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Being a Photographer comes with a lot of ups and downs. It can be hard because a photographer runs every aspect of their business alone. There is no higher management to go to when you run into a problem. There is no secretary to keep track of all of the paperwork or to answer general questions. It’s all on you. You don’t have a team to break down a plan and divide the work up. There are no co-workers to vent to or to help solve a problem. Some of you may be saying to yourself “then why be a photographer and do what you do?" Well, I love photography, I love capturing moments and turning them into a beautiful memory. I love telling stories with my camera. I love being able to make someone see what the world sees instead of the person just looking in the mirror. The smile on their face when they see their images makes being a photographer worth it. Hearing a simple thank you and that I have made it possible for a family to have pictures together...those are the reasons being a photographer is so rewarding and the reason I do what I do.
I love working with people, don’t get me wrong. But there are times when people are far from their attitude being all sunshine and rainbows. I do love my photography clients. But even the best clients (and I'm not just talking about mine) have some misunderstandings about photography and the business. Just like any other business there will be issues and irritating situations. You have always heard at businesses that the customer is always right. Well I’m here to tell you that no, they are definitely not always right. Sometimes that aren’t even close.
Thankfully being a photographer and running my own business in this day and age allows me to not be COMPLETELY alone. Because of all of the social media we are able to connect with other each other. Especially Facebook! There are so many Facebook groups (and I’m a member of a lot of them) out there that help photographers with things like trying to figure out a problem we’ve run into, getting others input on something, and definitely venting about an issue or problem they have run into with a client. And let me tell you, more than half of the time there are posts about handling clients expectations or a problem or issue with a client. I don’t know what it is but there are clients that feel that they are entitled to so much and often times so much more than what they are getting. How many times have you heard about clients suing their photographer because they weren’t happy with their photos or some other ludicrous reason? Photography clients just simply don’t get it! Many of them have a complete misunderstanding about the photography business. So I am going to go over some of the things that clients don’t seem to get that I see a lot of in groups.
Okay, but why are you telling us all of this you may be asking. I'm telling you this to hopefully allow for people to understand that this business is not easy. You can't just give up on us. Nobody is perfect. I don't claim to be. But you better believe if you have an issue that I will do my best to address it and fix it. Here is the kicker, you have to contact me about it first. I don't know that you are unhappy with something if you don't tell me. I can not unfortunately read minds.
So now onto the list of things that clients more than likely will never understand about owning and running a photography business or being a photographer.
- We Hate the Cell Phone Photographers -
The most frustrating and annoying thing for wedding photographers are the guests that get their phones or tablets out at any point during the time they are shooting a wedding. And even more annoying is when they can clearly see the photographer with a camera taking pictures as the bride is walking down the aisle. You can take your pictures but do you really need to stick your arm out in the aisle?! Or better yet do you really NEED to physically get in the aisle?! Here is your answer...NO! Thank goodness for whoever (I bet it was a photographer or a ticked off bride) the genius was that came up with the idea of "unplugged" weddings! I always tell my brides that it would be a smart idea to state in the invitation that you have a photographer at the wedding to take pictures and that they can sit back and enjoy the wedding. Another idea I mention to them is to have a sign somewhere at the wedding saying that they have hired a professional photographer to take photos so you can rest your phones.
Cell phones don't just appear at weddings either. I have seen and heard of it more and more that someone comes to the photo session who isn't in the photos and are taking pictures over the photographers shoulder.
- The Rights Clients Have To Their Photos -
We are definitely living in a digital world which is really convenient and great for the most part. Nearly everyone owns some form of electronic device such as a tablet or smartphone. And with those devices pictures are digital. The pictures taken end up on Snapchat, Instagram, etc. So of course a lot of clients prefer digital files when choosing their method of photo delivery from their photography session. They think that just like the pictures they took with their devices they can do whatever they want with the digital images they receive from their photographers such as put a filter (which is usually not even good looking) on the image or resize them. And that is where they are 100% wrong! Clients are getting a License for Personal Use, NOT a copyright release. A blogger, Christine Tremoulet whose posts I have read says it perfectly, "These are actual, LEGAL terms. They have a meaning behind them. It is pretty important. If you give your clients the Copyright on their images, it means that they have the rights to do everything with them and you have NO more rights to use them." There is NO photographer with the correct knowledge that would ever give a copyright release.
For some reason clients think that since they paid for the pictures they own them and can do whatever they want with them. Clients need to research their legal rights when they purchase digital files. Again, they are for ONLY personal use. They can NOT be altered in ANY way. They definitely can not sell them either. The photographer owns the images even though you have purchased them. The photographer has every right to display the images in any form whether online or in a portfolio. The photographer also has the right to sell any images they have taken.
- Editing Takes The Most Time -
A good photographer will take their time editing your photos. Don't mistake me either, good photographers can also be quick at editing. So just because a photographer can edit quickly does not mean they are not being as detail oriented as a photographer who takes a little more time. There is so much that goes into editing just one photo, so imagine editing images from a wedding! Photographers do not enjoy or get a thrill out of making you wait for your images, trust me!
- Pricing -
This is by far the biggest complaint of them all by clients. It does not matter if your prices are too high, too low, or just right, clients will still complain. There will be clients that don't want to pay what you're worth. The clients that are never happy with your prices are not the right client for you. The clients that don't want to pay what you are worth don't value or understand the service you provide and the products that come along with it. The right client that values you and your work will pay your price.
Clients think they are just paying for you to come and take their pictures. They don't think about the time it takes away from your family. They don't think about the hours it takes to go through and then edit their pictures. Plus those hours that are spent at a computer and not with family or working another job or even cleaning the house. With pricing, you can't please everyone or fit yourself into everyone's budget so don't try. People will always have their opinion on how much you are charging. You can read the article "Why Professional Photographer are so Expensive" and then let me know that my prices along with most other photographers are ridiculous.
So what did you think? Am I out of line? To the photographers, am I right or wrong? To the clients, would you be willing to think again about some of these things?