite jeans because of the muffin top I saw in a photo of myself – but it’s most certainly not going to help to whinge to your photographer, or blame them for “making” you look fat.
Listen, you’ve hired me to photograph your kids, not babysit them, so if we’re shooting pictures at a candy shop, it’s your job to keep their sticky jam hands out of the bins, not mine. I’m there to photograph the magical moments, not chase your children and force them to behave. And for the record, I’ll still be snapping away while your wee ones shove handfuls of M&Ms into their mouths – it’s precious, and you’ll be paying the candy shop owner, not me... for the record, some more, I love the smear of colors on chubby little faces, and those smile are so sweet and genuine... the candy shop owner isn't going to like it, though!
9. Force It
I specialize in photographing children and babies, so I know more than anyone what happens when a newborn or toddler is done taking photos. They’re done, and it’s impossible to negotiate with, threaten, or bribe a baby into changing their mind, so it’s best to reschedule the shoot – the end. It may seem inconvenient, and you might think this will piss off your photographer, but trust me, just the opposite is true. We’d much rather photograph little Tyler when he’s smiling and happy, and you’ll like the photos more, too.
With so many ways to potentially annoy and alienate your photographer, what can you possibly do that will make them happy? It’s actually really simple – arrive on time, and trust us to do the job you hired us to do – take gorgeous photos of your kids or special event. We’re not divas, just artsy-fartsy types – and we love our clients! And to be honest, I’ve done a couple of these things myself, so don’t feel bad if you’ve done them too. So confess – how have you annoyed your photographer? Do you have any stories to share?