Photographers should always expect questions. I encourage it. I find that the more open communication is between me and client – before, during, and after the shoot – the smoother the whole process goes.
But there are some things we photographers hear too often, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. No doubt it’s the same in any field.
So with my tongue slightly in cheek – and don’t worry if you’re guilty of any of these! – here are five things you should avoid saying to a photographer.
1. “That’s a great photo! You must have an expensive camera.”
Did Van Gogh’s success come down to the quality of his brushes?
Did Hemingway own the latest high-end typewriter?
Our camera is just a tool – no more, no less – so avoid associating the quality of the photograph to the equipment used as it entirely overlooks the skills of the photographer.
2. “Can I have the original images?”
When photographers answer “no” to this common question we’re not trying to be difficult or obstructive.
It’s just that in the digital age the editing of images is all part of the creative process – a vital part.
There’s a good chance you commissioned a particular photographer because you liked their style and finished product. Editing is key in helping create that style so allow us to create it for you.
3. “Can you photoshop that?”
This cannot be stated enough: Photoshop does not cure all ills!
It cannot create a smile (although some software is, believe it or not, giving this a go). It cannot magically do up buttons or straighten ties. Photoshop works best when cleaning up imperfections.
Do not assume your photographer can, or even wants to, alter reality with the use of software.
4. “We will give you a credit”
A classic! I firmly believe it is a rite of passage for all photographers to be offered this proposal at least once.
Unfortunately there is often an assumption photographers will work (or have their images used) for free. So far as I am aware, “exposure” and a credit does not pay the bills in any line of work. And contrary to popular opinion it is ineffective promotion and rarely leads to future work.
Please, pay the photographer.
5. “I just need a few, simple shots”
This often trips off the tongue after the above.
First, it immediately devalues the skill of the photographer. It’s essentially saying “we came to you because we want basic”. That’s not very flattering to hear.
Second, it begs the question why you are hiring a photographer in the first place. If a few simple shots is what you want then use your phone – it will be much quicker, cost considerably less, and you’ll get the simple shots you want.
Have you come across any dreaded questions in your own line of work? Let me know below!