We live in an odd age, truly. What was once a mystery is now no more than a cool app to most people. Anyone and everyone it seems, has some kind of camera. For reasons I have yet to understand, this makes many people think they're photographers. I would never say that you can't get a decent photo from an iPhone, but would I use it for a family shoot? Not a chance.
I feel like I've said this a thousand times already (and blogged about it), but when you hire a professional, you're paying for a service the same way that you would pay someone to fix your furnace. You pay them because you can easily say "I'm not a ___________ so I'll pay someone to do it right". So why do people get all weird about paying for art? Why is it any different? Well, it's not, really, but here's why I think it is. Art has a stigma. For some reason something that is not easily measured seems to hold less value for people. But I ask you, if the doctor was delivering your baby, would you dare ask for a discount, freebie, or anything else? I doubt it. Just as the doctor or plumber or any skilled person has spent years acquiring and refining her skill, so has the photographer. She has spent time, patience, money, and so much more honing her craft so that she can bring you an effortless-looking product. But there is plenty of effort, not to mention all the little details and boring technical stuff that no client needs to know (nor do they care to). I say this because what you see is the end product, but what we see is SO much more. All the worry that this or that image didn't come out right, the HOURS of editing (PIMPLES!!!), not to mention all the work that goes into the shoot before it even happens (location scouting, wardrobe consultations, and of course, the kind of shoot you're looking for. Photography is a strange business, as it's somewhere in between a Burger King, and a fancy French restaurant. We all know at BK you "have it your way", or however the slogan goes. But if you dare ask for a change in one of those $100 per course restaurants, you've basically earned your ticket out of there, let alone run the risk of encountering unknown elements in your food. So sure, you get a say in what you wear (sort of), where you shoot (sort of) and what kind of print package you want (if you actually value those these days), but really, if you behave like you would at BK, we kind of mentally add you to the "Do not work with this client again" list. No, I'm sorry, I cannot Photoshop (I just love how that's a verb now) your entire body so that you look like ________. First of all, I'm just not that good. Secondly, that's not remotely my style. I don't know many photographers who feel comfortable about changing every single thing about you so that you no longer resemble you, but they do exist. Yes, I clean up photos. I don't especially enjoy stating at puss-filled protuberances (can you tell I've edited a lot of pimples?) but I do it because that's part of the job. What I won't do is compromise my principles and go against everything I know to be true about business. This question has come up many times: "Can you just send me the photos? I have Photoshop at home and can edit them myself". Riiiiiiiight. NO. Also, "Why do prints cost so much?" I recently had to explain that one to my own father. So before I sound too jaded and angry, yes, I love this profession. Taking photographs makes me happier than any other work. Is it frustrating dealing with this sh...tuff? You bet your butt it is. Here's how I'd like things to go, in an ideal world, of course. If someone comes to me and they have questions, I'm happy to answer them. That said, good questions don't sound like the ones above. Good ones would be "What is the turnaround time for getting my photos?" "Will they have your watermark on them?" "Will you advise us/me on clothing?" "How do we go about choosing a location?"
Hug and thank your photographer today,