Earlier I was trying to figure out what to blog about. I started searching for photography related articles and an article came up about crazy questions that clients ask photographers. I read the article and literally laughed out loud! I thought the article was great and there HAD to be more posts out there like this one! So there I was, searching for the craziest questions that people ask photographers. Not only did some crazy questions come up but some of the stupidest questions came up too! That is when I knew I had to blog about this topic. I'll refer to the article that I read that inspired me to write this blog post. I should make it clear that if someone has asked me a question that I list of course I won't say who, what session, etc. but more importantly I'm not saying that they are crazy or stupid. But I mean there are some questions that just make me shake my head and say to myself WHAT?! I know that nobody has all the knowledge in the world so asking questions is the only way to learn. I may have a question about videography. I could ask a question that the videographer thinks is stupid. If they give me a legit non-sarcastic answer than good deal, I've learned something. The reason I call the answer non-sarcastic is that in the article I am referring to, the author gives sarcastic answers. And I think it's just to be a smart ass. ? It definitely sets the comical tone for the post. I personally think the sarcasm is because what the people ask and what they really mean are two completely different things. And now is when I should put the warning of if you are easily offended you may become offended if you read this post.
I'll just jump right in and list the questions. Again, these are questions from the post, not questions I have personally been asked.
1. What they ask: Do you take black and white photos?
What they mean: I think only black-and-white photography reveals the real, true essence of a person, does not it?
Sarcastic answer: Castrating a donkey does not make it a stallion. Taking away color does not necessarily add value.
My answer: Ahhh, I think I'm just going to stick with using the sarcastic answer! lol First off, who even says, "Do you take black and white photos"? I know that cameras can take pictures in black and white but it's so much easier to edit an image and make it a black and white photo. You have so many more options and control when converting an image to black and white.
2. What they ask: Can I have all the original photos from the shoot?
What they mean: I just cannot trust you to sort out the best ones.
Sarcastic answer: Yes, sure, I will also give you the contents of my kitchen-sink filter as a bonus.
My answer: No. I only want clients to see my best work. If I am showing a client their images from their session and are seeing the good edited ones they are happy, their satisfaction level is being met. And then suddenly a few of the ones that aren't edited, whether the lighting or coloring being off, they aren't as good as the ones they just saw a few minutes earlier. So then suddenly the satisfaction they were feeling is interrupted by a few “off“ images. I want my clients to be continuously happy and be satisfied with their photos at all times. I don't want to take a chance of missing 1 here and 1 there that are not up to my standards. Also, Just because I take 200 pictures does not mean you will get 200 pictures. You probably won't get anywhere near that. The reason I keep clicking away is because when I am photographing someone staying in the same position, they may blink several different times or they may have different facial expressions. When it comes to a group of people, even if it's two people, the likelihood of me taking one picture and nobody blinking, everyone looking at me, and everyone having the perfect facial expression is highly unlikely. This reason being exactly why I take so many pictures of the same “look“.
3. What they ask: What camera do you have?
What they mean: Is your camera expensive?
Sarcastic answer: I have a camera worth $1 billion. I forgot what it’s called.
My answer: To the average person, the type of camera I use has absolutely no determination in whether you hire me as your photographer. I interpret being asked that question as you don't trust me enough and it comes down to the type of camera I'm using and how big the price tag is on it. If you have a background in photography then I can see you asking me as being curious and seeing if maybe we shoot with or like the same brand. But still, I would hope that since I use Nikon and you prefer Canon that you wouldn't hire me just for the simple fact that we different brands of cameras. Remember, the camera does NOT make the photo. It is the photographer that makes the picture. The same goes for if you are asking me about the type of lens I am using. One of the photographers, Tealia Ellis Ritter was asked by author, Alison Zavos of “Feature Shoot” what questions photographers hate being asked. Her response was, “The question regarding photography that I hate being asked is, what lens do you use? In my mind this question is along the lines of asking a painter what brush they use…it’s irrelevant.” In my opinion, her response nailed it!
4. What they ask: Why don't you have a BIG lens?
What they mean: I strongly doubt that you're a pro.
Sarcastic answer: I actually had one, but the FBI confiscated it because I was making head shots of Martians.
My answer: You can pretty well refer to number 3's answer. But the sarcastic answer is pretty good too! lol
5. What they ask: Do you use Photoshop?
What they mean: Are your original photos too crappy to be shown without editing?
Sarcastic answer: I mostly do basic post-processing in Lightroom. Then, of course, I export photos to Photoshop for further, visual adjustments, enhancing them with Illustrator-made vector graphics to both preserve the photographic intent and spice up the work with extra aesthetics.
My answer: I actually don't use Photoshop much. I stick to Lightroom for the most part. So, the sarcastic answer is pretty close. ?
6. What they ask: Can you add some makeup in Photoshop and make me thinner?
What they mean: Maybe I should finally start eating less and…ah, screw it. It’s not my problem anyway.
Sarcastic answer: Sure, I will also make your face look like you’re as smart as having read 50 books last year.
My answer: I stay away from altering clients appearance as much as I can. I will smooth out the skin and that is about it with altering the looks of a person. I will not make you look like a completely different person because that is not the point of the photography I do. I would have to charge you quite a bit if you want me to go through every photo to add make-up AND make you look thinner.
To help you better understand, here is a more detailed breakdown of how and why more thorough editing will cost you more. If you didn't know, there are people in the business of retouching photos. Photographers send the company the picture(s) and they retouch them. This is called outsourcing. You can Google photo retouching services if you want to find out more about it. For the following example I googled photo retouching services and clicked on a random link. The company I clicked on was called Fix The Photo. This company has 3 basic levels of retouching: pro level, high end level, and extra level, with the last 2 being the same price(I'm not sure why. I would think they would just list all the services under a second level tier). There are many different types of retouching such as portrait, wedding, real estate, etc. For this example we will say that these are engagement pictures you are wanting retouched and you are purchasing 10 images. The pro level has airbrush face skin. That is the closest your going to get with adding make-up(mainly you'll be adding color). It also has light body liquifing(this filter allows us to push, pull, rotate, reflect, pucker, and bloat the pixels of any image). The cost for that is $5 per picture. With the simple airbrush retouch you've just spent $50 on retouching. The next level has Make-up Retouching and Pro Beauty Correction. This would be what you want for your makeup. To make you thinner you would have to have the high end body reshaping retouch done. The cost for this is $10. For an editor to make you thinner you will have spent $100 for 10 images. The grand total for the retouching would be $150. I think it's much cheaper to wear make-up and exercise. ? Now we will see with a different and more expensive company. It will be the same scenario, make-up added and to be thinner. This company is called Image Clean Up. Adding makeup would fall under the Professional Editing - Beauty Portrait Retouching. That is $10 per image for 10 images, making it $100 for make-up. Making you thinner falls under the Manipulation and Restoration Editing - Advanced Effects. That is $25 per image for 10 images, making it $250. That brings your grand total for adding make-up and being thinner to $350. There are some retouching companies that charge by the hour. I did a little bit of research on boudoir retouching because that would be much more in depth editing. The average hourly rate was $70 through Evolve.
7. What they say/ask: You work looks pretty easy. How come you make a living from it?
What they mean: I bet your parents give you pocket money, you douchebag!
Sarcastic answer: I sometimes wonder about this, too. I work two hours a week and ride a Jaguar. Funny thing, eh?
My answer: I have wrote about being a photographer not being as simple as point and click several times. I wrote a blog post called, "Your Prices are What?!" explaining more about being a photographer and what comes with it.
These 9 questions came from an article titled, "The 22 Stupidest Questions That Photographers Hate to Hear" on Photodoto written by George Bailey.