The 10 Things Photographers Will Never Tell You
Sometimes it is difficult to live this life as an entrepreneur. Striving for equality in our goals to reach the American dream is a daily rollercoaster ride. I, personally, don’t want to just survive, but thrive in this business. So, I’m sharing a glimpse into some of the things that make life harder. I hope this list provides some perspective into what it takes for us to do this job.
1. Don’t be late. We start to panic when you’re 1 minute late…even if our policy allows for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, we are having mini heart attacks, and by 30 minutes smoke will start billowing out of our heads. More than 30 minutes…call the ER because we’ve passed out. We don’t like it. It messes with our flow…our zen mode…our energy to provide the best service for you.
2. Don’t be super early. Sooo….yeah! It’s funny, but true. Most of us plan ahead, but we still like to have time to make sure everything is ready before you get here. 15 minutes is as early as you should come.
3. Pay your invoice on time…without reminders. There is nothing that bugs a photographer more than to keep track of all the people who don’t pay timely and to have to send “gentle reminders” to pay up. We budget our money like everyone else. And where you can relax and know your money is coming every week…we don’t have that luxury. That’s sometimes a mortgage, or lunch for kids, or gas in our cars that we are expecting to receive that comes late…or not at all if you change your mind. You wouldn’t want your paycheck late, shortened, or removed. We don’t either.
4. If you can’t afford us, please don’t belittle us for being too expensive. If Molly-so-and-so Photography has a newborn session for $150, and I charge $1000, please go to her if that’s in your budget. Don’t get huffy with us for our pricing and start spewing your own insecurities around money on us. We plan our fees and costs around what we need to provide for our families. This is our job! We pay taxes, and loose 1/3 of it to the IRS. So if a session is $1000, we only get to keep $600 of it. And that $600 has to go towards the hours we spend editing, the actual session, ordering any products, bills, groceries, healthcare, savings, and our retirements. I don’t know how Molly-so-and-so operates her business. Her husband can have millions, or she isn’t paying taxes, or it’s a hobby for her. Maybe she just started out and doesn’t realize that $150 is only $50 profit. It’s not fair to critique us and our efforts to earn a decent wage which is in alignment for the hours of work we spend creating beautiful images.
5. There’s a difference between a “homie hookup,” a referral discount, and squeezing your photographer for every cent. Those who get a “homie hookup” are generally our homies. Haha! People who get referral discounts are from people we know, generally former clients that love our work and send prospective clients our way. But if you come out of the blue asking for 50% off a session…that’s not cool. Please look at #4 above and go to Molly.
6. We are not your servants, but service providers. It’s all in the way you ask and the frequency in how often you do it. Don’t demand the moon and stars…I have that prop already. Haha! Just ask us, and we happily will provide. My job is to provide it before you ask!
7. Don’t be a helicopter parent in the studio. A session supposed to be relaxing FOR ALL PARTIES during a session. Don’t hover behind your photographer and critique every single thing; or try to help us pose, brush hair after we’ve spent 15 minutes getting your baby to sleep; or pull your phone out next to our faces and try to take photos of your baby because little Timmy looks so cute. It’s just too much. We want you included in the experience, and love what we are doing for you. But there is a balance between admiration and being in the way. We can’t do our jobs if you’re in the middle of the shot.
8. Please be patient while waiting for your images. Images generally take 2-4 weeks for newborn photographers. Most of us communicate when your images will be ready. We know you are so excited about seeing your photos, but we ask that you try to be patient, let us work hard for you and make amazing images. Often there are several galleries on deck that need to get edited. We’ll get to yours in the order received and deliver by the deadline…if not earlier…and rarely later.
9. We don’t like to work for free. There’s not much to say about this, but free doesn’t pay the bills.
10. It’s more than just paper…or jpegs. Let me be frank, an 8×12 probably costs no more than $11. But it’s not about the paper of jpeg file, but our talent, time, education, service, experience, safety and creativity. I’m sure the paper Picasso painted on was only a few dollars. Many of us offer digitals, but we prefer that you not print at a non-professional lab like Walmart or CVS. So think of it as taking your cherished Picasso and hanging it in a kindergarten class room…with no glass protection. You just wouldn’t do it, so consider spending a little more money on getting it printed and framed professionally.
Bonus 1: Most of us are really great with Photoshop. We first strive to position you and light you in the most flattering way for the image. Then we nip and tuck where necessary. I’ve always said I have an editing degree as an optometrist, dermatologist, plastic surgeon, hairstylist, makeup artist, dentist, orthodontist, and seamstress. Ha! But in the end…you are still you. If your self-esteem is in the dumps, please reconsider taking out your unhappiness out on the photographers that see more beauty in you, than you see in yourself.
PS: If your name is Molly-so-and-so Photography, it’s nothing personal. LOL!
Oh…and if your baby’s name is Timmy…sorry.