Photographers: We Have Feelings Too

5 things you should NOT say to photographers

All photographers are artists. Some of us are the flies on your wall. We create moments that people are able to relive over the course of time. From your  baby’s first steps to your sister’s third wedding, we are the people who catch the minor details you wouldn’t notice because they’re things that nobody could have possibly seen. Our various forms of style are what makes the art form we call photography unique and distinctive. We love making you happy and we are happy when you’re happy. We make it our mission to service you in whatever way possible. But just like every job, there are always a few mishaps and moments of unprofessionalism that make our job way harder than it has to be. As you continue reading, check out the 5 things I believe you should NOT say to photographers. After all, we have feelings too!

1. “I just put a filter over the photo, I hope you don’t mind.”

      A: We do! Putting a filter over an edited photo is one of the biggest insults you can give a photographer. When you first decided to shoot with us, we were excited about helping you execute your vision. We didn’t expect to see our photo on your Instagram a week later with the Valencia filter on top. If you didn’t like our edits, politely ask us to make changes. By adding extra filters to a complete set, you’re not only making the photographer question their skillset, but you are losing quality on  a photo that probably never needed work initially. I understand that you paid for the photo and that you can do what you want with it. Guess what though? False advertisement never helped anyone.
2. “You’re a photographer? Take my picture!”

      A: Even though we may have our camera around our neck, that is NOT an indication that we are ready to just snap a photo of you  simply because you have on the freshest new pairs of Yeezys… Okay sometimes it depends on if it’s a good day or if the lighting and location is just right. Trust me, there are times where we love to just strike when inspiration transpires. It can definitely be a way to network. However, when it’s all over and the photo is taken, we exchange our information and go along our merry way. This is NOT the moment to blow up our phones because you’re so anxious to update your Instagram feed. We are still human and we still have our own lives to get to. If no one else understands the excitement of posting some heat to the Gram, know that a photographer does.  Updating your Instagram feed is not THAT crucial. With that being said, we tend to avoid the whole interaction altogether.
3. “All you do is press a button. I can do that!”

      A: Never EVER say this to a photographer, EVER! I am saving you from having your funeral early, trust me. The average person looks at a shooter and believes that all they do is pull the trigger, or in this case, press the button to shoot. Meanwhile, the basic fundamentals of using a camera starts with knowing what ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture are. Once you know the basics and all of a camera’s functions, then you can adjust your settings however much you want to. But if you can’t even explain what the “M” or “A” means on the camera, you clearly can’t do it.
4. “Can you send me the raw files?”

      A: I know you’re probably thinking, “Well I paid for the photos I should be able to get the raws, right?” No, that is wrong. Whoever takes the photo, OWNS the photo. The only photos you own are the ones you pick for the photographer to edit. The only way you will ever get raw images are if you are paying for them, which we will do especially since they belong to the photographer and they can do as they see fit, OR they are not planning on ever using these photos and are fed up with the constant complaining and no longer want to work with you. But that is VERY rare..  

5. “It’s your lens that makes the photo better.”

      A: In a way you’re right. But you’re not. We understand that it is hard to believe that an actual person is capable of taking a photograph so beautifully. We understand that you believe the equipment we use plays a huge part in why the photograph turns out the way it does. What you don’t realize though, is that you can have the most expensive equipment all day, everyday,but without your “eye,” your photo will just come out looking like the pictures on the front of elementary school textbooks. A lens plays a big role in helping the photographer execute your vision better but there’s no way in hell that the Lens is the ONLY thing make the photo snap.

I could go on all day about the things you should refrain from saying. At the end of it all, photography is not simply  a hobby for most photographers. It is a job that a lot of us take very seriously. I would be wrong to say that it is always the client that causes some of the problems I have described. As a photographer, in order to avoid some of these situations, be confident in your craft. Speak up and be vocal about what it is that you are good at and about what things you’re not. Being a full-time or part-time photographer isn’t just showing up with your camera. Being professional in your business will help you to be taken more seriously when it comes to your craft. There’s money out there waiting to be made. Go make it!


What are some other things people should refrain from saying when photographers are present?


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James Bambu